Castling Animation Preview

(Photograph © Zoltán Schnelszer.)

This is a 2-minute preview of a 12-minute animation that will be projected in the “Castling – Hradovanie – Váralás” exhibition space alongside drawings and artefacts.

The “Castling” animation is a visual poem constructed out of drawings that incorporate elements of Saskatoon’s cityscape.

The poem builds on the roots of the word “castle” in Hungarian and Slovak to reflect on the experience of migration. Images also migrate from patterns to language.

I explore the symbolism of castles by creating connections between Canada’s Château-style railway hotels (in particular Saskatoon’s Bessborough Hotel) and Central Europe’s castles (in particular the castle of Fiľakovo/Fülek).

Since 1885 thousands of Hungarians and Slovaks have come to Saskatoon and Saskatchewan in search of a new home. To many residents and newcomers, Saskatoon’s “castle” must have been both a reminder of their Central-European roots and an expression of the Canadian Dream of opportunity and prosperity.

Besides the Canadian railway hotels’ stylistic reference, castles are implicit in the discourse of even the earliest North-American settlers, such as in the biblical imagery of the “City upon a Hill,” the fortified “New Jerusalem.”

In folklore, castles have an ominous significance for women, as expressed by the ballad of the “Walled-Up Wife,” which itself has travelled and mutated over the centuries from India to historical Hungary, where it is known as the folk ballad of “Clement Mason” (Kőmíves Kelemen).

Translation of animated excerpt

Slovak:

HRADY – ‘CASTLES’
BEZ VÝHRADY – ‘WITHOUT RESERVATION’

Hungarian:

VÁR – ‘CASTLE,’ ‘AWAITS’
VÁRAS – ‘CASTLY’
ELVÁRÁSOK – ‘EXPECTATIONS’
VÁR – ‘CASTLE,’ ‘AWAITS’