Part of the Pécs2010 – European Capital of Culture event series, May Day was a performance with the participation of several hundred people from Pécs. It took place between 30 April and 2 May 2010 in the former Count István Széchenyi mine shaft and in the community center of Pécsbányatelep.
We wanted to tap into the creative energies of Pécs citizens by providing a framework for a performing arts event that offered even uninitiated outsiders a chance to get involved and join the experience.
Our three-day-long event was given the subtitle Forgotten Story of the Utopia University Guild, inspired by the award-winning project coauthored by Márton Szuhay and Bálint Fazekas. The centerpiece of the narrative we devised for the event was the abandoned Count István Széchenyi mine shaft. In our storyline, the mine shaft originally held a machinery, the so-called Transhuman Machine. Members of the Utopia University Guild would have used the machine to make snapshots of the contemporary Zeitgeist and creative energies for posterity. However, during World War II most guild members were taken to extermination camps and coal mining stopped. When the Machine was abandoned, it became self-aware and turned against the city of Pécs. Present-day descendants of the guild members decided to revive the guild with new members and repair the Machine.
The most important element of the project was the team game where every secondary school student from Pécs was invited. The Utopia University Guild was looking for new volunteers. At the end of the two-month game, 35 of the volunteering students were found persistent and dedicated enough to become the next generation of guild members.