Suzanne Treister
Research and development

view office

Proposition for audio intervention in Szoborpark Muzeum, Budapest, Hungary
On July 7th 2001 I made a research trip to the Communist Statue Park Museum (SZOBORPARK MUZEUM) in Budapest with ICOLS members, Janos Sugar and Richard Grayson. We were also accompanied by Janos' wife Agi.

view of entrance to the park from within
- kiosk is in the centre

At the entrance to the park is a ticket office which doubles as a souvenir kiosk where one can buy memorabilia from the Communist period; plaster busts of Lenin, books, pamphlets, post cards, hip flasks, badges, medals, pins, stamps, first day covers, toy cars, embroidered flags, banners and cds.

Souvenir kiosk and ticket counter

For sale were two compilation cds of Communist songs which the saleswoman took it in turns to play. The sound was amplified through a single old speaker situated externally on the kiosk counter. The speaker looked like an old 1930s radio and maybe it was, but the sound seemed to be coming from it and I had seen the woman put on a cd inside the kiosk so maybe it had been customised.
The sound quality was tinny and low volume, but in the intended nature of the music, also uplifting. It set the mood for visitors to the park, the romantic nostlagia we share for past struggles in adversity, for some the memory of personal deprivation as a result of the effects of Communism, for others maybe more confused feelings. For both 'Easterners' and 'Westerners' the loss of an alternative fantasy, sometimes mingled with fear, the lost curious love affair with those behind the 'iron curtain'. I think we all experienced a momentary frisson, ghostly visions of lost dreams, the loss of high ideals, contrasted against the bland sadness and impotence of the globalised corporate present.
Signs of tears formed in Agi's eyes as she sang along to the music.

For those not born under the Communist regime, but whose families were displaced totally or partially as a result of it, the feelings are conflicted, contradictory, unresolvable. Unreasonable and unacceptable even. Over the years many of these people have written about these issues but some have tried to express their relationship to the situation, sometimes using humour as a means of diffusing the conflicts, through music. These songs are and have been played in the West, often only to an audience of friends.
My proposition is to play a selection of these songs in the East, temporarily, in the place of the original Communist songs, on the sound system of the kiosk at the entrance to the Szoborpark. This will be a kind of locational and cultural reversal of the lost love affair, after the event.

To be played on the Szoborpark kiosk's sound system every day for one hour for a period of one month, a cd with the songs;

1. 'Lenin's in Heaven' Ihor Holubizky 1992

2. 'Knocking on Lenin's Door' Rosalind Brodsky and the Satellites of Lvov 2046

3. 'The Communist Manifesto' Rosalind Brodsky and the Satellites of Lvov 1999

4. 'The Two of Us' Rosalind Brodsky and the Satellites of Lvov 2044

5. 'Satellite of Lvov' Rosalind Brodsky and the Satellites of Lvov 2025

... + further tracks to be produced by Bronia Iwanczak, Marek Kohn and others.

NB. Some of the communist statues in Szoborpark are of local Hungarian heroes and figures. The displacement of this project from Moscow or St Petersburg is a result of chance. This was the place I visited, but I would not want to offend anyone by proposing this project in a place where there are so many personal and local histories as well as the history of the USSR.