WITH THEIR MOUTH THE SPIRITS SPEAKTáltos tradition and practices of resilience at the age of the ecological crises
SZÁJÁVAL SZÓLNAK A SZELLEMEK
Táltoshagyomány és reziliencia-gyakorlatok az ökológiai válság korában
Collaboration with Kata Dóra Kiss currently exhibited at ACLIM! Agency for Climate Imaginary @ OFF Biennale Budapest.
Kata Dóra Kiss has been working with feminist ecocriticism as well as new-materialist and queer theories for years. Gideon Horváth builds on similar theoretical foundations. Horváth has set to capture the sensual experience of the Anthropocene and the non-heteronormative depiction of nature. Much like hyphae weaving and interlinking in the depth of the earth, the approaches embodied in artistic practice, philosophical thinking, anthropological knowledge, and critical psychology meet in their collaboration. The supermetaphor of their work is Hungarian folklore’s well-known figure, the shaman (táltos), which is central in organising the multiple arborescent planes of their research.
The project is founded on the creative duo’s personal, albeit simultaneously a generational, experience. Burnout, dissolution of communities, individual isolation, experiencing identity-crises, and their backdrop, the ecological crises, are amongst the shared experiences of young adults. Horváth and Kiss search for modes to reduce the climate catastrophe-induced feelings of helplessness and climate anxiety through exercises that liberate the imagination. The duo uses the concept of resilience to this end. From a psychology standpoint, resilience refers to one’s ability to develop active and creative answers to trauma. While modern sciences emphasise the dismantling of emotion-based or intuitive knowledge, the yearning to do away with the magic-free world lives on in diffusing esoteric and neopagan movements. It has thus become quite common to search for various forms of transcendent experience.
For the creative duo, the shaman is the supermetaphor with which one can achieve transcendent states. However, they seek to liberate its figure from the romanticised and conservative interpretations that have weighed on it. Since, in practice, we have little concrete knowledge regarding the shaman’s role in Hungarian systems-of-belief. Its character – as imagined – is able to reconcile the contradictions of the present in a state of trance, operating on the boundaries of the visible and non-visible, human and non-human, science and pseudo-science. The shaman embodies the opportunity to create balance in the disrupted equilibrium between the individual and their environment.
Kiss and Horváth consciously choose not to present their research in the traditional framework. They attempt to depict an artistic and research-based approach that builds on the associative dialogue between multiple disciplines of science. Alongside their research material and Kiss’ study written for this occasion, one can view video interviews with Bence Horváth, journalist; Máté Csizmadia, eco-psychologist; and Ágnes Birtalan, orientalist, in the exhibition space. The installation plays with the sensual materials of beeswax and glass, conjures a transcendent state, which, according to the artists, can jolt the viewer to engage with new realms.
Video interview (Hungarian)