Conference: Visualizing the Nation (Budapest; 27-28 November 2015)

Budapest, ELTE BTK (Eötvös Loránd University – Faculty of Humanities) Faculty Council Hall, Ground Floor of Building “A”, Múzeum krt. 4/A
November 27 - 28, 2015
Visualizing the Nation. Post-Socialist ImagiNations

While nationalism was expected to vanish in the post-Cold War era, it has instead returned with a vengeance, empowered by a renewed vitality. The spectre of nationalism is haunting Europe, and not only in the former-Eastern bloc, but also in the more affluent countries, which have been impacted by the economic crisis and mass-migration. This conference, however, mainly focuses on the Eastern and Central European region after the fall of communism with consideration of and occasional comparison with cases from outside of the region.

It centres on the visual dimensions of nationalism, as nationalism is considered one of the most visual political currents. Yet conferences on nationalism, though abundant, hardly ever address this link. This one broadens the scope of interpretation, moving beyond an exploration of the political, sociological and philosophical aspects of the “imagined communities” of the present and focusing instead on the often overlooked but fundamental processes through which the nation is visualized.

Art and culture have always played a prominent role in the nation-building process, as nationalism inherently speaks the language of images and presents itself via a plethora of vivid pictures, symbols, myths, and performative rituals. Dreams, fantasy and imagination, projected on the past and future, contribute to this. Its building blocks are moments of history commemorated by monuments (and counter-monuments) and propagated by an institutional framework.

The four sections of the two-day conference are post-socialist nationalisms; nationalizing public space; on the margins of the nation; and historicizing the nation.


Friday, November 27th

9.30–10.00 Registration

10.00 Welcome words by József Sisa, Director, Institute of Art History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Franz Karl Prüller, Chairman of the Board, ERSTE Foundation

10.15 Edit András, Introductory remarks


Keynote speaker: Ekaterina Degot, Perverse Decolonization and Racist Europeanism: How Did We End Up Here?

Almira Ousmanova, Ghosts in the House: Politics, Art and Post-Soviet Soviet Hauntology

11.40–12.00 Coffee break

Yulia Khmelevskaya, Visualizing the “Usable Past” of War: Mobilizational Imaginationality and Public Creativity in Recent Celebrations of Big Anniversaries in Russia

Magdalena Moskalewicz, White Haitians – Black Poles: Polish National Identity via Halka/Haiti

12.45–13.30 Discussion Moderator: Georg Schöllhammer

13.30–15.00 Lunch break


Keynote speaker: Bojana Pejić, Monument Matters: National Narcissism, Memorial Mania and Feminist Resistance

József Mélyi, Memorial as Gift: Post-Soviet Export Strategies

Cristian Nae, A Nation’s Son: Alexandra Croitoru’s Subversive Memorialization of Constantin Brâncuși

16.25–16.45 Coffee break

Alina Şerban, Nation and the Imaginary: On the Work of Nicu Ilfoveanu. Series. Multiples. Realisms

Andrew Ryder, Aesthetics of Barriers: The Israeli Precedent

17.30–18.00 Discussion Moderator: Reuben Fowkes

Saturday, November 28th

9.30–10.00 Registration


Keynote speaker: Anikó Imre, Queer Euro-Visions

Zoltán Kékesi, Testifying Symbols: The Practice of an Anti-Semitic Image Cult

Andrea Pócsik, The Case of the Dános Murder and Robbery with the Evidence Contained in the Reconstructed Newsreels

11.25–11.45 Coffee break

Tímea Junghaus, The Maternal State – Imaginings of the Roma Diaspora

Veda Popovici & Ovidiu Pop, So Close, Still So Far. The Tension between Belonging to and Difference from Europe in Representing Migration in the Romanian Context

12.30–13.00 Discussion Moderator: Andrew Ryder

13.00–14.30 Lunch break


Keynote speaker: Sezgin Boynik, Nationalism without Limits: When Art Mistakes Nation for Culture

Izabela Kowalczyk, Tracing Polish Anti-Semitism with Contemporary Art

Colleen McQuillen, “Leader of the Bikers of All Rus’”: the Self-Stylizing of Russian Night Wolf A. Zaldostanov

15.55–16.15 Coffee break

Fedor Blaščák, The Czechoslovak Flag as an Artwork on the Dividing Line between the Czech State and National Symbols

Marina Gržinić & Jasmina Založnik, Nation-State, Capital, History

17.00–17.30 Discussion Moderator: Cristian Nae

17.30 Edit András, Closing remarks

Concept: Edit András, Institute of Art History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Organized by: Institute of Art History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Municipal Gallery – Kiscell Museum, Budapest History Museum; ERSTE Foundation

Organizing team: Edit András, Institute of Art History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Zsóka Leposa, Municipal Gallery – Kiscell Museum, Budapest HistoryMuseum
Enikő Róka, Municipal Gallery – Kiscell Museum, Budapest History Museum
Maria Derntl, ERSTE Foundation

Project manager: Flóra Gadó, doctoral student, ELTE

Proposals selected by: Members of the Research Group of Critical Theories of the Institute of Art History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest (led by Edit András and Hornyik Sándor), Edit András, Maja Fowkes, Reuben Fowkes, Sándor Hornyik, Katalin Timár, Hedvig Turai

The realization of the conference was supported by ERSTE Foundation.

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