National textbook is a critical pedagogical and artistic project that has been operating since 2011
The art-project starts to create a single, and handmade copy of the new ‘National Textbook’ with collage technique using texts, diagrams, and pictures dealing with the history of Hungary taken from high-school textbooks from various foreign countries. The first presentation of the project took place in March 2011 as part of the Gallery by Night series at the Studio Gallery, where six collections, based on textbooks mostly from neighboring countries, were introduced to the public.
This exhibition dealt with the national identity and growing up nationalism in Hungary and neighborhood countries.
In 2012 I could start to collaboration with high-school students, thanks for Transit.hu Artists at School project. The students got acquainted with the foreign textbooks in my collection. After the pedagogical part, students can learn more stories about history, they became participants a workshop where they started to collect stereotypes about Hungarians from their foreigner friends. Closing the project we made an exhibition from the stereotype collection and the foreigner history textbooks at Labor Gallery Budapest.
From 2012, almost every year we make workshop or any other activities with students and interested persons, and continuously we collect the foreign history textbook.
We have a page (www.facebook.com/nationaltextbook) where we make posts and share some articles, pictures from the textbooks what we have got from supporters.
The ongoing project National Textbook creates a montage ‘publication’, which aims at gathering data about Hungary, its formation and history from textbooks used in the public education systems of neighboring, European, and far-away countries. The probably surprising and contradictory stories – all reviewed and certified by each country’s national textbook committee – put next to one another in one publication inspire reflection upon historical memory and stereotypes, and reveals the relativity of what is generally regarded as objective.
Zsolt Keserue ( http://keserue.hu )