AZVLM is the craze you need in your life – meet the lassies behind the frenzy
Wild, crazy, fun, random, funky and full of creativity – AZVLM is a big party taking place on Saturday at Dürer Kert. Mingling various forms, styles, genres and platforms of art and bringing together 25 different attractions in one big frenzy, AZVLM is that je ne sais quoi that’s been missing from Budapest nightlife. We Love Budapest sits down with the creators of AZVLM to talk party, art, Budapest and edible insects.
AZVLM (Az Valami, roughly meaning ‘That’s Something’) is the dream of four young Hungarian girls – Viki Jezerszky, Luca Mohácsi, Zea Gyarmati and Anna Makay – who want to create something new in Budapest, something that so far has been missing. A big party and a platform for various kinds of artists and their audience, as well as different sub-cultures, to meet, mingle and be open to each other’s passions. On Saturday, they fill Dürer Kert with 25 different artistic attractions and it should be a blast. But let’s hear it from the girls themselves.
WLB: So, tell us about AZVLM, how is it more than just a party?
Zea: It is a collective with the aim of gathering and supporting our favourite contemporary artists, primarily with parties and events, but also with online communication, content creation and now a radio show. Our goal is to be a platform that provides an opportunity for different artists and their audience to meet, as well as for different sub-cultures to mingle. To bring various forms of art closer to people who might not discover them otherwise.
Luca: We organised our first party in April and then in the summer we tried to go to as many festivals as we could and run a little workshop or have a performance there.
Anna: Because, besides being present online and at parties, AZVLM is also trying to create personal communication with people, so we do guerrilla shows as well.
WLB: Can you give us an example?
Anna: We did a pub takeover at four bars and organised a concert and a quiz – we then took the answers of the audience as feedback and implemented them into our work at AZVLM. We try to get people involved and think about our concept.
Viki: At Bánkitó Festival in the summer, we occupied one of the main paths, took a red carpet, glitter and a golden curtain and made a pop-up catwalk. People had to pose and then tell us about it. We always communicate.
Anna: So there’s always entertainment, but with a more serious message and concept behind it.
WLB: Do you always work together, is it always the four of you brainstorming?
Luca: There are different roles, but when we’re thinking about something major, we do it together. Last year, we organised the whole party with Zea being in Paris the whole time, but she was just as involved.
Zea: We have different roles. Viki and Anna are mainly responsible for the events and the programme, they know the best artists and bands, Luca works on our image and the creatives, video editing, recording etc, and I do communication and social media. But we brainstorm together.
Luca: We all have other jobs but this basically makes up a part-time position, there’s a lot to be done where AZVLM is concerned. Anna works at Fonó, Zea is now a freelancer selling edible insects on the side – something you can try on Saturday. I work for a media agency and Viki has, like, six or seven jobs.
Viki: We would love this to become our main job one day.
WLB: Which topics and concepts interest you the most?
Viki: Our first party concept was ’Out of the Box’. We lifted performers out of their ordinary environment to show that you cannot only dance ballet or do a theatre performance on a black stage, but if we put you in an underground place that smells of beer and is a bit dirty, that is still art – just in a different way.
Luca: We try to avoid organising just an ordinary concert. We always sprinkle it with something extra. Last time, we mixed a concert and a fashion show.
Zea: The concept of the upcoming party is comfort and how something becomes comfortable. We all have had experiences where we were really worried and stressed out about something, but if we just open up a little bit, we realise that’s it’s actually not that bad after all. This is what we want to communicate.
WLB: Can you reveal a few events happening on Saturday?
Anna: ‘Horny xxxx’ is a project of four guys with wind instruments but instead of a conventional concert, they will constantly be moving around the space. They can appear anywhere, any time. So this can be comfortable and uncomfortable. You might enjoy it, but if one of them plays in your ear when you’re on the loo… Technically, you’re not going to their concert, they are following you.
