Invited curator |

The Intermedia Department of the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts has been in existence since the 1990-91 academic year. The nucleus of the five-year art program comprises the artistic use of new media in theory/practice, science and technology, and aspires to view art as a whole. As such, we don’t favor any single technique, art form or viewpoint; however, we do try to make every direction interpretable in many respects. Among the cultivable branches of art and techniques, any might appear as the possible one. In establishing the Intermedia Department, our task was to broaden the program of artistic study toward such art forms and techniques that were introduced in the fine arts of the 20th century and did not yet have a tradition in Hungarian higher and institutionalized art training: photokinetic and electronic art, multimedia, installation, environment and performance art, new communication techniques, interdisciplinary and artistic frontiers. Besides arousing awareness of change in the function of art, the goal is to develop an active and creative presence in the cultural sphere of the information society, and beyond this research and support of cognitive artistic behaviour. The selected video works present a general overview of the different approaches of intermedia students: from the subjective video essay to a structural attitude, collections, found footage, personal documentation, narration, animation, digital computer-based and conceptual work.

Miklós Peternák



Curator's text Miklós Peternák, 2003

Video Art in Hungary – Past and Present

The chronology of Hungarian video art could be started with the lecture by Gábor Bódy, entitled “Infinite Mirror-Tube”, first presented at the Tihany Semiotics Congress in 1972. This lecture was connected to the last part of his 35 mm film, “Four Bagatelles”, which could also be considered as the first Hungarian video art piece, as the closed circuit installation was recorded on black-and-white film material. Leaving aside sporadic antecedents, active video art in Hungary may be considered from the mid-1980’s. The key person during these years was Gábor Bódy (1946-1985), filmmaker and initiator of “Infermental”, the first international magazine on videocassettes. The first issue was realized in 1982 in Berlin, while the one and only Hungarian edition, “Infermental III”, was produced by the Balázs Béla Studió (Studio Béla Balázs) in 1984 and edited by László Beke and Péter Forgács. (A comprehensive catalogue published on “Infermental” 1980-1986 was edited by Veruschka Baksa-Soós.) The majority of video art production till the 1990’s was partly related to the Studio Béla Balázs where artists and filmmakers had access to professional equipment and partly to small experimental groups and university circles. In 1988 the Hungarian state television initiated “Video World”, a monthly magazine program which played an important role in the dissemination of information on Hungarian and international video art for a wider public. As a kind of end-point of the early period, the first and till now the last comprehensive exhibition on video was presented in Budapest, “SVB VOCE — Contemporary Hungarian Video Installation”, organized by the Soros Foundation Fine Art Documentation Center in 1991. In 1990 “Private Hungary”, a video by Péter Forgács, was awarded the Grand Prize of the World Wide Video Festival, in the Netherlands. The Intermedia Department was founded at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in 1990. This chronological coincidence of an artist’s international success and a local institutional change has led us to the second period, in parallel with the significant political changes in Eastern Europe and the revolutionary technological changes worldwide in the field of digital tools and communication. During the first half of the last decade, in the course of a shift to communications technologies in the 1990’s, video was squeezed to the periphery, and partly disappeared from the artistic discourse. A change has been introduced in this situation by the emergence of digital video that is to be considered as a new challenge for non-institutional artistic creation in the field of moving images. While new, young artists came to the scene using digital tools, and the production of the early period has arrived to a turning point in its physical existence: as is commonly known, analogue magnetic tapes retain their recorded information at best for 12-15 years, and as there is no institution in Hungary concerned with the collection of video art, the most significant works of past eras are threatened with extinction. Owing to this fact, in 1999 C3 — Center for Culture & Communication Foundation decided to start the Video Archive Project. The aim of the project of the C3 Foundation is the complete collection, preservation, cataloguing, archiving, the rendering of accessibility and the creation of conditions for the distribution (both on- and off-line) of Hungarian video artworks.

ASSOCIAÇÃO CULTURAL VIDEOBRASIL, "Displacements - 14th International Eletronic Art Festival": 22nd September to 19th October 2003, pp. 262-263, São Paulo, Brazil, 2003.