The Millenaris Park, MuseumsQuartier, and Tate Modern: New Social Spaces of Art in Budapest, Wien, and London

Art and the indeterminacy of urban society

In civilisations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure, and the police take the place of pirates.(Michel Foucault, “Of Other Spaces,” Diacritics 16 no.1 (1986): 272.) – Michel Foucault

Consider the physical – and figurative – context within which a majority of our thoughts are taking place. The city is the place (physical or otherwise) from which most journeys emanate and are directed towards:

The model for the contemporary world. As large urban concentrations of developing countries expand in an abnormal fashion, new urban schemes are being established based on new lifestyles, and the economic and social systems and the different roles these occupy in the political and economic planetary systems. Architecture and urbanism are currently having difficulty in dealing with such complexity, since the objects and pertinence of such fields are rapidly changing.(From a statement by GRUPPO A 12 at the Biennale de Venezia, 2000.)

Often the focus of numerous inquiries – sociological, political, architectural, etc. –is directed towards (or evolves from) part icular aspects of the paradigm(The city paradigm I refer to here stems from those models of the city that have evolved from the earliest years of the Enlightenment and through the Industrial Age; while there are obvious aesthetic and cultural differences they are joined by the general disposition of structural elements (habitation, manufacturing and consumerisation) civic realms (governance, administration, education and transport) and places of leisure (cultural edifices).) of the Western city.

They allude to failures, gems of revival, ruptures in systems, atrophy, or palliatives aimed at resuscitating (or simply vindicating) elements of the ailing paradigm.

But, despite civic cosmetics, new buildings and all the attempts to maintain a sense of cohesion, metropolitan behemoths like New York, London, Mexico City, Moscow, or Tokyo are dystopic agglomerations of colliding functions, institutions, thoroughfares, classes, etc. (regardless of whether – from time to time – their individualcharacteristics or components seem organised or efficient).

Not surprisingly, then, there is an indeterminacy that permeates the many interpretations and definitions of cities and urban society; this suggests a condition in which events have outpaced our sense of comprehension.

The City paradigm that arose in conjunction with Enlightenment values has been displaced by a more unwieldy, distant reality: the urban phenomenon. Thirty years ago Henri Lefebvre applied the phrase to designate the nexus of elements that

astonishes us by its scale; its complexity surpasses the tools of our understanding and the instruments of practical activity. It serves as a constant reminder of the theory of complexification, according to which social phenomenon acquire increasingly greater complexity.(Henri Lefebvre, The Urban Revolution, Trans. Robert Bononno, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003), 45.)

Like the post-modern condition, the urban phenomenon is transitory. Yet, in this discussion of specific sites within an urban reality, its conceptual significance opens up an ability to move beyond the constraints of those ideologies that circumscribe and hamper the capacity to negotiate our modernity.

I am not suggesting that the notion of the urban phenomenon forms, or even, leads us towards a new paradigm. Instead, it is an indicator (of considerable significance) of various strands in emerging discourses and theoretical narratives.

These postulations are laced with tentative analytical examinations and exploratory sketches that can unleash new conceptual tools.

Thus, the urban phenomenon does not imply the displacement of one paradigm by another. Rather, as Lefebvre suggested, it proposes a problematic; A problematic that indicates a horizon of experience existing beyond the normative boundaries of a city concept that is both obsolete and reductive.

In Lefebvre’s meaning, “the urban problematic becomes predominant, when the search for solutions and modalities unique to urban society are foremost.”(Ibid., 5.)

It arises in those periods after industrialisation, following the development of the city as a relatively contained and coherent system.

Furthermore, as Lefebvre notes in numerous ways, the urban phenomenon does not overshadow other issues of economic development, social policy, etc. nor does it imply their diminished relevance.

It portends the indices and markers that we seek out and strive to locate in order to navigate our way through the contemporary life-world.

The purpose here is not to elaborate upon or illustrate the processes by which these changes have taken place, but rather to approach the outgrowth of Lefebvre’s observation from another vantage point: from the perspective of the cultural centre or institutional complex.

This perspective serves not as a critique of a single architectural entity or element, but rather the skein of structures and public spaces that constitute urban places associated with art .

More specifically, from this perspective one can witness the morphology of a self-contained institution, the art museum, and its reconstitution as a new social space.

