Towards Shared Futures – Participatory Conference

The project ‘From Complicated Past Towards Shared Futures’ is a collaboration between the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art in Riga, the National Gallery of Art in Vilnius (Lithuanian National Museum of Art), OFF-Biennále in Budapest, Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz, and Malmö Art Museum. The aim of the project is to support the formulation, processing and interpretation of certain socially difficult, conflictual themes and to provide access to cultural products for groups and individuals who do not necessarily have the opportunity to do so.

In the framework of the project, OFF-Biennale Budapest, realizeda practice-based meeting among professionals to meet, speak and think together on the topics raised by the project and to learn with and from each other.

The participatory conference Towards Shared Futures aims to create a meeting space, a platform for art mediators, curators, artists, educators and youth workers aiming to reach and work with vulnerable communities (with a special focus to minorities) using various tools that contemporary art projects offer. Our goal is to create a better understanding of challenges, goals and errors and to work towards more open and inclusive art mediation and museum practices.

The event consist of four panels and some intermediate programmes, inviting practitioners working with and for underprivileged communities in different ways, most of them including the tool of art mediation.The aim of the international collaboration ‘From Complicated Pasts Towards Shared Futures’ is to support the formulation, processing and interpretation of certain socially difficult, conflictual themes and to provide access to cultural products for groups and individuals who do not necessarily have the opportunity to do so. Our goal is to create a better understanding of the challenges, goals and errors and to work towards more open and inclusive art mediation and museum practices.


The event will consist of four panels and some intermediate programmes, inviting practitioners working with and for underprivileged communities in different ways, most of them including the tool of art mediation.


The program  is supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.


Venue: Kesztyűgyár, Budapest, Mátyás tér 15, 1084

Dates: November 24-25.



November 24. (Thursday)

9:30-10:00 Check-in and coffee

10:00-10:30 Opening by Elza Medne (Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art), Hajnalka Somogyi and Nikolett Erőss (OFF-Biennále) and Fanny Hajdú

10:30 Melinda Vajda: Reflections on contemporary Roma identity

11:00-13:30 Play&Talk | workshop-lectures and Q&A

Participation-based workshops including a short presentation on the context they were created for. This part invites artists and practitioners who created art mediation sessions for specific exhibitions or art works using out-of-the-box tools and methodologies aiming to address vulnerable communities and people outside of the general audiences of the arts. For this panel several art mediation sessions of the former OFF-Biennále will be introduced. In the end of the panel a round-table will be mediated with the facilitators in order to discuss how successful their outreach was, what challenges and errors they encountered and what are their questions, doubts or ideas to overcome those.

11:00-11:30 Eglė Mikalajūnė: “A Colleague from another Tribe. Artist Meets Entrepreneur”

11:30-12:00 Csilla File & András Cseh: Together with Bees and the Offline Reserve 

12:00-12:15 Virág Lődi: RomaMoma

12:15-12:30 Māra Žeikare: Challenges and benefits developing inclusive art mediation programmes. Project “Agents of Change: Mediating Minorities” and exhibition “Dairy Diaries” about dementia

12:30-13:00 Árpád Bayer: Open History – drama and role-play in the museum

13:00-13:30 Q&A with the section’s speakers

13:30-14:30 Lunch

14:30-16:30 Break the Wall | workshop-lectures and Q&A

Talks and Q&A with guests working with the targeted communities as social and youth workers, educators or in other positions. The aim of this session is to get to know the perspective of those working with specific vulnerable communities on a longer term, not necessarily with artistic tools. Our guests will speak about their experience on how they work together with their groups and how arts and external mediators could be introduced into these contexts. Our goal is to create a conversation and discuss goals, mistakes and possible solutions together.

