Between 28 and 29 of April, international, but small zine festival UKMUKFUKK had place in the heart of Pest. Me, a fearless intern of Oficyna Peryferie, went all the way there to be able to write this coverage for you.
UKMUKFUKK is an annual event organized by three, professional artists, with help from their friends. Guests are invited from all over Europe, and sometimes even visit from further places in the world.
A day before – Welcome to Budapest!
After 12 hours of sitting down in a train, I arrive at Budapest. Budapest Keleti station, also known as the Central Station, is making me feel of a station in Legnica. Right as I get off the train bunch of smiling Hungarians surround me, repeating “taxi please?” over and over.
Despite having a heavy bag, filled with lots of Oficyna merchandise, I managed to get to the first floor of an old townhouse, where I was greeted by Julia. Julia was my host, assigned to me by the organizers of the event. She offered to show me around right away. The neighborhood was a labyrinth of rustical, small streets, with architecture style changing from building to building – but all of them looking a little old and worn out.
In the evening an art show took place, that was also a form of inauguration for the upcoming festival. The event was built around the works of a Slovenian artist Zoran Pungerčar. “Unfaithful” was exhibited in a Kisuzem pub, with the help from a zine library Dobra Vaga and a center for urban culture, Kino Siska. Zoran’s exhibited works were quite abstract and minimalistic – he operates with a continuous line and simple shapes. Unfortunately, the whole art show was rather minimalistic – just around couple of works were hanging on a pubs walls.
But on the other hand, the networking part of the event was really fruitful. Majority of the festival guests were present, and I was able to talk with many different artists from all over Europe. I got to meet many artists and hear about many companies in the industry that I would never know about if not for that journey! Thanks, Oficyna, thanks Erasmus+!
Lets get it started!
The second day, it was time to start the preparations. We arrived first at the festival, ah that Polish punctuality!
The festival took place in a club called Anker’t. This spot is a part of a Budapest trend of “ruin cafes” – locals that open within old, ruined buildings. That gives the place an atmosphere that is a mix of historical, marble buildings, as well as a typical squat feel. Despite the fact that there were a couple of floors, only the ground floor was occupied – and it looked like attempts of getting up on the stairs might end in an accident.
Majority of the festival grounds took part outside – the stalls were either hidden under a cafe-like folded parasols (like ours!) or inside a large room with a transparent roof, letting in lots of light inside.
At the evening we had to go to the party at the Anker’t – the music was turned up even higher, and the club got crowded with people not associated with a festival. I have to say, that we only managed to survive an hour there – we were overall tired, and are not generally fans of social gatherings when you can’t hear anyone you’re talking with. And so those two factors won with an honest desire to socialize.
Time for a breather
The second day of the festival had its start a bit later, around 2 pm. That allowed us to wander around and discover spots around our neighborhood. We walked along the Dune river, walked around amazing murals and ate great breakfast at a local cafe. Murals in Pest are a new and growing phenomenon – the cities authorities saw an issue in a myriad of bare walls ruining the aesthetic of this part of the river and invited local and international artists to do something to bring new life to the Pest streets. The end effect is amazing, and free city guides we managed to find even list “mural walks” as one of the main attractions.
And so the festival continues
Once again we arrived early at the stall – and around us, our fellow exhibitors were quite concerned. Black clouds were gathering around us (not metaphorically) and the forecast said that the rain will not miss us. That could have not only ruined the festival attendance but also posed a risk for our, mainly paper-made merchandise, protected by a thin, fabric roof. Fortunately, the rain passed us and once again Anker’t was full of people!
I was really amazed by how many great people approached our stall – we wanted to chat forever with every client that came up to us! We wholeheartedly want to greet Polish visitors at the festival, that found us in this spot far away from home. And sorry for not having copies of “How to make a book” – we didn’t expect we would meet so many of you! 🙂
But festivals and expos are not only about selling merch, chatting and admiring cute dogs from the comfort of ones stall. Nu-uh! During the second day of UKMUKFUKK I decided to discover what beauties other stalls hide. I found the following:
One of my first stops was a COLORAMA stall. COLORAMA is a small Berlin-based publishing house and RISO workshop. (you can find our interview with the COLORAMA founder here) There I bought a part of the legendary zine series Club House – sold and published in small packages with 4 small poster zines. Every zine is created as a collaboration between two artists – one of them creates contents of the zine, and the other designs the poster. Majority of the zines operates mainly with illustration, rather than text or typography, portraying either narrative sequences or couple of seemingly unconnected illustrations. All of it, obviously, being printed on RISO.
