Urban Camp at The Space of Opportunity

Five days, five artists, five senses

Date: 18-22 July 2022 (Monday to Friday)

Location: Práter 63 (1083 Budapest, Práter u. 63.) and parks and squares nearby

The first, summer art camp of Space of Opportunity has an experiential, empirical approach. For five consecutive days, we are going to explore our senses and our environment with the help of guest artists, using the tools and the language of art. Dealing with visual arts, sight is of primary importance but what about touch, smell, hearing and taste? Throughout the camp, we are going to activate all our senses to explore important and exciting ecological issues.

Ecology – a term coined by Ernst Haeckel, German biologist, in 1869 – is the study of living things, i.e. animals, plants and micro-organisms, and their relationship to the environment. The relationship between living organisms and their environment is constantly modified by human activity, which keeps altering the living conditions, either directly or indirectly. As a result of the series of crises that characterise the present epoch, humans are being forced to realise that the structures we are familiar with are dissolving. Whatever there is and whatever we know is merely temporary.

For us, city dwellers, our living space is defined by the built environment, by the squares and the parks but what kind of relationship do we have with this environment? How do we relate to its individual parts? Do we see the small details? If yes, what kind of meaning do they carry for us? Are we actually present in this environment or do we move around unconsciously, following our instincts? In our summer camp, we are going to explore the urban environment and its elements in different ways with each of our senses, investigating how and what we feel. Experience and perception are key.

Create it, live it, experience it – feel it!

Participating artists: Esteban de la Torre, Csilla Hódi, Gyula A. Kovács, Miklós Mécs, Dorottya Poór

Judit Árva


Monday, 18th June 2022, 16.00-21.00
I Put Into Words What I See and You Imagine It / Gyula A. Kovács

visuality – seeing – reception – discovery – orientation – attachment – memories – stories – city – architecture – description – imagination – forgetting

How vividly can we describe a visual experience using words? How well does our imagination work? How can we communicate experiences without pictures? Can we move beyond the present overproduction of pictures? Can we have a real visual experience? Let’s describe a scene and invent different tools to imagine it and then recognise it.

Once we get to know each other a little, we will talk about visual reception and the technical aspect of pictures, in general. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the city as a milieu, we will go for a walk and visit, as well as discover, important or exciting places in the neighbourhood, leaving room for the participants’ ideas. The walks will be documented primarily in writing or through the collection of objects or materials. We may draw sketches on tracing paper or take photos with a Polaroid camera, either of certain details or the whole of a scene. These will be used to unlock the verbal descriptions.

Tuesday, 19th July 2022, 16.00-21.00
In Quest of Practical Common Sense / Csilla Hódi

On Tuesday, we expand our olfactory receptors and redefine our notions of smell so that we can go on a quest of perception, or sensation, defined by a practical common sense awakening in our urban lives and living spaces. How “practical common sense” manifests itself in the jungle of a city? What does it mean for the creatures that live here and what does it mean for our own bodies?

In order to investigate the above, we will try and cede control to the sources of smells and odours, to the names that contain them and to our fellow microbes, animals and plants. In working and playing with fellow creatures, we will unleash our sense of existence in the spaces of our surroundings, following in the steps of urban “wanderers” (symbolist “flâneur”) and “drifters” (situationist “dérive”). We will try our hands at interracial co-creation, taking stock of the pre-requisites of collaboration.

We will narrate our experience of the urban environment with the help of a fleeting, open-air, data-visualisation installation, at the end of the day.
Attention! It may well happen that we will, to some extent, take leave from ourselves and transcend our relationships with our neighbourhood during the workshop.

Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 16.00-21.00
table in the skies / Dorottya Poór

The workshop focuses on our ability to recall flavours and on preparing for a climate apocalypse. I am writing these lines at a time when the producer of Sriracha is halting its activities due to a shortage of chilli. It is probably not the only kind of food that is going to become unavailable or difficult to obtain in the future. We may well have to change our diets. This is what I would like to prepare for with the participants and think about which flavours we are going to miss the most and how we can recall or reconstruct them. The experimental setting for our apocalyptic dinner is the urban space and the ingredients we can find there. The title was inspired by the story of Ethel Mulvany, who, starving in Changi prison, held imaginary dinners and collected recipes with her fellow prisoners.

Thursday, 21st July 2022, 16.00-21.00
“Hard Feelings and Hardly Feeling” / Miklós Mécs

How interesting, I said once to St. Turba, that the word interested (in someone) comes from the word “interest”. He said he saw my point but more importantly, both words contain “in”. We had such a nice time brainstorming the other day (preparing this project), discovering all those senses for the first time, that now I feel like including all of them in or work. (Not to mention that, as far as I know, there are at least 12 senses.) So, I would rather like to invite future participants to come and think together, in the form of a kind of “voluntary pre-communal work” experience, to be simply present and to help us invite “kids” from the neighbouring housing estates to camp, rather than to concentrate on camping ourselves. We can try and work out how to staying over, at the Space of Opportunity. We can also work out who and what else we should try and feel for.

Friday, 22st July 2022, 15.00-20.30
Found Sound / Esteban de la Torre

Sound incites presence. Sonorous phenomena only exist on the verge of becoming something else. As it unfolds, sound constitutes space and articulates time. We are constantly surrounded by ever changing complex soundscapes. The chaotic noise from our city is mostly numbed out by its inhabitants. The busy streets with its busking traffic set an invisible rhythm to our daily commute. What happens if we stay still for a moment and just listen? What is hidden and becomes apparent if we allow ourselves to fully stop and observe the intricate layers of sound that exist everywhere around us? Will we find music? Does music reside on the creator, or rather on the perceiver?

During the workshop we will use tools to explore and capture the sound of our environment, from onsite field recordings, delicate micro sounds to electromagnetic field sensing. In the spirit of musique concrète, these recordings will be selected, edited and mangled by the participants resulting in a final sound performance.