Hungarian Art: Tamas St. Auby’s Portable Intelligence Increase Museum

Q: What is a “Portable Intelligence Increase Museum”?
A: A laptop.

No, this isn’t material from a dated Sci-Fi novel. Nor is it part of some absurdist imaginary critique of Communism that the main record of Hungarian ‘unofficial’ art had to be gathered and held surreptitiously on one man’s laptop. It might be absurd, but it is true. The main historical record of Pop art/Conceptual art/Actionism in the 1960s came from non-artist Tamas St. Auby‘s laptop.
Tomas St. Auby was born in 1944 and has lived in Budapest, save for a 20 year expulsion by the Communist government. He ‘quit’ his art career early and begin to establish himself as a non-art artist, arranging the first Fluxus happening in Hungary (which the secret police came to and actively detailed in their notes). In 1968 he established IPUT, the International Parallel Union Of Telecommunications, a fake organization in which he has held and still holds a series of positions. His confrontational approach did not go down well with the communist authorities and St. Auby was forced to leave Hungary in the mid-70s.

He returned to Budapest in 1991 and joined the newly-founded Intermedia Department of the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts. In 2003, he established the Portable Intelligence Increase Museum, an interactive computer-based exhibition that expose the gaps in official accounts of Hungarian art of the 1960s and 70s which he had documented. Over 1100 works by about 70 Hungarian artists have since been shown throughout Europe.

St. Auby holds a key position in the history of Hungarian art not only for the influence he continues to have on a younger generation of artists, especially through his teaching position, or his role in disseminating Fluxus happenings throughout Hungary, but for his documentation of art that would otherwise be forgotten.

As Culturebase puts it:

St. Auby has recently been doing what Hungarian and international art historians might have yet to do. In 2002, St. Auby founded the Global Front of Anti-Art History Falsifiers of the Neo-Social Realist IPUT (NETRAF), in whose name he presents the Portable Intelligence Increase Museum. This interactive object makes the Hungarian avant-garde (from 1956 to 1976) accessible for the first time through objects, photos, films and documents.”

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