magyar/ presents: Catalyst Award 2012

Tranzit. hu, hand out the Catalyst Award for the third time. The award wishes to reward art, cultural, and political projects, as well as academic research initiatives, that represent a formal or contentual contribution to the topic of self-organization. The 2012 winners of the Catalyst Award are selected through an open nomination process and an invited jury.

You can nominate on the site until January 20, 2013. The Catalyst Award accords a prize of HUF 500,000 per project, and a prize designed by artist group Société Réaliste.

Award ceremony: January 25, 2013, 7 pm

afterwards gig of the band Elefant and slam poetry by Zsofi Kemeny, Marton Simon, and Saiid (AKPH).

Juranyi Art Incubator House, 1027 Budapest, Juranyi utca 1-3.

The Catalyst Award is an alternative award that, in accordance with the aims of its establishment, may become an tool for raising awareness, primarily within members of the alternative scene. The award endeavors to address local contemporary culture through international art discourses, and is handed out each year in two categories, Motor and Novelty. Among the criteria for granting the award, support for extra-institutional projects (in 2010, curator Adrienn Török’s Crosstalk Video Art Festival Budapest project; in 2011, the Per Diem Award project of the Foundation for National Art) and for actors from the sphere of alternative culture (in 2011, Tibor Várnagy received an award for his leadership of the Liget Gallery, and IMPEX Contemporary Art Provider was accorded an award for their publication entitled We Are Not Ducks on a Pond but Ships at Sea) have always been important points of consideration. With the recognition of the theatre group Krétakör as the winner in 2012, the award granting policy has opened up to contexts outside the visual art scene.

Curated by Emese Süvecz

Image: Société Réaliste Black flag, 2006-2013

Catalyst Award 2012: Laudation

The call for the 2012 Catalyst Award signified a shift in comparison to previous years. With an awareness of international and Hungarian social processes, the contemporary art organization, in its call for nominations, sought out various forms of self-organization practices.
The MOTOR category contains initiatives which have been active for a long time, but function, or functioned, as a catalyst. This year, the Catalyst Award in the MOTOR category was presented to Lumen Vegetable & Community Provider.

The catalysts of recent times competed in the NOVELTY category. The 2012 Catalyst Award in this category was accorded to the Student Network (HaHa).

During the evaluation process, we examined the extent to which the individual initiatives were able to influence public thinking in accordance with the realistic requirements of our day and age. Continuing in the tradition of the award, we regarded as valuable projects that served as a platform for critique, contained programs characterized by freedom while operating in a manner that was nevertheless visible and inspiring to others, and sought to realize recognizable and concrete objectives. Social effectiveness and artistic independence–further facilitated by reflection and humor–have become indispensible considerations is judging present day processes. We have become aware of initiatives that transform social relationships and develop new network tools, providing a kind of assurance of their long-term viability.

Lumen Vegetable & Community Provider

Lumen Vegetable & Community Provider is one of the stations of the Lumen Photography Foundation, which has been in operation since 2002. The reopened greengrocer, located at 14 Kaluzál Square, functions as a cultural space after 7pm. A fusion of the economic sphere and the art scene has been created here (the rental cost is partly covered by income of the shop), resulting in a situation where art is not defenceless against market and state subsidy systems.

Among long-term art projects, we were highly impressed by the Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre (KÉK), whose work is very effective in shifting contemporary architecture towards public attention, providing architectural answers to social problems. For a number of years, index-link has served as a practical channel for conveying different modes of thinking and speaking about contemporary art; the lecture series entitled Theoretical and Critical Problems of the Margins Today at the Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art offers an excellent opportunity for leading international art theorists and Hungarian experts to think together about questions that concern all of us, so that we may interpret our own situation from a broader perspective. Open Workshop (Nyitott Műhely), which has been in operation since 2000, successfully avoiding rigid institutionalization through rather inventive means, represents a small–but all the more friendly–form of self-organization.

The winner of the 2012 Catalyst Award in the MOTOR category is an art initiative that constitutes a viable, functioning, sustainable, flexible model in an unpredictable economic milieu. The Lumen Foundation has managed to maintain an open attitude and find the balance between economic sustainability and independent cultural practice.

Student Network (HaHa)

The Student Network is an exemplary collaborative effort, a wide-range initiative built on an entirely new foundation, with the aim of mobilizing students towards recognizing and collectively advocating their own interests. Rather than merely reacting to current constraints, they have realized a new form of social organization; debate culture, grassroots democracy, problem-specific workgroups, solidarity. The Student Network is not politically neutral, but politically independent.

The jury deliberated at length on the nominations. Important points of consideration were raised, including, but not limited to, the following. The City Is for All: eighty percent of the decision makers are homeless people; Agora Education Roundtable: secondary school teachers collectively advocate for an up-to-date approach to education; Frisco Pub and Café: the originating point of various scenes of resistance; Free Artists: take a stand against prepotency; Independent Performing Artists Association (FESZ): recognize the power in the collective advocacy of interests when organizing their various theatre workshops.

In presenting the award to the Student Network, we support a bold, non-violent, consistent, politically conscious, non-divisive, and future-oriented self-organized student movement, which voices its expectations with regard to quality education. Contemporary art is inconceivable without a state of the art education system.

The breakthrough, which resulted in the formulation of this national network, required an immense amount of work and dedication of free time on the part of a great number of individuals. You are the future!