04 October 2009

Intermodem in Debrecen

From September 13 to 20, I participate in an international video art workshop at Modem museum in Debrecen.

15 to 20 video artists from different
European countries are invited to develop their projects within a week. Debrecen is situated in the far East of Hungary within 50 km of the Romanian border. The Modem is a big museum for contemporary art that was built 3 years ago. The museum and the square in front look like any other modern museum in the West would look like. Modern architecture in the former East now seems exactly the same like in the West.

A psychotic experience: On the train with David Lynch

In order to reach Debrecen I travel by train from Vienna to Budapest and from there to the East. I change trains at Keleti station in Budapest and get a seat in a compartment with a young student who sits at the window. Except for that boy nobody on the train speaks English. We travel for hours and hours. As I don’t know when I have to get out I have to ask people for the whereabouts of the train at every station where we stop.

After some time a bald-headed guy enters the compartment. He barks at the young man in Hungarian and takes the seat right in front of him although 4 other places are available. The bald guy seems eerie and looks aggressive. Just some days before my trip I read in the newspaper of serial killings committed on Roma people in Debrecen. The far right in Hungary is getting stronger and stronger and the nationalist Fidesz party is constantly gaining votes.

With that story in mind I watch the bald guy. He just looks like a rightist extremist. The student looks scared, in one particular moment he even seems to cry. The bald guy soon falls asleep but wakes up every now and then. I watch both of the men and try to catch the student’s gaze which is reflected in the window but the young man continues to stare out of the window and does not react on the signs which I make. I just don’t know if the baldhead threatens him and he does not dare to get up.

I spend one hour being proccupied until I finally get an idea what to do, just as the train stops at another station. I open the door of the compartment and get out on the aisle. I leave the door open, a young woman comes inside and takes a seat. The baldhead gets up and leaves.

Late Reprise: Party of the year

In July three women who work in fashion, have their birthday party in a tavern in the Viennese Prater. The place is special, it has a bar but also a miniature golf course. People play crazy golf in groups of up to 6 people. Boys are dressed up nicely in 70ies golf outfits according to the occasion, the girls wear mostly evening dresses. I arrive late but get the interesting view on the scene of an outsider. After the match there is music, some of the guests dance Lindy Hop to 30ies Swing music.

Two months earlier in May, at the opening evening of the Vienna (Art) Fair there is a great party on a meadow in the Prater (Vienna’s biggest park). People seem to congregate there accidentally, they seem to come out of nowhere. A dj plays a fine selection of records on a great soundsystem. Surrounded only by trees people dance into the dark.