exhibition concept: Štěpánka Borýsková & Petra Tomsová
exhibition architecture: Oldřich Morys
graphic design: Jan Slabihoudek
The floods of 2002 affected also the archive of the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences. It contained, among others, colored diapositives and negatives of the Czech geographer J. V. Daneš. In the early 1920s, Daneš was one of the first Czechs to travel over the Pacific, East Asia and North America. Although the waters have irrevocably changed his photographs, the process of degradation has given the individual images a whole new visual quality which reflects the fragility of the photographic medium when faced with natural forces.
accompanying program: Travel Photographs – Caring for Photographs in Collections and Archives (symposium), Wednesday, 21. 2. 2018 at 9:30 a.m. (HAMU Gallery, Music and Dance Faculty, Malostranské Square 13, Prague 1)
The exhibition was realized at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague as part of the project Evaluating and Interpreting the Photographic Collection of the Czech Academy of Sciences, supported from the resources of the Institutional Support for Long-Term Conceptual Development of Research Organizations, provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in 2014. The project—co-investigated by the Department of Photography of the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences—has been taking place 2014 – 2018.
exhibiting artists: Martin Ježek, Kryštof Pešek, (c) merry, Martin Búřil, Jan Kulka
prologue: Auguste & Louis Lumière, Damien Henry
curated by: Lenka Střeláková
graphic design: Jan Slabihoudek
The exhibition tracks those contemporary forms of the moving image which consciously make contact with experimental approaches to filmmaking throughout the history of cinema. As a direct outcome of technological processes, the image constitutes a theme for its own contemplation – both on the level of an artwork’s creation and presentation, as well as in the specific steps taken during its remediation and archiving.
Through their concerted work, as well as for reasons of their further (theoretical, curatorial, or pedagogical) efforts, the exhibited authors represent a meticulously crafted and up-to-date understanding of the contemporary moving image. Furthermore, by directly referring to and drawing inspiration from the domain of formal and structural film, they disclose the mechanisms and processes that are usually hidden in a closed circuit between input and output. The relationship between technical means and image thus gets de facto inversed: the recording technology doesn’t as much serve the image; it is the image that gets to be presented as an outcome of certain technological processes when it refers to them by its specific shape.
Based on this set of constellations, BLACK BOX, WHITE HAT examines the moving image’s contemporary situation. It repeatedly draws attention to the pressing question of a ubiquitous modus operandi of today’s digital archival and distribution processes. These have gained a normative mandate. The many allusions to the limits of such processes constitute one of the main thrusts of the event, and the presented works would otherwise linger on the margins of visibility, their existence precarious. Parallel to that – and not only for reasons of the singular theme which addresses the actual end of meaning of recording media within the creative field – the exhibition thematizes the incessant oscillation of existence among various modes of data compression, and the unindexable, performative dimension of the moving image, as well as the role it plays in media and informational literacy and its relation to open source systems and the creative strategies these platforms allow.
The French prologue consciously reproduces the peculiar academic/artistic fetish of the relational problematic of train and film or of the ethos relating to the origins of cinematography. However, it simultaneously constitutes a firm reference point from which to address and ponder the contemporary state of the moving image.
accompanying program: Jan Kulka’s Archeoscope (presentation and screening), Saturday, 20. 1. 2018 at 6:30 p.m.
The publication accompanying BLACK BOX, WHITE HAT exhibition is available in the gallery.
exhibition concept: Michaela Pavlátová & Pavel Rejholec
graphic design: Jan Slabihoudek
production: Karolína Davidová
CITY CITY is a joint project of students from the departments of animation and sound at Prague’s FAMU. The exhibition presents audio-visual installations, projections and an interactive model of the city which appears in the animated film authored by Filip Blažek. The theme of the exhibition is focused on various creative perspectives on the city, understood as a space to which each being relates both physically and emotionally.
The CITY CITY at GAMU has been made possible by the financial support of FAMU, Filmtalent Zlín, Ministry of Culture Czech Republic and Prague City Hall.
