Cross Current. Stills from Video.
This early experimental piece is set on the banks of the Danube. While on a residency at the O.K. Centre for Contemporary Art in Linz, Austria, a town which is on the banks of the Danube river, Vári used the opportunity to engage with her significant, yet (through war and revolution) complicated Hungarian descent.
Vári had ever been to Hungary, where her grandfather had been born. Now she was on the banks of the same waters that flow through the very city where her grandfather grew up: Budapest.
In the cold of February 1999, her performative impulse drove her into the freezing Danube with notes and gifts for her invisible, unknowable and lost forebears. She submerged herself to shout the names of these family members into the river where they would travel, hopefully at least, to the country of her grandfather.
The work also counter-poses images from the fateful journey of this same grandfather as he took his family from Europe (due to having been declared stateless) to one of the only countries that would have them: South Africa.
Standard definition PAL video
More to follow…