Everyday Shortcomings


Research-based socially engaged art project

2018 —

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

Diána Berecz

Supported by:
OFF Biennále, Summa Artium

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.

Interactive exhibition and workshops

The project would have been presented in the spring of 2020 during OFF-Biennale Budapest, an international contemporary art event, the largest civil, independent arts initiative in Hungary, which had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcome of the project will be shown in several stages and forms for this reason. An interactive exhibition and a series of workshops will enable the visitors to meet and experience the challenges of living in segregation and to learn about the ingenuity and creative coping mechanisms of segregated communities.