Czech Republic

Frontiers of Solitude Symposium

5 February 2016 to 6 February 2016

The international symposium Frontiers of Solitude, organized as part of the eponymous art project site will offer a comparison of the opinions, experiences, and points of view of artists, curators, and invited guests on the theme of transitions in the landscape in which we currrently live and of which we are a part.

The symposium will search for relationships between the cultural, political, and economic aspects of contemporary concepts and our understandings of what is meant by such words as Earth, countryside, landscape, and land, including the topography of transitional zones, with an eye on both establishing and crossing over boundaries and limitations.

The term landscape can be understood as a mindset to orient us in the world and to reflect our relationship with the land. It is everywhere around us, under our feet; it is our shared starting point; it is that which at once unites and separates us. With this in mind, we can begin to raise questions about what is happening to the land? How are we connected to it, how do we relate to it, what separates us from it? How and to what extent can we understand the land, and what do we all know and not know about it? To whom does it belong, and how do we change it, for better or worse?

The artist, architect, businessman, technician, scientist, farmer, pilgrim and other kind of specialist each perceive the landscape in their own terms. How can we express and capture in human, rather than statistical, terms, both the visible and invisible transformations that the land undergoes, both locally and globally, with regard to the entire biosphere and climate?

Industrialization brings about mobility of people and goods, hyper-connectivity, overproduction and urbanization, which have transformed a large part of the 21st-century landscape into an industrial concourse, test laboratory, and a field of conflict among people, and between people and other living creatures. From this, there comes about a blurring of existing, seemingly well-defined borders, zones both separate and interconnected, with regions of safety and danger, rich and poor, managed and wild.

Have we already entered an ideosphere of beyond imaginary boundaries? Does contemporary art make it possible to orient ourselves within this unstable and ever-changing territory? Do frequent art projects and festivals, or interdisciplinary symposia on the theme of the Anthropocene offer fresh approaches and visions, or rather exploit the fascination and anxiety as result of the expected and unexpectied changes and transformations?

Guests and participants: Vít Bohal, Dustin Breitling, Peter Cusack, Petr Gibas,Stanislav Komárek, Alena Kotzmannová, Ivar Smedstad, Julia Martin, Pavel Mrkus, Ivo Přikryl, Martin Říha, Matěj Spurný, Tereza Stöckelová, The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, Andras Heszky (Translocal Institute), Guy van Belle, Martin Škabraha.


Organizers and concept: Miloš Vojtěchovský, Dagmar Šubrtová, Dustin Breitling.

This event takes place and is organized in collaboration of the French Institute in Prague and the support of the Agosto Foundation.

program of the symposium

Location: French Institut Prague, Štěpánská 35 Praha 1

Friday 5 February

10:00 Registration

The first block of presentations consists of the outcomes from the expeditions to Iceland, north Bohemia and FInnmark during late summer of last year as part of the project. Participants will talk about their experiences and thoughts about the journeys. Alena Kotzmanová and Ivar Smedstad will present the Finnmark expedition, Julia Martin and Pavel Mrkus wlll talk about the landscape and industry in Iceland, and Peter Cusack, workshop lecturer for Into the Abyss of Lignite Clouds at the Most coal fields, will speak about his ongoing research into the sonic aspects of environmentaly damaged places and landcapes.

10:30 Miloš Vojtěchovský and Dagmar Šubrtová (CZ) - Welcome and introduction

1.Reports Beyond the Frontiers

10:45 Alena Kotzmannová (CZ) -North

11:00 Ivar Smedstad (NO) - Finnmark
11:30 Julia Martin (IS/D) - The Iceland expedition:Tracing hyperextended objects and their ecological agency
12:00 Pavel Mrkus (CZ) - About "The Fall"
12:15 Peter Cusack (UK) - Sonic Journalism and Places in Transition
12:45 Discussion

13:00 - 14:00 Lunch

2. Landscapes, Gardens, Mines, Dwellings, Voids

The afternoon block covers different aspects of current environmental issues, and in particular, there will be presented a case study of the industrial landscape around the Most basin in north Bohemia.

14:00 Stanislav Komárek (CZ) – Having a Land, Having a Garden
14:30 Martin Říha (CZ) - The Limits of Adaptation -The Men and The Ore Mountains Landscape
15:00 Ivo Přikryl (CZ) - Hydrological System of Landscape after Mining - Ideal and Reality
15:30 Matěj Spurný (CZ) - “We didn’t have the Numbers” The Dawn of Criticism of Socialist Productivism in North Bohemia in the 1960s as a Case Study
16:00 Petr Gibas (CZ) - Voids: The Landscape between presence and absence
16:30 Discussion

Break - 17:00 - 19:00

19:15 Introduction to the film
19:30 Screening of Dreamland

Saturday 6 February

3. Anthropo-Scenes -- The morning block focuses on the broader contexts of the industrial and post-industrial landscape, related to the current discourse on the Anthropocene.

11:00 Martin Škabraha (CZ) - Reclaiming the Landscape
11:30 Dustin Breitling (CZ/USA) - Cognitive Mapping
12:00 Tereza Stöckelová (CZ) - Ontological Uncertainty in the Planetary Lab
12:30 Vít Bohal (CZ) - The Anthropocene: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Lunch break - 13:00 to 14:00

4. Places in Between: in the last block, presentations will offer three examples of how contemporary art and artists reflect the environmental crisis, and the questions of their vision of the future with the closing discussion panel.

14:30 Guy van Belle (B/CZ) - An Ecological Awareness, Crossing Borders between the Real and Imagined?
15:00 András Heszky (HUN) (Translocal institute, Budapest) - The River School and the Ecology of Danube
15.30 Isabelle Frémeaux & John Jordan (FRA/UK) (The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination) - Places in Between
16:00 Panel discussion

17:00 - 19:00 Break

19:00 Screening of The Forgotten Space. (Allan Sekula and Noel Burch)

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