“Melodram” is a site-specific project playing with the authors’ desire to become composers. Their libretto is based on Gallery AMU’s spaces and visitor’s movement within them. The composition is framed by three texts, all to certain extent affecting human lives: Hippocratic Oath, NASA’s press release advocating for the colonization of Mars, and a scientific description of Latimeria chalumnae.
The artist transforms the gallery space into an arena where one can discover life, as well as death. The exhibition is inspired by the Minoan taurokathapsia ceremony – the deadly dances with bulls. Who is the acrobat? Is it the artist or the viewer? When do they enter the mystical game? It is right now or soon. The ritual repetition of the game, one which may never finish shores up the abstract frame of time which the artist often uses in her projects.
Exhibition of BcA./ MgA. student works from the Center for Audiovisual Studies, FAMU, Prague:
Daniel Burda, Alexandra Cihanská Machová, Veronika Dostálová, František Fekete, Nina Grúňová, Vendula Guhová, Anežka Horová, Jakub Jirka, Jakub Krejčí, Adéla Kudlová, Veronika Přistoupilová, Anna Radeva, Luboš Rezler, Tomáš Roček, Andrej Sýkora, Klára Trsková
Accompanying program: “Ochočárna” (collective projection) with Vendula Guhová – June 27th and July 3rd at 5:30 p.m.
Veronika Durbáková, Oskar Helcel, Inka Karčáková, Alexandra Mertová, Zheng Minghui, Martin Netočný
Ferrotype authors:Camille Bonneau, Rony Eranezhath, Hanlu Gong, Anna Jarosz a Elena Semeriková, Petronella Karlsson Aslund, Adam Mička, Eleonora Riabkov, Alexander Rossa, Marie Sieberová, Jakub Svoboda, Natálie Ševčíková, Erika Štěpánková, River Young
curated by: Václav Janoščík
I am looking at a photograph. It might be mine, but it can just as well be yours. I hold it in my hand, or I have come across it on the internet. The more attention and time I devote to it, the more it mesmerizes me and inscribes itself in my memory. It slowly starts becoming all; as if I could leave my own self and enter the photograph. As if I could encounter it.
Reality is not just in the here and now, but stretches between the past and the future, between our perspectives which penetrate it and change it. In order to truly comprehend this, in order to be able to visualize it, we need to overcome our singular perspective. We need a sense of orientation and a wider view of the world around us. In a certain sense, we need photography.
An encounter is not just a metaphor; it does not have to occur just between people. The first part of the exhibition comprises of art projects which attempt an encounter with things, paintings, materials or memories. Martin Netočný is specifically interested in the connection between the anthropomorphic and the inhuman, the figural and the natural. The photograph thus becomes a form of research, of testing visual and natural shortcuts, clichés, connections, and encounters with signs, shapes or symbols.
Modern technologies like, for instance, social networks are often ascribed the ability to increase mobility and to expand our communicational potential. At the same time, however, their constant presence and instant content often preclude any more meaningful interpersonal contact. Oskar Helcel has made a functioning Faraday cage – an apparatus which shields its inside from electromagnetic waves. The piece thus exposes its surface in order to enclose space, focusing on its surface to hide the inside. By means of technology, it inverts the interior and the exterior, connectivity and isolation.
Encounter is predicated on the very uncertainty, or tension, between the familiar and the unknown. An encounter gives the impression of a certain closeness, but it is at the same time predicated on the fact that we do not yet know the other. Connecting photos from the family album with astro-photography, Inka Karčáková fleshes out a figure which represents a relative of hers who is at the same time unreal. František Bernár, a fictitious priest and avid photographer, is introduced to the audience, but remains elusive; we can encounter him, yet he does not really exist.
