Yesterday evening amaCollective went to Delfina Foundation for the talk and performance Between Gesture and Theatricality: a conversation with Prague-based independent curator and art critic Mariana Serranová, followed by a performative intervention of artist Martin Zet.
In the closeness of a white room, sharing the table (and some good wine) in conviviality with a small number of participants, we got to know more (in some cases for the first time), about the work of Czech artists such as Daniela Baráčková, Aleš Čermák, Milena Dopitová, Eva Koťátková, Eva Jiřička, Jiří Kovanda, Sláva Sobotovičová, Mark Ther, Adam Vačkář, Tomáš Uhnák and, of course, Martin Zet. Mariana showed us a few videos of performances that happened both in the Czech territory and abroad, contextualising the nature of performativity in these artists’ research and practice. The intimacy of the situation allowed us to enter the discussion on a personal level, later developing concepts and unwrapping ideas as a group. We had the possibility of undertaking a dialogue with Tereza Porybná, director of the Czech Centre in London; understanding the significance, and the sometime inevitable difficulties, of disseminating Czech culture and arts in a global city like London. We then met Dani Burrows, director of strategy at Delfina Foudation, with whom we shared considerations about the development of trans-local curatorial activities within an institution, as well as independently. Once again, we all stressed the implication and the impact of such a mission. At the table there were also artists Sandrine Nicoletta and Valentina Miorandi who currently investigate, in a collaborative effort, notions of psychogeography through a project named The Drifters.
Finally, the chats were followed by action: Martin engaged us all in a performance. We were asked to think of a sound and, at the agreed signal, to plug our ears and to reproduce it. This went on for a couple of minutes. We were then told to unplug the ears and keep making the same sound. With the surprise of everybody and the laughter of many, we later repeated the exercise with an ear on the table. It was a revelatory experience: each sound was isolated, re-discovered, and then melted in the space with the interaction of others. I took the chance to discuss with Martin the role of the audience in his performances. The latter plays often with concepts embedded in the cultural identity of a people, the Czech people in many cases, and I wondered whether he ever reflected upon the diversity of reaction one can get from audiences with different cultural backgrounds, other than in different contexts. The answer was accompanied by a smile and took the shape of a question. If you want to discover more yourself, I suggest you visit him on Friday at the opening of his new show at Divus in London. Certainly, we will be there!