Variations on a Monument

Szentháromság Sq., Szentlélek Sq., Szervita Sq.

29 April – 1 May 2022

Daily schedule:

29. 04. 2022 (Friday)

4 pm – Máté Mészáros: Mechanics of Distance – Common Space – Szentháromság Sq.
5 and 6 pm – Ábris Gryllus – Dávid Somló: Every Day – Szervita Sq.
7 pm – Ferenc Gróf, István Rimóczi (Bélaműhely): Distribution – Szentlélek Sq.

30. 04. 2022 (Saturday)

11 am – Ferenc Gróf, István Rimóczi (Bélaműhely): Distribution – Szervita Sq.
4 pm – Máté Mészáros: Mechanics of Distance – Common Space – Szentlélek Sq.
6 and 7 pm – Ábris Gryllus – Dávid Somló: Every Day – Szentháromság Sq.

01. 05. 2022 (Sunday)

11 am – Ferenc Gróf, István Rimóczi (Bélaműhely): Distribution – Szenthárosmág Sq.
4 pm – Máté Mészáros: Mechanics of Distance – Common Space – Szervita Sq.
5 and 6 pm – Ábris Gryllus – Dávid Somló: Every Day – Szentlélek Sq.

Graphic design:

Marcell Kazsik

In order to commemorate the victims of the Covid-19 pandemic and to increase pandemic-related solidarity, the Municipality of Budapest is erecting a temporary memorial in the form of works of contemporary art in the scope of the Budapest Spring Festival, between 29 April and 1 May 2022.

Three prominent monuments of Pest, Buda and Óbuda form the pivots of the event, with three plague columns marking the places of contemporary remembrance. The pandemic statues located in the centre of each of the three main historical areas of the capital, the Servite, Holy Trinity and Holy Spirit Squares, were monuments of piety and faith, a type of monument erected in the 17th and 18th centuries by a municipality or community in gratitude for surviving the plague. Their presence is permanent and they are an integral part of the cityscape, but their original function has faded, and the figures of plague saints, such as St. Charles Borromeo, St. Roch and St. Rosalia, are now less well-known. These centuries-old memorials are now becoming places of contemporary remembrance: through the time portals they open, we arrive at our own present. On display for three days in the spring, the memorial is a series of events: its material is woven by movements and sounds, and it is moulded into a memorial by those who remember.


Ábris Gryllus – Dávid Somló: Every Day

Every Day is the first collaborative work by Ábris Gryllus and Dávid Somló, which transposes the Hungarian daily data of the coronavirus epidemic into musical parameters to create a musical and community experience that surrounds the listener. Emanating from three-metre-high columns, the sound installation adapts two years of epidemiological data per county – March 4, 2020 – March 4, 2022 – into a 45-minute composition of electronic music, rendering the dry daily statistics both physically and emotionally tangible.
Representing the 19 counties and Budapest, the sound material is played from 20 speakers on 20 columns, creating a listening space that can be perambulated. The density and intensity of the musical fabric of the piece follows the intensification of the waves of the epidemic in movements whose temporal changes are reference points in both personal and collective memory. Listening to the piece thus offers the possibility of experiencing both individual and collective remembrance.

Partners: Budapest Transport Ltd., Placcc Festival, Átlátszó, Minirig Speakers, Tamás Luspay


Ferenc Gróf, István Rimóczi (Bélaműhely): Distribution

Since early 2020 the world has been intently monitoring the behaviour of the epidemic curve. When is it rising, when is it flattening, and how does it relate to infection and mortality rates? Based on the shape of the normal or Gaussian distribution, also known as the bell curve, and the plotted line view of digital audio tracks, a graphical score was created, composed of the phases of the global spread and (hopefully) disappearance of the virus. The spread of the pandemic has followed very different diagrams from country to country, but the rapid rises in the number of cases and then the fluctuations after the dormant phases reveal a pattern. The backbone of this musical performance of about twenty minutes is this line that has been plotting for almost two years.
In a series of workshops, thirty or so participants made simple flutes and sound-making instruments (willow whistle, shepherd’s pipe), and the graphical score played by musicians (wind instruments) is accompanied by this community of amateurs. No musical training is required to play the shepherd’s pipes, which are used by the collective as a kind of ‘musical spirometer’, in other words, an instrument for testing pulmonary function. Fully exhaling every breath, each according to their own lung capacity, the musicians create an undulating sea of ambient sound.
The instruments and sound-producing devices are made and played in collaboration with Bélaműhely Sound Art, who organized an instrument-making and playing workshop for disabled and disadvantaged adults. The exchange of experiences can help people to process traumas of their own and of others, and to create an authentic memorial to the victims of Covid-19.

The performance is realized in collaboration with the band Szférafon of the residents of Irmák Social Service and Supported Housing, Esztergom.


Máté Mészáros: The Mechanics of Distance – Shared Space

Máté Mészáros presented his performance Mechanics of Distance in 2019 as a collaboration between three dancers and a musician. Since then, the performance has been invited to several international festivals and is now presented in Budapest in new form. This time, Mészáros is recreating the choreography with dozens of young people, exploring the spatial positioning and movement of static and dynamic bodies, the distances between them and their relationship with physical space. It is not because of their performative capacity that these bodies place dance into a perspective of visual arts, but because of their plasticity, their constantly malleable materiality.
In this event, created as a collaboration of schoolchildren and young dancers, dance is freely interpreted, stepping out of the enclosed space of theatres into the public space, offering free interpretation to the townspeople present or to those who are curious to see the original performance reinterpreted.

Choreography and spatial concept: Máté Mészáros

Performers: SUB.LAB.PRO, AHA, and the students of the Alternative Secondary School of Economics and Forrai Methodist Secondary and Art Technical School

Co-creators and performers of the original performance: Máté Mészáros, Jenna Jalonen, Zsófia Tamara Vadas, Áron Porteleki

Producer: SÍN Arts Centre

Variations on a Monument is commissioned by the Municipality of Budapest and realised as a collaboration of BHM – Budapest Gallery and the Budapest Brand in the scope of the Budapest Spring Festival.