Relics of Socialist Architecture – PART 2: HUNGARY

From 22.6. – 24.7. 2015, I’m working on my second part of video-art project “RELICS OF SOCIALIST ARCHITECTURE IN EASERN BLOC”, researching and collecting archival film footage at OSA Archivum, Central European University and filming around Budapest and even south in Dunaújváros, the artificial socialist town founded and constructed in 1950’s. Thanks all collaborators on this project for their kind support – especially: Kati Gadoros (OSA), prof. Isztvan Rév (OSA), Alessandro Grimaldi (L’altra Budapest), Anna Mária Nagy (Dunaújváros specialist), Dumitru Rusu (Socialist Modernism / B.A.C.U – Romania), Ewa Rosiak-Zieba, Hakeem Smith, Eszter Lázar (OSA fellows), Mathew G. Erdo (editor), Gáspár Hájdu (, Belle Belle (music composer), Lily Nagy, Enikő Váczy & András Nagy (my awesome roommates). Communist presentation_leaflet_OSA Here is a PPT I presented at OSA on 13 July 2015: OSA PRESENTATION HARUNA HONCOOPOVA 13JULY2015_OK

Few pictures from my shooting: Water tower at Csepel (southern Budapest) IMG_1748 Main entrance to Csepel Müvek factoryCsepel Müvek main entrance Déli Palyaudvar trainstation building, Budapest (1975)déli Church Farkasrét templom, Budapest (1975, arch. István Szabó)IMG_1906 Main entrance to a steel factory Dunai Vasmü, Dunaújváros IMG_2051 Post office building, Dunaújvárosposta_dunaujvaros One of the oldest highrise in Dunaújvároshighrise_Dunaujvaros

And finally PART 1 of the whole project – short experimental film from Bucharest, TREI MINUTI DESPRE UN ORAS BUCARESTI which I filmed during NISI MASA Experimental Film Workshop in December 2013 but finally completed during my fellowship in Budapest:

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Postkarte aus Hamburg

I went to HAMBURG to the biggest European Kinoabaret for a few days in the beginning of June. There were about 150 creative individuals from all over Europe and even Africa (Burkina Faso) who were there all with the same goal – to make short independent movies. I made my little movie only within 1 day – from the first clap til the screening in the full Hamburg cinema… It was very challenging but with my great cast and crew it was easy. Enjoy!

Fellowship at OSA ARCHIVUM in Budapest for my audio-visual project

I was awarded a 1 month scholarship from Visegrad Fund at OSA ARCHIVUM in Budapest to conduct my audio-visual project and research about communist architecture! This is a continuing project which I started 3 years ago in december 2013 in Bucharest thanks to Nisi Masa’s experimental film workshop and Sorina Cinemapus Diaconu and continued in Berlin thanks to Eva Gy and Quickino.

This time you’ll find me running around the city with my camera and surrounded by books and old communist footage in the archives and editing my video-art pieces this summer in Budapest.

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Research description:

Three years ago I initiated a project based on my experience in Romania which involves the concept of the gigantic residential palace of Ceausescu and the historical circumstances that lead to its completion – I made a short video showing the past documents connected with its construction, the historical events that took place in the palace in 1989 and the present state of the monster combining the nowadays footage with 8mm archive footage from 1963.

Two years ago I made a similar video concerning the construction and fall of the Berlin Wall and recent reconstruction of former communist settlements in east Berlin entitled (L)Ost Berlin. Recently I am working on a similar video on the communist architecture in Prague. I intend to create video art documentaries concerning other cities in the Eastern Block as well. Starting with Budapest during my fellowship at OSA ARCHIVUM and collecting archival footage for other cities, namely Bratislava, Warsaw, Dresden… I’ll be producing a complete cycle of video-art films to be shown in a galleries with a proper explanation in a written text which will accompany the video-art installation.

During my research at OSA, I intend to use the audiovisual material capturing architecture (or communist statues or public spaces) and important moments from the communist history related to those places. I want to spent at least four weeks in the OSA archive watching accessible audiovisaul metariasl and researching related archives. And three other weeks filming the material in Budpest which has relation to the Kádár past. I also want to go and shoot in the nearby Bratislava. I also intend to search for other archival video and audio material from Warsaw, Bucharest (could be added to my existing video material – see bellow).

My complete project will cover all countries and their capitals from the former Soviet Eastern Block. Yet during the 1 month fellowship at OSA, I will focus mainly on Budapest. I want to shoot recent state of the communist buildings while doing the fellowship and search for archival footage of the buildings and public spaces.

The result of my research and shooting will be made into art video project entitled RELICS OF COMMUNIST ARCHITECTURE – consisting of 6 short 4-5min long movies of the footage of 30 minutes together. They can be screened as one piece at documentary film festivals and shown in galleries as video-art installation as separate video-art pieces (each city/1 video). The installation in the gallery would require either 1 screen and play all video pieces in a loop or several screens and loudspeakers – each of the screen could have a written description of the displayed architecture and description of the historical events beside to the screen. The videos could be displayed in the galleries in all countries of the research.