14:30-15:00 Máté Lencse:  Board game pedagogy at Toldi Tanoda and beyond  

15:00-15:30 Panni Végh, Olga Irimiás, Péter Klausz: Artemisszió and Mira – Intercultural and artistic practices as tools of social integration 

15:30-16:00 Éva Preszl: Self-Knowledge Filmmaking Workshop with underprivileged youth 

16:00-16:30 Zita Csőke: Kesztyűgyár Community House – At home in Józsefváros   

17:00-19:00 Interactive Roma led walk by UCCU


November 25. (Friday)

9:30-10:00 Check-in and coffee

10:00-11:30 Creating (in) Community | workshop-lectures and Q&A

A session of sharing case studies from artists and educators working with communities with the tools of art – all sorts of! From music to movement, live-action role play and performing arts, we invite practitioners of diverse methodologies they use to co-create with the people they work with. The case studies will shortly present the chosen methods, processes, target groups, obstacles and outputs of the speakers. The session will end with a world café format try-out of the mentioned tools and methodologies, facilitated by the speakers of the panel. Participants of the conference will be able to try out different co-creation processes in a small scale, to have a direct personal experience of the tools and impacts of what has been presented before.

10:00-10:30 Éva Bubla: The scent of common creation

10:30-10:50 Eglė Nedzinskaitė: “Where Are the People?” – When teenagers become  curators, architects, designers and marketing strategists of the exhibition.

10:50-11:10 Dalma Tokai: Common Vibe – Music is for everyone

11:10-11:45 Bálint Márk Túri: Creating Parallel Worlds 

11:30-13:30 Two Brain’s More Than One | collective brainstorming

In the last and most participation-based part of the conference, we will create diverse groups, each of which will include participants of the conference, and speaker-facilitators from all of the above sessions. The groups will gather their experiences and thoughts of the previously learnt methods and learnings and together come up with a smart goal and an action plan to implement their new ideas and knowledge into their practice. The aim of this session is not to create a specific mediation activity, but to open up different perspectives, share ideas and inspire each other to use new ways to reach our audiences.

13:30-14:30 Lunch

14:30-15:00 Sharings and learnings of the previous session

15:00-15:30 Closing

16:00  Women in Power – We will not remain invisible / Guided tour of the exhibition. at Kesztyűgyár Gallery


The goal of the Women in Power group is to help women with disabilities to strengthen their female identity, express and show themselves, connect with each other and others, and break out of invisibility by organizing events and art projects.



The event is supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.


Statement by OFF-Biennale Budapest, a documenta fifteen participant and lumbung member

Budapest, August 15, 2022


OFF-Biennale Budapest participates in documenta fifteen in Kassel with two exhibition projects and a publication. One of them, a long-term collaborative project with the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC), showcases artworks in relation to the idea, question, and (im)possibilities of a “RomaMoMA” (Roma Museum of Contemporary Art). OFF-Biennale’s second contribution plays out in close proximity to the Fulda River as a space that oscillates between the concepts of playground, junkyard, and construction site—places of creativity, transgression, refuse, and regeneration. OFF-Biennale’s projects are accompanied by a publication that examines the many aspects of the notion of “independence” as well as the power of collectivity. It is realized by the editorial platform On the Same Page that was initiated as an experimental publication method under the umbrella of OFF-Biennale Budapest, involving the participants and organizers of its 2021 edition.


Documenta fifteen, a large-scale contemporary art event since 1955, takes place in Kassel every five years. Each edition is conceptualized by an invited curator. For doucmenta’s 15th edition the Jakarta-based artist collective ruangrupa was invited to propose the program and the participants. Ruangrupa in documenta fifteen de-centralized organizational and decision-making processes and put in its focus collective practices. 


Since January 10, 2022, accusations of anti-Semitism against documenta fifteen were made on the basis of a German blog post: documenta fifteen participants were singled out due to their backgrounds or (alleged) BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement) affiliations. The accusations against anti-Semitism were picked up by the media in Germany, in part without  critically examining the sources, which has escalated into (cultural) political debates and racist attacks against Palestinian, pro-Palestinian, Black and Muslim participants, as well as into transphobic attacks against documenta fifteen participants—these events, however, were hardly (if ever) mentioned by the media. 

The ensuing months resulted in a constant dialogue between documenta gGmbh (the institutional body behind documenta), federal and state-level governmental bodies, external advisors, ruangrupa, the Artistic Team, as well as the lumbung members to find solutions for tackling the situation. However, the planned public debate (the series “We Need to Talk”) had to be cancelled. Furthermore, in May, one of the documenta fifteen venues in Kassel was broken into and defaced with what can only be interpreted as a death threat, spurring more debate in Germany as to where the boundaries between hate speech and artistic freedom of expression are.

