Summer 1989, István Szil(i) got the keys from the janitor of the abandoned Hungária Bath situated in Dohány utca. He and his artist and musician friends appropriated the ruinous premises of the great old building for some days. First, they whitewashed the walls. The dirt of the rooms that were said to be the witnesses of the dreads of the Second World War had to be cleansed in order to get ready to host the new ideas and uses of the group. Then, still in June 1989, came two cult nights arranged by the members of the big company of friends: Zoltán Ádám, Gábor Farkas, Tamás Komoróczky, András Ravasz, Péter Szarka, István Szil(i), and the VAN band. The impressive sight of the dark interior beamed by edgy flashes, the minor permanent installations, the simultaneously demonstrated individual performances of variable length, and the nonstop experimental music became a common experience for two hundred visitors. Thanks to the unusual site and the extraordinary modes of expression, these two nights got deeply imprinted in the collective cultural memory of the capital (just going through the political transition) as provocative and free-spirited happenings that opposed to the home traditions of artistic expression giving great freedom to performers. As an effect of the ’89 nights in the Bath, the dominant form of expression became the “one-night exhibition”, set in the later workspaces of the art group – in the Újlaki Cinema, and then also at 72 Tűzoltó utca, which later, by its continuous operation as an exhibition space slightly approached the official institutional system contrary to their former venues. There were some antecedents of the nights in Hungária Bath and subsequent events, namely a couple of similarly short-term exhibitions at the beginning of 1989 held under the auspices of Szelep (Valve) series installed in Bercsényi Klub, the club lounge of the dormitory of the Faculty of Architecture of the Budapest University of Technology. The majority of their large audience and of the artists clustering around the Dohány utca events had already been present on these club exhibitions. The activity of the youth that took over the legacy of the ’70s and ’80s generations trying to create some kind of alternative public sector, and carrying out several cultural actions across the city showed the hunger for artistic scenes in the unsettled conditions of the political transition and anticipated the later practice of independently operating artist-run spaces of longer life span. The artists performing in Hungária Bath had never wondered that one day this all would turn into a creative art group and an organizing spiritual centre of a special artistic life. The New Inhabitants just came out of the blue by itself and by a blissful luck. Their eventful history began in Dohány utca, knew numerous joint and individual exhibitions, two artist-run spaces, and a great couple of residence events, and ended after six years at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Chicago. The lack of conscious self-definition is reflected also in their name, a simple nickname given by others after Újlaki Cinema, their second workspace. A benevolent English translation of “Újlak Csoport” could be “New Inhabitants” which recapitulates well all their fresh spirit, their place appropriating actions that created many new scenes for cultural life, and their pioneer forms of expression in the contemporary artistic milieu. Thus keeping the unsolicited but basically felicitous name referring to their “sensitivity to spatiality” was conscious. Their workspaces during nearly seven years of collaboration served as melting pots of their sundry ideas; arenas for their friendly intellectual fights; unusual living spaces; and last but not least, scenes for their exhibitions and installations, so these sites profoundly affected the common work and life of the Újlakians. Thanks to the informal environment, the absence of expectations, and the strong bonds of friendship, their characteristic co-thinking sessions and collective creative processes could result in frenetic brainstorming sessions and blunt confrontations in an active and protean intellectual sphere, tolerating little external pressure. As a result of their social coexistence and deep permanent discourse with each other, their exhibitions were characterized by mutually influenced individual works. Later, their principles of operation entailed some minor confrontations when they sought the origins of a certain idea, viz. the author of a work, and found that doubtful in certain cases. However, if they worked intensively together during a six-year creative period, there were only ten exhibitions – generally an ending event of a residence program abroad, with few exceptions – that could be deliberately said to be a complex and condensed result of joint authorship and common group work. But, in some respects, the organization of cultural programs can be also regarded as creative work of collective responsibility. The members participated with more or less enthusiasm, sometimes with reluctance, in the management of Újlaki Cinema for some months and, then longer at 72 Tűzoltó utca which building functioned as an exhibition hall. During the period between October 1989 and April 1990 spent in Újlaki Cinema located in Bécsi út, their activity shifted from one-night exhibition activity towards running an official exhibition site. At that time, Suzanne Mészöly and Attila Szűcs collaborated more closely with the six founders. The space hosted not just their one-night individual exhibitions but also events from outsider artists, for example the exhibition of Miklós Pálos. The emblematic opening and closing events were composed following two different methodologies of cooperation. The opening was a meticulously edited exhibition based on the harmony and communication of individual works, while the closing event obliterated the individuality and its works by smart common decisions full of compromises to turn the pure collective authorship into reality in one minimalist elliptic light installation. Even though they had their proper exhibition sites for years, the members exhibited in official artistic institutions as well. Independence just offered another opportunity for self-fulfilment midst the vague institutional situation at the beginning of the nineties. The occupied places were often in ruins and lacked appropriate infrastructure, they could not hence provide permanent shelter for organizing, planning and brainstorming sessions that were rather held in sites on the verge of the private and public spheres like bars, eating houses, studios, and lodgings; for instance, in the studio of Zoltán Ádám in Böszörményi utca, in the lodgings of István Szil(i) and Gábor Farkas in Viador utca and in the flat of András Ravasz in Baross utca near Tilos az Á bar. This practice seemed to be surpassed when they found the building in Tűzoltó utca because that place was relatively equipped for a regular everyday use. That was Szil(i) again who found the sunroofed building of a former pastry factory. The remise-like space resembled a standard exhibition hall, yet the flexible interior of transformable and demolishable walls gave excessive freedom to the creative group in space-configuration. The factory hosted exhibitions of Újlakians and of Hungarian and foreign artists and art groups during the long period from March 1991 to March 1996. In Tamás Komoróczky’s notebook a lengthy list demonstrates the great number of events. The more and more demanding role of the cultural manager and curator, which positions some members were loath to take up, was due to the on-going institutionalization resulting in some dissention within the group. In addition to the creative work, the running of the exhibition site in Tűzoltó utca certainly required pretty much time and energy: for the sake of its persistence, they had to build relationships in Hungary and abroad, get sponsors, discuss with artists, edit and send invitation cards and application materials. These new instances created a risk to take the group into a position of power with the impact of too much intentionality and calculation that should have completely contradicted the spirituality of the Újlakians. Thanks to the group’s special status in the Hungarian artistic life of the transition era and to their independent art managing activity, they had the chance to participate in several creative projects abroad and build an international contact network that was relatively extensive compared to the possibilities of those troubled times. Their Hungarian and foreign friends provided them with proliferous opportunities for professional collaboration. In 1993, they were invited by American curator Laura Hoptman to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Chicago. They were asked to represent Hungary besides Róza El-Hassan in the exhibition Beyond Belief in 1995 about contemporary art in East-Central Europe. Gábor Farkas raised that they should prepare a tableau on their common oeuvre – that would still help us much today. But the group opted for another common project, a Giotto-paraphrase, and rejected Farkas’s idea. Gábor Farkas finally did not accompany the group to Chicago while István Szil(i) did not return with them to Hungary, he settled in New York City and is still based there. Therefore the story of the New Inhabitants ended in Chicago, 1995. Individual ambitions prevailed over collective creation by the mid-nineties. Even if the spirit of 72 Tűzoltó utca went on in the U.F.F. Gallery run by András Ravasz and István Komoróczky, the artists of the group followed more and more their own ways in art and life instead of managing independent cultural scenes.