If All Ears Could Hear

Romani Archives of Tomorrow’s Resistance

Budapest Gallery

1036 Budapest, Lajos utca 158.

16 February 2024 – 7 April 2024

Artists:

DePART Collective (Jonas Baur, Dominik Jellen, Cat Jugravu, Anna Szepes)

Production manager:

Trace Polly Müller

(un)Archiving Lab ambassador:

Bettina Pocsai

Opening:

14 February 2024, (Wednesday) 6 pm

(un)Archiving Lab events (English friendly):

15 February 2024, (Thursday) 10 am

Letter-writing workshop and installation on active remembrance

27 March 2024, (Wednesday) 5 pm

Sewing workshop with Bagázs

5 April 2024, (Friday) 5 pm

MEMORIA. Romani LGBTQI+ Activism at Crossroads. Roundtable discussion

6 April 2024, (Saturday) 4 pm

Final guided tour with DePART Collective

Background of the project – remembrance in the field

The audio installation IF ALL EARS COULD HEAR, is a participatory and performative piece focusing on the practice of active remembrance. It was developed with international collaborators and presented in four cities in three European countries. As a temporary, wandering and tender memorial installed originally on fields of forced labour camps and concentration camps, the installation marks erased and forgotten sites of oppression. So-called partnerships of remembrance are formed: Letters written to individual Rom*nja and Sinti*zze who were murdered during the Porajmos, the genocide of the Roma during the Second World War. As mostly only biographical fragments remain, the installation aims to reclaim their memory and give their imaginary stories a voice.

The exhibited letters were written and then recorded by authors, activists, researchers, educators, students and creators of Roma communities and|or their supporters. The installation invites the audience to complicity – to acknowledge the inescapable relevance of the past and take personal responsibility in the process of remembrance.

Through the reactualization of forgotten sites of oppression and the elevation of marginalized voices to the center, the installation and accompanying community based programs emerge as powerful acts of resistance.

 

the exhibition

From February 14th to April 7th 2024, the active-remembrance project continues collaborating with the Budapest Gallery under the title If All Ears Could Hear – Romani Archives of Tomorrow’s Resistance.

Using the gallery space, the artists’ collective DePART (Baur, Jellen, Jugravu, Szepes) focuses on broader accessibility, sustained development and sharing of the working processes behind the practice of active-remembrance: emerging strategies for visualising and publicising the fragmented past and exchange with|within Roma communities. By using remembering soil and audio letters, as non-traditional methods to document and share the fragmented WW II history of the Roma people, the collective breaks down barriers, challenges established narratives and promotes broader engagement with these histories. The DePART Collective understands this as an (un)archiving process. Both as archiving in the true sense of the word and as a questioning of traditional archiving practices (which are often biased and restrictive).

On the ground floor, visitors can immerse themselves in the audio installation If All Ears Could Hear. Approx. forty iron columns will voice recorded personal letters of remembrance.

The upper floor or the (un)Archiving Lab serves as an open forum with usage in multiple ways: as a stage, a workshop space, and a writing room. It’s a dynamic area which encourages dialogue, research and the co-creation of new narratives. With the (un)Archiving Lab, DePART extends an invitation to already collaborating and new institutions and local partners to occupy a public space and showcase socio-cultural and activist work and discourses within|with the Roma community. The space is an opportunity to illuminate shared needs, to actively engage in commemorating the past, and to lay the groundwork for a resilient future.

This ever-growing letters collection aims to reinforce Romani historical narratives of resilience and resistance against forgetting and oppressive powers. The DePART Collective offers the archive to the gallery space as a starting point for dialogue and research: How to gently recover, restore, rewrite lost and hidden (his)stories of Porajmos victims? Why is there a need to generate a shared and accessible database of personal acts of contemporary Romani resilience?

If All Ears Could Hear – Romani Archives of Tomorrow’s Resistance ushers counter-narratives to fragmentation and forgetting. Within the collaborative process of un-archiving|restoring the past, and nurturing self-determined techniques of personal remembrance, the collective wants to direct the work towards shared practices of tomorrow’s resistance.

During 2023, DePART adapted the installation to focus on the oppressive (his)stories of Óbuda District with its former Óbudai Téglagyár Brick Works. In this former factory, hundreds of Romani people were held captive during World War II. Throughout the last year, the installation has been displayed twice in Budapest: during the STEREO AKT Festival and the FLASZTER – 1st Budapest Biennale of Contemporary Public Art, as part of the Budapest 150 event series, supported by the Municipality of Budapest and organized by the Budapest Gallery of the Budapest History Museum (BTM).

 

about the collective

The DePART Collective – Decentralized Practices of Active Remembrance and Theatricalization – is a transdisciplinary collective of international artists and facilitators playing with the intersection of art, activism and research. Anna Szepes (HU/AT), Cat Jugravu (DE/RO), Jonas Baur (AT/DE) and Dominik Jellen (AT) began their collaboration during their master’s degree studies in Applied Theatre – Artistic Theatre Practice & Society at Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria. Their political working themes and research-oriented formats emphasize community building, the involvement of local partners and the exploration of untold stories and forgotten shadow histories. The collective aims to question the dominant narratives that shape our understanding of the past, seeking a more nuanced and inclusive perspective on remembrance.

www.depart.community

 

collaborators

Phiren Amenca
Ame Panzh
Independent Theatre Hungary
Uccu Roma Informal Educational Foundation
Romano Instituto
Utcaszínházi Alkotóközösség Association (Spec.Street Creative Community)
Roma Visual Lab
National Archives of Hungary
Dr. Ambedkar School, Miskolc
Museum of Óbuda
Stadt Salzburg

sponsors

Bertha Foundation
Universität Bayreuth – Intersektionalitätsstudien Department
Austrian Cultural Forum
Goethe-Institut, Budapest