Disappearing Rural Villages / Based on the Project “The Back of Beyond” by VS.hu (Az Isten Háta Mögött)
The audio-visual project "The Back of Beyond" was exhibited in 2015 in Telep Gallery, as a part of the series of exhibitions in Budapest, called OFF-BIENNALE. Collaborating with curator Zsuzsanna Stánitz, further interviews were added to the material, and a special print was prepared by Árpád Szigeti / Hurrikan Press.
The pictures and impressions one is left with after watching the documentary-project ’The Back of Beyond’ are ambiguous. An image of a memorial plaque for a town that no longer exists, ’For Sale’ signs on abandoned houses or a goods van driving around the villages providing food supplies. With time you understand the underlying complexity of these moments referring to topics such as the lack of employment opportunities, feelings of prejudice or xenophobia, sometimes the desire of isolation amongst the inhabitants of the concerned villages. Inspired by the report of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH) released in April 2014 titled ’Settlements on the Edge of Existence’ the online news portal VS.hu commissioned a series of videos to help the understanding of the phenomenon. As matter of concern the report discussed 60 villages where the population decreased by 50% between the two latest census records.
The original series of 1-2 minute long videos are presented as the centrepoint of the exhibition encapsulating the impressions of the team gathered through visiting 20 of the concerned villages. For the occasion of OFF-Biennial further interviews have been commissioned to provide an additional layer of understanding. The project presented at Telep Gallery stems from a complex collaboration of creative individuals, artists and experts. Appreciating that the original project wasn’t created for artistic purposes, the fact that it is now displayed in an exhibition context aims to contribute to prevalent debates of contemporary art.
Curator: Stánitz Zsuzsanna
Organising institution: Telep Galéria
Collaborators of the original project:
Máté Bartha – director-cinematographer
Zoltán Ká – cinematographer
Krisztián B. Simon – reporter
Csilla Orosz – video editor
Olivér Lebhardt – editor
Ábris Gryllus – art director
Márk Bartha – music
Others contributing to the implementation of the project “The Back of Beyond”, available online: Mátyás Demeter, Ádám Szedlák, István Kormos, Szabolcs Szabó (ELTE), Tibor Béres (Autonómia Foundation), László Jeney (Corvinus University)
VS.hu, Telep Galéria, Budapest Bägel, Kitchen Budapest, Hurrikan Press, Club Mate