Mining town, without a mine
Curator: Andrea Bordács With these photos, Szabolcs Barakonyi
represents the disintegration of the town through the portrayal of Tatabánya’s youths, the depiction of what seems a life without a future.
The children who were born when the Iron Curtain fell came of age this year. The red stars have been removed from public buildings east of the former Curtain, individuals have the right to start businesses or to elect public officials, have the freedom of speech. The industrial towns established during communism are now peculiar enclosures in Eastern Europe. In the fifties, people were attracted by the tens of thousands, by the hope of a secure future. Today’s youths wander aimlessly among the scenery of another world. In a broader sense, they are the citizens of the European Union, which offers them the freedom of the individual and the freedom of the market; in a strict sense, their native land is dotted with refuse dumps and rusting factories.
The face of the town has changed little since the 1950s, strange statues stand among grey housing developments, defunct industrial devices lie among the trees, the miners’ band still gives concerts on holidays. The teenagers who live here are already imbued with western culture, yet their heritage is the hopelessness of communism. There are no job prospects, there is nowhere to go after school.
A blunder of history has left hundreds of thousands people with dysfunctional cities in Eastern and Central Europe. The life of young people in these places is both moving and grotesque. It is heartbreaking to see these trapped fates, and to remember how much depends on where one came to see the light. And for outsiders, it might seem absurd that these kids, who subscribe to western fashion and values, try to pursue normal lives amidst the rotting sets of a political system that denied freedom and reason.
27 June from 6 pm to 9 pm
29 April 2008., 18pmopening speech by:
Peter Magyari, journalist