The cultural centre and the social space of art

Within the lexicon of urban structures and activities that characterise the daily lives of those who live, work within or visit cities, we can perceive the reflections of the urban phenomenon wherein “space takes for us the relations among sites.”(Foucault, 263.)

Space is thus not the individuation of the daily environmental, lived, experiential realities but rather their “connectedness.”

Space documents the linkages, the transitions and segues from private space to public space, indoor to out: movements from habitat, across-the-yard, down-the-stairway, into-the-SUV (with GSM and CD sound system), descend-into-the-metro, board the tram or trolley and the journey in reverse.

Routes of transit, places of transition or employment, nodes of activity (or repose) represent composite forms of social space.(This social space can take on many forms; for example it can be a restricted area; a point of exchange; a place of discourse consumable as public space or a hierarchical landmark within an ideological pantheon of signs.)

They also spatialise the ideological markers that delineate the characteristics of a historical moment.

The social spaces that define the realms of art are formed from networks of activities connecting art ists, schools, museums, galleries, curators, and critics; all those institutions and individuals that shape the production, exhibition or valorisation of objects and events that characterise this domain of social activity.

As sites of performance, exhibition and leisure, they are places of social refraction that can restrain or generate discourse.(Today, how or why do these nodes of urban activity become discursive zones? Historically, where do we locate the precedents that signal this designation or possibility?)

By examining the changing qualities and characteristics of these nodes it is possible to gain insight into the distinguishing features or peculiarities of a part icular social space and its consequence within an urban reality.

How do new buildings of exhibition or performance transform neighbourhoods and what do they imply in terms of cultural production? From one historical frame to another, via the morphology of these social spaces, is it possible to envision the changing dimensions of an art praxis?

The preceding abstractions, in their original unfocused form, led me toward an examination of three recently inaugurated cultural centres: the Tate Modern in London; the MuseumsQuart ier in Wien; and Millenaris Park in Budapest.

Physically, they are places that arise from the transformation of pre-existing structures and social spaces.(Southbank, site of the Tate Modern was “In its industrial heyday, the area [that] did the labour of manufacturing and trade while the City across the ran the finances of nation and empire. Two centuries of hard work and poverty were the metropolitan underside of a world-wide economic dominion largely controlled from the opposite bank of the Thames… It is on this spot, then, so often humbled and which has so frequently changed its character, that Tate Modern is now established.” Doreen Massey, “Bankside: International Local,” Tate Modern: The Handbook, (London: Tate Gallery Publishing Ltd., 2000), 26-27.)

They demarcate urban territories within which variants of a global art praxis can condense and solidify, suggesting a trajectory that joins together highly publicised civic elements within urban landscapes of western and central Europe.

As architectural statements or centres of cultural activity, they reveal – regardless of style or size of the metropolitan area – the common qualities of a new urban ubiquity as well as the faltering (decaying) paradigm of what was the industrial city.

The expansion of the Tate Museum, with the addition of the Modern, is more than simply the physical extension of an institution’s exhibition capacities.

It is part of the process of restructuring the social space of art . It moves the realm of art from one paradigm to another arena.

It is a restructuring that coincides (or trails behind?) other changes taking place within London.

These institutions appear not in advance or even parallel to, as Fredric Jameson suggests,

[the] moment when the logic of media capitalism penetrates the logic of advanced cultural production itself and transforms the latter to the point where such distinctions as those between high and mass culture lose their significance.(Fredric Jameson, “The Ideologies of Theory,” Essays 1971-1986, Volume 2: The Syntax of History, (London: Routledge, 1988), 53.)

Rather, these institutions or cultural complexes arrive in the wake of the convergence of “high and mass culture.”

Though they might propose a ‘cutting-edge’ astuteness in their exhibition practices, in the end, with great futility, they can only strive to momentarily contain the jet stream of a passing avant-garde.

These centres are simply one side of the entertainment coin of media capitalism; the well groomed A side in opposition to the B side filled with amusement arcades and video parlours.

The arrival of these cultural sites (all simultaneous with the advent of the new millennium) signifies a further masking of the demise of the conceptual paradigm that sought to make synchronous the administrative, commercial, and manufacturing demands of what was the industrial city.(“The city is considered in terms of superstructure. Indeed art is now called upon to give the city a suprastructural guise.” Manfredo Tafuri, Essays 1971-1986, Volume 2: The Syntax of History, (London: Routledge, 1988), 57.)

