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In collaboration with the Goethe Institut-Max Mueller Bhavan, KHOJ International Artists’ Association presented Sample Cities/Imaginary Spaces.

The theme of the exhibition was personal urban perceptions, which are known as “the city”. The city, as a living organism reflects social processes and interactions, economic relations, political conditions and private matters. In the city, human memories, desires and tragedies find expression in the form of designations and marks engraved in house walls and paving slabs. But what the city really is under this thick layer of signs, what it contains or conceals, is what we researched in the Sample Cities/Imaginary Spaces project.

The source material for the installation consisted of 9 sequences of photo works by Gusztáv Hámos, produced between 1973 and 2012. Each of these city sequences depicted urban experiences containing concentrations of human and inhuman acts in a compact form. The cities in which the series of images had been created since 1973 included Berlin, Budapest and New York, sites of traumatised pasts: (cold) war, dictatorships and terrorist catastrophes.


For the exhibition, 9 photographic sequences were assembled into a series of images as well as a three dimensional photo object. Each individual photo image contained within it an idea, an arrangement, a programme, a concept, a score and/or a series of notations. Additionally, the pieces were temporal-spatial sequences bearing the filmic within them. We regarded the city itself as an expanded cinematographic experience. Imaginary Spaces was inspired by Italo Calvino’s book La Città Invisibili, or Invisible Cities in English. Each video outlined an imaginary city. Each city description summarised an historic, social, economic, political or private aspect through a poetic narrative. The installation itself dealt with the expansion of the cinematic space.

Credits: Narrator: Ulrich Matthes | Music: Chopin |Drums: Thomas Wydler | Vocals: Karolina Ferencz

Gusztáv Hámos was born in 1955 in Budapest and lives in Berlin. He is a media artist, curator and author. His artistic work includes video, film, photography and installation and has been exhibited at Documenta, Biennale Venedig, ZKM Karlsruhe, Ludwig Muzeum Budapest. His videos and films were shown at the Tate Modern London, SFMOMA, Videobrasil Sao Paulo, Palais de Tokyo Paris, Akademie der Künste Berlin, Ludwig Museum Budapest, Art Basel Miami. His work is included in the Collections of MOMA NY, Centre Georges Pompidou Paris, NBK Berlin, ZKM Karlsruhe.

Katja Pratschke was born in 1967 in Frankfurt am Main. She is a media artist and curator and since 2006 has organised photo film seasons with Gusztáv Hámos who she has collaborated with since 1998. Her artistic projects include: Natural Born Digital (video, 1998); Transposed Bodies (video, installation, book, 2002); Rien ne va plus (film, 2005); Fiasco (film, 2010); Hidden Cities (film, installation, 2012); Potential Space (film, installation, 2014). Her films were shown at the Tate Modern London, Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid, Triennale der Photographie Hamburg, 63th Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica di Venezia. She has also received various awards and grants including the German Short Film Award, the Hessische Kulturstiftung travel grant and has undertaken artist-in-residence programs in Venice and Istanbul.

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