Novi Sad, Serbia.

Kuda has opened its doors in July 2001 in Novi Sad, Serbia. Regular programming began in December 2001 Since that date over thirty events were presented at Kuda. Three Kuda members Zoran Pantelic, Kristian Lukic and Branka Curcic are involved in programming and a further seven work on the coordination of the organization. A unique feature of a Kuda event is the form of audio/video documentation they use. This is facilitated by four wall-mounted video cameras which record simultaneously. The resulting data is archived and becomes immediately accessible for public use. Among the outstanding presentations Eric Kluitenberg came from the Balie, Amsterdam in July. In September 2002, Geert Lovink (Sydney/ Amsterdam) gave a lecture on The Cult of Surveillance Paranoia. Also in September, Andreas Broeckmann (Berlin) presented on Transmediale: Art plays global. Konrad Becker's lecture in May was a preliminary event towards the big world-information.org exhibition which will be hosted by Kuda in 2003.

This interview was conducted by e-mail over the summer of 2002 with Zoran and through discussions with Kristian and Branka on September 28, 2002 at the Tranzindex symposium in Cluj, Romania.

Zoran Pantelic received his MA in sculpture from the Academy of Art in Novi Sad. In 1993 with three others, they founded the apsolutno association which became known worldwide. The list of projects and exhibitions of apsolutno is long and outside the framework of this brief report. Zoran began preparatory work and negotiations regarding Kuda in 1998. This became a reality after the political changes in 2000.

Nina Czegledy: Can you tell me about the structure of Kuda and the background
in the city of Novi Sad?

Zoran Pantelic: Kuda.org has three main segments: infocentre, kuda.lounge and production. For the time being, the activities have focused on the first two elements. Infocentre is a library/mediateque where people can obtain information about the current developments in the field of new technologies and art, exhibitions etc. This includes free internet access. Kuda.lounge is a program of presentations and talks by guests from Serbia and abroad. The aim for the next year is to further develop these two elements, and to start with the production segment.

Through the work of association apsolutno, we (its members) had an opportunity to give presentations, visit and have contact with various 'first wave' media organizations (Public Netbase, V2, ZKM, Kiasma, Ljudmila) and smaller centers such as mikro. This is how we realized that a space devoted to new media is necessary in Novi Sad. I tried to initiate such a place for a long time, but it was only possible to do it after the political changes in 2000, when the new town authorities allocated a small space for this purpose.

Novi Sad is the second largest city in Serbia and an important university centre. The student body is the main target group of kuda.org. At the moment, the audience is still small because of many reasons: the activities and programs of kuda.org are publicized through e-mail, and this is not yet widely available. The more important reason is that talking about new technologies requires a certain level of technical literacy and an interest in these issues. That is why one of the important goals of kuda.org is developing both technological literacy and a critical attitude towards the new media.

NC: Prior to establishing KUDA and continuing up to the present you have been a founding member of Apsolutno. Can you tell me about the activities of apsolutno in more detail?

ZP: Apsolutno is a collective of four members, which started in 1995 in Novi Sad (www.apsolutno.org). At the moment, all the members live in different countries (US, Hungary, Serbia) and the way we collaborate has changed as it relies mostly on electronic communication. After five years of extremely intensive work, the activities of apsolutno have somewhat slowed down but this year we've had important exhibitions, including Manifesta and Bigtorino. In November we are having a solo exhibition in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade.

NC: Is Kuda connected to your apsolutno experience?.

ZP: Absolutely. The apsolutno experience enabled me to meet great personalities active in different spheres: artists, media activists, theoreticians etc. many of them helped me with advice, support, information, books etc. when I was establishing kuda.org. many of them were also presenters in the kuda.lounge program. At the same time, the original aims of apsolutno are still present in kuda.org, but now in a different form, focusing on social and educational aspects.

NC: What are your future plans?

ZP: There are many plans: to continue with apsolutno work, to establish kuda.org on a financially stronger basis, to develop production facilities, to extend the network of collaborators and to reach greater audience. There is great potential in Serbia at the moment which is not visible yet: many creative young people who were completely invisible in the last ten years are now coming on to the scene, kuda.org is open to them. One of the biggest projects next year is the exhibition world.information.org, produced by Public Netbase from Vienna, and shown in Brussels, Vienna, Sydney, Amsterdam. Kuda.org is bringing this exhibition to Novi Sad and Belgrade to promote the understanding of the new phenomena of the times we live in.


-Recycled Attention-
related links

Two artists - Two curators, has been established in 2001 in Budapest, Hungary by Roza El-Hassan, Dora Hegyi, Janos Sugar and Emese Suvecz. Exhibitions are open for one evening on Fridays between 19:00 and 22:00h and topics range widely. Between the summer of 2001 and 2002, events were presented weekly. On September 20, 2002, London based, David Wilkinson's small porcelain figures were on show, obtained from flee markets. Last November Vadim Fishkin, internationally known artist presented his work and views - just to name two examples. The audience numbers on the average thirty to forty people, but the importance of these events is much better reflected in other projects and shows which were informally initiated at these weekly meetings. Up till now most of the events were shown in the studio of Janos Sugar - from now on nomadic plans are developed for other sites. "I feel that the open discussion and presentation of issues which have been "swept under the carpet" is the most important feature of our activities" - said Janos. These activities were recently featured in the Budapest Box exhibition focusing on "the artist as curator" and presenting alternative Hungarian cultural projects since 1989 in the Ludwig Museum of Budapest/ Museum of Contemporary Art. This exhibition, curated by Dora Hegyi and Katalin Timar was unique in many ways. I was most impressed by the curatorial process which involved the active participation of the exhibiting groups and individual artists.