It is appropriate that sites that serviced the aristocracy, fuelled industry or manufactured transport, have now become locations for a more public form of enterprise.

And, that the rationale behind the re-organisation of these locations and the consequential relationships they would advance are cloaked in a nomenclature devoid of ideological implications.

One needs to probe the objectives and assumptions that buttress the development and financing of these centres with greater awareness.

For it is not an architectural statement per se (as in the case of Bilboa) that is the motivation but rather their conspicuous striving to readjust (or rebalance) urban landscapes.

They dawn on the cultural horizon with a sense of self-definition: to become pre-eminent (consecrating) social spaces of and for art .

What is pivotal in the social space of art is the existence of places of consecration(Perhaps what links Tafuri’s two architectural polarities is the possibility that either represents – potentially – sites of ‘consecration’ within Pierre Bourdieu’s schema of ‘cultural production.’ Art galleries (and art dealers) are in themselves insufficient sites of consecration, insufficient for the long term production of cultural capital.) capable of establishing the long-term value of art istic works: places that establish (and maintain) institutional prominence within the realms of cultural production.

But, can the criticality of this role survive relentless institutional demands? What makes the Tate Modern immediately significant is not simply its urban presence but its immediate placement internationally as a site for the evaluation and accumulation of cultural goods.

(The crude and transparent move by Saatchi to ‘borrow’ (or lend to?) the Tate’s art istic bank is simply a more obvious example of co-mingling between sectors that define places of cultural production.)

One could say that Tate Modern might be more successful in this undertaking – if only because it is a single institution with sufficient visual and curatorial pull.

Yet, it is embarking on a balancing act that as Tafuri suggests (in Jameson) is an “attempt to think urbanism in some new and more fully rational way [but which] generates two irreconcilable alternatives: one path is that of architecture as the “instrument of social equilibrium” (MT) … the other is that of a “science of sensations (MT).”(Jameson, 56.)

This balancing act can become unhinged and a more succinct, brutal functionality might arise, and, in the hard landing to come, the cushion of the Enlightenment ideals will be displaced by a voracious consumerism.

For either the MuseumsQuart ier or Millenaris Park to attempt a similar role (or to make a similar leap) is much more problematic.

Though for either city to be seen as decisive, contemporary sites of cultural activity they would in fact need something as emblematic as the Tate Modern (and with its depth) to increase their ‘cultural capital.’

To differing degrees the MuseumsQuart ier and Millenaris Park could draw upon the other pre-existing cultural institutions to increase their critical mass.

The MuseumsQuart ier assembles institutions with different agendas then falters in its pursuit of a coherent architectural statement.

Millenaris on the other hand reaches for an architecturally ambitious scheme to compete with the two hackneyed shopping malls (Mammut 1 and 2), which adjoin the Millenaris site.

It (unevenly) strives to go beyond the adjacent kitsch-n-consumerism and, in plan and design, create a place with a definitive sense of urban mass.(Oddly, and an element in the unevenness, what could be an innovative and dramatic approach to the Millenaris site is simply an unpaved barren pathway adjoining Mammut II.)

And, if – in the long run – it is successful, it can become a counterweight to the cultural complexes in the castle district (the Budapest Ludwig, the Historical Museum, the Dance Theatre) and the two museums at Heroes Square (The Museum of Fine Arts and the Mucsarnok).

The Tate Modern, Millenaris, and the MuseumsQuart ier, regardless of the complexion of their architectural aura, indicate delimited social spaces that yearn for infusion into the daily movements and routines of their respective urban realities.

These aggregations indicate markers and indices of social life that further define and contextualize the urban phenomenon.

Their emergence as new social spaces, in cities where architectural aromas of by-gone eras wash through the air (fitfully mixing with odours of the present) perhaps amounts to no more than a final gasp.

These are desperate urban figures-of-spatialization trying to constitute a new secular vocabulary beyond mallism, high street boutiques and Tesco.

The art museum and the city paradigm

The art museum (and its appendages) survives as an edifice within an ideological constellation. Its presence proposes and seeks to reaffirm an established hierarchy.

owever, physical presence and ideological baggage are incapable of maintaining a position subjected to the same economic and social forces as other institutions.

Is not the mutation of the art museum and its attendant institutions an indication of another aspectof the urban phenomenon and perhaps linked to an earlier form of transformation?

