A series of short films by 14 renowned Czech artists selected by curators Sylva Poláková and Martin Blažíček will be screened as a part of a special program focusing on Czech video art on the anniversary 20th Seoul International ALT Cinema & Media Festival (NEMAF). This program, which introduces a more comprehensive presentation of Czech video art for the first time in Korea, is organized in cooperation with the Czech Centre Seoul and Národní filmový archiv, Prague on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between the Czech Republic and the Republic of Korea.
Thirteen selected videos represent various tendencies in Czech art of moving image during the last twenty years. First it is necessary to mention that video art in Czechoslovakia was established relatively late comparing to other Central European countries. During the formative decade of 1990s video became a discipline accepted on academic level and especially thanks to the artists who returned from emigration after the Velvet Revolution in 1989 video and new media were integrated into the artistic education. Besides that there were established non-academic groups, media labs and places for presenting art video. A part of represented artists belongs to a generation that recognized video as an art medium and fully develop it without need to strive for its acceptance in the world of art. First there are presented works based on critical approach to the medium itself, e.g. works by Filip Cenek and Jiří Havlíček. The artists intuitively cope with the materiality of the medium itself and with video as a medium of memory. Parallelly with this trend typical for the Academy of Fine Arts in Brno, there was developed a post-conceptual line represented by artists as Zbyněk Baladrán or Pavla Sceránková. These artists usually graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. They stress recording potential of video and in the same time react ingeniously to the Czechoslovak tradition of performance and conceptual art. Works created at film schools (Magdalena Bažantová, Soňa Jelínková) occupy a specific position. They demonstrate the convergence of media and various media strategies at the end of the first decade. In 2010 there was an evident emergence of generation influenced by the existence of internet. Artists refers to an ornamental environment of the network as early YouTube video Moonwalk by Martin Kohout or reflect new life experiences related to ubiquitous communication technologies as Jiří Žák or Vojtěch Rada managed to do very well. (Text: Martin Blažíček)