Artistic approach:

I want to use technique of split screens – at one or 2 of the split screens showing the recent footage of the architecture and at the other split screens showing the important historical events concerning the space or the buildings it selfs, finding the same angles while filming them and comparing the archival materials.

For the sound, I want to use authentic audio recordings of communist songs related to the topic of architecture or important events happening at the buildings which I will find at the archives. I will collaborate with a film-music composer Dave Abbott from GB/GE who will use the sounds to compose audio-tracks which will be used as a base for each videoart clip.

Examples of the project:


Screenshots from the videoart :

Snímek obrazovky 2015-04-20 v 8.48.51 PMPalace of the Parliament in Bucharest (1984), the largest civilian building in the world and the second largest building after Pentagon. Recent footage and archival footage: young architect of the Palace, Anca Petrescu introducing the palace and model of the palace on black and white picture.

Snímek obrazovky 2015-04-20 v 8.51.51 PMThe former headquarters of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party (now the Ministry of Internal Affairs building) in Bucharest’s Palace Square where Ceausescu gave his final speech on 21 December 1989. The broadcasting of his speech was interrupted.


The recent footage for the project I shot in Berlin in 2013 (including Berliner Zeitung building, Soviet War memorial park, Berlin Wall, settlements etc. ) – but I need to get an approval from Bundes Archive in Berlin or alternatively look for a footage in OSA archive to complete the video.

Screen shot LOST BERLIN

Screen shot LOST BERLIN 2

Music which will be used for the Berlin part is composed by German music composer Bastian Schick: : The music composition is combining famous speech by Kennedy: “Ich bin Ein Berliner” and Honecker’s speech at the Berlin Wall.

So I’m very thankful to VISEGRAD FUND that I can continue my project which started in a spontaneous way and that I will have finally a proper basis and financial support to continue.

Trainspot story. Trip to the unknown… Reset. Restart. Recover.

This has been a long trip. I met Jested for the first time in person last November while filming a rehearsal of Disquiet band where he was playing as a drummer. During this shoot I badly injured my my feet and ended up in Vinohrady hospital for 10 days. I heard his song TRAINSPOT for the first time in the hospital while being hooked on dripfeed, high on morphium to kill all the physical pain, full of sadness, worries & painful love. I immediately loved the song once I heard it for the first time, I wanted to escape from the hospital bed, to fly away, to dance or just simply dissaper from this world but it was impossible…I was bent to the bed for the following month and was jumping on one leg with crutches til the end of the year. The long, never-ending winter has passed and many things have happened in my life – hardcore breakup & loosing a job at the same time during one cold night in Prague in the end of January – I had to touch the most painful bottom to start to live again. Slowly, all by myself, with a total emptiness both in my heart and in my head, almost broke, but accepting my destiny afterall and taking all new life challanges which were standing ahead. Reset. Restart. The recovery was and still is taking a long time, it’s a long process as the memories are always here and they are so strong that it’s hard to get them out of my mind. I started to follow a wu-wei philosophy and taking what cames across to my path, not forcing anything and taking the time, just to take my life as a game, game with unknown rules, unknown destinies, unknown destinations, unknown people crossing my path… One can understand this as a release, and indeed it was, a sort of. The song followed me on my journey as I believe that music heals, and so heals any kind of creative process…Nothing else in the world could help better. I started shooting spontaneously some images in March in Prague and the idea for the music video started to crystalize slowly in my head. Just this simple idea which was reflecting my actual situation – seeing the world in its surreal contoures, feeling as a stranger with all the memories of my unfulfilled love, always having in mind Thom York’s song “Creep” with “what the hell I’m doing here, I don’t belong here” kind of feeling and Haruki Murakami’s essay “The Sound of a Train Whistle in the Night” which is all about love, loneliness & suffering (I made it into a short film while I was alone in Japan 2 years ago, when I was feeling kind of the same but in totally different circumstances). Then I went for two weeks to Israel and finished the shooting there… With a help of great, talented, creative people whom I met on my way. And the music video, therefore, is a result of this painful, inner, deliberating trip. I gave all my soul, creative energy & love to it. I hope you will like it… I feel better now. Just my feet is still not healed until know and so isn’t my heart yet but it will come, one day… (Jested told me after that TRAINSPOT is about a small boy, maybe his son? /// update as of May 2015: and I’m so happy that JESTED won a music competition and they gonna play at Colours of Ostava and record their first album this year.)

Malá smrt/ Little Death (a short film)

Snímek obrazovky 2015-02-09 v 8.19.25 PM Me and my friends Jana, Jurij and Jiří (and featuring Týna as a little devilish Angel) shot and acted in a short film “A Little Death” during December Saint Nicolas weekend in 2014. We made this little film with no budget during CINEMASPOT workshop lead by Radim Špaček. It was fun, a bit of stress too and also a great challange for me to do this while I was jumping on my one leg, second one still with a big painful injury in my feet and using crutches. (yes, the crutches in the film are real, not a mere prop).