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as Fredric Jameson states, “the emergence of secular conceptions of the city” can be seen as a way of “clearing away the older culture.”(Jameson, 55.)

As more detailed schema were brought forth, city paradigms expressed a greater conceptual clarity. They also consolidated the prominence and importance of the museum of art .

Significantly, its appearance denotes not simply a structure that contains works of art , but “a key ideological apparatus, a discipline for the production of the social realities and subjectivities of the modern world.”(Donald Preziosi, “Collecting / Museums,” Critical Terms for Art History, eds. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff, (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1996), 283.)

Throughout the nineteenth century, the art museum, as a symbolic institution, became an ideological construct that spatialises the values of civil society.

As such, its architectural aura and placement within the city plan sought to both totalise an urban schema and locate art within a social meta-narrative.

Thus, the art museum, whether under the conceptual guidance of Queen Victoria, Emperor Franz Joszef, or Nelson Rockefeller represented the spatialization of the realms of art within a part icular social and ideological framework.

It is in this context that the morphology of the art museum – from a singular social space, a specific institution, to cultural complex- epitomises the disassembling, of what was the prevailing city paradigm. The breakdown proceeds from a time when, as Foucault describes,

In the Middle Ages there was a hierarchic ensemble of places: sacred places and profane places; protected places and open, exposed places; urban places and rural places (all these concern the real life of men)… what could roughly be called medieval space: the space of emplacement.(Foucault, 263.)

The movement away from this “space of emplacement” toward a less ecclesiastical and delimited urban reality leads towards what Foucault might further describe as a city of the imagination: a virtual social space containing the shifting topographical markers of social and political evolutions.

Traces of the factors induced in the latter part of the nineteenth and certainly in the twentieth century when the art museum, its organisational apparatus and bureaucracy, begin to foster ancillary disciplines and enterprises.

Indeed, a web of governmental agencies, academies of art , galleries, collectors, curators and art ists, pedagogues and epistemologies spring forth all seemingly with the museum, i.e. its ideological assumptions, at the peak of an institutional pyramid.

This mature nexus of cultural activity, the people and institutions engaged in its production, classification, exhibition and acquisition, constitutes the superstructure of an art praxis

Art and the new urban economy

The city paradigm that characterised most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries began to atrophy in the decades following World War II.

The urban industrial base declined. The urban economic superstructure was either transformed or collapsed. Thus, even the most mature manifestations of the paradigm diminished:

The new Utopianism of high modernism thus unwittingly and against the very spirit of its revolutionary and Utopian affirmations prepared the terrain for the omnipotence of the fully “rationalised” technocratic plan, for the universal planification of what was to become the total system of multinational capital.(Jameson, 55.)

The changes in the urban landscape were now reflected in the changing demographics of urban populations, their expansion (housing and new forms of employment) into surrounding urban areas (the idea of the suburban is inadequate).

In tandem with these developments came also the evolution of new realms of work, leisure and domesticity.

The social space of the metropolitan region appears in the transformation of housing and employment in the suburban regions, but also within the city itself until the early 1980s:

“By the early 1980s… residential rehabilitation was only one facet of a far broader process linked to the profound transformation in advanced capitalism: the shift to services and the associated transformation of the class structure and the shift toward the privatisation of consumption and service provision. Gentrification emerged as a visible spatial component of this transformation.”(Saskia Sassen, The Global City, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), 255.)

These dramatic adjustments in city demographics are most easily demonstrated in relation to the dramatic changes in city economic structures and institutions:(In New York, the conflicts surrounding the development of Lincoln Centre, a cultural complex whose development was a prelude to the massive processes of gentrification, was based on the displacement of the existing neighbourhoods, the inflation of real estate values and the implanting of a cultural enclave with little intrinsic relationship to the surrounding area.) losses in manufacturing sectors (either to the surrounding areas or to other countries) and growth in service, financial, advertising and publicity, and media industries.

These adjustments in the economy, in the job market and in the formation of new social strata have a direct bearing on art praxis. According to Saskia Sassen,

“The conjunction of excess earnings and the new cosmopolitan work culture creates a compelling space for new lifestyles and new kinds of economic activities. It is against this background that we need to examine the expansion of the art market and luxury consumption on a scale that has made them qualitatively different from what they were fifteen years ago – a privilege of the elite.”(Ibid., 335.)

