About the selection process for the position of Trafó’s managing director
The story has begun with the information that the city of Budapest planned to unite Trafó and Petőfi Csarnok. Subsequently it was planned that Trafó, the square behind the Műcsarnok – where a new museum-complex is planned to be –, and the Operett Teather should be given to the Ministry of National Resources as a subsidy for the Budapest Public Transport.
This would have been a part of a sort of exchange [between the City and the Government] for the financial support that Budapest Transport System [which belongs to the city] would receive [from the Goverment] but mainly because the city wants to get rid of the liabilities of financing contemporary culture. (Opposedly the German Bundestag decided to fund cultural policy also in crisis times by raising the cultural budget allocation by 50 million euros as an investment from the 38 million euros of the payments of previous fiscal year.)
Géza Szőcs, the Hungarian cultural sub-secretary snapped at the opportunity on the spot and declared his will in the Parliament in March for assigning the Trafó to Yvette Bozsik and Ivan Markó in order to provide a permanent stage for their dance companies.
The whole audience, the scene of the contemporary artists and the international general opinion (which knows Trafó well) was disgusted: it is unacceptable that the only Hungarian cultural institution (among those established after the political change in ’89) which works smoothly and successfully from every point of view, should not continue its activity.
And Bozsik and Markó got offended (as a very usual Hungarian reaction among artists) of the scene which started to debate.
Markó began an absurd and unworthy clash against the Revizor Online based on the injury of his reputation and he has been pointing out that he has remained a worldwide famous artist even if a simple journalist or someone else has a different opinion about that.
Bozsik retired from the public scene and stated that she did not have any plans with Trafó and „after these attacks, and in such circumstances, one no longer would ever like to have the position of Hungarian theatre director”.
But the referred circumstances must be very changeable because later on, beside György Szabó – the current director of Trafó – Yvette Bozsik also candidates for the same position. Her wish must be very strong indeed, considering her previous declarations. At this point it’s difficult to think that her assurance to be the winner is not a hidden bargain – the political tail-wind as one can judge by Géza Szőcs’s speech.
How come that an illustrious, Kossuth-prize winner artist, beloved by the audience, assumes to be stigmatized as a political servant?
Bozsik, in her very few statements after submitting her proposal, tries to confute the political contexts of her possible (s)election. As the public could experience in springtime and again in December, things publicly predicated by Bozsik and her staff in the context of Trafó, would happened completely in the opposite way.
At the conference Trafó – network connected [Trafó - hálózatba kötve], held in Ludwig Museum Blue Room last December, more experts, including me, discussed the artistic areas covered by Trafó in particular; Trafó’s very particular role in the Hungarian cultural life, the past management and possibilities in the future.
At the end of the program Béla Szemán, manager of Bozsik and the author of her proposal, sitting with public claimed that they would disclose the proposal only after the commission hearing.
Publishing the proposal of Yvette Bozsik could have been a significant gesture of theirs as this could have assure them a chance to easily verify that their proposal is based on professionalism and it makes no sense to look for any political intentions in the back.
This fact that Bozsik and Szemán did not keep their word and they did not disclose the proposal even if the participants of the conference kindly asked them to do so, confirmed the rumour that they had to talk with the political sphere instead of the professional and the public scene before the final decision would be made and announced.
György Szabó has published his proposal and has put that in discussion. Having read that it can be claimed that his proposal has a confident ground from the artistic, economic and organizational points of view. Szabó’s proposal puts emphasis on the network of the inland and international relationships.
Therefore if Szabó’s proposal would be chosen it puts Hungary on the map of international contemporary arts which is a fundamental need and factor of artist development.
It would have been fine to see the other approach because a plentiful debate would have only served the contemporary culture-networking based on forthrightness.
Instead of that only some bits of Bozsik’s concept published on szinhaz.hu can be known and we were learned that according to their plans Bozsik would be subsidized by Csaba Horváth who would be the prospective artistic manager of Trafó.
Both of their companies would work in Trafó as resident companies thus the intent of Géza Szőcs [the Hungarian cultural sub-secretary] „putting a roof above companies” is about to come true. But the question is still that if original concept of Trafó can bear that and whether it is really what contemporary culture which is not really abound in venues needs.
More than that, the appearance of Casaba Horvath’s name does not forecast any good anymore after his involvement in the reconstructed and scandalous Budapest Autumn Festival turned to Café Budapest (included in my article published in ÉS on the 14th of October, 2011).
After the selection process of Új Színház we have been put in another awkward situation where the decision has been made without asking the experts, or to be more exact: with an intention leaving the judgement of the professionals out and splitting them into two parties.
If we look at the political side of the story, the shifty and mendacious rate of virtue lying behind the allocation of positions is understandable but not acceptable. What is reprehensible is the will of the representatives of culture to enrol.
However there is an oppressive question left to be asked: whether can someone be the managing director of a cultural institution who acts contrary to her prior public statements?
Zoltán Végső, published in Élet és Irodalom [Life and Literature], 13th of January