On September 19, 2023 the HoME project presented one of the final phases of its creative metamorphosis at the Bethlen Téri Theatre in Budapest, where viewers got to immerse themselves in a unique interactive multi-sensory experience, taking them on a journey through the results of this exciting three-year project. The project was designed to explore the concept of home through the eyes and voices of 12 young artists (three from each of the four participating countries) representing different artistic genres and disciplines.
This closing event put on display the culmination of the three phases of the HoME project, detailed by Dóri Badics from our Sound pillar.
Phase 1: Installation – A horse box turned mobile studio that translates personal stories and ideas of “home” into algorithmically composed music, offering both an individual and a collective experience
Phase 2: Exhibition – a collection of seven different types of audiovisual works created by the participating artists in response to their experiences touring with the installation.
Phase 3: Performance – a musical theatre performance titled A Moment to Land, produced by the participating artists from various cultural and musical backgrounds, in response to the question “What does home mean to you?” resulting in a unique blend of music, theatre, and visual art.
After a guided tour of the installation and exhibitions led by Samu Gryllus, the artistic director of the HoME project, we were given some time to walk around, and explore the interactive space on our own. We were then ushered into the theatre hall where we were given a choice between sitting in the traditional seating area looking down on the stage, or on some cushions that were arranged in the center of the stage, placing this part of the audience at the core of the performance. I was lucky enough to snag one of the last cushions next to two of my colleagues, where I soon made myself at home, as I felt the space was inviting me to remove my shoes and get comfortable in a crossed legged position. The set we were placed in was designed to mirror aspects of a living room space, complete with armchairs, a tv, reading lights, books, and two rugs, where a boy and a girl sat dazing off into the distance.
A sense of curiosity and anticipation permeated the crowd as we sat like school children, unaware of the trip we were about to be taken on.
The lights dimmed, the mumbling died down, and a soft hum of quiet blanketed the room. The calm silence began to buzz as the tension slowly expanded. The silence grew louder. Until suddenly, a central spotlight abruptly turned on with a loud bang, illuminating the audience on the stage floor in full view. The musicians remained in the shadows, as they began unraveling their first composition.
Struggling to find any resemblance of a melody or a beat amongst the cacophonous overlapping of seemingly random sounds being produced, the initial reaction it provoked in me was a sense of unease. I often found myself desperately searching for a pattern to provide me with a sense of comfort or familiarity. However, noticing this immediately made me wonder about the intentionality behind these artistic choices, as it was clear to me that there was hidden order beneath this chaos, and it felt like it was deliberately designed to provoke thought and introspection. I carried this curiosity with me through the rest of the performance as I sat there observing all that was happening around me.
Thanks to my front row seat, I had a 360 view and surround sound experience, sometimes even feeling the vibrations of the dancers’ steps under my feet. In a way, being a listener from this point of view made me feel as if I were inside the complex inner workings of the mind. As I was carried through moments of sharp, dissonant chaos, to soft moments of balanced calm and quiet, I thought about the question “What does home mean to you?”. I thought about home being the feeling of comfort, safety and belonging that all of us desire, yet isn’t often a given. It’s something we spend our lives trying to build and cultivate wherever we go. My instinctual desire to find a pattern in the music to relieve the sensation of discomfort is perhaps a reflection of the search for this sensation of home. In a way, I felt that the four compositions were also built up in a way that reflected the complexities of our various realities as human beings navigating this question of home throughout our lives – a delicate balance of chaos and calm, dissonance, and harmony.
This was undoubtedly one of the more unique musical and theatrical performances that I have experienced. And although this contemporary genre of music is a bit out of my range, it was a piece that left me wondering, and I think that in itself is what art is about!