Research-based socially engaged art project
Interactive exhibition and workshops

2018 — 2021

Diána Berecz, Gergely Papp, Éva Bubla, Barnabás Neogrády-Kiss, Dániel Bozzai

Diána Berecz

We reach home, turn the light and the heating on. We use hot water to take a shower and wash our clothes and dishes. We take such things for granted. But what about the ones who are not given access to these basic utilities and services in Hungary? How do these shortages shape their lives and perspectives? Focusing on a specific segregated setting, with the active involvement of local communities, project Everyday Shortcomings maps the existing living conditions resulting from the lack of public services and exposure to harmful environmental factors, and highlights the local responses to the given situation.

Inactivity, resignation, and apathy are common features of the dominant mainstream visual representation of communities living under such conditions. Very few would think how active and creative a person needs to become in order to cope with the situation. Countless individual and community-based daily practices are invented that necessarily but ingeniously adapt to often particularly challenging circumstances.

In these places, space and time exist in a different dimension. The concept of private and public spaces is transformed. The interior of a home is narrow and multifunctional, the kitchen is often also used as a bathroom, while the yard is already a communal space. In the absence of utilities, activities such as getting the firewood or other solid fuel for heating, fetching water from a public well, carrying it home, heating and using it, add several extra hours of housework to the life of a local family. In addition, maintaining living spaces built of poor quality materials is extremely time-consuming and costly: the walls keep getting wet and mouldy, require constant repainting, and pieces of furniture are quickly destroyed.

The exhibition at OFF-Biennále 2021 is part of the research and advocacy work that actively involves the local community in the last two years. It would like to draw attention to the systematic nature of housing and environmental problems that can be grasped through local practices developed to compensate public service deficiencies that affect various social classes unequally.