Budapest is mobilizing civil society: “We’re convinced we can’t get Europe for free, we have to do something for it,” says the director of the Budapest Goethe-Institut. Its partner, the Eötvös Károly Policy Institute, agrees: “The more a state calls into question the values of freedom, the more NGOs like us are called upon to take responsibility.”
The Budapest-Tirana tandem’s questions are both about civil society as a central political actor. Hungary asks what obligation civil society has to defend shared European values. And Tirana wants to know how great a challenge freedom is for Albania’s nascent civil society. To answer these questions, the project partners in Budapest and Tirana, EKINT (Eötvös Károly Institute for Politics) and the artist Edit Pula are seeking out manifestations of civil-society activity in urban public spaces: tagged, spray-painted or otherwise altered advertising posters, converted or repurposed buildings, destroyed objects, unofficially installed memorials or places of remembrance etc. Their photographic documentation of these “sites of activism” will be exhibited in Tirana in early December, accompanied by a panel discussion and a piece of music specially composed for the Freiraum project. The tandem will follow that up by developing a discursive assessment of their findings.
Eötvös Károly Institute for Politics (EKINT)
was founded in 2003 by Open Society Foundations as a framework for shaping public democratic processes in Hungary, to raise awareness of democracy, personal rights, political culture and to encourage solidarity. EKINT’s president is László Majtényi, Hungary's leading data protection officer from 1995-2011 and the Hungarian President’s only opponent in the 2017 presidential elections. Sarajevo:Krakow How can we drive home to people the importance of freedom nowadays?
Athen:Bratislava What are the limits and semblances of the so-called freedom of speech, are there visible and implicit constraints?
Tallinn:Dresden May Estonians be content?
Budapest:Tirana What responsibility does civil society bear for the defence of our shared European values?
Thessaloniki:Carlisle Can a new media exhibition on the subject of European identity become an area of freedom?
Warsaw: BrusselsIf we had the choice between access to all available information and life in a filter bubble, which would we pick?
Prague:Marseille Is one vote enough?
Dresden:Tallinn What can art do as a language of freedom in an age of rampant resentment?
Ljubljana:Paris How can Slovenians find their way to a balanced dialogue between equal partners in which each side’s human rights are safeguarded and no one is rendered “disposable”, as Hannah Arendt put it?