But let us still suppose that en encounter takes place between real people – between people who live somewhere, have hobbies, characteristics and desires. In her double-channel video, Veronika Durbáková follows the relationship of two friends. She doesn’t, however, adopt a documentary approach, rather deftly noting their masks and fake poses. For instance, the cigarette, the pop songs and the ever-present sense of irony speak volumes; they oscillate on the border of the superficial and the genuine, between kitsch and true sensation; they accelerate and slow down, all the time climbing towards their inevitable, ambivalent finish. The encounter thus does not only take place on the screen – we also discover the connection between the two characters, as well as their relationship with the video’s author and, perhaps, even with ourselves.
An encounter is inherently a bodily experience. We are in a relationship to space and to other bodies, both human and physical. In this sense, we can also understand dance as a form of bodily and material encounter. Alexandra Mertová explores these very possibilities of movement and touch in interpersonal contact. Her double-channel video shows footage of the usual contact of passersby on a street, and juxtaposes it with a dance performance. Fingers, touch, but also the gaze and the passing – these intimate and casual situations and gestures of expression form the robust surface through which we may encounter one another.
Much like being, we understand humanity and the encounter as having depth; as something which is discovered and which possesses duration, stability and gravity. But what if an encounter is rather superficial – a flash of a moment? What if there are no encounters in our lives? Can we fill the gap with service? Can we meet in shopping centers? All these questions, becoming ever more important in our hyper-employed society reared on advertisement, are addressed in Zheng Minghui’s installation. The whispering voice emotionally guides us through the story of a paid partner, while the shot tracks the environment of Shenzhen’s shopping centers, where similar encounters take place on a daily basis.
After the first room, which presents three installations devoted to encounters of a completely serious, ontological nature, and after three further pieces occupying the middle part of the gallery, which focus on the dynamics of encounter in the general sense of the word, we come to a synthesis of the two perspectives. In the last room, we may observe the ferrotypes of first-year students. They usually approach their main theme – a meeting of two ideal parents – with irony, but address the subject in their own various ways. The students managed to smuggle in the irony and tension of their representation of family and wider society by means of using one of the classical technologies of picture reproduction, one which was popular in the 19th century. The light-hearted content coupled with the very robust material of its medium symbolizes the fictitious but also real presence of the photograph – its potential and its drawbacks, its manipulative and ontological identity.
Here, the photograph adopts the guise of various encounters, meetings with people and with things. Much like abbreviations, symbols, or hashtags, they create a rhythm, condensing meaning while constantly drawing us in, closer towards the encounter. The photograph oscillates between the fictitious and the real, the expressive and the intimate; the deep and the superficial, the serious and the ephemeral.
13. 5. – 31. 5. 2017 (opening: Friday, May 12th, 2017 at 6 p.m.)
curated by: Sara Pinheiro
graphic design: Jan Slabihoudek
The exhibition “Non-Functioning Functionality” presents recent works by Marloes van Son (NL), an artist dedicated to the construction of sound instruments and electromechanical installations. By means of repurposing ordinary objects, her practice explores natural phenomena and everyday appliances. Straddling the space between the functionality of an object and the emotional response to what it does, the audience can find a cryptic mode of acquaintance which however remains universally accessible.
Non-Functioning Functionality includes the installation “FILTER” and “Devices” project.
The installation “FILTER” invites the audience to examine flexible barriers while exploring the system behind the installation. Increasing the amount of movement from the audience in the space symbolically poses a growing “threat” to the installation. As a defence mechanism, the water will bubble more violently and light will shine brighter. FILTER controls water, sand and air to create alternating moments of light and darkness, and of bubbles and silence.
The “Devices” project combines unexpected and unfamiliar elements with a recognizable everyday interface. The audience is encouraged to explore these experimental sound devices, thus becoming acquainted with their underlying electrical principles.
The exhibition includes a workshop in which the artist will share her know-how, her strategies and her fascination for electronics.
Marloes van Son currently lives and works in Helsinki (FI). Her recent events include a solo-exhibition in the Tekniikan Museo (Helsinki, FI), an artist residency at Titanik (Turku, FI), and a performance in Third Space (FI). She was part of the Supermarket art fair of 2017 (Stockholm, SE). Some of the festivals she has contributed her works to are the DASH festival (FI), ITGWO festival (NL), and the Shiny Toys festival (DE).
