Literature as a European mother tongue: In our series “One is a CROWD”, we introduce you to authors from all over Europe who will be involved in the CROWD omnibus reading tour, taking place from May to July 2016, featuring 100 authors who will be travelling through 15 European countries. We asked them three questions about text production, reception and mediation. In case you were wondering what a literary activist from Sárvár looks like, meet Kinga Tóth!
Do you see yourself as an author? Are you the originator and main authority of your text? And if not, who is, if anyone at all?
To have an effect on all of the senses, that is what I understand ‘text’ to do. For me, text is something alive, an organism, which has different forms, like written letters, visual contours, sounds, and a live existence – for example a performance. The sounds that I produce sometimes hurt. It is about opening up the body to the right sound, about reaching and communicating with the other. In my different concepts and projects I try to present different worlds and this requires a different “behavior” or face from the author, or rather, a different function. Each of my texts/products has a typed text format, a sound and a visual format and me as an author or a channel, but each project works with different aims and asks different questions.
In my performances, I present the layers of the texts, and the dynamic between them. “Living text bodies” bounded to technology. The human (the author=the presenter) is securely fixed to machines. His or her organs have mechanical functions and they monitor their condition. The human features colors, textures, sounds, and inner and outer control and they are linked to other humans. In my All Machine project, the story is presented with machines, cables, and sounds. The text has a visual and an acoustic element – it takes on the material substance of a video. I build a world with these different components. The layers are connected; even the tapes on the wall have a texture.
All Machine examines hybridity; self-destruction; and opening, forming, and destruction of the body (becoming an instrument, a tube for the “text”—Peter Vása: physical poetry, Jaap Blonk-voice as an instrument), like a metamorphosis, a becoming, a merging. In this project, it is a natural way of having the function of sound. All Machine is not only a poetry book, it’s a collection of sound machines, noise “tables”, experimental music creatures and instruments. Next to this these machines are machines from my past, the factories I worked in (gas, car, meat factory) and all these enormous objects produce amazing sounds – they should come into the book. Naturally there is a “literary interest” as well. During my studies, I saw how Robert Schneider’s Schlafes Bruder and the German avant-garde, dada Klangpoesie, added something new to the written text – exploring this field was a great experience for me, and there was no doubt that I wanted to go down that path.
In my next text, the poems will examine social behavior and the ‘stranger/foreigner’ connection to each other, and the community of strangers (i.e. different norms). However, my novel Moonlight Faces deals with modification of the body; illness as metamorphosis will be its topic. Here, the illness is the basis for development, mentally as well as physically. Do we pass from the normal into the insane, or is a survival mutation (i.e. departing from the ‘normal’) just adjustment? A starting point is the illness; the diagnose itself and a process are a deformation. How can the text as a body adjust to constantly changing circumstances?
The author and text form one body, and this body goes through a metamorphosis, a mutation to survive, to develop. For this development, it’s necessary to change on all levels, which means, while the author is changing, their textbody will also change. The whole “book” (human body) follows this movement. Topics and motifs will reemerge but always in a changed form that should be visible in the text, too. On the visual level, the photos present the changing form and the combination of printed text, documentation and “made up” body parts, so a new text will come alive. I am still researching how to measure the sound of the body and how to represent the change at this level.
Have you ever participated in collaborative author/reader projects? If so, what do you find interesting about them?
I am doing them all the time. We all are creators and I really like dialogue between people. I also believe that this is one of literature’s “jobs”: to build this bridge, to let the dialogue happen.
What is your favorite literary spot in …? (literary venue, bar, meeting spot etc.)
There was a great place in Budapest, called Roham bár, where I worked from 2011 till 2015 as an artist, writer, cultural manager, and organizer. As a musician I got to know the place through the invitation from Roham to their event “trash festival” – that was my first concert with my band “Tóth Kina Hegyfalu” in Budapest. Through music I landed in the literary scene (where I had already been publishing for years but I did not know anyone personally) and I also helped out in the gallery. A year later I was organizing more than three literary and literature-music-exhibition events per week.
Photo © Richard Lutzbauer