1. Untitled / Jiří Havlíček & Filip Cenek / 2002 / 1,5 min.
2. Shanghai / Filip Cenek / 2003 / 8 min.
3. Chewing gum sculpture – Tryptich / Radim Labuda / 2004 / 2 min.
4. The Snow Queen / Magdalena Bažantová & Veronika Vlková / 2009 / 13 min.
5. Comely Face / Soňa Jelínková / 2012 / 10 min.
6. Bagging / Pavla Sceránková / 2004 / 1 min.
7. Models of the Universe / Zbyněk Baladrán / 2009 / 2 min.
8. Fly / Tomáš Svoboda / 2009 / 4 min.
9. Moonwalk / Martin Kohout / 2008 / 2,5 min.
10. Taylorism 1 – 3 / Matěj Smetana / 2013 / 3 min.
11. Correspondence / Alžběta Bačíková / 2017 / 9 min.
12. Shattered Epistemologist / Jiří Žák / 2016 / 18 min.
13. Song for the Deaf / Vojtěch Rada / 2019 / 14 min.
DATE AND TIME:
22.8.2020 Saturday 15:45
Cinematheque - Seoul Art Cinema (Seoul Cinema 1F, 13, Donhwamun-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul)
SEOUL INTERNATIONAL ALT CINEMA & MEDIA FESTIVAL:
ARTISTS AND WORKS INTRODUCTION:
Jiří Havlíček (*1977) is a Czech artist and curator. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Brno University of Technology and besides that studied abroad at Universitatea de Arta si Design in Rumania and Facultad de Bellas-Artes in Spain. He exhibited his works in the Moravian Gallery in Brno and Futura Gallery in Prague. His films are regularly presented on international film festivals. With Petr Strouhal he worked as a curator in Eskort Gallery in Brno. Moreover he collaborated with NoD Gallery and Karlín Studios and from 2012 regularly with Polansky Gallery. Currently he leads the ‘Text Form Function‘ atelier at the University of Ostrava. His works are based on illustration and animation. He explores media from the point of memory and forgetting. Often he uses strategies of hiding and losing information, which occurs during a technical and manual transmit of picture or its copying. From 2012 Havlíček works more with film projection and classical film material as 16 mm (e.g. Zajatci filmu, 2012; Film Týden, 2016; Rekonstrukce, 2018). (Text: Martin Blažíček)
In one of many videos by artist duo Cenek–Havlíček, under the title Untitled,we can see first an animation of a film disc shaped flying saucer crossing the night sky. This scene is followed by an extravagant sequence of strangely deformanted Disney characters, who resembles protagonists from the stories about fawn Bambi, converted to childishly coloured colouring book. In the video there are combined themes peculiar to both artists such as sensitive perception of media, their surfaces and screening surfaces, an interest in strategy of hiding, errors or secrets occuring when datas disappear during the process of transcription, copying or conversion to another media. Last but not least there can be found other themes regarding memories and forgetting, child experiences in watching media, which are especially in case of Havlíček transformed to the processes of re-drawing according to memories or by heart. At the beginnig of the story, an Arabic colouring book with Disney’s characters is bought by chance, repeteadly copied and brought alive by colouring. Originally animated characters travel to various media through imagination, memory and preferences of various artists in different cultural context and thus this video refers to this sediment load of interpretation more than to the original animated characters. This work is a part of a free cycle on DVD Lotus 3 and Solaris (2003) released on the occassion of an exhibiton of the same name, which was held in Jelení Gallery in Prague and produced by art association Fiume. (Text: Martin Blažíček)
Filip Cenek (*1976) graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Brno University of Technology. During the study he was significantly influenced by curator and theoretician Keiko Sei. Cenek continued studying at postgraduate level at Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. From 2003 he has taught at Brno University of Technology, first in the Video Studio and from 2008 as an assistant in the Intermedia Studio lead by Václav Stratil. In 2019 he became a dean of the university. He mainly engages in installation and performance, often using moving pictures and wide range of old and new audio-visual media. He joined many group exhibitions in renowned art museums as Centre Pompidou in Paris, EMAF in Osnabrück, NIVAF in Nagano, Parker's Box and Pioneer Works in New York, etc. His work usually based on cooperation focuses on non-linear narration, live cinema elements, various kinds of media and their surfaces. In many works he uses improvisation as in Carpets Curtains, an audio-visual project joint with musician Ivan Palacký. (Text: Martin Blažíček)
Extract of a live performance by Carpets Curtains, audio-visual duo formed by Filip Cenek (improvised video) and Ivan Palacký (improvised sound). Combining live audio “micro-improvisations” with live video manipulations, Carpets Curtains express an engaging and nuanced interplay of audio and visual material. With live visuals being based on improvised memory re-edits in which emphasis is placed on ambiguous “narration” while VJ software errors are used to reach new amoebic image qualities, the result is a principle or method of remaining fixed to moving images while vacating the essential aspects for building concrete meaning. Such visual approaches find parallels in Palacký’s delicate musicalities, in which found objects and minimal electronics are fused to create elegantly small sound mixture. (Text: Carpets Curtains)
