Pasztor, Erika Katalina | media artist
Budapest, Hungary
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New media lab in Budapest, May 2007

The formal major patron (Hungarian Telecom) of the C3 decided to support a new type of business-wise institution incubating 13 delicate, accurately chosen young talents recruited from technical and art schools having innovative visions and projects to work together in a digital kitchen. They are supposed to cook the next generation of services, interfaces, games or whatsoever. The principal goal of the Kitchen Budapest is to create 'something' (project proposals will be public soon on the website) for the growing community of urban nomads using mobile technologies to live, to make business or being entertained. The Kitchen Budapest is supposed to be a collaborative working environment for young researchers to bring up new and interesting projects as soon as possible. The institution wants to emerge with excellent projects, interesting public programs like exhibitions and lectures in front of the local and the international public. The concept emphasizes fast results, the rotation of the researchers and the possible business usage of the projects by creating spin offs with the help of the Telecom company, which has a buying preference for all business-wise prototypes developed in the Kitchen. The concept of the new institution is built up by a group of young and successful people like Robin Nagy manager from T-Online, Adam Somlai-Fischer designer from Aether, Peter Halacsy information technologist, Attila Nemes communication adviser and a formal art gallery manager Eszter Bircsak. The Kitchen Budapest will open during May 2007, but the application for the research scholarships is already open. Visit online >


ABACUS [Windows Media, wmv 267 KB]
media art installation concept by Toni Bodoczky, EK Pasztor and I. Vomberg (Dec, 2006)
>> download

Little remarks, few add-ons

The Hungarian telecommunication company, formerly known as Matav, through its privatization starting in 1993 and several business transitions in the latter years, as one of the largest private enterprise in Hungary belongs in particular to the T-COM network since 2005. The originally German (Deutsche) Telecom's East-European affiliates produces about the 10 percent of the multinational company's overall revenue, what was about EUR 24,7 billion in 2005. Just for your guidance, in the same year, Hungary's GDP was about EUR 87,8 billion.

A little bit than a decade ago, in 1996, the telecommunication company (Matav) was there at the foundation of the Centre for Culture and Communication (known as C3) too, together with the Soros Foundation, and the Silicon Graphics Hungary Inc. They were providing generous support for C3, a unique initiative in the whole Central European region at that time. Even though the institution name and basic admission did not suggested beforehand, the C3 became an internationally established new media art institution during its first three years existence under the leadership of the open-minded, energetic - Australian born, Hungarian origin –, young and extravagant Suzi Meszoly. She lead the institution with two strategic goals; one was to help, host and develop bottom-up socially sensitive local digital culture initiatives for minorities, socially disadvantaged groups (for example the C3 servers still hosts thousands of NGO's); while she tried to place the new institution on the international landscape of new media art by inviting world-wide known artists for residence programs ( Although C3 was released as a top-down institutional body, it acted as a bottom-up initiative stirring up our sleepy, a bit boring and formal cultural landscape.


C3 had a real hard time after 1999 when its main supporters left, when George Soros decided to leave the whole dynamically changing landscape of the Central European contemporary art world without his aid. Since then the C3 operates as an independent foundation with several smaller contributors and plays minor but still important role in the local art world with the leadership of Miklos Peternak. According to its limited financial capacity, C3 recently focuses on multilateral collaborative projects executed by several institutions, like as an example, the grandiose 'Kempelen' exhibition which is presented right now in the Palace of Exhibitions, in Budapest. This show is a collaboration of more than 30 different institutions within the framework of Bipolar, the initiative of the German Cultural Foundation - 'Kulturstiftung des Bundes'.


A popular free e-mail service (having more than three million registered users today), the 'freemail' was developed originally in the C3 in 1996. In 1999, when the Soros Foundation withdrew its financial support from the C3, the 'freemail' service was incorporated by the other major patron's, by the local telecom company's portal service called Origo (now belonging to the T group). The service operation remained at the C3 providing some income for the foundation. Thus the initially community service 'freemail' turned to be a site with millions of page impressions and unique users per day, earning profit from the online advertisement market to its T owner. This process might be called as business incubator of online community services if C3 people would had known the meaning of this expression a decade ago. They might knew, but C3 was more busy with 'money spending' on art and culture than 'money earning' businesses, carrying out tremendous works - all somehow connected to digital media and representation - contributing to a 'better digital society' with less inequality and restrains.


Today focusing on digital art and culture seems to be an unsustainable method for a foundation on a long run, since no one wants to support such an activity any more with a fair amount of financial aid. Might our preferences changed? The grade of social sensitivity changed in the last decade a lot. Certainly, the research of how to make rapid success is in the focus of the business minds everywhere since we are in the 'second life' of the dotcom world's flight. Hopefully, every ten years new media technology provides new business rockets for the always current new-comers. But I still wonder what we are really cooking for the people in this digital kitchen for a long run?



April 10, 2007


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