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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Who Owns a Symbol, if not a Nation(’s Pride)?

In 2014 Andrea went to Budapest Pride again. Dressed in a priest’s cassock, he blew bubbles and blessed the crowd from atop the float named as the “International Gay Lobby.” A piece of cardboard dangled in front of him—outlined with the shape of Greater Hungary, patterned with the red-and-white bars of the House of Árpád, and in the center of which a large cock was splashed that easily could be decoded as a biker. The result: two months of rabid harassment (online, at work, at home, etc.) and a civil lawsuit against him that eventually was dismissed.

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To Keep Finding a Reason to Smile

Interview with Alexandra Pirici and Manuel Pelmus

Alexandra Pirici and Manuel Pelmus were invited by tranzit.hu to realize a process-based action as part of the first OFF-Biennale Budapest that took place on April 25-26, 2015. In the following interview, I asked the Bucharest-based artists about enactment as a strategy, the relations of immaterial works and museums, and the sustainability of an “off-scene.”

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The Steamroller Advances Relentlessly

The National Salon at the Műcsarnok/Kunsthalle, Budapest

The “System of National Cooperation,” as the government of Viktor Orbán named itself in 2010, has polarized every segment of society, not excluding the sub-system of contemporary culture and art. As the most effective means to serve this end, the Hungarian Academy of Art (HAA) has not only divided the community of artists and cultural workers owing to the circumstances of its founding and continuous institutional existence, but each of its programs, open calls, or invitations also imply yet another provocative pressure to make a statement: are you with or against us?

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Collective Time Travel Without a Future

In unhappy times, people are likely to meditate more often on the possibility of time travel: they give more thought to the question of what they could have done differently in the past, or imagine ways of traveling to the future to escape the present. Since 2010, in the Hungarian printed press, online forums, and casual discussions, an increasing number of people have asked, in increasing wonder: “Exactly which era have we returned to?”

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One of the Hydra’s Heads

Interview with the creators of Abortourism

The tactical media campaign Abortourism took the form of a fictional travel agency operated by a group of artists in Budapest. The project was preceded by thorough research: its creators surveyed abortion laws, pregnancy termination and contraception technologies in various European countries. Based on this research, the agency set up fictional travel packages containing the costs of abortion (be it an operation or a pill), travel, and accommodation. Started in late 2014, the project called attention to the existing phenomenon of abortion tourism, a special form of health tourism, and, through this, to privileges, repressions, and taboos surrounding reproductive rights.

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It Was Easy To Be Illegal Twenty-Five Years Ago

Interview with Babi Badalov

It was easy to be illegal twenty-five years ago. Maybe also because the whole world was focusing on perestroika, and how the Soviet Union had collapsed. At the same time, capitalism had just emerged in the east. Millions began to drink Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola and smoke Marlboro in the streets for the first time without fear. Living sans papiers was not a problem if you did not commit any crimes. I have been an immigrant in several countries.—In October 2015, Dóra Hegyi interviewed Babi Badalov on the occasion of his exhibition Poetical Activism at Mayakovsy 102, tranzit.hu's open office in Budapest.

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Fascism Is a Loud Word—But You Cannot Shout It In From Outside

Interview with members of WHW and the representative of Alerta on their curatorial and activist strategies

Nataša Ilić and Sabina Sabolović, two members of the Croatian curatorial group WHW (What, How, and for Whom), and Nikola Vukobratović, the representative of Alerta, Centre for Monitoring of Right-Wing Extremism and Anti-Democratic Tendencies, Zagreb, held a seminar entitled "How Much Fascism?" in May 2014 in the framework of tranzit.hu’s Free School of Art Theory and Practice. The seminar and the three-part exhibition and event series "Art Under a Dangerous Star" were part of the international collaboration "Beginning As Well As We Can" (How Do We Talk About Fascism?), initiated by WHW. The project explores the Europe-wide spread of the extreme right, contemporary forms of fascism, and the possible ways of resistance and intervention. During the seminar G. M. Tamás, András Rényi, Szabolcs KissPál (Free Artists), Ádám Schönberger (Marom), and Márton Szarvas (Helyzet Group and Gólya) held presentations.

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