Radim Labuda (*1976) graduated from the Department of Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava and the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (Studio of Intermedia Work III / Miloš Šejn School, Studio of New Media / Michal Bielický School) and after that he studied for one year in Tony Labat Studio at San Francisco Art Institute. He works mainly with video, which is fundamentally determined by its installation and soundtrack. Recently he has dealt with human archetype viewed as a product of the modern society. Besides moving picture a text plays an important role in his projects. Creating different concepts Labuda focuses on topics as time, perception of art works or own creative position. In his works we can find other topics as sexuality and corporeality, manipulation and observation. In 2005 Radim Labuda became one of the finalists of the Oskár Čepan Award and in 2008 he was awarded Jindřich Chalupecký Award. Currently he works as a curator in the community culture centre Punctum in Prague. (Text: SJCH)
Chewing Gum Sculpture – Triptych
Radim Labuda’s early works are characterized by a process of observation focusing on surrounding world or due to its performative overlap also to the artist himself. Camera means for Labuda a means of exploring the surrounding world or even own introspection. Three videos of performative sculpture events consisting in modelling a chewing gum in a mouth were recorded by Labuda during his art fellowship in San Francisco in 2004. Two years later he presented them on a site-specific installation in Montanelli Gallery in Prague in collaboration with Japanese artist Chiko Sato from San Francisco, who provided own drawing and chewing gum package. The installation consisted of three screens, where three videos of chewing gum sculptures (Torus, Helix, Spiral) were played in loops, a drawing and a shelf used during the opening among other things also for glasses. Formal aspects of the work followed the common practice of this kind of installation, but refering to the works of Bruce Nauman or Marina Abramovič, the content was intended primarily as a humorous parody of classical forms of body art and performance. (Text: Sylva Poláková)
Magdaléna Bažantová (*1978) graduated from the Center for audiovisual studies at Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. She works as experimental film-maker, scenographer, pedagogue and curator. In her films there prevails an interest in the connection of subjective experiences and narrative schemata, which she connects by her own or overtaken pictures and sound tracks. Up to the present day she has closely collaborated with other artists including Veronika Vlková. With her she produced an experimental fairy tale film The Snow Queen.
Veronika Vlková (*1985) joined the artististic community in Brno when she was still studying at the Faculty of Fine Arts there. Her works, which are characterized by a tendency to create subjective mythology, she usually develops in collaboration with other artists of various genres. Her preferable media are aquarell and animation. Besides that she engages in musical productions using classical and experimental instruments.
The Snow Queen
‘…The tale begins with the shattering of a magical mirror, its pieces spreading over the world. When a shard enters a person’s eye, they only see the negative aspects of things. When it enters someone’s heart, it turns into ice. The symptoms of depression are eerily similar, including irritability, negative thoughts and perhaps even worse, numbness…‘ This video project was created in London and Reykjavík during the global financial crisis in the early 2009 and is based on Grimm's fairy tale Snow Queen. In Snow Queen the camera is located on a moving bus, watching a girl in a pink coat outside, on the street – the magic of the shot is the result of the subtle weirdness of the situation (the girl is skipping rope on the street between passers-by), as well as the use of music and slow motion. Its intensity is thus again an invented mechanism – through acute observation and the compelling transformation of the original reality through slow motion. Slowing down, or the opposite, the acceleration of shots, or their extremely long or extremely brief duration, is something which features in many works by Madla Bažantová, a device, which enables her to achieve this exact narrative and figural potential out of a given situation, of taking it to another level. (Text: Helena Bendová)
