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Prague: “The New Dictionary of Old Ideas”
July 30, 2019
THE NEW DICTIONARY OF OLD IDEAS
Participants: Data Chigholashvili, Alba Martínez Folgado, Erick Beltrán, Verónica Lahitte, Elena Lavellés, Irmina Rusicka, Adéla Součková, Katharina Stadler, Sandro Sulaberidze, Nino Zirakashvili, Jiři Žák
The New Dictionary of Old Ideas is a network of independent cultural institutions within Central and Eastern Europe. The platform we aim to create comes along with the process of cultural exchange and intense research of our common identity.
The New Dictionary of Old Ideas
Through political issues, visual culture, art theory, and the history of the region, we wish to explore Central Europe as an intriguing phenomenon. Coming from the experience of cultural mobility, we have established a residency project as a helping tool in furthering research that goes hand in hand with a set of theoretical terms known as The New Dictionary of Old Ideas.
Retro–Utopia vs. Speculative Fiction
The idea of a retro–utopia is used by Boris Buden (referring to Inke Arns) which suggests that similar to the myths of the pre–modern era that it once replaced, utopia is now focused on the past. However, that is not to preserve it but rather to remain faithful to its liberating promise. He does not imply that a better world was only possible in the past, but that the improvement of the world without the past is simply impossible. Retro–utopism is turning to the past merely in order to extrapolate its unrealised ideas into the future.
The Misery of Catching Up
The very terms “revolution,” “velvet revolution,” and “transformation” still remain debatable. At the same time, they do capture the variety of ways in which particular countries viewed their communist past, seeking their way outside the Iron Curtain. The much desired West “overwhelmed” the neglected East with the dominance of VHS cassettes, fake shoes, cheap sun–beds and businessmen in tattered socks. It was an exotic mix of the 1990s in which the post–communist greyness was tinted by the new democracies of acid green and purple.
The “West” and the “East” neither share a common past nor a present. It is indeed the future where both worlds will meet one another. This is a statement given by Rastko Močnik in his text EAST! Although the West and East clash in times of instability caused by political turmoil, the boundaries between them are growing around us. Common task refers to a better future that goes against these tendencies and instead of being a particular claim, it refers to experiments with the strategy of memory.
Political Practices and Culture
In the time of national revivals in Central Europe, art was used, but also wittingly created, by artists to support the national idea of helping individuals identify themselves through the culture with the forming nation. The second wave of the strategic use of culture to promote the national idea emerged along with the formation of the new nation states after World War I as a result of the Versailles Peace System. Later, the relationship with public/state institutions became questioned during totalitarianism. What kind of political practices can be traced in the region to the so called Central European region, and how do these practices affect culture, or more precisely, art practices?
Central Europe had different geographic as well as diverse geopolitical dimensions at different times. Geographically, it was indeed an “elastic region”. Based on the current political situation, it was once expanding, and at another time shrinking. None of the terms used to define this region are neutral. They are all influenced by political and historical connotations and include a diverse territory within Europe – Mitteleuropa, Central Europe, Central East Europe, etc. Is Central Europe a fact, a utopia, a concept of thought, or just a chimera? Debates about the character, the existence or the non–existence of Central Europe, have been emerging in the waves since the 1970s, and the issue is still not resolved or concluded in any satisfactory way. Perhaps this intangible ability of Central Europe is its most important characteristic.
Solidarity vs. Unity
Our union is a higher form of individuality! Through this term, we are eager to investigate how a model of an union embodies needs for collectivity in the post–Soviet democracies and reflect on why it is still powerfully present in the Central–European context. Does it stem from a basic need for self–defence expressed in a phrase “United we stand, divided we fall”, or is it nothing but propaganda slogan, a spectre that haunts totalitarian ideologies? What becomes a natural counterweight supplement to unity is solidarity – a term that gained a lot of attention because of the Polish opposition movement in 1980. However, unity gives us an ideal status in an idealistic social stratification – all equal – solidarity answers to the question: what if there are equal and more equal. Solidarity is a way how carrying country balances social diversities and processes social justice.
Lucia Kvočáková & Piotr Sikora
MeetFactory, July 2019:
The New Dictionary of Old Ideas has its aim in creating a space where abstract terms will meet concrete artistic acts. All of the artists studios will remain open and exhibition collateral program will amaze you again topped up with dj sets and deli ice cream and chilling drinks.
screening: Pedro Neves Marques, Semente Exterminadora / Exterminator Seed (2017)
Produced by Curtas Metragens CRL and Capivara Filmes. With the support of Fondación Botin and Portuguese Institute of Cinema ICA.
An oil spill contaminates the Brazilian coast. Capivara, an oil-rig worker is evacuated back to Rio de Janeiro, where the locals remain ignorant of the incoming disaster. Despite de danger, Capivara wishes only to return to the offshore oil rigs. In the city he is aided by Ywy, a woman who convinces him to travel to her homeland in Mato Grosso do Sul in search of work in the soya and corn monocultural plantations. There, Ywy tells him about the infertility of such transgenics plants and of an android like her. But Capivara, a human, is incapable of understanding her.
open studios – guided tour
Lucia Kvočáková and Piotr Sikora – curators of artists-in-residency programme – introduces work of current residents. Both Slovak and English.
performance: Vivian Caccuri: Garganta / Throat (2010/2019)
Performance by a choir referencing the colonial histories of Brazil, shaped irreversibly by deeply entangled human and non-human (mosquito) actors.
Choir directed by Marie Křovinová featuring the voices of : Veronika Pichot (soprano), Klára Wimmerová (soprano), Barbora Jančulová (alto), Silvie Šulanová (alto), Petr Jedelský (tenor), David Ulbrich (tenor), Tomáš Myslivec (bass), Martin Zemánek (bass).
performance: Viktor Szeri/Tamás Páll/Gyula Muskovics: SUMMIT
Summit is an immersive performance speculating about dark future scenarios. The latest project by curator/theorist Gyula Muskovics, dancer/choreographer Viktor Szeri and 3D artist/game designer Tamás Páll is a collective mourning ritual, a preparation for an unexpected, yet already evident Future Event. The trio developed this project at MeetFactory within the framework of the International Visegrad Fund’s Performing Arts Residency Program.
Created and performed by Gyula Muskovics, Tamás Páll and Viktor Szeri.
Music composition and live performance: András Molnár
Capacity is limited to 20 persons per performance.
19:30 screening: Pedro Neves Marques, Semente Exterminadora / Exterminator Seed (2017)
0:00 open studios – guided tour
21:00 performance: Vivian Caccuri: Garganta / Hrdlo / Throat (2010/2019)
21:30 DJ Romario
19:45, 20:30, 21:15, 22:00 performance: SUMMIT