Special Event / Talks and Readings / Vis Art / 20 February

Curator’s Talk: ESZTER SZAKÁCS

Tickets: Free admission, no booking required
Show Time: 5.30pm - 7pm

What the Past Holds for the Future: Socialist Solidarity and the Perspective of a Research Exhibition

A curator’s talk within the framework of Active Archive – Slow Institution, organised in association with CCA Derry~Londonderry.

How can the socialist heritage be recalled today? What are the long-term and global ramifications of ‘regime changes,’ when one ideology is replaced by its opposite? How can the field of contemporary art and the spatiality of a research exhibition allow for a complex analysis of historical materials? The point of departure for the talk is located in the concept and practice of international socialist solidarity, a state-directed policy through which the ‘Second World’ (including Hungary and other Eastern Bloc countries) built official relations with ‘Third World’ countries during the Cold War. More specifically, the talk attempts to outline the context and manifold contradictions of socialist solidarity through the case study of socialist Hungary’s media and knowledge production in relation to the Arab World between 1957 and 1989.

Szakács introduces her research exhibition Propaganda, Mon Amour: Palestine As Seen Through Publications in Socialist Hungary and the most recent thematic issues of the online magazine Mezosfera by tranzit.hu – ‘Refractions of Socialist Solidarity and ‘Propositions for a Pan-Peripheral Network’. In doing so, the talk puts forth the importance of historical awareness and the need to critically engage with the state-directed Cold War policies of international solidarity, especially as these transnational connections are somewhat dismissed in both Hungary and across Eastern Europe today, and remain unknown to a generation that was born after the Cold War.

This presentation by Budapest-based curator, editor and researcher Eszter Szakács will be followed by a conversation with Sara Greavu, independent curator and Head of Public Programmes at CCA Derry~Londonderry.

Find more about Eszter Szakács’s talk at CCA here


‘First of May parade’, Felvonulási tér (Parade Square) Budapest, 1978. Photo: FORTEPAN / Donor: Szitakri

‘First of May parade’, Hősök tere (Heroes’ Square), Budapest, 1981. The banner reads “Association of Iraqi Students in Hungary.”
Photo: FORTEPAN / Donor: Ebner


A curator’s talk within the framework of Active Archive – Slow Institution, organised in association with CCA Derry~Londonderry.

Project Arts Centre is proudly supported by the Arts Council Ireland and Dublin City Council.


Eszter Szakács is a curator, editor and researcher based in Budapest. She has worked at tranzit.hu since 2011, where she is co-editor of the online international art magazine Mezosfera and curator of the collaborative research project Curatorial Dictionary. She was co-editor of the book MAGINATION/IDEA: The Beginning of Hungarian Conceptual Art—The László Beke Collection, 1971 (Budapest, Zurich: tranzit.hu, JRP|Ringier, 2014), and editor of PST (Public – Street – Tactical)—The Public Art Practice of János Sugár (Budapest: tranzit.hu, 2016). In 2018, she organised the Budapest presentation of Two Meetings and a Funeral by Naeem Mohaiemen at tranzit.hu. She is a curatorial team member of the civil initiative OFF-Biennale Budapest and a research group member of the …OPEN MUSEUM…project initiated by the Museum of Ethnography, Budapest (2014–2018). Her practice revolves around questions of internationalisms, methods of cultural resistance, relations between Eastern Europe and the Global South, as well as the exhibitionary form of research.

Sara Greavu works with artists and others to make exhibitions, projects and texts. In her role as Head of Public Programmes in CCA Derry~Londonderry and as an independent curator, she has developed and delivered a range of collaborative projects including exhibitions, research, engaged public programmes, educational platforms, as well as events including lecture-performances, workshops, symposia, screening seasons, and reading groups. She is interested in how art can recognise broader social structures, compassing art and artists in relation to these other fields of inquiry and other axes of power and privilege.

Further Reading: Mezosfera Issue #5, May 2018 – ‘Refractions of Socialist Solidarity’


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