Roma Visual Lab 12. (2022)
Through the Roma Visual Lab 2022 programme, participating students and guests will explore different fields of science and art, mainly through the critical interpretation of cinematic representations of Roma communities or other minorities in Hungary. During the 2022 season, we will have the opportunity to participate in a workshop (Roma Visual Lab Cinezine), watch a recorded protest and activist theatre performance (Frog Tales), discuss the media images of ethnic, sexual, gender, etc. minorities in Europe and especially Hungary, and also watch the videos made in the participatory summer camp of Minor Media/Culture Research Centre in 2021 in Tomor and Dunaszekcső.
1. Coming out and documentary representation – Lindy: Return of the Little Light
The portrait of Swedish performer Lindy Larsson is a classic example of intersectional identity. Lindy is Roma Traveller and gay, so he is not part of the mainstream in terms of her ethnic and sexual identity – if there is one. Being gay and Roma in Swedish society is not easy, and Lindy's own difficulty in coming to terms with his own identity is the best proof of this. The film follows him over three years to the point where he takes to the stage in Berlin as a member of a large Roma company. At the beginning of the film, we see Lindy in the minutes before he takes to the stage, and when he enters the door leading to the stage, we are transported to his life three years earlier. The beginning is effective because from here we become aware of the multiple meanings that the stage has in Lindy's life. It is not only the theatre, but also the public sphere in general, to which he has to step out in one way or another with his identities, which he has to perform in one way or another. The opening programme of the Roma Visual Lab 2022 season is part of the LGBTQ month, and the programme is hosted and contextualised by the Open Society Foundation's exhibition "Documents of coming out". Thanks to OSA and its staff for hosting the Roma Visual Lab travelling cinema!
Guests: Joci Márton Roma and LMBTQ activist, Péter Hanzli researcher (leader of the Háttér Archive and Library), Jojó Majercsik expert in film and communication (Budapest Pride). Hosts: Ágnes Bozsó, Zsófia Renczés.
2. Images of the Roma in non-state independent media
In one of the programmes of the Roma Visual Lab 2021, we had a discussion with Roma activists and journalists of independent media who write about the lives of Roma people. The programme was triggered by an open letter published by the Roma activist group Ame Panzh in autumn 2020, which they published in connection with a video by the news portal Telex (the conversation can be viewed on the Roma Visual Lab's Youtube channel). The videos screened cover the Roma vote, the affairs of a Roma mayor-led municipality, Roma minority politics and other important issues.
Guests: Róbert Báthory journalist (Free Europe), Kadét Ernő journalist (Partisan), Gábor Polyák (ELTE Media). Hosts: Áron Győrbíró, Kamilla Dávid
3. Roma Visual Lab Cinezine Workshop
The aim of the workshop is to introduce participants to zine culture through the history of the Roma Visual Lab's Cinezine and to create an exhibition material in the framework of the workshop. Zine culture is considered to be a precursor of online participatory (meme) culture (see the theoretical work of Henry Jenkins), in that zine creators used media and culture through various appropriation practices. Samizdat as a counter-narrative to alternative political voices is also part of zine culture. During the session, participants will learn about the concept of the Roma Visual Lab's Cinezine, the history of its production, and then in the practical part of the workshop they will contribute to the material of the upcoming Roma Visual Lab exhibition by producing new zine chapters. For a couple of hours, we will immerse ourselves in paper and create new order or disorder in the world with scissors and glue (based on the first two programmes of the Roma Visual Lab 2022, which are already familiar to the workshop participants). Leaders of the workshop: Lili Thury and András Müllner
4. The manifestations of prejudice and discrimination against Roma in the lives of Roma graduates.
Since the emergence of the first generations of Roma intellectuals, the cultural and socio-political public life, primarily the Roma intellectuals themselves and their non-Roma allies, have been concerned with the question of how young Roma graduates can meet the expectations of their roles in a career that is complicated by prejudice, discrimination and segregation, and which are often in conflict with each other. These expectations relate primarily to representation, both of the minority community represented and of the majority society, and are complemented by expectations of academic research, activist engagement, pedagogical intervention and artistic expression. How can a career be built within such expectations in such a social context? What does the concept of permanent liminality mean, especially for young Roma graduates? In her doctoral thesis, anthropologist Klára Gulyás examines the life paths of Roma intellectuals from these perspectives. The topic will be discussed after a screening of short films about Roma youth.
Guests: Gulyás Klára cultural anthropologist, Barbara Kántor cultural anthropologist, József Kotics cultural anthropologist, Szilvia Szénási, head of the UCCU Roma Informal Education Foundation. Host: Thomas Tárnok
5. Roma Heroes Workshop
Facilitators: Lucia Lakatos, Dávid Varga, Nóra Nemcsók (Roma Heroes), Vivien Balogh, Márton Illés (What if? – dramatic workshop for socially responsible communicators)
6. Frog Tales
The discussion took place after the "punk opera" performed for the students of the Roma Visual Lab at the RS9 Theatre on 20 April 2022. The creators and performers of the play, who are artists of the Independent Theatre and students of the Roma Visual Lab, were interviewed by Bálint Börcsök and Róza Osvay. The Frog Tales were first shown at the OFF Biennale Budapest 2021: https://offbiennale.hu/hu/%7Byear%7D/program/bekamesek The piece was inspired by the following artists and works, among others: Leonor Teles: Batrachian’s Ballad (A béka balladája) https://www.romarchive.eu/en/collection/batrachians-ballad/ Norbert Oláh: A cigány művész szorongása https://artportal.hu/magazin/a-cigany-muvesz-szorongasa/
The visit to the theatre was supported by the Cultural Committee of the Student Government of ELTE Faculty of Humanities.
7. Internatianal Roma Day – József Ferkovics’ exhibition and related film programme and discussion. The programme is a collaboration between the UCCU Roma Informal Education Foundation and the Roma Visual Lab. Film: Late birth
8. Migration in the mirror of images
Everyone is going somewhere. With this simple and generalised sentence, we have not yet said anything about the phenomenon that fundamentally defines humanity: migration. Because each migration has a specific character that makes it unique, and it is this uniqueness that tells us most. Of course, we must also take account of the similarities between individual migrations, because there is much in common in the lives of young people from villages heading for the city, just as families fleeing war often share the same fate. As we look at the media images of migrating humanity, we are confronted with the commonplace and challenged by how much access we have to individual lives, especially when it comes to lives that are not examples of migration for peaceful purposes (learning, work) but where suffering is their basic character. In the final programme of the Roma Visual Lab 2022 season we will present and discuss with invited experts and the audience a visual world of 20th century and 21st century refugee crises. We will talk about 1956 and 2015.
Films: Klára Trencsényi: OLIve Workshop, Róbert Vass: Refuge England (BFI), Lionel Rogosin: Out (UN), Meghan Horvath: Anyway, Who Are You? https://vimeo.com/48283867, Stefan Kruse Jorgensen: The Migrating Image https://vimeo.com/245224472 Guests: Tamás Léderer, Klára Trencsényi. Hosts: Gergő Gazdag, Virág Mai-Lan Le.
Thanks to Prem Kumar Rajaram and Péter Becz for their help in organising the event!
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