The debate around documenta fifteen has shifted into a new gear after the unveiling of the work People’s Justice by Indonesian art group Taring Padi, which commemorates the victims of Indonesia’s long and brutal dictatorship under former General Suharto (1967–1998). The work, which features many exaggerated satirical characters, was made in 2002. One of the caricatures, a member of the Mossad, Israel’s secret service, is depicted as a pig. Another figure with fangs and blood-red eyes appears to be an Orthodox Jewish man wearing a black hat with “SS,” the acronym for the Nazi Schutzstaffel. The discovery of these characters within the work erupted into a massive controversy on June 21, just days after the official opening on June 18. The artwork was covered up first, “[as] a monument of mourning for the impossibility of dialogue at this moment,” Taring Padi said in their apology for the controversy the work has caused, stating “It is not meant to be related in any way to antisemitism,”. They said that they often depict soldiers as animals as a criticism of capitalism and military violence. “We are saddened that details in this banner are understood differently from its original purpose. We apologize for the hurt caused in this context,” they added. This monument, we hope, will be the starting point for a new dialogue.” The apology and covering up did not prove enough, and some in Germany called for the group and organizers to be prosecuted. Taring Padi eventually dismantled People’s Justice from documenta fifteen. 

Since then, the debate has entered the field of federal politics: on July 7, the Bundestag addressed the controversy around documenta and the question of the limits of “artistic freedom,” also in relation to other much-debated cultural events and institutions in Germany (Goethe Institut, Haus der Kulturen der Welt), and connected these to the long-standing debate about the German position towards the state of Israel (more on this debate you can read here). Although the parliamentary discussion did not result in any form of resolution, the restructuring of documenta, and a stronger control over its artistic content was envisioned and agreed upon. On July 16, documenta announced that documenta gGmbH CEO Sabine Schormann resigned.  A new interim director, Alexander Farenholtz has been appointed as the documenta gGmbH CEO. 

Also on July 16, a statement by the supervisory board of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH made recommendations to the shareholders of documenta to “enter a process of consultation with scholars from the fields of contemporary antisemitism, German and global contexts, postcolonial studies and the arts.” This recommendation was against the opinion of ruangrupa and the artistic team, nor did the supervisory board consult the participating artists. In response, the artists, ruangrupa, and the artistic team of documenta fifteen sent a letter on July 18 to the members of the documenta supervisory board to refuse this recommendation and to take a stand against censorship, detailing also some of the attacks that created a climate of hostility and racism towards the artists. On August 1, in a statement by the shareholders of documenta a scientific advisory panel was introduced: “The scientific analysis of those works of art at documenta fifteen, that have been hinted to use antisemitic imagery or language, is to be carried out while the exhibition is still running.” The shareholders’ statement also referenced an imagery in the project by lumbung artist collective Archives des luttes des femmes en Algérie, which the group defended in their own statement on August 10

(Summary partly based on the summary of artnet).



OFF-Biennale Budapest, as part of lumbung interlokal and participant of documenta fifteen, stands by the lumbung values, such as inclusivity, collectivity, and knowledge sharing. Following this, we stand with ruangrupa, the Artistic Team, and the entire lumbung community, too, notwithstanding the acknowledgment and regret that Taring Padi’s exhibited banner caused pain—which, we believe, is the result of contextual differences rather than actual antisemitic sentiments. Together with the lumbung community, we believe in the dialogue between different contexts, between different understandings, between different cultures; we condemn antisemitism, all forms of discrimination and hatred, and we also stand for artistic freedom.




