Gusztáv Hámos and Katja Pratschke

As media artists and artistic researchers, Gusztáv Hámos and Katja Pratschke have been working together on the theory and practice of intermedial arts for 20 years. Thus, their artistic practice includes video, film, photography, interactive and site-specific installations, walk-in 360-degree cinema spaces, as well as the curation of exhibitions, symposia, film series, workshops and publications. With their installations and artistic films, they investigate how human cognition is changed by cinematography and what consequences the recording of image phases has on our perception of time, space and movement. They are founding members of the Concrete Narrative Society e.V. and since 2021 artistic experts of SPUR.lab (Site Specific Augmented Storytelling lab).

Selected recent screenings and exhibitions include: Ludwig Museum Budapest (Time Machine—A new selection from the collection of the Ludwig Museum, 2020–23), Fotograf Gallery Prague (Of Walking on Ice, 2021), Ani Molnar Gallery Budapest (Construction, 2021), LOOP Barcelona (Video Art Fair, 2021) and Serralves Porto— Casa do Cinema (Cinema and Photography: Spectral Visions, 2021).


Keynote during the symposium:


Gusztáv Hámos and Katja Pratschke’s artistic research project SAMPLE CITIES consists of 28 city descriptions. In a manner similar to Italo Calvino in his novel Invisible Cities (1972) they describe imaginary cities that have been documented with photographs in real urban areas. The source material is sequential photo works depicting essential situations of urban experiences that reveal human and inhuman acts in a compact form. They show places with a traumatized past: wars, dictatorships and ecological catastrophes.

The city in Greek polis (πόλις) is closely rooted with the term politiká, according to Aristotle’s classic work, (Πολιτικά, Affairs of the Cities). In urban affairs, state authority is enforced by the police. During the fascist dictatorship, the security police in Germany were responsible for the mass slaughter of non-Aryan German citizens. This atrocity became known after the war as the Holocaust or Shoah, and it led to the  the first article in the 1949 constitution being written: ‘The dignity of the human being inviolable […]’. After the Second World War, Raphael Lemkin created the mixed word ‘genocide’; it is a combination of the Greek word γένος (genos, ‘race’, ‘people’) and the Latin suffix -caedo (‘act of killing’), meaning the industrial killing of people who also suffered death through work. The cruel abuse of human resources is genocide and directly related to the excessive exploitation of terrestrial resources that we call ecocide. This human intervention on our planet is comparable to the greatest force of nature and marks the big bang of the Anthropocene Age with the detonation of the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In our lecture we attempt to define the Anthropocene and, through our work with citiscapes, show examples of industrial exploitation of man and nature that, according to our understanding, leads directly to Auschwitz. We discuss the city as a potential space controlled by money and consider about possible changes. Inspired by Italo Calvino’s ground-breaking narrative strategies, we intend to uncover the traces of the Anthropocene and speculate on our future as a fabulous voyage.