Sassen’s “new lifestyles” were commonplace in New York, London, and Tokyo (the subjects of her study): Major nodes in the booming global art market.

“Qualitatively,” these changes are reflective of an art market that encompasses both a greater social affluence and an expansive cultural environment that includes larger museums, numerous galleries and media that substantiate, categorise and evaluate the collecting and viewing of art .

With the movement out of the social periphery (Sassen’s elite) into a more socially all encompassing cultural flow, the art s becomes the subject and object of

“an arena containing elements of the quotidian, that is, the structures of everyday life. But it is not only the art work that takes on these qualities but also, as Sassen further states: [there is a shift in the] practices of art ists that became prevalent in the 1960s… art ists moved into what were at the time undesirable areas of large cities, such as the warehouse district in New York… it generated its own possibilities for new types of art istic practices and strategies for economic survival of artists.”(Ibid., 336.)

Consequently, the paradigm shift is indicated not simply in the institutional manifestations but also the creative social space of the art ist.

The post-industrial city and the devolution of public space

In the post-war period, there was an obvious need to restore and expand civic institutions, provide housing and accommodate the massive relocation of populations.(“The most dramatic and far-reaching social change of the second half of [the 20th Century] and the one that cuts it off for ever from the world of the past, is the death of the peasantry… By the early 1980s no country west of the “Iron Curtain” borders had more than 10 per cent of its population engaged in farming, except the Irish Republic (which was only a little above this figure). Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991, (New York: Vintage, 1996), 289.)

Formulas were put forth (and implemented) to deal with the challenges of rebuilding cities destroyed during the war; making them liveable, functioning entities.

The era initiated a period of reconstruction and development, placing unexpected demands on civic institutions, education and transport.

Broadly, the conceptual groundwork for these various urban expansions emanated from two ideological spheres: the liberal democratic or the socialist model.

In either instance, regardless of the start ing point, the long-term requirements provoked by massive economic and demographic shifts inexorably altered the conceptual framework of the city.

Though there are perturbations (and fractures) in its stages of growth, the development of the post-industrial city has occurred along a discernible evolutionary path.

The most notable exceptions to this progression occurred when urban social spaces became contested areas,

“in the last years of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, when there was at least the perception among the American middle classes of a breakdown in certain normative models of the city and the compartments appropriate to it.”(Tom McDonough, “The Crimes of the Flaneur,” October 102, (2002): 101.)

It is precisely during these moments, when the nature of public space is brought in the foreground and its ownership, the civic nature of property, and the consequent advent of privatisation all become paramount.

“[A] threat haunted the bourgeois imaginary as a concatenation of all those forces – from ghetto uprisings to the more diffuse spread of a counter-culture with its rejection of normative modes of social behaviour – that threatened the middle class hold over the city.”(Ibid., 116.)

Furthermore, what is notable about the proliferation of post-1960’s manifestations of city reality is that, contrary to their intended purposes, they serve as the most graphic examples of contrasting visions of urban reality.

They symbolise both longing and fear, a yearning for that “compensatory simulacra of the city for that class that had been traumatised by the social rebukes of the sixties.”(Ibid., 121.)

The aggravated sense of the 1960s reinforced the animated and essential qualities of public space and its intrinsic role in the delineation of urban social space.

But, following, or as a result of these protests, the fragility of this space became even more apparent, and, like other civic amenities and services, public space per se was now subject to another set of rules and priorities.

The most notable examples in the regulating of public space, structural inscriptions that mark a colonisation of the city, are to be found, as Tom McDonough notes, in complexes such as the Bonaventura Hotel in Los Angeles: “These massive revitalisation projects provided a controlled, suburban atmosphere, free of “undesirable” elements, in the heart of downtown… there aim was nothing less than the abolition of public space.”(Ibid., 121.)

Rather than a retreat further into Disney-esque simulacra of the urban experience the more productive routes should lead us to those sites that re-establish the primacy of public space.

The appearance of new urban sectors, the re-assemblage of old districts and governing entities occurs on both a formal and informal level.

They mark the shifting character of public space. These vicissitudes in the hierarchy of delimited areas of public space become more and more unstable.

This precariousness exists precisely because public space, especially within the context of the industrial city, was viewed as an adjunct to other clearly delimited forms of social space.

