In residency during April (and sometimes in May and June) László Milutinovits is a Budapest-based expert and trainer in European projects and has the MA in History and English Literature and Linguistics. As a researcher he has experience in the history of traveling and transport, with special regard to the 19-20th centuries. In the current project he is to work on its politico-historical aspects related to Hungary.
“My name is László Milutinovits, I was born on 26 December 1980 in Budapest, Hungary. Currently I also live and work in Budapest. I studied at Eötvös Lóránd University in Budapest, and have the MA in History and English Literature and Linguistics. My supplementary studies included Non-profit and Cultural Management at the same institution. I also have the experience of working on several non-formal educational EU projects and on international project-management for more than a decade now.
As a researcher I have experience in the history of travelling and transport, with special regard to the 19-20th centuries. Concerning the 19th century, I was engaged in the analysis of travelogues of mostly western travellers about their journeys in Central Europe. Later I worked in the field of ecological history at EMLA-Environmental Management and Law Foundation where I was involved in interdisciplinary studies focusing on landscape history and the development of road networks in the 20th century in Central Europe.
In the current project I would like to analyse the politico-historical aspects of the story of the ’Silesia Cracovia Karpathy’ railway line, especially by investigating related documents and literature in Hungary. Additionally, as my hobbies include urban and visual art, I am looking forward to work with other contributors from such fields of interest. I hope that the project will be a space for mutual sharing, learning and for a common creative work for all.”
Intercultural Learning workshops // Plavec – Slovakia
The aim of this program element is to introduce the most important aspects of intercultural communication for participants through a series of workshops.
-to work with experiential methods on intercultural topics, to let the participants experience situations that model real-life problems of intercultural communication
-to learn about the experiential cycle of non-formal learning by David A. Kolb
-to discuss the workshop experience and try to find its connections to communication situations during the summer program of the project
-to learn about the theory of intercultural learning
-to discuss and learn about different understandings and models of “culture”
The workshop uses a variety of interactive methods to involve all the participants, and combines experiential and non-verbal activities with plenary and small-group discussions.
When travelling, city walls, churches and mosques, pieces of roughly carved stones talk to me and tell stories wherever I am in Europe. It felt like that in the moment when from a metro wagon I first had the chance to see Notre-Dame in Paris or also in Istanbul upon visiting the Hagia Sophia. If some way I believe that if one fails to learn about history of a place or landscape which he or she visits, he also fails to see and to notice. It’s like poking about for something in a street blindfold.
Let’s have a look around, then. For example, did you know that hundred years ago in the main street of Košice you could only stroll along on certain side, depending on your social status? Or that the lovely valley we visited to take the children railway, used to be also a popular week-end and picnic site of the rich families from Košice? That time they referred to it as ’Csermely’ (Cermel), which means a tiny watercourse in Hungarian. Nice, sound-imitative word/ˈt͡ʃɛrmɛj/, isn’t it?
It was also the favourite site of the well-known and well-to-do Grosschmied family, whose ancestors were partly German Saxons and also ancient Hungarian nobles. In 1900, a new baby was born in the family: Sándor Grosschmied, who later became one of the most important writers of Hungary, rather known by his artist name Sándor Márai (April 11, 1900 – February 21, 1989). In Košice (called Kassa in his works) I had the chance to visit his memorial museum, which was reopened in the frame of the Košice 2013 Capital of Culture program. As a writer he is a representative of the bourgeois middle-class, with a strong European and Christian identity. (Don’t forget – ‘middle class’ meant a much smaller and relatively rich and illustrious social class that time.) His most famous work, the ‘Confessions of a middle-class citizen’ tells a lot about the everyday life, lifestyle and education of this layer of the society, with special regard to Košice. However, his work is much more than this. He was the first translator of Kafka to Hungarian, and was a friend of Thomas Mann. Being a cosmopolitan character, he travelled a lot, and lived in Budapest, Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, Italy, and later on in the USA. As his works were considered decadent by the communist regime, he had to live in exile from 1948, never to return to Hungary or Košice.
