This part of the work starts from the assumption that often contemporary Romanian and Hungarian artistic products resist Western concepts of ‘otherness’ and space. We aim to reiterate Mircea Eliade’s concepts of “the sacred and the profane”, in order to explore the relationship between transcendental experience and cultural space. We also propose tolocate the discourses of the Dracula myth, bearer of the Western Gaze. Another goal is the exploration of the Bakhtinian concept of the chronotope in the context of the research topic. A shared characteristic of most films and novels to be studied is the representation of unidentifiable, unwelcoming places, ‘placeless places’ and of places called by Foucault ‘heterotopias’, that reunite many functions of social institutions, to which they relate metaphorically. They often appear as liminas and places in-between, where characters get stuck in their existential and identity crisis. This leads towards a (Visual) Poetics of space. Finally, we aim to study the experience of the city. Similarly, Marc Augé’s term of non-places often finds a paradoxical representation in these works, raising the issue of social effects of globalisation that creates places and infrastructure that most people in these countries don’t have access to.
2. Space-ing otherness in contemporary Hungarian and Romanian literature
This research line aims to overview a pre-defined corpus of contemporary novels and shortstories and writing in-depth analyses, focusing on a.) recurrent space concepts and spatial performances, b.) the poetical and narrative representation of these concepts and categories, c.) the spatial figurations of cultural (ethnic, sexual, social and religious) otherness, d.) a comparative approach revealing similarities and differences in terms of figuration and narration, as well as their ideological and cultural background and finally e.) the crossbreeding of images due to immigrant or/and bilingual authors.
3. Bodies In-Between. Space-Images and Figurations of Alterity in contemporary Hungarian and Romanian cinema
This line contains a set of tasks including the acquisition of the DVDs in question, film viewings (some of them as programs of monthly seminars), as well as in-depth analyses and comparative approaches inside and between the two corpuses. The research will focus on a.) the effect the Spatial Turn in Humanities had on Film Studies that previously emphasized the temporality of cinema, b.) locating Eastern European, as well as Romanian and Hungarian cinema in the ongoing discourse about the manifold relationship between Hollywood, European Cinema and World Cinema, c.) identifying the effects of globalization and standardization in visual stereotypes of places of this region (e.g. Transylvania and theDanube Delta), d.) mapping a topology of spatial bodily practices and performances, e.g. the journey, the immigration, the return, e.) analysing the poetical and narrative representations of spaces and places and the interpretation of their cultural signification f.) a comparison between the Hungarian and Romanian corpus, in order to identify differences in figurations of spaces and interpret them as symptomatic of post-communist social, political, institutional and cultural structures.
4. Contact zones
This line is taking the research to a metatheoretical level, focusing on a.)intermediality where the “inter” marks a space in-between media where figuration happens.This task mainly refers to literary adaptations of the corpus, some of them showing an intercultural complexity as well, and b.) the creative process as spatial performance between two cultures (the case of immigrant authors) and the intercultural mobility of the cinematic apparatus and bodies (e.g. actors) conceived as journey (in the case of co-productions).