DePART Collective: If All Ears Could Hear

Óbudai Kísérleti Lakótelep (Experimental Housing Estate in Óbuda / 3rd district of Budapest)

20 October – 23 October 2023

Exhibiting artists:

DePART Collective (Decentralized Practices of Active Remembrance and Theatricalization): Anna Szepes, Cat Jugravu, Dominik Jellen, Jonas Baur


Phiren Amenca, Romano Instituto, Independent Theatre Hungary, Utcaszínházi Alkotóközösség (Spec.Street Creative Community), Dr Ámbédkar Iskola (Dr. Ambedkar School, Sajókaza) Uccu Roma Informális Oktatási Alapítvány (Uccu Roma Informal Education Foundation), Józsefváros Közösségeiért Nonprofit Zrt. (Nonprofit Ltd. for the Communities of Józsefváros), Óbuda Museum


Universität Mozarteum Salzburg, Stereo Akt, Stadt Salzburg, Osztrák-Magyar Akció Alapítvány (Austro-Hungarian Foundation for Action)

The sound installation If All Ears Could Hear is a participatory and performative work that focuses on the practice of active remembrance. By way of creating partnerships (so-called memory keepers), people living today write letters to Roma people murdered during the Porajmos (the Roma genocide during the fascist era) in the Second World War. As only fragments of their biographies survive, the installation aims to recover their memory and give voice to their imaginary stories.
The letters are written and recorded by activists, artists or supporters of today’s Roma communities. The growing archive of letters forms a bridge between the past and the present and creates a space for shared grief. In the struggle to end oppression, the public is invited to join the alliance by committing themselves to remembering the past and by taking personal responsibility for a future of solidarity. The installation’s metal poles sprouting out of the ground and the parabolic concrete slabs lying on top of them scatter the authors’ voices across the field or the urban public space. The public is invited to come closer to bear witness to, and participate in, the personal recollections of the authors, leaning close to the ground and listening attentively. By showcasing the collaborating activists’ practices of resistance, the installation offers counter-stories to combat forgetting.
The sound installation has so far been presented in four cities in three European countries. As a sensitive temporary travelling memorial, it marks erased and forgotten sites of oppression. Its narrative of care honours the ground and the body as the source and carrier of memory and history, describing care and attentive listening as a beginning. The installation aims to explore the possibilities of a responsible and active culture of memory, narrative historiography and storytelling through interdisciplinary arts.

Photos: Márton K. Takács