Ctrl + ↑ for Coyote Time

Exhibition and series of events
22/03 - 07/04/2024
Trafó Gallery, Budapest

Exhibiting artists: Bassam Al-Sabah, Hollow (Gyula Muskovics, Tamás Páll, Viktor Szeri), Denis Kozerawski (with Kristína Jamrichová, Ondřej Mohyla, Martina Růžičková), Lawrence Lek, Paula Malinowska, Tabitha Nikolai, Sin Wai Kin

Curators: Jen Kratochvil, Borbála Szalai, Maxine Vajt

We look down and realize that we've run over the edge of the cliff, the abyss is below us. What do we do? What can we do? Is there by any chance a keyboard shortcut for this?

Jumping forward from this moment of suspension, the exhibition Ctrl+Up for coyote time asks whether it is possible to imagine worlds - digital or physical - where the rules by which we 'play' can be redefined. Where the hegemonic play and the failed normative goals of videogames can be transcended, where the systems of rules can be reimagined, where individual and shared experiences -that are both political and deeply personal- can be lived.

Questions of how mainstream gaming formulates daily routines of our lives meet more specific challenges to the basic principles of gamification and world-building used as a toolbox for normalized existence in late capitalism - how to disrupt, take apart, and reconfigure them to counteract the system they originated from? The exhibition explores the boundaries and adjacent niches of the continuous bleeding of digital and physical reality into each other; a probe into hegemonic play and its deconstruction through queer and trans methods and strategies; an elaborate ploy to reach the state when time freezes, and you keep levitating, and a the second jump appears to be an option.

Detailed programme:

>> 22/03/2024, FRIDAY <<

19:00 Opening. During the opening the curators of the exhibition will give a guided tour
[Free entrance, in English]

20:00 - 21:30  No Fun Collective (Maxine Vajt) > Read’n Play
Lecture performance
Venue: Trafó Gallery

Video games are tools. Of oppression, escapism, capitalism, but also of resistance and discovery. Read'n Play is a performative lecture format, that uses a series of video games played by and with the audience, as an entry point into conversations on the intersections of race and queerness, how has the “other” been historically presented in games and what are the very real impacts, going far beyond popculture. We will discuss why and how have games been made primarily by white cis straight men, and what can we learn, by analyzing their work and engaging in play with those who have been excluded.

Important note: Please bring your own laptop, if you can!
[Free entrance, in English]

>> 23/03/2024, SATURDAY <<

17:00 - 18:30 Self guiding workshop facilitated by Thought Generator, Trafó’s art education-department
Venue: Trafoclub and Trafó Gallery

Trafó Gallery’s exhibition questions the logic of mainstream video games in our everyday lives, searching for the crevices between the digital and the physical reality that are constantly morphing into each other. Will I understand the show even if I never played video games? Will I be able to form a connection to the topics the exhibition is reflecting on? Will I be able to understand the language of the exhibition if I have no prior background knowledge? What will even happen to me in this exhibition?

Thought Generator's latest programme seeks answers to these and further everyday anxieties that can flood people watching, taking in, smelling or just being near to any artwork. 
In the course of the workshop, participants will form small teams and take part in a self-guided tour. The aim of the session is explicitly to find a playful interpretative framework and personal grips for the reception of a contemporary art exhibition on gamification and imaginary digital worlds without any prior knowledge. By the end of the session, participants will have the opportunity to envision a performative tour of the exhibition space, articulating their own relationships to the artworks.
[In Hungarian]

17:30 - 18:30 Live play with Tabitha Nikolai, Myra Lilith Day, garima thakur, Zan K
Moderated by Maxine Vajt
Venue: Trafoclub

Why are there no more websites? We are progressively more often hopping from one platform to another, rarely delving into the actual web. Within these walled gardens we have become oversaturated and perhaps in a futile attempt to comprehend and fight isolation, we join small communities - sub-subcultures of queer trans AuDHD people, eastern european cottage core girls, new age yoga non-gmo influencers, global elite children-kidnapping conspiracy theorists… We might be paranoid, but is this fear really ungrounded? Can we find safety in the crevices where the shiny Web 3.0. cracks? What is the line between digital safe spaces and dangerous conspiracies? The work of Tabitha Nikolai deals with all of those questions, which we will discuss while live playing her games. She will take us on a ride from the Institute of sexual science in Berlin, burned archives and forgotten histories, to the premises of a failing hotel, which has morphed into an allegory of the internet.
[Free entrance, in English]

18:30 Guided tour by Márió Nemes Z. 
Márió Nemes Z. is a poet, critic, performer, aesthete, and one of the protagonists of the Hungarofuturist movement.
Venue: Trafó Gallery
[Free entrance, in Hungarian]

19:30 - 21:00  Lecture performance with Zoyander Street
Moderated by Maxine Vajt
Venue: Trafoclub

Waiting is generally quite annoying. Sometimes it feels one would rather clean the windows, than wait at the post office. But what if there is no end in sight? When suffering from long covid, and no doctor really seems to care? When neurodivergency is systematically misdiagnosed? When accessing gender affirming therapy is impossible, or so far in the future that it is nearly impossible to imagine? For the interviewees of Zoyander Street´s game Cis Penance, waiting for one or more of these is, or at least was, a significant part of their life. Surely not a foreign feeling to Hungarian trans people, whose waiting time has been since 2020 prolonged indefinitely.  The performative lecture will take us on a trip through the intersections of neurodiversity and gender diversity, of sickness, body normativity, generative forms of rage, accessibility, and how we can protect ourselves, in waiting from the powers at be.
[Free entrance, in English]

>> 24/03/2024, SUNDAY <<

14:30 - 17:30 No Fun Collective (Maxine Vajt) > Workshop against oppressive narratives
Venue: Trafó Gallery

Why do the stories we tell ourselves always involve conflict? Why is there a clear cut good and bad, with one of them winning? There probably isn't a field with less ambivalent narratives, than video games. Shoot the bad guys, save the princess, save the world, conquer the world… 
The workshop against oppressive narratives offers an alternative. What if we made stories without a beginning or an end, without conflicts, without expected representations of different groups? During the course of the workshop, we will name, deconstruct and rebuild stereotypes told about ourselves and finally take agency, by making a small playable game.

Note: No prior knowledge of games is required. Please bring your own laptop to the workshop
[Free entrance,  in English]

18:00 - 18:45 Guided tour with literary scholar and journalist Ferenc Kőszeghy
Venue: Trafó Gallery
[Free entrance, in Hungarian]

Professional partner: Háttér Society
Supported by: Háttér Society, United States Department of State, the National Cultural Fund of Hungary, Czech Centre Budapest, Káli Kövek

Image credit: Bassam Al-Sabah: I AM ERROR, 2021, HD CGI film (video still)

This programme is supported by the Háttér Society and the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings, and conclusions expressed during this event are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Háttér Society or the United States Department of State.
Box Office opening hours:
  • Main hall performance days: 5 pm - 10 pm
  • studio and club performance days: 5 pm - 8:30 pm
  • other days: 5pm - 8 pm
Trafó Gallery opening hours:
  • Performance days: 4-10pm.
  • Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 4pm-7pm.
  • Closed on Mondays.
  • -
  • .
  • The Trafó Kortárs Művészetek Háza Nonprofit Kft. works in the maintance of Budapest Főváros Önkormányzata.

Media partners

Cooperative partners