Soňa Jelínková (*1988) graduated from Tomáš Baťa University in Zlín and Department of animation at Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, where she also studied new media in the Centre of audio-visual studies. She deals with drawing, animation and performance, nevertheless her works are based primarily on animated film. From 2011 Jelínková has made 8 films. The most successful one is Comely Face (2012). Sometimes she uses alter ego RRRR+A or appears as a performer of the project Uroboros. Currently she lives with her family in remoted area of Jeseníky Mountain. Her films can be considered as quite spiritual ones, focusing on intimate and spiritual experiences. In her films there can be found motifs as dreams, visions, hallucinations and sensitive perception. They are permeated by Christian and other symbolism, mythical animals and objects, which are close to pathos but convincingly based on the artist’s personal experience. As main topics Jelínková deals with the relationship among man, technology and society projected into universal and archetypical relationships. https://www.instagram.com/rrrraart (Text: Martin Blažíček)
‘Author’s vivid vision about nowaday’s human species ‘homo mechanicus‘ is based on an excellent image stylization. Thanks to very original composition of shots and an excessive unusual metaphors, the author surpusses the conventional figure of the plot - an individual manipulated by the society. Drawing, figures and actions in a fictional city are ceaselessly changing. As a serpent, which dodges, moves zigzag and unexpectedly transforms, Comely Face is hard to grasp and keep in memory. Although this nonverbal reflection about destruction, temptation and doubts doesn’t abound with hope, after all we don’t need to delude anything…‘ (Text: Dušan Záhoranský)
Looking at Soňa Jelínková’s works we can think about psychoanalytic or spiritual aspects of creation and Jelínková is definitely inclined to the second option. ‘Animation film maker creates some kind of his own intimate vision of the world, a subjective imagination expressed in the work as a transcendence, which is not approachable for many people in other way.‘ Jelínková condemn contemporary overtechnized world in the most apposite way in the film Comely Face (2012). She contrasts city life overloaded by screens, just a waiting place for death, with hope depicted as faith, mytological animals and landscapes. However in this dark vision we get to know, that humankind is not ready for praying. (Text: Kamila Boháčková)
Pavla Sceranková (*1980) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (Miloš Šejn and Milan Knížák’s studio), where she currently leads the Studio of Intermedia Work together with Dušan Záhoranský. She has participated in many fellowship programs including the Visegrad Artist Residency Program in Budapest or Cooperative Méduse in Quebec. In her works we can find principles of ready made and performance. Her sculptures are characterized by aesthetical autonomy and purity, they are usually connected with some concrete place and invite viewers to take part in, even though the object can be deformed as a result. Sceranková works with ordinary objects, which become unusual ones advanced to a new context due to the change of scale, material or construction. Pavla Sceranková has been awarded several Czech art awards and has organized many solo exhibitions in renowned Czech and Slovak galleries. (Text: SJCH)
Pavla Sceránková creates sculptural objects and installations characteristic for their minimalist purity and sensitive relation to the given place. Another aspect of her works consists in the creation of objects with the element of action challenging the spectators to interact. However, it is more frequented for these objects to have a form of a video, or rather a video sculpture on the borderline between performance, animated sculpture and an autonomous video. They express the existential relation of man to the environment in which he lives and which he is confronted with. Pavla Sceranková has introduced a new artistic language and expression in the field of sculptural and object art; a new concept to continue the powerful legacy of the postmodern as well as neo-conceptual spatial art. The stay in a paper bag is a result of the reflection on questions about consumerist lifestyle. What is the crucial moment when the excessive quantity of things we own stops preventing them from fulfilling their function. In her early works, video sculptures such as Bagging (2004), Pavla Sceranková employed the earliest animation principle consisting in “reviving” dead objects. The body or hand directing their movement remain hidden if possible while the objects seem to move by themselves. (Text: Drdova Gallery Prague)
Zbyněk Baladrán (*1973) studied art history in the Philosophy Department of the Charles University and in the studios for Visual Communication, Painting and New Media at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. In his works he is investigating territories that are occupied by that part of civilization, which we call Western. Using methodology similar to those used by the ethnographer, the anthropologist and the sociologist, this post-humanist “archaeologist” is digging up the remnants of the not-so-distant past. In 2001 Baladrán co-founded Display, a space for contemporary art (later transformed into Tranzitdisplay). He was a member of the curatorial team (through tranzit.org) of Manifesta 8 in Murcia (2010). He took part in the 11th Lyon Biennial, in Manifesta 5 in Donostia / San Sebastian (2004), in the 56th La Biennale di Venezia (2013) and in MoMA (2015). He is represented by the Jocelyn Wolff Gallery in Paris, Gandy Gallery in Bratislava and Hunt Kastner in Prague.