Names and brothers
Márai had to change his name as his father, a prominent lawyer and state officer did not like the idea of him becoming a writer and journalist – thus, low-class. His younger brother also changed his name for the same reason, and became well-known as a film director: Géza Radványi’s most famous piece is Valahol Európában (Somewhere in Europe/ Quelque part en Europe, 1948), which focuses on the misery of abandoned children after the World War II.
Interview LÁSZLÓ MILUTINOVITS on corner of Slovakia and Poland : the Rysy Peak
On the Rysy Peak with Seydou Grépinet and Milutinovits László
Free Kingdom on the Border
One of our most memorable moments is surely our performance-hike to a hidden, but famous corner of Slovakia and Poland. Yes. I mean both countries, as the Rysy Peak is located exactly on the border of the two countries. Once called the “Tengerszem-csúcs”, it used to lie on the internal border of the Kingdom of Hungary
and the Austrian province of Galicia within the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. According to the popular legend, even comrade Lenin climbed it once. Nowadays the border is easy to pass, and the area is called “the free Kingdom of Rysy” (Slobodné kráľovstvo Rysy) by the staff of the nearby cottage. Hikers and climbers from Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Germany and from all over Europe and the world come here to enjoy the beauties of nature.
Our trip was in many ways symbolic – we started our walk at Štrbské Pleso, the well-known resort, where in 1930 the three countries of the Little Entente (Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia) held their most important conference. Our trip connected this spot with the border. A border. A phenomenon that has been a key issue of our project from the very beginning and throughout the whole summer workshop. Limits, borders of countries in past and nowadays, separating and in the same time connecting cultures and nations. After the performance we can say that borders are in our minds, but we can also take them into our hands, and act.
Nevertheless, beside symbols, we can also admit that watching the sunrise over the cloud-covered landscape from the peak was an unforgettable moment for us. Or shall we also think about the sunrise as a symbol?
Alexis, László, Seydou
The place where we are – Spiš and Šariš
Even though I have not been to Plaveč before, the region around has always attracted me, partly because of natural
beauties of the High Tatras and partly because of its cultural heritage. Before I came here mostly to climb mountains near the city of Poprad or hike in the Slovensky Raj. However, one summer before my usual trip I happened to read a few writings by Gyula Krúdy, a 19th-20th century Hungarian author, and recognized that he used to study as a pupil
in nearby Podolin, the next settlement after Stará Ľubovňa. He depicts the magical 19th century atmosphere of this small, historical
town in the shade of the mighty mountains in several of his short stories. That was the first time when I decided to spend a few days to discover the area around besides climbing the peaks of the Tatras, and learn about the region.
The most famous towns of Spiš (Szepes) and Šariš (Sáros) counties, including
tiny Podolin but also important municipalities like Levoča, Prešov, Bardejov
or Kežmarok were founded by German-Saxon settlers, who were invited by Hungarian monarchs after the Mongol invasion in the 13th century. As the Ottoman-Turkish occupation in the 15th-17th century did not reach out to this part of the country, the architecture of these relatively well-to-do towns remained untouched, therefore some of them are today on a UNESCO world heritage list. The region was located on an intersection of trade routes between Poland and Hungary, therefore became a rich centre of trade. Locals exported iron, copper, furs, leather, corn, and, for example, the famous Tokaji wine. Additionally, the nearby mines and other resources
like wood (an extremely important, almost only fuel before the age of petrol and coal) also provided lots of opportunities for industry. The population used to be quite mixed, including, among others, Germans, Hungarians, Slovaks and a significant Jewish population. Nowadays, the region is also a home of a numerous Roma community.
Going back to my writer – later he lived more in Budapest, and became famous mostly about his writings of early-20th century bohemian lifestyle in the city. As in his childhood he was fascinated by the stories of the Arabic Tales from One Thousand and One Night, he decided to call his most famous character, an adventurer and womanizer, Sindbad, but put his stories in contemporary frames. Krúdy’s Sinbad also inspired Hungarian director Zoltán Huszárik and cameraman Sándor Sára to make a film, starring Zoltán Latinovits – one of the most well-known and legendary scenes depicting a gentry-style rich dinner in an old-style restaurant.