Emese Sovecz works as an independent curator and writer. Trained as an art historian, in her postgraduate studies she focused on gender related issues.

Dora Hegyi, art historian works as a curator at the Ludwig Museum of Budapest/ Museum of Contemporary Art.

Roza El-Hassan, artist works with installations, videos, sculpture and has shown her work internationally. Roza has been instrumental in developing collaborative projects between Central European artists.

Janos Sugar studied sculpture at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest (1979-84) and worked with Indigo, the interdisciplinary art group led by MiklÛs ErdÈly from 1980-86. His work includes installations, performances, as well as film and video. He has been teaching art and media theory in the Intermedia Department of the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts since 1990, and has exhibited widely throughout Europe and beyond. http://www.icols.org/pages/JSugar/JSugar.html.

The interview with Janos Sugar was conducted over e-mail and by personal conversation on September 25, 2002.

Nina Czegledy: You have initiated the 2 artists 2 curator project less than a year ago. How and why did this initiative become such a successful reality in a city full of galleries and cultural events?

Janos Sugar: It started, as every well functioning concept starts, as a series of ad hoc, random, occasional, informal talks among friends. We all worked already together in several forms and contexts, Roza El Hassan, Dora Hegyi and Emese Suvecz. With Roza we exhibited several times together, we both used to work with the Vienna gallerist, Hans Knoll; Dora is a curator of Ludwig Museum/Contemporary Art Museum, Budapest; and Emese was the director of the Budapest branch of Knoll Gallery, Vienna. And we all draw similar consequences from our different activities, namely something is missing in the art scene: attention to a living dialogue.

In 2000/2001 the artist group _Kisvarso_ started discussions in their studio, called _Artwork of the Week_. It turned out a huge success, every second week Wednesday evenings 40-50 people discussed one particular artwork. There were other signs that talks, discussions became important, like a new underground movement. The institutions are clumsy, disoriented, or politically manipulated, and, of course, under financed-in the worst case all at the same time. There is no active art criticism; the visual arts are presenting a sort of a blind spot for the general audience. The professional audience suffers in a sort of an attention deficit disorder, there is no systematical critical activity, most of the art history of the last 50, 60 years remains undiscovered. In this aspect the situation did not change in comparison to the eighties in Hungary: contemporary visual art is not part of the intellectual discourse. Meanwhile cultural activity is remarkably strong and colorful. It is a strange contradiction in a country, where the literary scene is rich and professional.

NC: I have been very impressed by the spontaneous events you organize. Can you describe these activities and your aims?

JS: Between October 19. and March 22. we organized every Friday from 7 to 10 PM one-night exhibitions, all together 30. Originally we planned other sites as well, but since we had a cold winter the venue was my studio, where I have heating. My studio is rather small, the exhibition area is about 30 sqm, but it is in a good location: on the ground floor in a backyard in the center of the city. We exhibited artworks/artistic
strategies which we liked and considered important to think about. I call it _attention recycling_. We showed a broad range of artists from well known painters to Estonian videos, from cartoon artist to the black books of graffiti artists, etc. So, there was always an interesting small show, and with such a background most of the discussions centered on art. And we made another important decision, that instead of the low quality, so called gallery wine, we tried to offer some better wine, this was our main investment. We organized chairs too, so people could just sit and hang out. I consider the whole thing rather paradigmatic, as the role of art is changing the _real life_ aspect of art becomes important.

NC: Please tell me about your audience

JS: We deliberately didn't want to reach masses, we were curious to see if the _mouth propaganda_ works. We sent out only e-mails, which is a very low key solution in the competitive "invitation-card" world. We attracted about 40 regulars, mainly artists and curators. Soon the whole thing developed into an informal weekly meeting point for them, for us. There were several projects, initiatives starting from a discussion at the studio to a small show in the Budapest Ludwig Museum/Contemporary Art Museum, curated by Dora Hegyi; and an online newsletter (editor Katalin Timar).

NC: You are a practicing artist. Can you tell me about your work in more detail?

JS: I am in-between smaller and larger shows, and yet uncertain projects. I just had a gallery show in Rome (CafÈ Europe, Center for Contemporary Art). The video I made in the last year (Typewriter of the Illiterate, DV 8Min) is purchased by the Frankfurt Museum of Modern Art. This video will be shown in an itinerary exhibition entitled "Without emergency exit", organized by MECAD of Barcelona. Now I am just looking for post production support of a nearly finished feature length film, Faust Again.

NC: What are your plans for the future?

JS: There will be a large exhibition called _Budapest Box_ in the Budapest Ludwig Museum/Contemporary Art Museum, curated by Dora Hegyi and Katalin Timar, and the theme is: Artists as Curators. The show tries to present all the artists initiated galleries, independent programs of the nineties. The KMKK will of course participate. And we plan to go further with the KMKK idea - maybe in other forms.

Nina Czegledy 10.02

Year01 Forum Index

Kuda Entrance

Kuda Interior

kmkk directors/founders:Suvecz Emese, Hegyi Dora, El Hassan Roza

kmkk show: Diana Kingsley, NYC exhibition in Sugar's studio
where many of the events were held
kmkk: Janos Sugar