A Form of Contemporary Resistance

An Interview with Kristine Khouri and Rasha Salti

Beirut-based writers and curators Kristine Khouri and Rasha Salti discuss some of the key aspects of their project that unravels the forgotten story and context of the large-scale International Art Exhibition for Palestine that took place in 1978 at the Beirut Arab University, at a time of civil war in Lebanon. Their work was transformed into exhibition iterations at MACBA (2015) in Barcelona, HKW in Berlin (2016), and recently at tranzit.hu in Budapest. Khouri and Salti touch upon their methodology; how political engagement and art played a crucial and intertwined role in the 1960s-70s, and how it is relevant for today; as well as in what ways geo-cultural constructions and transnationalism are meaningful today.

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Toxic Places, Toxic Images

An interview with Elke Krasny

The exhibition Uncanny Materials was born from a feeling of uncanniness. Elke Krasny, the newly appointed head of the Department of Art Education of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, sensed the burden and the ghostly presence of the Nazi past when she was supposed to move to her office room. She felt it was somehow toxic. Instead of repressing this sense of uncanniness, she went right to the heart of the matter. The department was founded in 1941, which was also the year when WW2 took a violent turn on the Eastern Front, and when the Jewish community of Vienna was informed about the deportation, among other sinister events.

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What is Mezosfera?

About tranzit.hu's new magazine on art and culture.

The magazine, on the one hand, is a platform for the sharing of knowledge and the building of solidarity: while also connecting with other non-central geopolitical regions of the world, it initiates dialogues mainly among the art and cultural scenes of the region described as Eastern Europe. It endeavors to discuss how this region with a common but locally varied communist past confronts the influence of both global and local socio-political turbulences. On the other hand, Mezosfera also endeavors to mediate these local and regional discourses to a broader, international audience.

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A Weird Geography

An introduction to issue #1

The first thematic issue of Mezosfera contributes to the on-going societal debates around migration and migration politics in Europe, introducing and examining related work by artists, activists, and thinkers from diverse cultural and geographical contexts. It addresses overarching key issues, from the crisis of citizenship and the challenges of a post-identity politics to the unequal access to rights and privileges that pervades all phases of the migration experience from the freedom of movement to the right to work.

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Appealing to the State to Become Stateless

An interview with visual artist Núria Güell about the right to self-determination, the failure of the nation-state and how art can be used to challenge the possible

Nationality is the quality that infuses to a person the fact of belonging to a national community that is organized as a state. The project emerges from my dis-identification with the structure of the nation-state, as well as from my refusal of the construction of the self in relation to national identity, since I consider it fictional and imposed. (Núria Güell on her work “Stateless by Choice. On the Prison of the Possible”)

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Europe: A Present-day Slavery Zone. And We Go Willingly, Like a Lamb to the Slaughter

An interview with Bogdan Droma about the Mall of Shame protest in Berlin and labor migration to Western Europe

In 2014 Bogdan Droma worked on the construction of the famous Mall of Berlin. As a result of weeks of work going unpaid, as well as of various forms of abusive treatment, he protested together with other workers on an almost daily basis, turning the popular designation of the mall into the “Mall of Shame”. The case of the Mall of Berlin workers is not an isolated one, therefore we wanted, together with Bogdan, to start a conversation regarding non-declared or off the books work as performed by immigrants in the West.
This interview was first published in Gazeta de Artă Politică #12—“In the name of the periphery: decolonial theory and intervention in the Romanian context” in Bucharest and is re-published here with an introduction by Ovidiu Pop, co-editor of G.A.P. #12.

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Russia, The Land of Opportunity

A migrant labor board game by Andrei Yakimov and Olga Zhitlina

“Russia, The Land of Opportunity” board game is a means of talking about the possible ways that the destinies of those millions of immigrants play out who come annually to the Russian Federation from the former Soviet Central Asian republics to earn money (…). The characters, situations, and monetary amounts (fines, payments, bribes, etc.) are not fictional. Any resemblance to actual events is not coincidental. Each year, thousands of people are victimized by the system outlined here. (The artist Olga Zhitlina on her collaboration with human rights advocate Andrei Yakimov)

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Refugees’ Library

An on-going project initiated by Marina Naprushkina

The “Refugees’ Library” is an archive of court sketches on the topics of asylum and migration. The artist Marina Naprushkina documents the trials of refugees through illustrations and dialogues between the different actors of the trial: the plaintiff (the refugee), the lawyer, and the judge. The library’s intention is two-fold: on the one hand, it aims to spark debate about German and European asylum and migration policy by making available to a larger public the cases of refugees coming from diverse geographical, political, and social contexts. On the other hand, the project aims to provide the refugees with the information resources in order to prepare for their own cases.

