7 May- 6 June 2011. BÁTHORY EXPRESS

The large-scale Hungarian-Polsih interdisciplinary project BÁTHORY EXPRESS Hungarian-Polish CulturetruckTraces and prospects about the friendship of the two nations is organized on the occasion of the Hungarian EU Presidency. The series of programme will be held in 5 Hungarian (Budapest, Pécs, Szeged, Debrecen, Miskolc) and in 10 Polish (Tarnów, Nowy Sącz, Lublin, Warsaw, Gdańsk, Łódź, Poznań, Wrocław, Częstochowa, Krakow) cities. It will start on the Day of Hungarian-Polish Friendship on 23th March in Budapest and in Poznań (Poland) and will last until the ceremonial handing over the EU Presidency to Poland on 30th June in Warshaw (Poland).

The title of the project refers to our foundation, the Cracovia Express and to the international express train Bathory Express as well, which has linked the two countries for decades. The phrase Báthory Express is well-known both in Hungary and in Poland, and recalls good memories among the older generations. The young generations of the 60’s and 70’s has started their journey without exception by this train (or by hitchhike) to visit the theatrical festivals in Krakow, the contemporary fine art galleries in Gdansk, jazz events in Warsaw, or moviefestivals, and a lot of them decided “on the way” or inspired by the new trends (which was not available in Hungary at that time) to learn the Polish language. Polish people arrived in huge numbers to Hungary by this train too: they came for shopping trips or spending their holiday in Hungary, which was at the time of the socialism economically more developed, than its Eastern European neighbours. The mutual invitations and common journeys were the experiences of these generations. The acquaintances, circles of relationships and marriages, which are still alive and prospere contributed to the highest degree to the process of cultural and social dialogue between our nations.

But the change of the political regime and its well-known consequences established a new situation. The social and political changes in recent decades resulted in the mutual loose of the Hungarian-Polish relations. While before 1989 all of us had up-to-date informations about the other nation’s actual events in public life and tendencies in art, after changing the regime the information about each other get stuck on the level of the 60’s. 30-40 years ago thousands of Hungarian youth were interested in the Polish culture and art and inversely – but today we do not know much about our weekdays.

The main purpose of our project is to make the first step to changing this situation. We do believe that every bottom-up initiatives, even the small ones, can contribute to the process for re-discovering and paying attention to each other. Especially if they are connected to large-scale political events and to stressed press campaigns. 2011 is a year when we would like to take this opportunity: speak to the civilian population of Hungary and Poland, and with a symbolical transport vehicle transform the empty relations into a living friendship with its deep historical content.

The project contains the following parallel running three units:

CULTURETRUCK. Its central element is the culturetruck, which travels through 15 cities – 5 in  Hungary (Budapest, Pécs, Szeged, Debrecen, Miskolc)  and 10 cities in Poland (Tarnów, Nowy Sącz, Lublin, Warsaw, Gdańsk, Łódź, Poznań, Wrocław, Częstochowa, Krakow). The truck starts its journey on the 6th of May from Budapest and will arrive on the 5th of June to Bytom. The small truck will stop en route in every city for 2 days, while in the frame of open city programs collects memories and stories from the local residents: in Hungary about Poland and Poles, in Poland about Hungary and Hungarians. The collected photos, stories, souvenirs and graffiti will be exhibited at each next station around the truck. The external surface of the truck will be also the “surface of Hungarian-Polish friendship”: the visitors can leave messages or paint graffiti on it. The 30 days long 2800 km long journey through 15 cities will recorded by a digital camera. Those who bring souvenirs will be interviewed about their experiences and they can share their stories about the Hungarian-Polish friendship. Based on the footage from the journey and from the interviews will be made an hour long short film, which will be aired – in accordance with the meetings (negotiations in progress) – by both public televisions of the countries (TV Kultúra, Duna TV). From the photos, stories and souvenirs collected in the truck will be organized an exhibition in Hungary and in Poland at the end of the project.  A bilingual honorary album and CD will be part of the exhibition. We would like to present the honorary album of the BÁTHORY EXPRESS Hungarian-Polish Culturetruck containing the materials of the project in the name of the civil societies of both countries to the heads of state of both countries at the ceremonial event of handing over the EU Presidency to Poland in Warshaw on the 30th June.

FINISH THE SENTENCE! HUNGARIAN-POLISH WEBCAMPAIGN. An integral part of the project is the webcampaign started also on the 23th of March, on the Day of Hungarian-Polish Friendship. It precedes the program of the Culturtruck, but it will run at the same time also – both programmes will complete each other. The title of the webcampaing is: FINISH THE SENTENCE! While the main target group of the Culturetruck are the citizens with experiences and informations about the Hungarian-Polish relations, the webcampaign focuses on the youth with less knowledge about the Polish history and culture, with less relations to Polish people. During the program we start an extensive webcampaign on the Hungarian and Polish social networks (IWIW, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, NASZA KLASA) and on other websites. The aim of the webcampaign is to finish the well-known phrase HUNGARIAN AND POLISH ARE TWO GOOD FRIENDS… in his/her own opinion. The participants can finish the sentence whichever they like, as a dream or wish (for example “…it would be nice to have a direct highway between us) or a simple commentary (for example: “…they do not understand each other at all”) etc. Only restriction is they can not finish the sentence on the usual way (“they are fighting together and drinking wine together”). The webcampaign wants to draw the attention to the historical background of the phrase and at the same time the campaign would like to fill the phrase with new content based on the creativity, wishes, conceptions and phantasy of the youngest generation.

HU LOVE PL. Our art activity was inspired by the online dating services, which are quite popular in both countries. It was also inspired by a specific social phenomenon ©.  Thousands of Polish women had resettled in Hungary in the 60’s and 70’s. Typically we can speak about women, men do not arrived to Hungary with similar aim, and the mixed marriages of our days have the same composition (Hungarian man – Polish woman). Searching for reasons of this phenomenon a Hungarian (Tamás Ducki) and a Polish artist (Katarzyna Zolich) worked out the art activity called „HU LOVE PL”. During the project in the form of a pre-made video installation Polish girls and Hungarian boys can place their advertisement for finding their soulmates on the web. The recorded videos will be played as a video installation in the Culturetruck during its one month long journey. After that it will be presented as the part of the exhibition of the memories, as an accompanying event of the project. So interweave in our project past and future: – like in our subtitle: Traces and prospects about the friendship of the two nations The historical continuity and the importance of the connection of past and future are the central motive in our Hungarian – Polish art activity series. In our working plan we lay the same stress on the elements of nostalgia and on the virtual challanges of the future. It is indisputable, that we can reach the latter one only by addressing the youngest generation within its own cultural surroundings (internet and other visual and virtual arts).

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