Amorous geography

“Amorous Architecture takes its starting point from the building history of the ‘Great Rock’ in the Budapest Zoo, which is recontextualised in the wider history of man-built mountains, zoological gardens, early human zoos and entertainment parks in order to explore their shared history and the underlying ideological and cultural implications on the construction of national and ethnic identities.” 

/Eszter Steierhoffer/


“(…) The Great Rock belongs to the ideological and perceptual framework symbolized by the ‘ethnic landscape’, a phrase conjuring up the East European variant of the ‘historical formation’, which spread at the beginning of the 20thcentury to become, especially after the Trianon Peace Treaty, an important notion in national mythology. (…)

Szabolcs KissPál’s docu-fiction lays out the architecture and ethnographic space of Budapest Zoo, along with the long European history of the objectification of the Other and the post-Trianon discourse on Transylvania. (…)

The double system of Transylvanian-Hungarian ‘peculiarities’ is thus a product of the colonial imagination which, as an instrument for the symbolic occupation of space, bring the Other into being not merely as a subject of desire, but also of domination, in other words, as a ‘miniature replica’. This logic still dominates Hungarian attitudes to the region (including within Transylvania, Romania), from political commonplaces to popular and high culture, corresponding precisely to that which Edward Said named in a different context Orientalism.”

/Zoltán Kékesi/


Zoo-Topia 
Zoo Architecture as Taxonomies of National 
Representation. 
An exhibition in a book format, ed. by Eszter Steierhoffer, Balassi Institute, London, 2012 /

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