1. Public Editorial Meetings

        There is a Crack in the Museum of History. Is That How the Future Gets in?

        13–14 May 2015

        tranzit.hu, Budapest

        1. About
        2. Images
        3. Program
        4. Video
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      2. Following three prior editorial meetings in London, Berlin, and Utrecht, the Budapest public editorial meeting is at the same time a conference developed in partnership with tranzit.hu and is part of FORMER WEST’s culminating phase (2014-2016), which unfolds over the course of the next two years through a series of open editorial meetings, leading to the realization of the FORMER WEST publication. 

        There is a Crack in the Museum of History. Is That How the Future Gets in? explores the final collapse of the teleology of the so-called post-communist transition to democracy, and one of its most striking symptoms: the fetishistic obsession of our political and artistic imagination with the past. Through a series of presentations and panels, artists, curators, theorists, activists, and historians reflect on the current crises of democracy, the return of fascism into the political arena, and the current mainstreaming of historical revisionism. Contributors discuss what role artistic practices and art institutions play in the collective production of the past and a possible reclaiming of the future. The program consists of three intersecting strands of inquiry:

        Towards the Worst of all Possible Pasts?
        What was foreshadowed with the spectacular failure of the Arab Spring has become fully transparent with the Ukrainian crisis and an alleged return of the Cold War. Designed as the last progressive movement in what political scientist Francis Fukuyama once described as 
        “the museum of history,” the process of the so-called transition to democracy, generated by the collapse of communism, has finally come to a standstill. Are democracy and capitalism “with a human face” just other “dreamworlds” of modernity's short afterlife, now revealing themselves to be nightmares from which we are unable to wake up? How might we sustain hope in a world that desperately struggles to prevent the return of the worst of all possible pasts?

        Performing the End of History
        In modern times, history was an ignorant master. It was not a story of past events, but an event in itself. Is memory today, for which history itself has become a past to be remembered, not an expression of longing for the lost experience of history that one was able to learn from? Could this be why memory reaches out to the realms of art and performance, to re-enactments and body movements, so as to teach without possessing, sharing, or transmitting any knowledge—striving to be the cause of knowledge and not its owner? Indeed, art does not produce any knowledge of the past; but could it possibly turn the past into a teacher of life, a magistra vitae

        Present Pasts: Memory, Oblivion, Trianon
        Long gone are the times when the past had its proper place in our historical consciousness. The historical consciousness that had once guaranteed our orientation within the time-spaces of modernity has evaporated into a myriad of memory cultures that hover over post-historical reality. One easily mistakes ghosts of the past for the contemporary. In today's political reality, memory and oblivion often act as brothers in arms. Is this not the case in present-day Hungary, where the memory of the Treaty of Trianon threatens to divide the living even more deeply than it had divided the dead? Are the traumatic effects of this event a legacy of the past or a brand new product of contemporary power struggles? How could we prevent alleged traumas of the past from turning into much worse traumas in the future?

        Contributors include: Edit András (art historian and curator, Budapest); Inke Arns (curator and author, Berlin/Dortmund); Boris Buden (writer, cultural critic, and translator, Berlin); Tony Chakar (writer, architect, and artist, Beirut); Jodi Dean (writer and researcher, Geneva/New York); Ferenc Gróf (artist, Paris); Daniel Lazare (writer and political theorist, New York); József Mélyi (critic and art historian, Budapest); Rastko Močnik (sociologist, literary theorist, translator, and activist, Ljubljana); Vjeran Pavlaković (historian, Rijeka); Andrew Ryder (writer and journalist, Budapest);  Jonas Staal (artist, Rotterdam); G.M. Tamás (political philosopher and writer, Budapest); Andrea Tompa (theatre critic and author, Budapest); Zsuzsa Toronyi (museologist, Budapest); Jelena Vesić (independent curator and writer, Belgrade); Anna Wessely (art historian and sociologist, Budapest). With screenings by artists and art collectives Neïl Beloufa (Paris), Szabolcs Kisspál, Hajnalka Németh (Budapest), Milo Rau (Cologne/Zurich), and Tehnica Schweiz (Budapest).

        There is a Crack in the Museum of History. Is That How the Future Gets in? consists of moderated presentations, conversations, and artistic interventions on Wednesday 13 May and on Thursday 14 May at the FUGA Budapest Centre of Architecture, Petőfi Sándor u. 5., 1052 Budapest.

        The Budapest public editorial meeting and conference is realized as a collaboration between FORMER WEST editors Boris Buden, Maria Hlavajova, and Simon Sheikh and project manager Wietske Maas, and tranzit.hu curators Dóra Hegyi, Zsuzsa László and project manager Zsóka Leposa.