Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies

Breadcrumb Navigation

Cseh-Varga, Katalin

Dr. Katalin Cseh-Varga



Universität Wien
Department of Theatre, Film and Media Studies
Althanstraße 14 (UZA II)
1090 Wien

Website: Webprofile (Uni Wien)

Research Project

Rebellische (Spiel)Räume und Underground-Netzwerke. "Zweite Öffentlichkeit" der ungarischen Avantgarde — abgeschlossen

Rebelling Play(Spaces) and Underground Networks. The "Second Public Sphere" of the Hungarian Avant-Garde — completed

The main hypothesis of the dissertation project is that in order to exist Central-Eastern-European artistic subcultures needed specific venues. On the one hand nonconformist artists and artist communities used available spaces creatively, on the other hand interventions generated places of the underground that largely eluded official control. I am very much interested in performative and (inter)medial actions within spaces of the Hungarian unofficial art scene and how these spaces are linked to each other in the form of an (invisible) network. To understand and to reconstruct the network of the “second public sphere” in Hungary of the late 1960s until the end of the 1980s, I will have a closer look on the information channels, media and mechanisms that characterized the underground. It is also indispensable to ask for the presence and legitimation of artistic countercultures in the XXI. century. The aim of my research is to develop an adequate definition of the “second public sphere” for the Hungarian Neo-Avant-Garde from performance and media studies point of view.

Curriculum Vitae

February 2015 – January 2018 Member of the Young Scientist's Network Aktionskunst jenseits des Eisernen Vorhangs [Action Art Beyond the Iron Curtain], funded by the German Research Society (convener: Adam Czirak, Free University Berlin). September 2013 – June 2014 Coordinator of the research project Performing Arts in the Second Public Sphere at the Free University Berlin (DE), funded by the ERSTE Foundation and the Center for International Cooperation at the Free University Berlin. August 2012 - August 2013 Research visits at the Open Society Archive, Budapest and at the Artpool Art Research Center, Budapest (HU). February 2013 Research visit at the Fales Library & Special Collections, New York University and at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, NY (USA), funded by the promotion scholarship of the University of Vienna. October 2012 Lecturer at the Department of Theatre, Film and Media Studies, University of Vienna, Vienna (AT). June 2011 Project management assistant in the international research project TELEHOR (leader: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Klemens Gruber), Research visit at the House of Art, Brno (CZ). Department of Theatre, Film and Media Studies, University of Vienna, Vienna (AT) October 2005 - June 2010 Diploma studies at the Department of Theatre, Film and Media Studies, University of Vienna, Vienna (AT).



Ungarisches Theater im Kontext der Revolution 1956. Theatralische und gesellschaftliche Wege des Politischen. [Hungarian Theatre in the Context of the 1956 Revolution. Theatrical and Social Ways of the Political.] Hamburg: Verlag Dr. Kovac, 2015.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

„Innovative Forms of the Hungarian Samizdat. An Analysis of Oral Practices“. In: Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung. Special Issue: Samizdat und alternative Kommunikation [Samizdat and alternative communication]. 56 (2016), 1, pp. 90-107.

„Performative Interactions with the Past. Re-Conceptualizing Archives and Forgetting in Post-Socialist Context.“ In: Stedelijk Studies. No. 3: Special Issue "The Place of Performance", January 2016. URL:

„Chained. Bodies and Monuments of Hierarchy in Hungarian Performance Art.” Art and Design Review. Volume 2, Number 4, November 2014.

Bátorova, Andrea. „Interview with Katalin Cseh and Adam Czirak About the Second Public Sphere in the former Eastern Bloc.“ ArtMargins Online. October 23, 2014. URL:

„Egy történelmi példa. Moholy-Nagy László >A totalitás színházának< avantgárd utópiája.“ [„A historical example. The avant-garde utopia of László Moholy-Nagy’s >Theatre of Totality<.“] Symbolon, Year XIII. Nr. 22. p.128-132.

„Válasz Dr. Székely Györgynek.“ [„Answer to Dr. György Székely.”] Színház. Year XLIV, 12/2011. p.41

„A teátrális demokrácia útjai. A színház szerepe az 1956-os forradalomban II.“ [„Ways of theatrical democracy. The role of theatre in the revolution 1956 II.“] Színház. Year XLIV, 9/2011. p.32-39.

„A teátrális demokrácia útjai. A színház szerepe az 1956-os forradalomban I.“ Színház. Year XLIV, 8/2011. p.20-29.