5. 4. – 7. 5. 2017 (opening on Tuesday, 4. 4. 2017 at 6 pm)
curated by: Baruch Gottlieb, Pavel Vančát
exhibition concept: Baruch Gottlieb, Peter Weibel, Siegfried Zielinski
exhibition architecture: Oldřich Morys
graphic design: Jan Slabihoudek
The exhibition “Without Firm Ground: Vilém Flusser and the Arts” at GAMU, Prague presents the life and thoughts of one of the most acclaimed Prague-born intellectuals of the 20th century through the combination of rare documents and artistic collaborations and inspirations. It aspires to weave the threads of Flusser’s private and professional life, marked by various migrations, with those of his thinking and writing through dialogues, influences and collaborations. Following presentations at ZKM Karlsruhe, AdK Berlin and West Den Haag, the next stop of this unique project takes place in Flusser’s native city, adapted and enriched with local ties.
Louis Bec, Epistémologie/ Ethologie Zooflusserienne, 1993, image courtesy of the artist
Vilém Flusser was born in the Bubeneč district of Prague in 1920 and was educated in a middle class Jewish intellectual family. In 1939, after the occupation of the Germans, he fled with his wife-to-be, Edith Barth, first to London, and eventually to Sao Paulo Brazil where he would live for over thirty years. Flusser brought his training in the classics, in Enlightenment Humanist philosophy and literature, to bear on his new environment, revelling in the utopian promise of the radically alien modernity into which he was thrown. Fighting through the despair of the extermination of his family and the horror of the Holocaust, Flusser carved out scintillatingly original, uncompromising philosophical insights into a world of scientific progress, automation and migration. During the 1980s he became one of the most respected philosophical guides of the upcoming electronic era. Even though he died only at the dawn of the Internet age his understanding of networks and communication is every bit as insightful to our contemporary condition as it was then. Through his life, Vilém Flusser sought a new utopian form of thinking, emerging from the crushing disappointment of modernity. He called this “synthetic thinking” using “technical images”. The exhibition will feature, beside biographical trajectories, objects from Flusser’s archive, his typoscripts and positions from artists who knew and loved him, some unique artistic collaborations where he would attempt to enact and elaborate the utopian modes of “synthetic thinking” he described. The selection of artists influenced by Flusser includes renowned personalities of Louis Bec, Michael Bielicky, Fred Forest, Harun Farocki, Joan Fontcuberta, Jiří Hanke, Dieter Jung, Martin Kohout, Andreas Müller-Pohle, Lisa Schmitz, Jiří Skála, among others.
Jiří Hanke, Kladno, Gottwaldovo náměstí, 1989, image courtesy of the artist
An essential part of this exhibition project, the international symposium “Playing against the apparatus. Vilém Flusser’s media and culture philosophy”, will be held on April 7th – 8th, at Goethe-Institut in Prague and Charles University in Prague (Faculty of Arts). We will rework some of the themes in the exhibition: migration, technological change, the crises of writing, causal thinking and the humanist project. We explore Flusser’s utopian proposals for new humanisms and new modes of information and communication for our contemporary condition of rapid technological transformation, playing with and against the apparatus. Join us for a rich and invigorating adventure through the life and work of a Czech pioneer of media thinking and philosophy for our networked age! The exhibition is held in collaboration with the Vilém Flusser Archiv/ Universität der Künste Berlin.
GAMU (Gallery AMU), Malostranské náměstí 12, Praha 1
(entrance from the passage to Tržiště Street)
open daily except Monday: 10 am – 12 pm and 1 – 6 pm
contact: Eliška Žáková (gallery director), email@example.com, +420 732 699 498
The AMU Gallery’s exhibition program is made possible by the financial support of the Prague City Hall and of the Ministry of Culture Czech Republic.