Nearly everyone knows the story of the Pied Piper. The children, who in a state of mesmerism followed the Pied Piper of Hamlin, and were said to have disappeared into a cave within a hill just outside the town. In total one hundred thirty children were lost. The mountain near Hamelin where the children disappeared really exists and is called Poppenberg. Local legend in Transylvania has it that the children emerged near the site of the old town square town of Brasov.
In September 2005 on my way to the city of Czikzederea in Transylvania to do an artist residency, I found I had to pass an hour in the small city of Brasov between changing trains, and so I made my way to this same town square only to find it full of dancing children. Struck by the strange parallel between these dancing children and the lost children of Hamlin, who were also said to have ended their days there in a sort of fantastic terrible exile, I recorded the dance to make this film.
Brasov is actually in the heart of Hungarian Székey Land, a principality of ethic Hungarians who until the end of WW1, when the Romanians forced many out, they had lived for hundreds of years. Surrounded by Ceausescu’s communist Romania, the Székey’s found ways to remember who they were by preserving old forms of dress, song and dance, such that now Hungarians in Budapest sometimes travel there so that they bear witness to an older form of ‘Hungarian-ness’ that they themselves have long forgotten.
Both this self-conscious act of self preservation through dress, dance and song, and the fictional children of the Pied Piper, themselves forever bereft of their home, signal a kind of impossible return to an place of origin that is always a kind of fiction.
'Meeting the Pied Piper in Brasov' has previously be shown in 2010: ‘Vitamin Sandnes’, Sandnes city, various locations along a single street, the Langata, which is the longest pedestrian road in Norway. Curated by Kjetil Berge and Bernhard Østebø; Migrations company ‘Dance Film’ series, various locations, Wales. 2009: Outcasting screening, internet gallery, ‘Souvenirs from Earth’ -‘Strawberry Fields’, TV screening in by Cologne based SFE in Germany and France, ‘December Eleven’, BBC Big Screen project, Cardiff, curated by Michael Cousins. 2008: the Outpost Gallery, Norwich; ‘F O U N D / G E V O N D E N / T R O U V É’, Voorkamer Gallery, Lier, Belgium; ‘Bad Year Blimp’, Alma Enterprises, London. 2007: 'Territorien', Galerie de Kunstler, Munich, Germany; Skolska 28 project, Prague.
Supported by the Hargita Cultural Center, Romania
Made during FREECAMP, organized by Istvan Eross, 2005
Event supported by the Hargita Cultural Center, Czikzederea, Romania
Hargita Megyei Kulturalis Kozpont
Centrul Cultural Judetean Harghita, Romania
Outcasting is run by Michael Cousin