Apart from those beauties COLORAMA also sold their RISO templates – and oh my gosh, it is one of the favorite things that I own. Apart from their impressive color collection, the idea itself is amazing- to make a template into an independent, stand-alone publication! Amazing!
The more “traditional publication” shopping spree took place at the stall of the Rotopolpress publishing house. Actually, it was a joint stall, tended by an Austrian guy working in the Rotopol and his German girlfriend, selling her own comic zines. We talked a bit and I learned a bit more about art education in Germany. Publications at this stall were standing out from the crowd of more untidy zines – every comic was professionally published, with neat lines and carefully applied, lively colors.
You could say that Rotopolpress, Centrala, and Oficyna Peryferie, standing next to each other, represented an idea of “traditional publishing forms”, with an atmosphere of professionalism and refined quality. That made us all stand out from the works of self-published, individual artists. But I think that diversity was the thing that made this festival so amazing.
Another little miracle I spotted was a women’s zine Zina. They describe themselves as “a magazine created by “G I R L S F R O M B U D A P E S T”. It is co-created by one of the organizers of UKMUKFUKK, Petra (who was also an artist behind an illustration of one of the posters advertising the event). This publication is beautifully bound and inside it, we can find illustrations of many different female artists, all printed on RISO. I was so amazed by the form, that only the day after I bought it I realized that the theme of the zine is masturbation. Now the box of tissues in the middle of the stall started to make more sense!
I really like coincidences. The day before I spotted a sticker on a lantern that drew my attention. I even took a picture! So I got really excited that the sticker was made by the collective of the student from the Budapest art school! Their stall was a real land of diversity – zines, stickers, publications and prints created by different artists were taking up all of the free space, radiating with the plurality of style, aesthetic and color.
As could have been expected from the niche zine festival, there had to be a couple of political publications. I’m going to describe two stalls that brought my attention, so we don’t go overboard with political propaganda:
Komikaze – Croatian organization publishing zines. A big part of their work is having comic-zine open calls – and at the end of the year, the best submissions are published in a form of an anthology
But the biggest piece that was showcased on the stall was the Femicomix album. Komikaze describes this project in those words: “woman contemporary comic is always in komikaze focus normally and now we decide to make it more visible. the future of the contemporary comic is in woman power and we want to show it!”. Along with the album posters created by the authors were sold.
The second stall belonged to a Spanish artist, Elías Taño – majority if not all of his graphic design practice is focused around political and ideological themes. Another thing that makes him stand out is quite simple, primitivist line, that makes the idea behind more clear and blatant. Among his works, we can also find some ecology-themed works – even ones about the cutting down of the Białowieża forest.
Obviously, I discovered so much more amazing artists. All of them can be found on the UKMUKFUKK 2018 Facebook event – right here. But there wouldn’t be enough space for me to describe all of them.
Another nice thing that happened to us was an offer of collaboration – an owner of the ISBN+, alternative publications bookstore offered to take some of our books and zines. So now the Oficyna works are available locally, in Budapest 🙂
That’s it folks!
The second day of the festival we ended with smiles and quite a large pile of banknotes (which is slightly less impressive when you remember that 400 forints equal around 5zloty) and a feeling that we met lots of interesting people.
At the end – an evening beer with the organizers and other stall owners. The attendance was much lower than the meetings before, and in the middle of the event, but we still had lots of fun talking, drinking and looking from the shore at the lights of Buda being reflected on the river. We shared our feelings about the festival, gave our feedback to the organizers and talked about our own artistic practices.
The next two days we spent in Budapest we filled out like real holidays – with sightseeing, sightseeing and more sightseeing. I will not bring here up details from my free time, but there was couple of interesting things I noticed.
Budapest takes its designers really seriously. In an every ‘niche’ shop with artists work we found a map, showing spots that might interest the client of such place – galleries, design stores and such. In one of them – with a cute name Rododendron – we managed to find a leaflet for the UKMUKFUKK and works of our amazing host, Julia.
Hungary has always been mentioned by my father as a country of liberty, a liberal gateway in the middle of Easter Europe. And even though the context of those memories are so vastly different – I feel like that’s still what Budapest is. I felt it’s a city where breathing comes a bit easier. And Pest, always in the shadow of Buda, is definitely a place worth visiting. UKMUKFUKK was an essence of the atmosphere of that side of the Dune – free, artistic, with many hidden treasures. If you ever are in Hungary around the time of this festival – give it a go. It would be so easy to miss all those amazing things, hidden behind the gate of a ruin cafe.