Title: Hacking the history in Budapest: public monuments as forms of an alternative messaging system

Authors: Júlia Székely

Addresses: Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Central European University, Zrínyi u. 14., 1051, Budapest, Hungary

Abstract: The paper aims to elaborate the question of how certain existing public monuments become surfaces of other artistic and non-artistic expressions. The very basic manifestation of these interventions is the 'usage' of public statues as spots of official and spontaneous celebration on the one hand, and their functionality as tourist sights on the other. Yet, the focus is on more rebellious examples: the paper analyses numerous actions that took place after the 1989 regime change and which radically reread particular monuments and memories. Through enumerating specific cases, the paper will show a segment of alternative visions concerning Hungarian memory politics: these, generally, private initiatives criticise official memory narratives and challenge top-down definitions of heritage. Since the argument is that these temporal projects, reaching deeply into the structure of the particular public works of art, are part of a Hungarian legacy, this investigation is also directed towards their preservation.

Keywords: Hungary; Budapest; regime change; memory politics; cultural heritage; public statues; strategies; tactics; public art; vandalism; history; public monuments; alternative messaging systems; alternative visions; official celebration; spontaneous celebration; rebellion; tourist sights; heritage preservation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2013.058624

International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2013 Vol.3 No.2, pp.184 - 199

Received: 05 Nov 2012
Accepted: 02 Sep 2013

Published online: 12 Jul 2014 *

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