"Live Broadcast," a new exhibition of photographs and video of Gabriella Csoszo has just opened at the Studio Gallery in Budapest, Hungary. The exhibition features Radio Free Europe in Prague and the RFE abandoned short-wave transmitting site in Gloria do Ribatejo, Portugal.
After construction of large antennas and support buildings, the Gloria transmitter site was officially dedicated on November 11, 1952, with a replica of the Freedom Bell in West Berlin, with this inscription:
FREEDOM NETWORK OF RADIO FREE EUROPE
THE NATIONAL COMITTEE FOR A FREE EUROPE
Through the Generosity
PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
With The Understanding Support Of The
GOVERNMENT OF PORTUGAL
IS DEDICATED UNDER GOD
IN THE SERVICE OF TRUTH.
“MAY TRUTH PREVAIL”
11 November 1952
Excerpt from 1960 film about the transmitting site
When I started to work on this research project, I couldn’t even presume that the question of liberty of the press and speech will be a current issue again in Hungary. The topic of my art/research work is the exploration of the historical traces of the cold war, the documentation of locations, that have lost or changed their meaning, and the photographic exposition of objects and public spaces that have no value in the present. The heritage of the cold war period is wedged into our present with countless unanswered questions; an intellectual and material heritage that is waiting to be re-evaluated; centers, "out-of-use" spaces and objects waiting to be wound up.
In the past years (2007-2010) I focused on the history of Radio Free Europe because I’m interested in the interesting and most important situation of RFE in the cold war period of history and the restarted, reactivated mission in the world. I’m interested in their continuous work in the recent past and present. The role of the Radio Free Europe in the cold war, the periodical pause of making the radio program, than the restart of it in the recent past let us analyze such complex questions like the role of the radio in democracy, gradations in the communication of freedom, propaganda and free communication.
In 2008 I had the opportunity to work on another photo series in Glória do Ribatejo, Portugal, which still preserves the remains of the former Radio Free Europe's biggest European radio transmission station, and the traces of its dispersed objects. This secret base, sealed off from the outsider's probing eye, has become a dead landscape, deserted by man. Its objects and buildings are the empty stage sets of recent past. The former American secret base is now an abandoned, nonfunctional, empty landscape that is waiting to be reused; an uninhabited city before demolition.
In 2010 I have shooting a video documentary recording with a 84 years-old technicians who was worked for forty years in the RARET. The forty years of the history of Radio Free Europe's transmission station in Portugal, relying on personal memory. The character in the film, the bearer of memories, is an ex-technician from the base, Portugal's oldest amateur radio expert.
The exhibition runs to July 30, 2011.
For photographs of what the RFE transmitting site looked like in its prime, visit