Catalyst Award 2014

HUF 2,000,000 for a Consensus in Issues Regarding Moral and Professional Principles in the Art Field

This year the Catalyst Award is fully transformed! It is now your turn to decide how should use the budget of the Award!

Award Ceremony
Time: February 23, 2015, 6 pm
Venue: Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, 1094 Budapest, Liliom utca 41.

This year the project proposals which were selected in December 2014 during a participatory form are introduced in a “one-night” exhibition on February 23, 2015, at the Trafó House of Contemporary Arts. At the event, the project team members present their fully developed project plans that will be discussed with the involvement of experts of various fields. In the end, those present will vote also on how to utilize the budget of the Catalyst Award, the HUF 2,000,000.

The award ceremony of the Catalyst Award on February 23, 2015, provides an opportunity for the audience to get familiar with the current situation, dilemmas, and challenges of contemporary art in Hungary. Concurrently, those present will also contribute to the realization of a project that supports the self-governance of the contemporary art scene.

Participating projects
Orsolya Bajusz: The Small Catechism of Self-Colonization; Balázs Beöthy and Zsolt Keserue: Friends’ Rooms, Approach Art Association: Re-locate; Péter Szabó and Teri Szűcs: Community Banking for Art Workers, and Hajnalka Tulisz: Residenc Ybus

Background established the Catalyst Award in 2010 to draw attention each year to those members of the contemporary art scene in Hungary, who, as catalysts, facilitate with their activities the development of critical thinking and practice.

Already at last year’s Catalyst Award process, we involved the community in selecting the criteria for awarding. This year, as a step further, we depart from the tradition of awarding already initiated or fulfilled projects, based on the decision of a jury. We attempt rather to initiate a collective artistic process, and to enable a common project to be realized. We anticipate project proposals that encourage the self-determination of the contemporary art field in Hungary.

Awardees in the last years where individuals and groups, who, independently or within an institutional framework, were, and are still, active in shaping the meaning of culture through the critical analysis of its socio-political contexts. The prize money in the two categories announced was HUF 500 000, which is accompanied by a prize created by a contemporary artist each year. The award was handed out to the winners annually in the form of a ceremony. In recent years the awardees have been the Liget Gallery (2010), the Crosstalk Video Art Festival (2010), Krétakör theatre (2011), the Napidíj (Per Diem Award) project of the Nemzeti Művészetért Alapítvány (Foundation for National Art) group (2011), the Lumen Vegetable and Community Provider (2012), the Student Network (2012), the Missing Classmate Social Theatre Program (2013), and the Gallery8 (2013).

In the last three years, we were searching for catalysts also beyond the field of contemporary art, so that we could present the experiences of other cultural and activist practices as inspiring examples for the participants of the contemporary art scene. This year we find it necessary to strengthen the apparatus of—still broadly defined—contemporary art, and to think about the current situation and possibilities of the art scene.

Self-governance and consensus in issues regarding moral and professional principles in the art field are the key concepts of the 2014 Catalyst Award (Call for Participation)

Deadline for submitting project proposals: December 15, 2014
Please submit your proposals at

Please note that the forums will take place in Hungarian language.

This year we supplement with another HUF 1,000,000 the prize money of HUF 1,000,000 we handed out in the two categories in previous years. With the total of HUF 2,000,000 budget set for realizing the Catalyst Award, we award not already existing projects, but encourage new projects to come about that can serve as models. The theme and the decision process this year builds also on the experiences of the Action days series (2013-2014), which was a forum for supporting the advocacy and policy consciousness of the contemporary art scene. Moreover, continuing on with last year's participatory decision-making process, now a (temporary) community will determine through forums and workshops which projects should be realized from the amount offered.

We find it important to support models, visions, and utopias, especially in times when it is manifested also in the arts that in Hungary today, instead of professionalism, an authoritarian policy dominates public affairs. Institutions are run according to this view; critical, problematizing, and experimental forms of culture are no longer supported by public funds; the progressive contemporary art scene is forced to work “underground.”

The Process

First Step
Collecting Project Proposals
Any member of the contemporary art scene (artist, curator, working group, etc.) can apply with a project proposal, with a budget of maximum HUF 2,000,000. This proposal can be an idea for a pension fund, TV channel, emergency fund, publication, flyposting, etc. Please submit at until December 15, 2014 your project proposal which contains a maximum 1500-word description (title, genre and form of realization, budget) as well as images of maximum 10 MB or a 1-minute long video as illustration. Please indicate in the subject of the email: “Catalyst Award 2014.”

Second Step
The introduction of the proposals takes place on December 19, 2014, within a framework of a participatory forum. Those who submitted proposals will present their ideas, and the those present—participants and interested individuals—will select 5, maximum 10 proposals, the realization of which they support the most. During the forum, we already be looking for the common denominators and the directions which mutually strengthen each other within the proposals.

During the participatory forum, those present selected the following projects: Orsolya Bajusz: The Small Catechism of Self-Colonization; Balázs Beöthy and Zsolt Keserue: Friends’ Rooms, Approach Art Association: Re-locate; Péter Szabó and Teri Szűcs: Community Banking for Art Workers, and Hajnalka Tulisz: Residenc Ybus.

Third Step
Development of the Ideas
In January 2015, the representatives and the working groups of the collectively selected proposals will develop their ideas in an open forum, in collaborations with one another. The goal is to think through together the realization of a project (required thematical and formal elements). The working groups will present these at the community event on February 23, 2015.

Fourth Step
Collective Decision about the Use of the Budget
On February 23, 2015 at the Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, the participants of the workshop will present the fully developed proposals and, together with those present at the event, will decide about how to use the budget. We hope that by this event the different proposals can be commingled into a single project, or that they can be formed into such propositions among which there is no need for competition.