For my senior capstone project, I created a book about the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. While this event has long been forgotten in the contemporary American’s mind, yet looking back, one can see many themes, such as democracy, and freedom, that remain extremely relevant today. Through this project, I wanted to show the importance of this event to the contemporary viewer by emphasizing the emotional arc—from hope to betrayal—felt by the Hungarian people, and the false promises given to Hungary by the West, especially by the United States.
In the book, which is structured chronologically, I highlighted text from interviews of Hungarian refugees to provide a personal glimpse into the Revolution, and supplemented those with reportage and historical documents from the period. I used documentary photographs from the Revolution, and emphasized moments in some photographs with a paint roller texture. This brings to mind the hand-printing of protest posters throughout history, and adds energy to sometimes static images. As for color, I chose to use red and green to draw upon the symbolism they hold in the Hungarian flag—red symbolizing strength and shedding blood for the fatherland, and green symbolizing hope, both key concepts of the Revolution.
I decided to deboss the type on the cover to speak to the concealment of the Revolution by the Soviets, and the lack of memory for such a historically important event. The almost-there element of the text also speaks to the mirage of freedom felt by the Hungarians—something that was felt for a short period of time and then taken away. As for the binding, I used a linking stitch, and left the spine uncovered to represent an event that was never completely realized. It also allows one to see the interior of the book structure, paralleling how the mask of complacency was thrown off in Hungary during the Revolution, and the true spirit of Hungarian society was seen.
I hope that this book will help people understand an important historical event, and think about their responsibility as a global citizen, and the values that they, and the country they live in, aim to uphold.