But, as the ideological boundaries that defined these spaces became increasingly blurred then too their functionality changed as well.28

It is within this framework that public space becomes a contested area of social and cultural activity.

The changing functions and definitions attached to public space are in concurrence with a blurring of theoretical markers as the city passes through what Henri Lefebvre called the critical zone in which “buying and selling, merchandise and market, money and capital appear to sweep away all obstacles.”29

Beyond the critical zone, normative definitions of the city loose their traction.

The critical zone is not a physical place but a morphological moment within the life of a city in which one can witness the frantic ideological buttressing of an entity whose phenomenological reality has outstripped our ability to comprehend its dimensions.

This critical zone encapsulates ascending and deteriorating spheres of economic, civic, and cultural activity; Spheres of activity that can hinder or foster as Michel de Certeau states, “the mode in which he or she consumes public space.”30

Art and the corporatisation of public space.

“Our epoch is one in which space takes for us the form of the relations among sites.”31

Does it seem incongruous, then, that today (within both the developed and developing world) major elements of the public sector are immersed, snared within debates defined by some moralistic, medieval spin?

As art crosses into the public sphere it enters a vortex of hyperbole that impels the terms of discourse from a secluded, fragile secular domain into a realm of religiosity.

This space of emplacement was opened up by Galileo… in his constitution of infinite and infinitely open space. In such a space the place of the Middle Ages turned out to be dissolved.”32

Despite all the techniques for appropriating space, despite the whole network of knowledge that enables us to delimit or to formalise it… we may still not have reached the point of a practical de-sanctification of space. [Spatial oppositions are] still nurtured by the hidden presence of the sacred.”33

Thus, the art museum, even in its historical construct, is only ostensibly a secular institution, for when its capacity to generate discourse enters into the public sphere then its very existence is threatened, undermined.

Weknow this as fact in the United States where a de facto censorship has been a self-regulating phenomenon of civil society since the end of the Second World War.

This has become a phenomenon that has accelerated, with few exceptions, consistently until the present, when internalised codes of conduct (curatorial behaviour) guide policy for institutions that are to any degree dependent on public funds.

The veneer of institutional autonomy disappears when we realise that the supposed openness of secular space is in fact contained within moralistic boundaries.

It is when art extends beyond the prescribed borders of its institutional structures that we are confronted with that sense of the unknown or unknowable – with definitions that are not immediately tangible.

It is not the art work itself that is necessarily threatening but it is its ability to destabilise the constellation of institutions whose very existence legitimates not simply individual works of art but an ideological framework.

According to Michel Foucault, “the real scandal of Galileo’s work lay not so much in the discovery, or rediscovery, that the eart h revolved around the sun but in his constitution of the infinite and infinitely open space.”34

As Sassen states, “growth predicated on a global market orientation induces discontinuity in the urban hierarchy.”35

Thus, as the city paradigm falters, the traditional art museum (with its ideological underpinnings), if not part of a complex of related cultural institution, is subjected to the slippage and devaluation arising from the ascendant economic factors of globalisation and privatisation.

Epilogue

In the briefest terms, I have tried to describe how the city – as place, social organism or ideological construct – has outstripped those historical definitions or tidy ideas that have provided a sense of cohesion.

How the basic civic functions, institutional systems and architecture that defined the mature metropolis of the twentieth century have become an aggregation of social spaces that – in their variance – embody the drama and ethos of capitalism, pockets of socialist imagination and the eclectic priorities of an egalitarian and democratic society.

Fortunately, either within these diverse aggregations, or as the bridge that spans their differences, art continues to appear in its multiple forms.
In our urban life-world, the routes of daily travel, kiosks, and wallboards are plastered with information and seductiveness.

They prompt the imagination (as well as the wallet or purse). Banners float across the sky; eddies of verbal holograms spiral inward, implode or burst; a residue of ideas hangs over the passage of time forming a fine mist.

As we negotiate the shifting currents and distractions, our attention is drawn toward sketches of ascendant or collapsing ideologies.

Our objective (destination is it?) is often obscured. And, so, warily we pilot a path between the delirium of constant distraction and the stubborn inertia of indeterminacy.
And, finally, what meagre substance amends our convictions becomes the ballast by which we negotiate the turbulence.

Allan Siegel is a lecturer in the Intermedia Department of the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest. He is working on a film about Roma music in Central Europe.

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