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Mobile Studios in a Temporary Centre

The installation ‘Temporary Centre' will focus on a specific urbanistic feature of contemporary Budapest. Historical city centres are usually organised around a central square, facing the City Hall: accessible for all, a space of encounter, exchange, communication. Situated at the core of the city, Deák tér has actually never acted as a central square, as it has never offered a place to stop but to go on with the flow.

In his book ‘The Empire of Signs' Roland Barthes describes Tokyo as a city with an empty centre, and discusses the way this absence defines the structure of the whole city. Until recently, Budapest could be described in a similar way. With the recent demolition of the row of shops in the fore of the square this situation has changed. There is a brand new space in the middle of the city, never seen and never used by its habitants. The period when the Mobile Studios will be installed on Deák tér may be the first time Budapest will have a real city centre. As it appeared, it may disappear in the next months: there are several rumours about office buildings or hotels planned to the place.

The ‘Temporary Centre' project will pose questions about this temporary state of the city centre. It will investigate the way the temporary central square is situated in the habitant's everyday life, the way it seats itself in the mind of the locals. In the Live Studio passers-by will be asked to re-enact the itinerary of their actual day, to draw it on a city map. While indicating the place they woke up, and the places they touched during the day, they will actually trace the ‘scope' of the city, the sphere, in relation to which the city centre is functioning as a resultant of movements. The schemes will be superimposed, and will create a pattern, that shows the relations that the centre maintains with other parts of the city, established by the pure movement of its habitants. We will see if the centre really functions as a centre: if it affects its habitants' life, if it attracts them, if it's stronger in the daytime or in the evening. We will see the directions in which the centre has a stronger influence than in others. We will see in what way the different areas are organised around the centre. And we will have an insight in personal daily micro-pasts, from the perspective of a micro-future, towards which they are drifting. We will know whose centre is Deák Tér.

In the meanwhile, in the Editorial Studio the drawn schemes will be put together on a single diagram, and will be displayed on a monitor, later projected on a large surface, reflecting different states of the survey. The Editorial Studio will function as the place of analysis where we can transact our quasi-research, with dividing time-intervals from each other. This is also in the Editorial Studio that the macro-map of the daily movement will be completed by the present movement of the participants. A camera will record all movements within the field of focus, and will create a material to juxtapose with the large-scale maps.

The Talk Studio will give place to a more detailed inquiry. We will collect information from the passers-by about their reasons and motivations to come into the centre, the views on the new centre, and we will connect all this information to the data illustrated. The collected data will be continuously displayed by a large projector, and the movements of the passers-by will be interpreted by dancers and musicians of the Tűzraktér Collective. The result is a double reflection on the forces, directions and relations embodied by the people of the streets and operating between different parts of the city.






urban interventions


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