Media Research Foundation

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Media Research existed in various forms prior to officially becoming a Foundation in 1990 in Budapest. The founding members were Gábor Bora, aesthetician; András Böröcz, sculptor; Miklós Peternák, art historian; László Révész, artist, filmmaker; János Sugár, artist, filmmaker; and Katalin Timár, art historian. The group comprised a unique wealth of expertise, with each member being an expert in his or her respective field. Diana McCarty, media critic and Geert Lovink, theoretician, media activist, joined the group in 1994. Originally, the group was formed to create a shared environment for the exchange of ideas, focusing on gaining knowledge and insight concerning the impact of new technology on society and the Arts. The Media Research Foundation (MRF) has, since then, concentrated its efforts on the promotion of both the theoretical and practical aspects of new technology, and the cultural applications that emerge. During its years of existence, the MRF has been active in three different areas, 1) appearing in the contemporary art context (the group exhibited a painting in 1991, and in the same year a Media Research bond was exhibited), 2) suppporting the Intermedia Department of the Academy of Fine Arts, (actively cooperating with the Intermedia, i.e.. obtaining support in the form of hardware and equipment, presenting international lecturers, etc. With the help of the MRF, national and international lecturers were invited and the students received the two MRF publications Buldozer, 1997, Digital Identity, 2000 for free.) 3) Facilitating critical media discourse. In addition to these activities, the MRF has continuously organized, meetings, symposiums and events in an effort to educate the public about the impact of new technology on culture and society. Among the more significant events, were The Media Are With Us, Linz Ars Electronica Presents Itself and the MetaForum conference series.

The Media Are With Us, a cooperation with the Mûcsarnok, and the Soros Center for Contemporary Arts, took place in April of 1990 and dealt with the role of television in the Romanian revolution. It was the first event to analyze a current event from the perspective of the media to take place in Hungary, and included leading international media theoreticians such as Vilém Flusser, Peter Weibel, Margaret Morse, Ingo Günther, Keiko Sei, etc., and the staff of Romanian television. Following this, the MRF, in a cooperation with Balázs Béla Studio, produced a video Mediology which contained interviews with five of the conference speakers. Later the Merve Verlag, Berlin, published Von Bürokratie zur Telekratie a collection of the lectures presented during the event (edited by Keiko Sei). In 1993, "Linz-Ars Electronica Presents Itself" marked the start of a successful cooperative effort with Budapest's Autumn Festival of the Arts that led to the MetaForum series of international conferences. The series began in 1994, with the topic of multimedia. This three day conference included CD-ROM and the World Wide Web, which was just gaining attention in the very early days of the explosive hype of the Internet. At that time there were no commercial Internet providers in Hungary and just three Hungarian CD-ROMs.

MetaForum II/NO BORDERS/Budapest Networking Conference took place in 1995. This covered international topics, which were perhaps even more important in Hungary, where bad telephone lines and a general lack of expendable wealth magnified the issues of new communication technologies in the West. MetaForum III followed with the subject of content, which was then becoming the crucial topic in the New Media discourse. With MetaForum III / UNDER CONSTRUCTION / Budapest Content Conference came the closing of the MetaForum Conference Series in Budapest. During these conferences we presented many international lecturers, whose work was previously unknown in Hungary, as well as the work of many Hungarian theorists and artists. (The MetaForum conference series was acknowledged by the 1996 report of the EU on the cultural aspects of new technology, and was the only program mentioned concerning Hungary)

In October 97 the MRF published Buldózer, a 220 pages anthology including many of the MetaForum lectures in Hungarian. (ISSN: 1417-6033). Buldózer became an immediate hit, and was the 3rd among the bestsellers in October 97 in one of the most prestigious bookstores in Budapest. In June of 2000, the MRF published Digital Identities. This bilingual (Hungarian - English) book is a pilot, to be followed by a series of bilingual textbooks, called Informational Cultures. As an essential part of our concept, we have created a website which is integral with the book; the site contains, in an open and growing structure, all the annotations, footnotes, links to authors and illustrations, and other information which may further help the reader to broaden his or her investigation of the topic.

While the MRF has acted as a project oriented body, with little infrastructure, relying on volunteers, it has functioned as an organizing body, and has actively sought cooperations with such institutions as: the Soros Center for Contemporary Arts; the Hungarian Ministry of Culture and Education; the Béla Balázs Film Studio; the French Institute; the Goethe Institute; the Austrian Cultural Institute; Pro Helvetia; the British Council; the Dutch Embassy, Budapest, C3, Budapest etc.

  • Sep 2007, participation !Revolution? exhibition, Műcsarnok, Budapest
  • Jun 2000, publication of Digital Identities ISBN 963 00 3554 5
  • Feb 2000, Felix Stalder lecture at the Intermedia Department, Budapest
  • Dec 1999, Ronda Hauben lecture at the Intermedia Deptartment, Budapest
  • Oct 1997, publication of Buldózer, ISSN: 1417-6033
  • Jun 1997, Select All, Media Research exhibition, C3, Budapest. [1]
  • Jun 1997, The Train Rolls on: Chris Marker and Alexander Medvedkin Film program.
  • Sep 1997, participation in the International Symposia of Electronic Arts, Chicago, USA.
  • Apr 1997, publication of P.L. Wilson Pirate Utopias in cooperation with Chiron publishing
  • Apr 1997, participation in the Freiraum symposium in Forchtenstein /Austria
  • Apr 1997, Co-organized Beauty and the East the Spring Nettime Meeting, Ljubljana
  • Mar 1997, MR afternoon, Internet Galaxy, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
  • Feb 1997, Trans Ver Sale - Mamax, workshop with the Intermedia Department and performance.
  • Oct 1996. MetaForum III. Under Construction - international conference on the content
  • Dec 1995, Critical Art Ensemble, lecture and presentation, Mücsarnok
  • Oct 1995, MetaForum II No Borders, International Conference on Network Communication
  • Oct 1994, MetaForum I. International Conference on Multimedia
  • Feb 1994, Bilwet Datendandy, lecture and presentation, Toldi Cinema, Budapest
  • Oct 1993, the Linz Ars Electronica Presents Itself, Intermedia Department, Budapest
  • Sep 1991, Media Research exhibition, Liget Gallery, Budapest
  • Oct 1990, survey for Internews, New York on independent TV and radio stations
  • Sep 1990, VR everywhere, lecture and presentation of virtual reality, Mücsarnok, Budapest
  • Apr 1990, The Media Are With Us - international conference on the role of television in the Romanian revolution