Viki: Another one is ’Band in the Box’, a free punk improv. We open up the backstage, where a free punk band will be rehearsing and people can have a look, get their own little backstage experience. Well, this might be uncomfortable for the band.
Also, ’Freakin’ Disco’ is a good one. Disco is a classic example of comfortable/uncomfortable. It’s Friday night, everyone’s going out, there’s pressure, you kinda wanna go and dance but then there’s that weird guy over there or not enough space… So we’ll have a concert, where two contemporary dancers will be performing with quite a bit of irony and there will be a surprise at the end.
We’ll also have ’Hangtér’, a room filled with phones, laptops and gadgets that all play different sounds. These might be a political speech, animal sounds or some other noise. Anyone can come in and play with the gadgets and this will result in either music or a terrible cacophony. So this can be comfortable or uncomfortable…
WLB: How many events are you going to have on Saturday?
Zea: About 25. Some of these are full-length, others just 30 mins. Some only accommodate 15 people at any one time, others are for everyone. The line-up is put together in a way that if you want, you can visit every single event, at least for a quick look. But that can be quite a lot. So you won’t be bored but you can walk around…
Viki: Yes, and we’ll use all of Dürer. All rooms and the backstage areas. Wherever you go, you’ll stumble on something.
WLB: So where do the idea and the name come from?
Anna: I was very bored in the city… we needed something new.
Viki: We’re all bored. I used to work for Dürer Kert and somebody told me about the old days when artists used to create together here. I really liked the idea and felt like this was missing so I called these girls that I’d been working together with at festivals, and we did it.
Luca: The name comes from our initials. Once we started drawing ideas on a board and we started with our initials, A, Z, V, L… and we said: lol, Az valami! (‘That’s Something!’) but we didn’t like it. So we started with another name, actually, and we even asked people at the pub takeover which name they liked but then we woke up after a party one day and realised that we just liked Az Valami the most.
Anna: And it ties in with our concept: bringing artists and genres together. So putting our initials together shows our little process.
Zea: And with contemporary art, people are often like: ‘That thing was really cool’ or ‘This is a… a.. thing’. So, well, this is something!
WLB: So does AZVLM also reflect your own tastes in music and art?
Luca: We work as curators in this so, of course, to a certain extent it does. We won’t invite anyone we don’t like or don’t find interesting, but the four of us are very different people with four different tastes in music so that’s already a wider scope and we trust each other’s judgements. But our aim now is to invite fewer people we know and more people we get to know. They can apply, we meet them and if we like them, it’s great!
WLB: What are your plans for the future?
Zea: In Budapest, we want to organise a party twice a year and maybe take it to other Hungarian towns as well. Then maybe even abroad or work on international collaborations. We would also like to put the focus on archiving, so the parties don’t just happen once, but there are video recordings and enough online documentation.
Anna: It is also important that we want to create a networking space where we bring bands, artists and audiences together who perhaps would not meet otherwise, and maybe this can result in great collaborations.
Zea: And we’d like to get people interested in other forms of art that they might not be too familiar with.
Viki: Yes, because we feel for most people, going to watch a performance or a play is sometimes too big of a commitment. But if you come to our party and there are 25 different events in different genres in your face in one day, you might try something you wouldn’t otherwise.
Anna: And if you really feel uncomfortable somewhere, you can always go to another room and find something else. We just want people to try and understand other subcultures.
WLB: How English-friendly will Saturday be?
Zea: Totally! It’s not really language-centric. There are performances and music, more visuals, so everyone can have fun. Even kids, we’ll have a kid’s corner.
After the first AZVLM party in the spring, a random partygoer stopped one of the girls and said: What is this?! You’re sick! And we think that just sums it all up. So don’t miss AZVLM on Saturday at Dürer Kert. Tickets cost 1,500 forints, but if you’d like to support AZVLM’s work, you can purchase a sponsored ticket for 2,500 or 4,000 forints that automatically enters you in a draw to win something special – for instance, ramen soup sprinkled with dried maggots. Sounds fun, eh?!