An Introduction to Issue #7 The point of departure for Mezosfera’s thematic issue is the 30th anniversary of the 1989 regime change in Hungary and Eastern Europe. While it was already clear in Hungary in the mid-2000s that what was celebrated in the 1990s as […]
“Issue” is a thematic column, appearing four times a year, which is compiled each time by a guest editor. Our guest editors are invited to collaborate with authors from different countries, regions, and backgrounds to discuss issues that are relevant and urgent within the cultural field of Eastern Europe.
Foreword to the 2019 Republication of “The Offended Hungary” This essay was originally published in 2002 in Hungarian about the House of Terror in Budapest, which was established by the (first) right-wing government of Viktor Orbán (1998–2002). The set objective of the House of Terror […]
Introduction In the aftermath of devastating military dictatorships, one of the most substantial ways in which Latin America’s Southern Cone has worked to cultivate a dynamic and politically significant memory of its traumatic recent past is by transforming former sites of repression and political terror […]
The Museum of Free Derry (MoFD) is one of a number of projects in the north of Ireland, including interpretive centers, historical museums, and political tours, that attempt to articulate an alternative, counter-hegemonic history of the conflict in Ireland. Opened in 2007, the museum is […]
The legacy of Joseph Murumbi as a politician, a collector and, a businessman is expansive. He is mostly known through his political roles in Kenya and Africa, but also through the collections and archive he made. These latter two and by extension, among others, the […]
Memories are constitutive of contemporary culture. Maurice Halbwachs suggests that memory should answer the interests and desires of today, and thus the past is consecrated or omitted accordingly. Memory works as an everyday construction, that combines feelings, realities, points of view, and intentions. The tendency […]
Diluted in a repressive and demagogic context, the XIII Biennial of Havana concluded in May 2019. As part of the Biennial, the National Museum of Fine Arts opened a mega-exhibition titled The Infinite Possibility. ToThink about the Nation in the Cuban Art building. It was […]
An Introduction to Issue #6 Mezosfera’s 6th thematic issue titled Parallel Nonsynchronism: Times and Places in Cold War Eastern Europe is a textual and translational compliment to the exhibition 1971 – Parallel Nonsychronism, a collaboration between the Kiscell Museum – Municipal Gallery and tranzit.hu. The […]
Parallelism – Nonsynchronism – Generational experience Ernst Bloch, on the eve of the Nazi takeover, looking for its economic and societal driving force, came to the conclusion that the different social classes of his time had divergent relations to the present. In his book, published […]
Modernization attempts at the Venice Biennale—a general overview of the transitional period (1968‒1972/76) Be it in the Hungarian or the international context, there have always been heated arguments both for and against the Venice Biennale, and the particular outcome of these debates have always been […]
“Misunderstanding is the main factor of the development of art” Leó Popper László Beke’s 1971 Imagination/Idea project is considered by art history writing to be the first important summary of Hungarian Conceptualism. The collection created in the year of György Lukács’s death—exactly two months later—is […]
In 1966, Jerzy Ludwiński (1930–2000), Polish art historian, a critic, a curator, accepted an invitation from the municipal authorities of Wrocław to draw up a concept for a museum. However, instead of preparing an easily realizable project, he created one of an ambivalent nature, the […]
The name of painter and illustrator Teodor Rotrekl (1923–2004) does not usually come up when we speak about Czech art. The eleven-volume History of Czech Visual Art (2005 and 2007) does not mention him. His works are owned by several museums in the Czech Republic, […]
1. DDR Noir The space was filled with cheap, outdated furniture from the late 1980s and early 1990s: geometrically-cut wood veneer and plastic laminate painted in black or white lacquer, chairs covered with vividly-colored flokati textiles, barstools and couches in asymmetrical shapes covered in imitation […]
Mezosfera’s fifth thematic issue is published in conjunction with the Budapest presentation of the three-channel film Two Meetings and a Funeral (dir. Naeem Mohaiemen, Bangladesh, 2017) at tranztit.hu. This special issue is, at the same time, a continuation of Mezosfera’s previous edition entitled Propositions for a Pan-Peripheral Network, a beginning of tranzit.hu’s research into the transnational history of Hungary and Eastern Europe in the Cold War era.
How was Hungary connected to post-WWII decolonization? What does this episode of Eastern European history tell us about shared postcolonialities, transnational interconnectivity, and semiperipheral positioning strategies? This study aims to address these questions in the context of socialist Hungary’s evolving relations with independent Ghana under the Kwame Nkrumah regime (1957–1966), by focusing on the role of Hungarian experts in a transnational context. My aim is to show how this encounter led to the professionalization and internationalization of Hungarian postcolonial knowledge production, and how parallels in colonial history were drawn between Hungary and Africa.
This essay attempts to assess socialist Hungary’s state-directed solidarity with the Arab World through publications that appeared between 1957 and 1989. Considering Hungarian publications about the Arab World as products of the idea of “socialist solidarity” or “international socialist friendship” (1956–1989), the essay analyzes why certain books appeared at specific times. Underlining the complexities and paradoxes of Hungary’s solidarity gestures with Arab countries of the Middle East and North Africa, the essay investigates the juncture points of Hungary’s globalist commitments, in relation to ideological purposes, diplomatic ties, and economic interests.
At this moment of history, biennials seem to be a necessary evil. They have been challenged, contested, transformed, and critiqued. In retrospect, the Arab Biennial as a project has been overclouded by its politics and seen as a failure. Nevertheless, the genealogy of the biennial has its roots in a historical necessity that started through an artists’ initiative. The formation of the General Union of Arab Plastic Artists (al-Ittihad al-'amm li-l-fannanin at-tashkiliyin al-'arab) in 1971, registered Arab artists’ position and strong need for a shared forum and unity. The awareness of their fragmented existence within what has been argued throughout most of the twentieth century as a transnational collective strength in the form of pan-Arabism, was manifest in their need for better representation.