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Miklós Erhardt / The Tequila Gang & The Ship of Fools

20 August 2009 > 25 August 2009 The Ship of Fools – a recuperation

The Ship of Fools – a recuperation
Little Warsaw / Miklós Erhardt, 2008.

Video, 30 min. colour, sound
Hungarian with English subtitles

“We are in Rovereto, Italy, almost in the Alps, in a rather small town. Walled by high mountains from all sides, on the streets one almost feels in a room. It rains often, the air is wet and about 30.000 people live around us. You are young and on the 21st September 2002, at dawn, you squatted an empty building owned by the town. By morning the city council sent out all law enforcement units who cordoned off the building. They evicted you after 13 hours of occupation. No blood was shed, no aggression occurred. The building wasn’t used for anything before or after the occupation, until July 2008, when it will host Manifesta 7. The film we are shooting will be shown there.” (quoted from the film)

The Ship of Fools is a symbolic reaction to the above story, an attempt to confront local reality with another one, and direct action with its reflexive reconstruction. Artists and activists from Budapest were asked to reconstruct, and respond to, the concrete events, relying on original documents, press coverage as well as interviews made with the witnesses and protagonists of the occupation, and on a few character lines enabling them to form their roles. The 20 hour long performance, was staged in a run down, unused theatre building in Budapest then edited into a half-an-hour long movie.

The Ship of Fools is the first collaborative project by Little Warsaw (András Gálik & Bálint Havas) and Miklós Erhardt.

The Tequila Gang (1998) 57 min, Hi8 and Super 8 transferred on video
A project by Miklós Erhardt
A film directed by László Hudák and Imre Lénárt
Video documentation by Imre Lénárt
Edited by Miklós Erhardt
Produced by Balázs Béla Studio Foundation (BBSA)

The Tequila Gang is a movie balancing on the edges of documentary, fiction and psychodrama, featuring a story by and with a homeless group living in Budapest.

The Tequila Gang grew out from the social documentary project Inside Out (1997) by Dominic Hislop and Miklós Erhardt (also called as Big Hope) which involved homeless people living in Budapest taking, and commenting on, photographs of their everyday lives. One of the participants of Inside Out, László Hudák, had energy, will and content to engage in a longer creative process which evolved into the film. As already in Inside Out, the issue of cultural self-representation by marginalized social groups was at stake, that is, whether they have the right to their own image and narrative, and how does cultural/social hierarchy influence the reading of these images and/or narratives.
The Tequila Gang introduces an atypical situation of cultural anthropology where the “informants” (or “data-providers”) are given the responsibility to articulate their content in a cultural-artistic format and no scientific analysis and conclusions are imposed. The film has two directors, one is László Hudák, the “boss” of the homeless gang, who created the situations and instructed the performers and the cameramen, and cultural anthropologist / social worker Imre Lénárt who documented the scenes in an unobtrusive manner. The editing of the film followed Hudák’s story-line. Professional points of view and contributions were reduced to the necessary minimum.

Miklós Erhardt

(1966) is an artist based in Budapest (
Artist born in 1966, living in Budapest. Since 1998 he has been working with Scottish artist Dominic Hislop and German artist Elske Rosenfeld in the Big Hope group. Big Hope has created several participation-based social documentary projects and has been widely exhibiting on the international art scene. Since 1998 he is also a curator of the Balazs Bela Studio Archive, Budapest. Currently he is teaching, publishing, playing music, participating in exhibitions and art events, and working on his PhD at the Academy of Fine Arts. His translation of Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle was published for the first time in Hungarian in 2006 by the Balassi Publishing House.

Erhardt Erhardt Erhardt