Code Name: Protokoll

Protokoll is a code.

Protokoll is a code that ensures compatibility between two central units in a cyber network (don't take my word on it, this is what I have vaguely understood from the computer freaks and from Attila Tordai-S.).

But Protokoll is/was also a code for a group of people in Cluj, who had the possibility through it to connect to other artistic networks.

Studio Protokoll didn't aim at being a gallery with a programme connected too much to the local context (or to any other context), as it didn't establish for itself a certain artistic agenda. The studio opened at the beginning of 2000 was aiming at continuing the activity of the debates' centre that had functioned up to then, but now focusing on the issues of contemporary art and the social politics that entered into art's area of interest. Without excluding collaboration with other fields, without necessarily wanting to present contemporary art in a city where at the moment of the opening there were very few events of this kind. Also, before anything else, Protokoll aimed at constituting itself as an open platform for the core of people who gravitated around it and for their friends. A family business.

The strange part is that it succeeded more. Protokoll rapidly became one of the spaces with a very coherent curatorial programme in Cluj and the Romanian/Hungarian cultural area. An independent space, low/no budget, wherein an area of cultural interferences found its politic and social issues reflected through high quality artistic approaches.

In its 3 years of existence it hosted different events, from the exhibitions of some of the best valued Hungarian artists to the most spectacular young photographers in Bucharest, as well as discussions, presentations, conferences and (definitely) not least, Protokoll was the headquarter of Alergische Platze.

Protokoll was, one after another, gallery, conference room, studio, party zone, National University of Art and Design, without having planned all these. And especially without overpassing its natural, self-imposed limits, the status of experimental space, somehow hidden, reserved to the initiated ones. (In order to reach Protokoll you must cross the Somes river, to loose your way on the bourgeois narrow streets of the old town, and somewhere on the slope of the legendary Hoya forest's hill you'll find Protokoll.)

In Protokoll was presented the "Homeless Project" of Miklos Erhardt, in the frame of which there have been exhibited foto-documentations of the canal life in Budapest, made by the homeless themselves and even a film made by one of them, Laci Hajdu. There were exhibitions of Dominic Hislop, Gabor Bakos and Antal Lakner, Eike, Fanni Herczeg, Peter Szabo, Csiki Csaba, Yvette Martini and Cosmin Pop (the last 4 being part of Protokoll family - one of their projects was their walling up inside the gallery's space with no windows, for three days before the opening where Attila broke the walled up door letting the public in), Alexandra Croitoru, Stefan Cosma, Ioana Nemes, Lia Perjovschi and others. There have been presentations of the Philosophy&Stuff magazine, lectures of Laszlo Beke and Joanne Richardson, and it was realized the publication-project The Mistake-stories about mistakes.

Then it closed. (About the same time with the other contemporary art institutions in Cluj) Two months ago, Protokoll reopened with the Supernova exhibition. In the gallery's meantime left unused rooms there were untouched the dusty pike of mistakes and perjo's cca newspapers. At the opening of Supernova everything seemed, likewise, unchanged. Chase came out of nowhere, part from the people within Protokoll was there, the garlic salad, the gin and tonic, and the bloodymary with the lovage little plants. But most of the people present there were new people. Protokoll has opened anew.

Cosmin Costinas