The exhibition is the next stop of a travelling-group exhibition and event program called ‘A Whale of a Bad Time’, organized by a curatorial team formed by six Hungarian artists, curators, and theoreticians. The main theme of the project is the regional (East-Central European) perception of the era between the late 1980s and the early 2000s.
In 1989, Fukuyama was already hoping that the ideological confrontations would end with the regime changes. In his view, the system of liberal democracy has triumphed forever. We now know that this is perhaps a not-so-easy process. With regard to the former Socialist Region, Stephen Holmes and Martin Müller point out that “The spread of consumerism in the former Eastern Bloc turned attention away from high politics.” Right after the regime changed, the symbolic gesture of participation in the Western individual freedom and lifestyle manifested itself in the acquisition of its products. According to Boris Buden, the end of postcommunism means the end of an illusion: the end of the illusion of Western prosperity in the former socialist region.
But in the past decade, not only have the illusions of the society of a region begun to disappear, but on the global level, faith in the future also seems to be lost.
To quote Svetlana Boym, nostalgic retrospect is not merely an individual state but a symptom of our time, a pandemic that seems to be intensifying with modernity. The person or persons experiencing nostalgia transform history into private and collective mythology, by which time becomes a space that can be traversed again. We have a responsibility. We need to distinguish between actual and, over time, changed and colored by emotional “lost home” memories that we long for.
The backward objects of socialism carry the warning remnants of an unfulfilled utopian vision, while the objects of the 1990s evoke a common memory of an over-optimistic vision in a global context.
The A Whale of a Bad Time/ Spinning the Sticky Threads of Childhood Memories: From Cold War to Anthropocene exhibition creates a traversable 1990s era of childhood space in the Gábor Sillye Cultural House in Hajdúböszörmény as part of the Spinning the Sticky Threads of Childhood Memories: From Cold War to Anthropocene conference. Through the works, participating artists examine their own past for both the local and global present (Consumption, sustainability, local endowments) while playfully pointing out the hopes and needs for more ethical and sustainable practice, as well as more democratic norms, both for their own sake and for the common good of global society