Models of the Universe
I’m interested in an exhibition as a model of the world – this can have various forms: A model of the universe as a society similar to how the human world is organized in which the various entities cooperate together or compete against each other. A model of the universe as a constitution in which each of the participants draws up its own paragraph of a common constitution, its own rules and rights of coexistence. A model of the universe as a brain in which relationships are defined through the interaction of the various parts and the intermingling of scales. A model of the universe as a thinking process in which lines find connections with other lines and create nodes from which other lines come from. A model of the universe as a library in which the various bookshelves are divided according to themes and correspond to various types of knowledge. A model of the universe as a book in which the stream of text is divided into unexpected contexts. A model of the universe as a mathematical exercise whose end does not produce a result, but an unsolvable paradox. A model of the universe as a machine that produces the certainty of continuity for its gears. A model of the universe as a garden in which one can lose his way and never find the exit. A model of the universe as the human body in which the organs fill all the space within and have their function subordinate to the whole. A model of the universe as a theatrical play in which the viewer goes through various degrees of empathy and illumination. A model of the universe as an archaeological field in which by adding to incomplete parts new wholes are reconstructed and created. A model of the universe as a dictionary in which everything is arranged by entry and in alphabetical order. A model of the universe as a city built upon the ruins of older cities. A model of the universe as a narrated story to be continued. (Text: Zbyněk Baladrán)
Tomáš Svoboda (*1974) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague including a doctorial program. He completed one-year study fellowship at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. In his works Svoboda deals with the relationship between text and picture and their perception in connection with language and thinking. He uses media as video, painting, photography and performance. His works includes also feature films. On some films he worked as a designer. Besides fine arts he intensively engages in exhibition design as just one of few Czech artists. From 2007 he has been a member of curator’s and organizing teams of the initiative tranzitdisplay and he is one of the founders of the Display Gallery. Currently he teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, where he leads the Studio of New Media I. He exhibits his works regularly in many Czech galleries. (Text: SJCH)
Tomáš Svoboda engages in film as a medium, audiovisual art, entertainment industry or way of thinking. He analyses film on the level of character system and complex social-cultural practice. Regarding his approach to film he says: ‘There are different possibilities of analysis, which enable to understand film, e.g. research in certain medium outside of the medium itself, research through other disciplines. Conretely speaking, we can view film as a sociological phenomenon, a way how to spend free time, a medium connected with a certain typology of architecture, a kind of a visual language or an object of desire.‘ Svoboda deconstructs symbolical structures and mechanisms from the point of basic viewers’ experience. Modified enviroment, where we are used to perceive a film or where a film is created, plays an imporatnt role. Svoboda works using a simulation of a cinema or film sequences and reduction of film language or concrete story, what he calls an ‘imagine film‘. He reveals presumed ability of imagination as a strongly disciplined experience linked to concrete strategies of film practice. The experience with film ‘narration‘ he eliminates to a ‘plot description‘ (using text in a shot and live or recored performance) or ‘naked syntax‘, e.g. as in an installation A point of view (Úhel pohledu, 2011) or a video Fly (2009). In an abstract way, using short schematic texts and images, he narrates a certain story, which final form the viewer has to put together using his own imagination (in the video Fly there is a story about passengers on a plane). Thus each viewer makes his own specific version of the story. (Text: Sylva Poláková)
Martin Kohout (*1984) belongs among significant European artists representing the post-internet generation. He studied camera at Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, fine arts at the University of Fine Arts in Berlin (Gregor Schneider) and the Städelschule in Frankfurt (Simon Starling). In 2010 Kohout received Marler Video-Kunst-Preis scholarship. He was nominated for the Jindřich Chalupecký Award two times, but finally succeeded in 2017. His works are regularly exhibited in the Czech Republic and abroad, e.g. in Futura Gallery and A.M. 180 Gallery in Prague, Goethe Institute in China, Forum-1822 in Frankfurt, MAMbo in Bologna, New Wight Biennial in Los Angeles, etc. Kohout lives in Berlin and Prague, where he co-leads a photography atelier at the Academy of Arts, Architecture & Design in Prague. In his works Kohout uses a wide range of media. His main topic is the elusiveness of the current world in connection with the life in the time of technologies, new principles of communication, existence on the network and related experiences. Kohout’s early works used elements of interactivity, but later on it was replaced by 3D environment and appropriation of objects, materials and technologies of everyday usage. (Text: Martin Blažíček)
