Katalin Erdödi

”Something Always Blooms”*
Curatorial strategies and knowledge production in and about post-socialist rural space
In my research project I investigate curatorial strategies and knowledge production in post-socialist rural space, from an artistic, as well as a political perspective.
At the intersection of public art, research and socio-political engagement, I am interested in exploring the possibilities of art as social practice and as a tool for knowledge production in rural areas and communities in Hungary. With a focus on socio-economic, political and cultural transformation processes since the 1980’s — with the political transition in 1989 seen as a turning point — I plan to work with a bottom-up, micro-political approach that examines the post-socialist rural condition through the lens of agricultural work and rural practices, and initiates an exchange with local communities through context-specific and dialogue-based artistic and curatorial processes.
Departing from historical and contemporary representations of Hungary as an agrarian country, I advocate a decolonial approach that addresses the homogenisation, marginalisation and ‘othering’ of rural realities and people, and conceptualizes socio-politically and economically transformative art practices which empower and respond to diverse rural situations. Inspired by the political theory of Chantal Mouffe, I argue for a ‘rural agonistics’ that re-visits our thinking of agonistic public space — and public art — from the perspective of post-socialist rural space, connecting this theoretical twist with the pragmatic political urgency of the ‘radicalisation’ of the countryside and the growing rural-urban divide.
The project includes a curatorial component — a series of artistic collaborations to be realized in rural places and communities in Hungary over the course of 3 to 4 years — and a research component — the conceptualizing of a(n alternative) history, or rather histories of social, economic, political and cultural transformation, with knowledge produced through the ‘micro’ perspective of these artistic and curatorial processes, emphasizing multiple subjectivities, as well as individual and collective experiences of change that cumulate in transformation on a larger scale.
To this end, I plan to collaborate with artists who create links between art, agriculture and territory, engaging with rural practices, modes of production and agricultural work, in order to initiate a dialogical, collaboration-based exchange with rural communities, that articulates diverse — often fragmented and kaleidoscopic — rural realities.
*Quote from finger group (Florian Haas/Andreas Wolf), Frankfurt (Germany).
Image credits: Farmer John Atkinson looking out over a sea of smog (The Nuisance of Landscape, Grizedale Arts)
Katalin Erdődi is a curator and cultural worker active in the fields of contemporary art and performance. Her practice focuses on cross-disciplinary collaboration, politically engaged artistic and curatorial strategies, and art in public space, understood in the broadest sense as social, architectural, and discursive space. Central to her work is  experimentation with different formats, from performance through exhibition-making to site-specific and process-oriented projects, with an interest in art as social practice and a tool for knowledge production.
She has worked in leading art institutions as a curator/programmer, a.o. brut/imagetanz festival (Vienna), Museum of Contemporary Art (Leipzig), Ludwig Museum (Budapest) and Trafó House of Contemporary Arts (Budapest). As an independent curator she has initiated and curated projects, such as Enjoy Austria (2016, Vienna), Enjoy Your Struggles (2016, Budapest, together with Zsuzsi Flohr), Social Honey (2013, Budapest), politics of the small act (2012, Leipzig) and PLACCC Festival, an international festival for site-specific performance and art in public space (2008-2011, Budapest, together with Fanni Nánay).
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