Letter by runagrupa, May 7

Artists’ Statement in Support of ruangrupa, June 2


PETITIONS IN SUPPORT OF RUANGRUPA AND DOCUMENTA FIFTEENützung-der-documenta-fifteen-in-support-of-documenta-fifteen




New York Times




Learning and Unlearning with Taring Padi: Reflections on Documenta




Jakarta Post







Harassment faced by lumbung artist Party Office


“Antisemitism in the Arts” discussion


Speech by Ade Darmawan from ruangrupa at the Bundestag:


Hito Steyerl withdraws from documenta fifteen

documenta CEO, Sabine Schormann resigns


Alexander Farenholtz appointed new interim director of documenta gGmbH

documenta fifteen


The work of the Albanian artist Sead KAZANXHIU has been uploaded on the wall Fridericianum in Kassel.

The huge nest installations serve as metaphors for those who have talked about cultures marginalized on the fringes of our society.

Németh Ilona: Úszó kertek

Ilona Németh: Floating Gardens

The new Kassel version of Ilona Németh’s Floating Gardens (2011) project is based on the concept of the Healing and Future Gardens floating on the Fulda River and is presented as part of the What Ifs and Why Nots project.

With the call published in the documenta fifteen’s newsletter, we are waiting for applications from those who take care of the gardens for 100 days during the documenta.

Ilona Németh is an artist, organizer, and curator based in Slovakia. lumbung member OFF-Biennale Budapest invited her to participate in documenta fifteen. Németh’s artistic contribution The Floating Gardens revolves around her main interests: active interaction between a work and its viewers, and the dialogue between nature and society.

Two floating objects from polypropylene serve as islands for the two gardens, which are 3.5 by 4.5 meters in size each. They float on the Fulda River at Bootsverleih Ahoi from Wednesday, June 15 until Sunday, September 30, 2022. Németh created the first version of the floating gardens in 2011 in Hungary, Budapest, applying two remarkable examples from the history of garden design: the French and the English style.

The floating gardens are available to rent for free!

For documenta fifteen Németh reuses the floating objects from 2011 and transforms them into the Future Garden and the Healing Garden. In The Future Garden grow plants that clean the soil of certain toxic substances and plants that have adapted to the recent weather changes caused by climate change. The Healing Garden consists of herbs and vegetables which benefit from each other’s company. Each garden needs another kind of care, because the plants are different and the rules of their coexistence are not identical either. Each garden is an ecosystem. Its maintenance requires cooperation between the carer and the cared for.

The two small gardens (the Future Garden and the Healing Garden) on the Fulda River at Bootsverleih Ahoi in Kassel are to rent for free from Wednesday, June 15 until Sunday, September 30, 2022.

The gardeners take care of the floating gardens during documenta fifteen by keeping the plants, the shapes, and the concepts of the gardens while enjoying the benefits of having and maintaining these particular garden-islands.


Documenta fifteen

Péli Tamás: Születés

Tamás Péli: Birth

Tamás Péli’s painting Birth was first shown to the public last summer at the Budapest History Museum in the frame of the third OFF-BIennale Budapest. Thanks to the dedicated work of many people, the painting’s story continues – and now it’s about to get a real big launch! The painting has arrived in Kassel as one of the highlights of documenta fifteen! The Fridericianum, the first museum building at the European continent will host the painting from now on!

Most Influential Hungarian Women in 2011 – Forbes list

We are proud to announce that after being featured on Art Review’s prominent ‘Power 100’ list, as founder and co-curator of OFF Biennale, Hajnalka Somogyi has been included in the Forbes 2021 list of the ‘Most Influential Hungarian Women’. As the project leader of Central Europe’s largest independent art event, Hajni is one of the well-known figures of culture who have been selected to be part of documenta’s responsible team for its 15th edition in the summer of 2022.

Read the whole article here 

Cover: Elle Hungary/Ajkai Dávid, 2021

Documenta Fifteen: Off-Biennále

There is no exhibition of contemporary art more important than documenta, which is recognised globally as the world’s most prestigious cultural event. The internationally renowned event is held every five years in Kassel, Germany. The recently announced fifteenth documenta in 2022 will include OFF Biennale Budapest among its participants. This year, Ruangrupa – a Jakarta-based artist collective founded in the early 2000s – is responsible for the curatorial concept of the world art exhibition.

Read the whole article here

Documenta fifteen 

Cover: ruangrupa: lumbung members handlettering image: Indra Ameng, 2020