Transformations and distortions
of urban and public space 2020

Mapping the Local - Budapest,
block seminar November 2 – 6

In collaboration with:
Univerza v Novi Gorici (SLO), Academy of fine Arts Belgrade

Monuments and other visual representations (including buildings) in the public space are signifiers that depict an (often imaginary) historical past  as well as visions of the present. They are the cultural representations of historical narratives that define and add symbolic value to specific urban spaces.

The recent flood of protests against police brutality, institutionalised forms of racism and the removal or destruction of many politically symbolic memorials defines a dramatic historical moment; the turmoil and the toppling of controversial personages signifies processes of social transformation.  These diverse transformations, especially in the years after World War II, after the fall of the Berlin Wall or the political changes in Hungary from 1989 onwards become embedded as part of a society’s collective memory.

Postcolonial discourse and the rise of new nationalism across Europe has provided a framework for discussing these changes in social consciousness with a particular interest in their ramifications in regards to various cultural disciplines and forms of representation.

In the Mapping the Local 2020 autumn semester we will examine the manifestations of these changes in Budapest as well as other localities that are connected to social realities of participating students, as well as the extraordinary global effects of Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, we will also address the various discussions, events and artistic practices associated with these global transformations especially in regards to the content and changing characteristics of  public space.

These transformations are being triggered by various factors:

- the political and social media practices, forms of disinformation, directed towards targeting the manipulation and liberation of collective memory, carrying the intention of rewriting history (confederate monuments - Black Lives Matter, Trianon monuments - Hungary, etc.);
-  the changing protocols of the usage of public space as a result of Covid-19 (specific forms of gathering, social distancing, etc.), and the new urban spaces that have been created to host these manifestations;
- the moral, ethical dimensions and conflicts of the individual behavior generated by social distancing;
- the control of physical/public spaces/movement by different power establishments around the world (USA, Belorussia, Italy, etc)

Szabolcs KissPál, Eszter Lázár, Allan Siegel, 


Guest lecturers and teachers:
Gábor Egry (HU) (webpage), Eduard Freudman (AT) (webpage), Martin Piacek (SK) (Public Pedestal), Igor Grubic (HR) Nikola Knežević (Art University Belgrade)


Hóoz Anna, Riccardo Capitani, Für Johanna, Vasily Kuzmich, Mónika Mészáros, Juhos Antal, Pamuk Lili, Süle Tamás, Balogh Emese, Gyopár Liksay, Áron Tihanyi, Fockter Hajnalka, Kudela Gréta, Rozina Pátkai, Adél Csököly, Gárdonyi Ágnes, Bullás Rozália,
Art University Belgrade: Lazar Ivanović, Petar Ćosić, Marija Nikić


Brian Boucher:  People are calling for museums to be abolished. Can whitewashed American history be rewritten? 26. June 2020.

Goldsmiths University of London: Deptford Town Hall Statues Must Fall!

Ken Burns: Our monuments are representations of myth, not fact

Why Are the Statues Falling? BY MANUELA BOATCĂ

The US could learn from how Eastern Europe treats its Soviet oppressors’ statues BY MARKOS KOUNALAKIS


László Szabolcs: Memory Politics in an Illiberal Regime, Hungary’s new Trianon memorial