Technologie und das Unheimliche

Leaning on the Past, Working for the Future, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Wien, 2020
Curated by Krisztina Hunya and Zsolt Miklósvölgyi; participants: János Brückner, Buharov Brothers and Vasile Croat, Sylvia Eckermann and Gerald Nestler, Mark Fridvalszki, Szabolcs KissPál, Land 3C, Márió Z. Nemes, Dominika Trapp, Suzanne Treister
Experience our online project (essay, video, takeover, poetry, comic strip, podcast, etc.) on →
Following a brief optimistic era of political transition that soon shifted to disenchantment, Central and Eastern European states are today haunted by a spectre long thought to have disappeared. Contemporary far-right populist agendas, which are flooding not only the political topography of the region but also democratic systems all over the world, establish their xenophobic narratives primarily on the basis of an ill-founded and fraudulent ethnographic authenticity. In doing so, these nationalist movements have occupied and co-opted national symbols, historical myths, and geocultural narratives for their own purposes as well. 
Due to the given circumstances, it is unfortunately not possible to present works in the physical space of Kunsthalle Exnergasse. However, we deem it important to introduce the public to Hungarian and international artistic positions, which challenge the political monopoly of cultural narratives and reframe them to make way for progressive forms of thinking, origin, and belonging. For the duration of the exhibition, short films, essays, poems, image series, web-based projects, and an Instagram intervention will be made available to our audience in diverse online formats. This experimental setup aims to transcend the political and aesthetic strategies of contemporary nationalist ideologies, be it through the creative reinterpretation of folkloric traditions into contemporary (post)digital discourses, the deconstruction of patriarchal gender norms, or by returning to utopian visions on a planetary and cosmic scale. 
The opening of the exhibition was planned for June 4, 2020 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Trianon, the peace agreement between the Allies of World War I and Hungary. The online programme starts with an essay by the curators as well as four artists’ films exploring the imaginary in Hungarian reality. 
In the project planning phase, the ideological machinery of the Hungarian government was indulging in this year of pain and grief. Right-wing governments tend to take the commemoration of the historical event upon which state borders were radically redrawn as an occasion to proclaim xenophobic and nationalist ideologies. The meaning this date takes on in times of a generally practiced distancing and the kind of identity politics promoted along with it are open to an urgent debate.
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