Fowkes, Maja. The Green Bloc. Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism. Budapest/New York: CEU Press, 2015. In: Springerin. Hefte für Gegenwartskunst. Oktober 2015.

Kind-Kovács, Friederike/Labov, Jessie (Hg.). Samizdat, Tamizdat and Beyond. Transnational media during and after socialism. New York: Berghahn, 2013. In: H-Soz-u-Kult. 6. November 2013. URL:

A.L. Rees/Duncan White/Steven Ball/David Curtis (Hg.). Expanded Cinema: Art, Performance, Film. London: Tate, 2011. In: [rezens.tfm], 1/2012. URL:

Veronika Darian. Das Theater der Bildbeschreibung. Sprache, Macht und Bild in Zeiten der Souveränität. München: Wilhelm Fink, 2011. In: [rezens.tfm], 2/2011. URL:

Ute Daniel/Axel Schildt (Hg.). Massenmedien im Europa des 20. Jahrhunderts. Köln/Weimar/Wien: Böhlau, 2010. In: [rezens.tfm], 1/2011. URL:

Presentations (selected)


"On the Second Public Sphere. Process-Based Art in Hungary of the Late Sixties" (Jahrestagung der Graduiertenschule für Ost- und Südosteuropastudien "Studying East and Southeast Europe as Area Studies: Paradigms - Themes - Methods for the 21st Century", München, 25.-27.10.2018)


„Documentary Traces of Hungarian Performing Arts.“ Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (USA), November 24, 2015

„Keeping the Promise. Methodological approaches towards a historiography of event-based and intermedia art in East-Central-Europe.“ Eine Unterhaltung mit der Kunsthistorikerin Cristina Cuevas-Wolf Max Kade Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (USA), November 23, 2015

“Fake, Pseudo, Fiction. Constructed Art Realities in Late Socialism ́s Hungary.” Annual Conference of the Association of Art Historians, Norwich (GB), April 11, 2015


“Osteuropäische Öffentlichkeitsdiskurse und die ungarische Neo-Avantgarde. Theoretische Konzepte und Fallbeispiele.” [”Eastern European Discourses of the Public Sphere and the Hungarian Neo-Avant-Garde”] Workshop Modernismus und Avantgarde [Moderism and Avant-Garde]. Institute for Science and Art, Vienna (AT), November 9, 2014.

„Konflikt, Revolution und Neo-Avantgarde. Formen abweichender Meinungsäußerung in Dezső Magyars Agitátorok (1969).“ [”Conflict, Revolution and Neo-Avant-Garde. Forms of Differentiated Articulation of Opinion in Dezső Magyar´s Agitátorok (1969).“] Symposium Ungarn 1919. Die Verlockung des Kommunismus [Hungary 1919. The Temptation of Communism]. Collegium Hungaricum Vienna/University of Vienna (AT), October 17, 2014.

“Theorizing the Second Public Sphere. The Historical Layers of Alternative Publicness in Central-East-European Performance.” Annual conference of the International Federation of Theatre Research, Warwick (GB), August 1, 2014.

„Understanding Archives through Performance“. Conference „Archive/Image“ at the Open Society Archives, Budapest (HU), March 8, 2014.

„Chained. Bodies and Monuments of Hierarchy in Hungarian Performance Art.” in the panel “Performance Art in Central and Eastern Europe.” Annual conference of the Collage Art Association, Chicago (USA), February 15, 2014.


„Digitale Archive der >zweiten Öffentlichkeit<. Forschungsmethoden und >participatory research<.“ [”Digital Archives of the “Second Public Sphere”. Research Methods and “participatory research”.”] Annual conference of the Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft, Lüneburg (DE), October 5, 2013.

„From Closed Spaces to Open Spaces. Performative Intermedia Art in Hungary after 1989.“ Annual conference of the International Federation of Theatre Research, Barcelona (ESP), July 26, 2013.

„Limited/Restricted Mobilities. Medial and Performative Interactions in the East European Counter-Culture of the 1960s to the 1980s.” Conference at the Concordia University, “Differential Mobilities. Movement and Mediation in Networked Societies”, Montréal (CA), May 9, 2013.

„Strategies of the Montage. Neo-Avant-Garde Cinema, Performance and Politics in Poland. Lecture in the framework of the course APPROACHES TO COUNTER-CULTURAL MOVEMENTS IN EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE 1960-1990: ‚NEW WAVE’ AND NEO-AVANTGARDE CINEMA, at the Central European University, Budapest (HU), March 21, 2013.