Ai Weiwei – Never Sorry – recenze

Film novinářky a začínající dokumetaristky Alice Kayman, „Ai Weiwei NEVER SORRY“ (2012), zachycuje dva roky života (2019-2011) čínského konceptuálního umělce, hudebníka, filmaře a bloggera, mluvčího svých uměleckých souputníků a bojovníka za svobodu univerzálního uměleckého vyjádření.

Ai Weiwei je v dokumentu zachycen jako umělec, který překračuje hranice země, ve které tvoří, nebojí se promluvit a zároveň, i přes své mezinárodní renomé, zůstává člověkem skromným a i přes veškerá příkoří života v ČLR člověkem pozitivně smýšlejícím.

Nikdy nelitovat, jak napovídá název filmu, je jeho životním postojem – a Ai Weiwei opravdu ničeho nelituje, a svým dílem se snaží poukazovat na chyby v systému a skrze své umění se vyjadřovat k současnému dění.

Číňan, který měl to štěstí a mohl odejít z informačního vákua své země, najít inspiraci a kontakty mezi umělci v zahraničí v New Yorku, kde strávil 10 let a i díky této zkušenosti se stát globálně uznávaným umělcem a mluvčím své generace–Ai Weiwe, člověk vzdělaný, sebevědomý, charismatický. Film se sice soustředí na současnost, ale ceukazuje i střípky života a názorový vývoj umělce z jeho mládí. Starší dokumentární záběry použité ve filmu jsou důležitým svědectvím a výborně ilustrují jeho celkový portrét, jak skrze historické události,

Zlomovým okamžikem se pro něj pak stává ničivé zemětřesení v provincii S´- čchuan v roce 2008, které pohřbilo několik tisíců lidí a on vydává jako svědectví seznamy pěti tisíců pohřešovaných dětí, což místní autority zcela ignorovaly a v Mnichově vystavuje monumentální, mrazivou instalaci stovek dětských školních brašen, pozůstatků obětí zemětřesení. Ve filmu sledujeme jeho pouť do místa zemětřesení, kdy sám Ai Weiwei sám dokumentuje a konfrontuje se s místními úřady.

Dalším velice silným momentem filmu, které opět dokazuje absurditu celého systému, je bourání ohromného uměleckého studia, které Ai nechal vystavit v Šanghaji a místní autority nově dokončenou monumentální stavbu nechaly vybagrovat a srovnat se zemí údajně z toho důvodu, že stavitel neměl potřebná povolení ke stavbě.

Jediné, čeho snad mohl litovat byla účast se na stavbě tzv. Hnízda, pekingského stadionu, kdy pracoval s oficiálními architekty jako umělecký poradce pro stavbu tohoto monstrózního architektonického díla. Sám pak Olympiádu, jako mnoho dalších umělců, bojkotuje.

Ve filmu je dobře vidět, jak principy marketingu fungují i v komunisticko- kapitalistické společnosti jako je Čína. Je s podivem sledovat, jak mechanismy vyrábění ikon fungují. Jeho fotografie svého zvednutého prostředníčku na náměstí Nebeského klidu se stala ikonou své doby a zároveň jakýmsi marketingovým trhákem a tahákem. Jako blogger se stal velice populární a následují ho statisíce lidí – glosuje denodenní události a svým následovníkům dává naději a stává se ikonou pro svobodně uvažující obyvatele ČLR.

Film svou technikou není nijak ojedinělý, kamera sleduje umělce v dennodenních situacích, na základě archivních dokumentů ukazuje a mísí jeho příběh s rozhovory jeho souputníky, pekingského umělce Chen Danqinga, filmaře z Pekingské filmové akademie Gu Changhaie, americké galeristy popisující jeho život v New Yorku, korespondenta New York Times, ti všichni dovytvářejí jeho obraz jako člověka odhodlaného bojovat za lepší svět.

Kamera sleduje Ai Weiweie i do míst, jako je policejní stanice, nebo nemocnice, kde skončil po čili místa velice citlivá a divák se ptá, jak je možné, že čínské autority dovolily na takových místech natáčet, protože to v zemi protknuté cenzurou není obvyklé.

Film končí trochu skepticky v momentě, kdy Ai Weiwei je propuštěn z tříměsíční vazby (2011) a mohlo by se zdát, že pod výhrůžkami, kterých se mu dostalo ve vazbě, bude umlčen. Naštěstí to tak není, i když psychicky ve vazbě hodně utrpěl, ale nevzdal se a znovu začal aktivně bojovat všemi prostředky na obraně lidských práv a svobody slova a uměleckého vyjádření – o tom více v následujícím dokumentu The Fake Case (2013) dánského režiséra Andrease Johnsena.

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(napsáno v listopadu 2014- jako rozbor na přijímačky na FAMU dokumentaristiku – kam už mě ani napotřetí nevzali, místo toho mě vzali na produkci na FAMU)