When there is no description at all, it usually happens because the piece is somewhat self-explanatory. Let’s take, for example, Moonwalk (2008), a YouTube video where the YouTube scrollbar and the YouTube loading animation are used as the main elements to design a stair to the sky, that slowly fades into infinity. The video was placed on YouTube, where it scored 386.694 views so far. It was even included in YouTube Play, the Google funded exhibition project at the Guggenheim Museum in New York that in 2010 blatantly celebrated YouTube as a pool for “creative video”. So, that’s it. Everything is transparent, everything is “acted in the sun”. The problems first arise when we go deep into the piece, when we actually start looking closer at them. If we look at Moonwalk again, we may realize that what is most fascinating in the video is that the scrollbars are synchronized in a way that makes the red lines proceed all together. Furthermore, when Moonwalk was first uploaded on YouTube, the original YouTube scrollbar was synchronized with the ones in the video: deprived of its functional nature, the scrollbar thus became part of the work, even if not part of the video file. This little detail suddenly turns Moonwalk into something more than a “creative video” playfully dealing with its frame, or a plain celebration of YouTube as a creative platform. Moonwalk becomes a site specific intervention that actually subverts the place of its delivery. (Text: Domenico Quaranta)
Matěj Smetana (*1980) graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Brno University of Technology (Intermedia Studio, Drawing Studio, Painting Studio 3) and obtained a doctoral degree at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. He exhibits his works in the Czech Republic and Slovakia quite often, e.g.recently in Meet Factory in Prague, Olomouc Museum of Art, SPZ Gallery in Prague, AMT Project in Bratislava. From 2015 he has taught in Environment Atelier at Brno University of Technology and concurrently at the Department of Intermedia at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. In 2014 he became one of the finalists of the Oskár Čepan Award. Most of the Smetana’s works are characterized by lightness, humour and detached view. Smetana uses various kinds of media focusing on critical approach to art institutions. Quite often he works with a moment, when perspective of perception changes, with illusion and disillusion. In a form of hand-crafted culture he sometimes refers to modernist and conceptual art of 1970’s. With his wife Eliška he performs as a music band Dort (‘Cake‘). (Text: Martin Blažíček)
I asked my friends to rehearse and repeat any series of simple movements. On the basis of these movements I animated a drawing into their hands. At the end of the 19th century, a scientist and manager F. W. Taylor found out that degree of working efficiency distinctly rises when a complex manufacturing activity is divided into many simple operations. Taylorism series thematizes a working activity. I’m interested in the relationship between a taylorist routine and a frame-by-frame animation, the production of goods and a sequence of movie frames. (Text: Matěj Smetana)
Alžběta Bačíková (*1988) graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Brno University of Technology (Painting Studio 2 led by Luděk Rathouský and Jiří Franta) and obtained a doctoral degree at the same university. In 2017 she participated in a residential fellowship program in Egon Schiele Art Center in Český Krumlov and a research program in the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv. In the theoretical research as well as in art Bačíková deals with a reflection of documentary tendencies in contemporary art. In this context she is especially interested in the category of objectivity and approaches, which reveals a false illusion about impartiality of the certain genre. She focuses on the medium of moving picture and mainly works with video installations. Moreover she collaborates with other artists and works as a curator too. In 2017 she started to work as a curator in Etc. Gallery in Prague and from 2019 for the Artyčok.tv, where she advances principles of feministic institution. (Text: SJCH)
Alžběta Bačíková deals with a reflection of hero archetype in the context of contemporary gender stereotypes, interpersonal realtionships and specific social roles shifted to other conceptual levels through author’s manipulation of the documented issue. In long term Bačíková engages in researching documentary strategies in contemporary art video. In the video Correspondence the artist arranged a situation – beforehand written love letter, and then she observes protagonists‘reactions. In Ponrepo archive cinema in Prague she shoots a gigolo reading a letter to theatre actress Gabriela Míčová followed by their discussion. But the question is, if we can still speak about a documentary video or film. And that is the point. Because it is more than a documentary film, it is a film about a documentary. In Correspondenceand other films (e.g. Heroes 2017, Doctors 2016) Bačíková deals with the genre of portrayal and uses it to critically look into the topic of masculinity. In mentioned works male protagonists are introduced through a text related to them and thus tension between them (their real behaviour) and the film fiction occurs. At the same time the camera follows their real behaviour and self presentation. These shots are aimed as questions to viewers. Then it is not an explicit feministic criticism, more likely it reveals a concrete view through which we look at reality. (Text: Anna Remešová)
