Survival Strategies II

Brave New Worlds?

This year, in the second edition of the Survival Strategies seminar series, participants can take part in ‘thought experiments’ that go beyond our current world and they can create together in workshops led by contemporary artists. There will be a seminar each month from February till April, with a lecture on a Friday evening that will introduce the work of the artists, followed by a full-day workshop on Saturday.

The subtitle of the programme refers to Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel of 1932, Brave New World. Much of what is described in that famous book has come to pass: humans, for instance, can be considered as creatures produced on assembly lines, who go on to inhabit castes Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc., and the World State successfully conditions the masses to accept the status quo. Meanwhile, the absence of emotions predicted by Huxley does not (yet) characterize our world, we are not spared experiencing life’s difficulties. Conflicts have not gone away, and we in fact feel increasingly powerless in the face of successive crises such as wars and the climate crisis.

Since almost all the information that reaches us, as well as every desire, is controlled by algorithms, we have lost our free will, and hence our capacity to act. Young people are extracted from reality by virtual worlds where, far removed from their real selves, they can take on (superhero) roles, become actors of evil or good, destroying or saving the world. Most people find it increasingly difficult to recognize the limits of reality.

To overcome desperation and powerlessness, it is essential to activate the imagination, which requires ‘training’ creativity and intuition. This is where the ‘post-human’ exercises of this year’s Survival Strategies workshops can be of help. The participant should expect workshops based on ‘ancient’ knowledge and hands-on experiences that transcend all-powerful rationality. The sessions will provide a chance to learn from each other, to experiment and to experience the power of community and to immerse ourselves in uncanny worlds.

Concept: Dóra Hegyi

Lecture and workshop dates:
23‒24 February: Lőrinc Borsos
22‒23 March: Dana Tomeckova (Bratislava)
12‒13 April: Soma Kazsimér and Márton K. Takács

Session 1: Lőrinc Borsos presents LEGION

Date: 23 February 2024, 18–19.30 and 24 February, 11.00–18.00
Location: Práter 63 (1083 Budapest, Práter u. 63).

‘Lőrinc Borsos are not one or two, not husband and wife, not art and anti-art, but a contagious proliferation and mixture of all these. Their name is legion, because they are multitudinous.’ Márió Nemes Z.

Legion has multiple meanings: it denotes a unit of the ancient Roman army; a rarely used category in biology, between class and order; the demons exorcised from a man by Jesus; and a creative community active since 2019. It is a name for a multitude, a laboratory space to move the boundaries of reality (1). An experiment at creating a body without organs (2).

LEGION is a creative community of variable membership that grew out of the collective drawing workshops regularly held in Lőrinc Borsos’s studio. Whoever was present, i.e. interested, could take part in the creative process, which was spontaneous, allowed freely chosen techniques, and developed through creative gestures that responded to other people’s motifs, complemented or overwrote them. We started on A/4 paper, experimented with different formats, materials and techniques, and by now also work on wall-size paper. LEGION is a testing ground for collective creative work, for untangled spiritual threads, for therapeutic exercises, for dialogue, for the construction of an alternative, non-hierarchical world. It is a political statement.

(1) Michel Foucault
(2) Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

On Friday evening (23 Feb., 18–19.30) Lőrinc Borsos will attempt to outline the profile of LEGION as a creative entity. On Saturday (24 Feb., 11–18.00), they will blend in with the LEGION (i.e. those who attend and are ready for action) and set to work on the entire wall of the upper storey in the Space of Opportunity, so as to collectively draw, in the course of a single day, the self-portrait of the LEGION. This work on paper will be on view for a month.

Session 2: Dana Tomeckova presents SPACE OF POSSIBILITIES

Date: 22 March 2024, 18–19.30 and 23 March, 11.00–18.00
Location: Práter 63 (1083 Budapest, Práter u. 63.)

The language of the session is English.

How big are you?

If I am massive, you should be able to work with this mountain and transform it.
I never disappear, but I can change form and quality.

What is your shape?


(Something was about to happen and then…, D.T., 2023)

Dana Tomečková works with powders and texts. She considers them as materials that hold specific weight and tension.

In the Space of Possibilities, she will introduce her research on a slippery character of reality. What are the possibilities that a reality is made of? If there is only one path from the spectrum of possibilities that can happen to us, do the other options disappear? Or do they all stay in a common time-space? What kind of pressure do they hold?

While looking for answers, there are two actors facing each other:
1. Something - that can happen, by itself, with its autonomous intensity, source, direction, speed
2. Someone (You?) - who sensitively notice Something, even before it happens, or may never notice it at all. You, who wants to make Something to happen, unhappen, or to do Something.

Dana's lecture on Friday will offer an overview of her work and the reading of excerpts of Something was about to happen and then…, where the interaction of two actors lead to a match, a collision, a clash, an almost-meeting, or repulsive force of never-meeting.

During the Saturday workshop, participants are invited to write and draw a map of possibilities, catching the threads that our reality is made of. We will look into its unstable character and try to find where we can stand, and to what extent we can contribute to its creation or change. We will be developing a tool that can help us to mind different versions of the future. Not to predict it, but to better sit with the uncertainty it brings, to open multiple views. In times of instability, the workshop wants to invite you to look for the ways how to stay with the unstable.

Application until 20.03.2024:

Session 3: Soma Kazsimér and Márton K. Takács: Monster Workshop – An Introduction to Cryptozoology, Plus Edition

Date: 12 April 2024, 18–19.30 and 13 April, 11.00–18.00
Location: Práter 63 (1083 Budapest, Práter u. 63.)

CRYPTOZOOLOGY: A science (!) that studies animals/creatures whose existence has not (yet!) been acknowledged or proved by academic (?) sciences (?).

A workshop based on An Introduction to Cryptozoology, a multimedia art project by Soma Kazsimér and Márton K. Takács.

The creative duo spent three years studying the cryptofauna of Hungary in the desolate wilderness of the collective and the individual subconscious, examining the werewolf of Putnok, the Wood Scrunch of Mátranovák, the hydrovampire of Kömörő, Istók Hany and the sirens of the Szörnyű Vale. They looked at them, and they looked back, inside them.

Chasing the always elusive? They did try that. In this research-based artistic project, they assumed the character of the obsessed cryptozoologist, and sought the proximity of the creatures through photographs, texts, hearsay, media hack and field work.

Where does the line between reality and fantasy run? Why is it good to have creatures of our own? What do the fantastic creatures of Hungarian folklore reveal about us and our present? What happens when beasts occupy the press?

Their cryptozoological lecture on Friday will offer an overview of fantastic creatures in Hungary, while the all-day workshop on Saturday will be an opportunity for them to introduce their artistic methods, with various exercises and tasks that will help us to overcome the magiclessness of alienating everyday life and walk the path of magical thinking, as well as gain insights into the mysteries of monster production.

By the end of the day, enriched with our own creatures, we may also have an answer to the question of what the function of beliefs might be today. All four-legged, bipedal, many-legged, furry and bare, fanged, slimy, paludal and terrestrial creatures are welcome! Come if you are interested in the inhabitants of nonhuman, pre- or trans-human heights or depths: the beasts.

Graphic design: Boró Hajdú