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Border Crossing & You


Solidarity actions and campaigns in public space and discourse, Vienna, 2014–present

Fluchthilfe & Du / Border Crossing & You addresses the critique of the EU border regime and its migration policies. Formally it echoes PR campaigns by Caritas, an organization that collects donations with an appeal to charity, while distancing itself from those it denounces as human smugglers: people whose assistance to refugees made it possible for them to come to Austria and to apply for asylum in the first place. Fluchthilfe & Du / Border Crossing & You envisions escape aid as a paid service and publicly solicits support for refugees' struggle for freedom of movement.

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Solidarity On Trial

Human smuggling in the context of structural racism and class issues

During the International Conference on Human Smuggling and Trafficking (ISS 2015) in München, over 800 people were imprisoned in pre-trial custody in Bavaria on charges of human smuggling. Meanwhile in Austria, every 5th person in pre-trial custody was accused of human smuggling. With these terrifying numbers and realities in mind, it is not only necessary to explicitly demand the abolishment of the paragraphs on human smuggling, but also to take a closer look at these trials and follow them. Katarzyna Winiecka critically revisits the ISS conference and analyzes the structural racism and class issues that pervade trials on human smuggling and criminalize solidarity with people on the move.

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I Ain’t Gettin’ on No Plane! How to Stop a Deportation

A film by the Protest Productions Collective

Vienna International Airport: a hub for people yearning to see distant places and globalized business relationships. But many people get onto a plane, because they are forced to—they are being deported. “I Ain't getting on No Plane! How to Stop a Deportation” shows ‘safety instructions’ for those who would like to prevent a deportation and take action showing solidarity: ‘Don't fasten your seatbelt,’ ‘Stand up and refuse to sit down,’ ‘Talk to the captain’ are some of the recommendations. (Protest Productions Collective)

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Reconstruction of a Forced Deportation by Swiss Authorities

A documentary by augenauf (open your eyes)

The scenes shown in the film are a reconstruction of a forced “Level 4” deportation carried out by the Swiss authorities. By conducting numerous interviews with people who have been personally involved in the deportation procedure, and by analyzing the training material used by the Swiss police, it was possible to obtain a clear picture of the procedure. By publicizing this film, augenauf highlights the procedures that Switzerland is implementing behind closed doors.

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“I Have A Scream”*

The New Year of Migration and Asylum Politics in Hungary. Talk and workshop organized by tranzit.hu

What will 2016 bring: fences or open borders? On January 8, 2016, tranzit.hu organized a talk and a workshop with the title “I Have A Scream,” as part of the two-day finissage of Babi Badalov’s exhibition “Poetical Activism.” Curator and moderator Katalin Erdődi invited human rights experts, activists, and humanitarian NGOs to participate in a discussion about what the new year will bring in Hungarian migration and asylum politics. This exchange not only served as a starting point for the thematic issue “A Weird Geography,” but also marked a period in which the borders were still partially open (although only for Syrian, Iraqi, and Afghani citizens) and measures to be taken by European policy-makers were still open to debate.

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The Purpose of Art

Interview with Artur Żmijewski

Artur Żmijewski led a three-day workshop in Budapest, during which he sought to find an issue together with the participants to which all of them could relate. The group worked together on searching various ways to connect with the issue, and gathered possible solutions to solve/articulate the phenomenon. The last day of the workshop saw the realization of three team works. The following interview with Artur Żmijewski was conducted by one of the workshop participants, artist Lilla Szász.

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“You Need a Kind of Tackiness, In the Good Sense of the Word, a Kind of Nonconformity”

Interview with Dominika Trapp, founding member of the Csakoda group

The Csakoda collective was founded in 2011 by artists Dominika Trapp and Márton Dés, after they were invited to realize an exhibition in a cultural center in rural Hungary. It was here that they came up with the idea of forming a dynamic group with a changing number of participants, who would primarily exhibit in cultural centers, further away from the elite art scene, but more in touch with local audiences. I interviewed Dominika Trapp about shifts in their praxis since 2011 and their most recent project in the framework of the art festival Nocturnal Interchange at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Dunaújváros.

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