Jiří Žák (*1989) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (Studio of Intermedia Work III / Tomáš Vaněk School). He completed fellowships in the Šaloun’s Studio at the Academy of Arts, Architecture & Design in Prague and at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. He works mainly with moving picture and video installations combining research elements with poetic line and narrative form. Žák is interested in the identity of post-communist countries and its deconstruction from non-western perspective. For a long time he has researched, e.g. the issue of the export of Czech weapons to the Near East. Another important topic for him is a social-political relationship to information published in media and on internet. His recent works also deals with environment anxiety. Žák has introduced his works in many independent galleries and institutions in the Czech Republic and abroad, e.g. at the Biennale Warszawa. He takes part in a student initiative ‘Studio without leader‘. In 2015 he won the EXIT Award and in 2017 he became one of the finalists in the competition Other Visions at PAF Olomouc. He works for the Artyčok TV and the National Film Archive in Prague. (Text: SJCH)
The video Shattered Epistemologistwas made in collaboration with a charismatic Berlin dancer with Benin roots, Meïmounou Coffi. According Žák’s scenario she created an improvised choreography based on gestures using for digital devices control. A collage consisting of dance performance and abstract shaking shots becomes a visually poetic metaphor, which is extended by a subjective verbal commentary putting a fictional situation into a real context. ‘The work deals with the meaning of ‘truth‘ or more precisely ‘post-truth‘ in contemporary information smog and media manipulation. The only important thing is what seems to you as real. You have the right to use an objective meaning for your own purpose‘, one protagonist said in the video Shattered Epistemologist. As a consumer of contemporary information explosion accelarated by social networks and an unclear function of gatekeepers, it is harder to find our feet. While people in the past searched for ways, how to know the truth through intellect and senses, today we are facing a problem due to the alienation of perception processes. Individual sense experiences and partialy even the rational ones are increasingly intermediated through virtual and fragmented information. Senses dwindle in importance, intellect is overloaded. Very seldom we are able to verify the information empirically. Usually we can just think about, which one of increasing versions, we accept. As the word ‘post-truth‘ became the word of the year 2016 in English-speaking countries, the theory of knowledge (epistemology) has become more often mentioned branch. Subjectivization of reality is a good reason, why to search hard for new ways, how to formulate basic principles of knowledge, not missing the aspect of humankind due to the absolute stress on an individual. (Text: Jitka Hlaváčková)
Vojtěch Rada (*1991) studied architecture and sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and completed a research fellowship in interactive design at Zürcher Hochschule der Künste. He exhibits his works regularly in the Czech Republic and abroad, e.g. in Freies Theater Innsbruck, Ars Electronica Linz, D21 Leipzig, etc. Beside his activities as an artist Rada works as an architect focusing on the development of 3D applications and simulations. In his works Rada uses 3D environment and game engines quite frequently and lays stress on the relationship between the virtual and real space corresponding with the contrast of imaginary and real world. For the artist the crucial roles in this relationship are played by architecture and urbanism on one hand and game environment as a new habitat on the other hand. Protagonists appearing in Rada’s videos, animations and games are creators and maintainers of architectural structures as architects, geodesists and security guards, who move in collapsing virtual spaces.
Song for the Deaf
Song for the Deaf (2019) is a 3D-animation that addresses the present and possible future of the architect and the function of architecture channeled through technological tools. In a virtual monologue, computer generated avatars reflect on space, time, processes and algorithms. Following a quote by Adolfo Natalini, co-founder of Superstudio, Vojtěch Rada applied the concept of the “digital ruin” to the work of Superstudio: „Ruins and projects have a point of similarity. They share the sad destiny of absence: in the former case, it is the absence of something that no longer exists; in the latter case it is the absence of something that does not yet exist. (...) In some cases, architecture discovers metabolic opportunities in ruins.“ (Natalini, 2013) (Text: BB Mak)