The "ARC" of Civil in Budapest
by Anna Rozgonyi
October 2nd 2017
October 2nd 2017
One day, at the beginning of my last year in grammar school, I hurried to the classroom I had the next lesson. While I was walking on the corridor, I caught a line from a conversation between two girls.
“Did you see the ARC exhibition?” I thought, “I have never been to that exhibit I have just seen some pictures about it on Instagram, where my schoolmates posted photos.”When I arrived home, my mother asked me “Do you want to visit the ARC exhibition?”. As it seemed, fortune wanted me to go and see it with my own eyes.
However, what is ARC? It is an outdoor poster gallery, which is organised in every year at Ötvenhatosok tere, next to Heroes’ Square in the middle of September -, September 8th-24th this year. Small billboards focused on a pre-determined theme are scattered throughout the square, pieces created by various media, political, charity, and other organisations, such as Amnesty International, Magyar Vakok és Gyengénlátók Országos Szövetsége. Individuals can also register with their work.
This year the word “Civil” was the main topic, and the artists had to present this in anyway desired through their works. I did not mention it, but it is rather a platform which criticizes the Hungarian political system. I have seen teenagers at this exhibition, whose goal was taking the best photos in front of interesting or ostentatious billboards that they then posted on their Instagram profiles. However, I think that if someone goes to see this programme, they need a certain level of maturity. It is thus no wonder I have never visited it before.
I am just 19 years old, and I think I have just become mature enough to understand ironic and critical humor about our political or educational systems. If I went two or three years ago, I would probably have posed in front of a placard which shows pigs dressed in suits, referring to the political system, and I would not have even cared about what the billboard represented.
But today, I can smile while watching these sarcastic pictures, and think “Oh my god, it is so true, and deplorable.” To think this, I had to have experienced the operation of the educational system, and I had to read lots of articles related to politics.
This exhibition targets every age group of adults, but it has become especially popular among young adults. Probably it is because we can see texts, lines, and pictures which are essentially all about us: the problems we alone have, how we have to fight to manage our further education, the way we think, and what we think about everything.
I think the placards were very expressive and funny in their own ironic ways and were full of creativity. I loved all of them, but I do have my favorites, like the billboard with the headline: “If you have opinion, write it down, draw or stick it on the board!” I could not even write on the board, because it was so full with words, drawings, and opinions.
My other favorite was the board by Amnesty International. A woman can be seen with the line “Activist,” but If I went to right side of the board, I saw a different line, with a different picture, which represented a dark figure as a “Criminal” It was fantastic! Different views were created on one placard, which is a very real issue today about immigrants in Hungary and throughout Europe.
There were every kind of people from different age groups at the exhibit. I saw young adults, like me, teenagers, middle-aged men and women, and elderly people as well. This programme reached an incredibly wide audience, and it was very successful this year too.
I am very delighted that I visited the 2017 ARC”exhibition. This show communicated something meaningful, and I am pleased I could understand it. I could smile on the sour jokes, and there were some boards which I could definitely relate to. It was fun walking around and pondering the theme while my mum and my sister were also wandering in the crowd. They were taking photos and looking at the boards carefully, just as I was doing, while the city bustled away.