Memo April 2004


A memo sent to correspondents, friends and acquaintances of the Budapest Observatory (BO) in April 2004

The number of recipients of monthly BO memos has gone above 1000, most of you genuine acquaintances. If not really, or not any longer, just send the magic word. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

Divided we conquer
For most of you (most of us) the 1st of May brings about unification. BO sphere of interest, however, undergoes division. The umpteen countries between the Baltic Sea and the Adria will be divided into members, accession and third countries - everything of course defined with regard to the EU. BO continues its work in the hope of cultural integration in the whole of Europe. Our means are nonetheless limited. Especially because we do not fight. We make observations.

In search of the eastern magnetic pole
Our compliment to one east-central European country in our March memo was a bit too quick. We found Polish organisations in the greatest number in the Culture 2000 projects between 2000-2003 that had operators from at least 4 eastern countries; we announced Poles to be the magnet.

Further analysis has revealed a more complete truth. This simple table reads as follows. There were Bulgarian operators in 40 projects; 9 times in projects with partners from at least 4 eastern countries; 9 is 22,5% of 40.

C2000 projects 2000-2003 BLG CZE EST HUN LAT LIT POL ROM SLK SLN All
Eastern involvements in projects 40 86 34 95 37 54 126 102 26 71 671
Involvement in projects with 4+ eastern countries 9 7 9 10 8 12 13 8 8 10 94
Involvement in 4+ as % of all 22,5 8,1 26,5 10,5 21,6 22,2 10,3 7,8 30,8 14,1

Slovaks appear to keep closest to eastern companions, since they have the highest percentage value; followed by Estonians. And the Poles? They keep almost as distant from east European cultural co-operation clusters as Czechs and Romanians.

Can you bear one more table? The logic is the same but the game gets more serious: only project leaders and co-organisers are included, so-called associate partners left out. Shows even stronger Slovakian attachment to the east. Poles? Indeed on top in absolute terms, but the percentage proves exactly the opposite to what we wrote in March.  

C2000 projects 2000-2003 BLG CZE EST HUN LAT LIT POL ROM SLK SLN All
Eastern involvements, without associates 18 39 18 45 14 18 50 34 16 32 284
Involvement in projects with 3+ eastern countries 4 6 3 5 4 3 5 4 6 5 45
Involvement in 3+ as % of all without associates 22,2 15,4 16,7 11,1 28,6 16,7 10,0 11,8 37,5 15,6

This is the power of scientific methods.

The attraction of Cracow
There are many more such facts to explore: the analysis of C2000 grants between 2000-2003 must be properly completed. We must spend more time at the desk than in airplanes. This is why BO is represented at the annual Encatc conference with one single person. Hearts of the rest of BO staff are aching. Not only because of the attraction of Cracow, but because of the extremely rich programme and the very professional preparation. 

A memorable theatre meeting
BO wishes the Encatc gathering the same success that we have had in Budapest at the IETM Annual. The Millenáris [‘milena:rish], a 19th century factory site transformed into a cultural complex in the middle of Buda, proved to be an ideal venue.

BO's share was modest, took part in the preparation of working groups. In fact, embedded into the colourful artistic congregation, there were half a dozen worthy seminars, where participants discussed concurrent theatrical models in Europe, the role of language in performing arts, the job profiles of actors in various countries, the function of independent venues in the theatre life in eastern Europe etc. BO shall come back to some of the findings.  

Past and future capitals
Historically, Budapest was the second home of psycho-analysis after Vienna. As if in this spirit, 14-17-year-old memories were excavated about organising European Capitals of Culture by Steve (Amsterdam 1987), Nele (Berlin 1998) and Neil (Glasgow 1990).

BO will show you that these lessons are by no means obsolete, when the report reaches us about the meeting on cultural capitals initiated by the deputy mayor of Budapest on the occasion of the IETM annual. Other "capitals" represented were Helsinki, Avignon, Graz, Lille, Cork and hopeful Cologne.

South and East
On 16-17 April Interarts organised a conference on the cultural links between countries on the southern and eastern frontiers of the Union. BO appreciated to be invited (who wouldn't when the location is Barcelona?); for the observer of countries in east-central Europe the meeting showed the point in paying more attention to countries that used to be on the margin... and which might again feel the same as the new members get most of the attention in the next few years.

On the 22nd of April BO completed its fifth year in operation. No telegrams, please.