Alicja Rogalska with Katalin Erdődi, Réka Annus and the Women’s Choir of Kartal

“We are not made of sugar, we are from concrete.” (Women’s Choir of Kartal)

Inspired by the rich tradition of folk culture, in particular folk singing in Hungary, NEWS MEDLEY is a collaboration between London-based Polish visual artist Alicja Rogalska, curator Katalin Erdődi, folk singer Réka Annus and the Women’s Choir of Kartal, a village near Budapest in eastern Hungary. 

NEWS MEDLEY talks about life in the countryside, as experienced by different generations of women. It recounts changes in political systems and lifestyles, and the hard-working realities of everyday life, commented on with humor and sharp wit by the choir members. A medley of five songs was chosen from the choir’s repertoire and collectively re-written, bringing together personal stories with collective concerns about community life and the future of the village. 

NEWS MEDLEY combines traditional local melodies with contemporary lyrics: it resists the tendency to regard folk songs as fossilized cultural heritage and instead re-introduces the vernacular practice of revizing and re-writing songs to talk about the pressing issues and emotions of the current moment. 

In times of polemic changes in the Hungarian media landscape and increasingly centralized information politics, NEWS MEDLEY experiments with folk songs as a form of grassroots “community broadcasting,” amplifying a heterogeneity of voices, while also asking what qualifies as news nowadays, which topics warrant media attention, especially with the rise of clickbait journalism. The results of the collaboration with the Kartal Women’s Choir will be shown at the OFF-Biennale in the form of an exhibition including two new video works, a publication, and a series of performances by the choir in public spaces. The video work NEWS MEDLEY was shot on location in March 2020 in Kartal and premiered online on November 14, 2020 as part of OFF Biennale’s public program.

Venue is wheelchair accessible. The width of the entrance is 90 cm.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic situation and the legal unclarity regarding the right to public assembly, we have decided to postpone the planned performances in public space with the Women’s Choir of Kartal and the feminist choir Varsányi Szirének (Sirens of Varsány). They are now scheduled for the beginning of September 2021, in collaboration with PLACCC Festival. More details soon!

Participating artists: Alicja Rogalska

Participating curators: Katalin Erdődi

Folk music advisor, artistic collaborator: Réka Annus

In collaboration with: Kartal Women’s Choir / Mrs István Balatoni née Erzsébet Lapu, Mrs Tibor Bereczki née Piroska Sápi, Mrs Mihály Deák née Margit Lados, Bernadett Kozjár, Mrs Pál Kozjár née Mária Bangó, Annamária Radics, Mrs László Sebők née Mária Homok, Mrs Serfőző née Piroska Kollár, Mrs József Szelei née Éva Tóth, Mrs István Szőke née Erzsébet Velikovszki, Veronika Varga, Zsanett Zsigri / Choir leader: Domonkos Volter

With the kind support of: Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Austrian Cultural Forum, Austrian Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport

A co-production of OFF-Biennale Budapest and Art at Work Association, Vienna. 

Time 23.04 - 30.05

Záró hétvége, hosszabb nyitvatartással / Closing weekend with longer opening hours:

Csütörtök-Péntek / Thursday-Friday: 14.00-19.00

Szombat-Vasárnap / Saturday-Sunday: 12.00-19.00

Vasárnap 17 órától Erdődi Katalin kurátor és Annus Réka népdalénekes záró tárlatvezetést tartanak (szabadtéren, a kiállítótér előtt), regisztráció:! / On Sunday from 5pm finissage guided tour with curator Katalin Erdődi and folk singer Réka Annus. Open-air event, in front of the exhibition space, please register at!