NEWS MEDLEY: Online premiere, artist talk and lecture

Related Event

14.11 6:00 pm

online event

Participating artists: Alicja Rogalska

Participating curators: Katalin Erdődi

Saturday 14 November 2020, 6pm CET / 5pm UK

NEWS MEDLEY online premiere!

The video work will be available for public viewing on Saturday 14 November, from 8AM to 12PM on the OFF-Biennale website and Facebook page.

The OFF-Biennale Budapest presents:

18.00 Online premiere: HÍRDALCSOKOR (NEWS MEDLEY), a new video work by Alicja Rogalska, with Katalin Erdődi, Réka Annus and the Women’s Choir of Kartal

18.10 Artist talk: Nikolett Erőss (OFF Biennale) in conversation with the artistic team and members of the choir

19.00 Lecture: Stages of Solidarity. Building, Working, and Meeting in Central Europe's Villages Since Late Socialism, by Tomasz Rakowski, anthropologist (Warsaw), followed by a Q&A

The links to the Zoom-meeting and the Youtube-stream will be shared on the OFF Biennale website and in the Facebook event on 14 November, the day of the event. 

In English

From 6PM, via Zoom: join the online talk with the artistic team and members of the choir, followed by a lecture and Q&A with Polish anthropologist Tomasz Rakowski: (Meeting ID: 970 2559 5722) or follow the live stream on Facebook atále-Budapest

“We are not made of sugar, we are from concrete.” (Women’s Choir of Kartal)

Shortly before the first wave of lockdowns in March 2020, London-based Polish visual artist Alicja Rogalska, curator Katalin Erdődi and folk singer Réka Annus collaborated with the Women’s Choir of Kartal, a village near Budapest in eastern Hungary, to create NEWS MEDLEY as part of the OFF Biennale.

Inspired by the rich tradition of folk culture, in particular folk singing in Hungary, NEWS MEDLEY talks about life in the countryside, as experienced by different generations of women. It recounts changes in political systems and lifestyles, and the hard-working realities of everyday life, commented on with humour and sharp wit by the choir members. A medley of five songs was chosen from the choir’s repertoire and collectively re-written, bringing together personal stories with collective concerns about community life and the future of the village.

NEWS MEDLEY combines traditional local melodies with contemporary lyrics: it resists the tendency to regard folk songs as fossilised cultural heritage and instead re-introduces the vernacular practice of revising and re-writing songs to talk about the pressing issues and emotions of the current moment.

In times of polemic changes in the Hungarian media landscape and increasingly centralized information politics, NEWS MEDLEY experiments with folk songs as a form of grassroots “community broadcasting”, amplifying a heterogeneity of voices, while also asking what qualifies as news nowadays, which topics warrant media attention, especially with the rise of clickbait journalism.

We are excited to share with you the video work of the new medley shot during a two-day workshop in Kartal, in different locations around the village. In addition to the video work, the artistic collaboration includes an exhibition, performances in public space and a publication that will be presented at OFF Biennale in 2021.

Following the online premiere and a conversation with the artistic team, we have invited the anthropologist Tomasz Rakowski, currently a visiting fellow at the IWM (Institute for Human Sciences) in Vienna, to talk about his on-going research of rural society in the context of postsocialist transformations, and his work on experimental methodologies in anthropology, often involving fieldwork done in collaboration with artists and cultural animators, who initiate manifold dialogues with local communities. He will also reflect on Alicja Rogalska’s 2011 work Broniów Song in Southern Masovia in Poland, which has been an important source of inspiration and point of departure for NEWS MEDLEY.


Artist: Alicja Rogalska

Curator, artistic collaborator: Katalin Erdődi

Folk music advisor, artistic collaborator: Réka Annus

In collaboration with: Kartal Women’s Choir / Erzsébet Lapu Istvánné Balatoni, Piroska Sápi Tiborné Bereczki, Margit Lados Mihályné Deák, Bernadett Kozjár, Mária Bangó Pálné Kozjár, Annamária Radics, Mária Homok Lászlóné Sebők, Piroska Kollár Serfőzőné, Éva Tóth Józsefné Szelei, Erzsébet Velikovszki Istvánné Szőke, Veronika Varga, Zsanett Zsigri / Choir leader: Domonkos Volter

Camera, editing and post-production: Árpád Horváth

Additional camera: Nándor Hevesi

Sound: István Perger

Sound mixing: Martin Clarke

Further collaborators: Noémi Barkóczi (lyrics consultant), Zsuzsanna Geréb (translator), Margit Deák Józsefné Varga (Kartal Cultural Center)

Special thanks: Péter Cseh-Szombathy, Ádám Halász, Ruthie Jenrbekova, Kornél Kozjár, Alicja Latkowska, Levente Polyák

A co-production of OFF Biennale Budapest and Art at Work Association, Vienna.

With the kind support of: Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Austrian Cultural Forum Budapest