When I asked Tomáš and Zbyněk to create a project for Entrance Gallery together, I came up with a theme: POLEMIC. Why did I choose this topic? The purpose of polemic is not to come to an agreement but to be in disagreement. I consider the ability to argue, to express and defend an idea, particularly in an opponent environment, to be aware of and define scale of consequences as one of the key predispositions of creative thinking. Harmony and agreement is what we desire. Unfortunately, we seldom experience them. Or, perhaps, thankfully. Originally a dramatic problem with a dynamic potential is likely to end when there is agreement. It becomes its own tombstone.
I was aware of the fact that I had approached artists who know and understand each other, who share a studio and are used to working together. However, I did it and they tried to react to my impulse. It was hard for them to cross a threshold of mutual understanding. They are both distinctive individualities. What to do with that? They have found a solution in the space of concepts they have been exploring for a while, in the field of questions they ask each other. Despite the original assumption, they did not create an installation together, they created two parallel installations. Zbyněk Baladrán created ‘To Be Framed’ and Tomáš Svoboda ‘Last Flight’. Each one is about something else but they still communicate. They call the exhibition ‘What should have a frame and what already has one’. Polemic played a crucial role of non-declared mediator in the clash of different conclusions that are derived from exploration of moving picture; a film as an agent of artistic intention and also function and meaning of FRAMES. ‘Frames’ are applied as a method of demarcation in many disciplines and contexts: cultural frames in sociology, discursive frames, so called logical frames that summarize analysis of a project, or frames in network lines that define sections of time etc. Particularly inspiring are reflections of Judith Butler, a philosopher and sociologist, in her essays Frames of War: When is Life Grievable? (2009). She defines a frame as something that comments itself, comes with an interpretation but also limits its own rules and ends up being a trap.
And why did I ask Tomáš and Zbyněk? Their projects have several characteristics, reasons and goals. They can be deciphered, renamed and contextualised based on different positions and theoretical constructs. I am mostly drawn to their work for their humanism and compassion.
The attractiveness of a spectacle, a moving picture and finally also visual art lies in the ability to evoke different affects which carry impulses for different sets of behaviour. From the passive behaviour to nodding in agreement and celebration of status quo, to emotional connection and reaction of criticism, to transformation of thinking and acting as such. Ideally, I imagine that every good piece of art has iconoclastic nature contrary to a product of pop-culture. It shatters comfortable ideas and leads to opening unknown views on things and phenomena of our world. I develop this opinion in the frame of economic and cultural sub-genre of visual art. This outsider position of production of cheap moving picture that loses its essence due to digital uncertainty to become a mischievous agent in the class society of phenomena was aptly labelled by Hito Steyerl as ‘Poor Images’. That is, in the environment with minimal impact of society and in permanent state of competing with other images. All this takes place in a seemingly elite space of galleries, in the space reserved for cultural pastime.
In the short movie ‘To Be Framed’, I deal with the presence of violence in our society. The presence may be hidden but is all the more ubiquitous and symbolic. I ask how it is possible to organise life if it is possible not to repeat and reproduce violence in a violent world. How can you behave without violence? Is violence simply a part of dialectic cycle of life and thus it’s impossible to step out of it? Child’s innocence seems to be a good starting point for such exploration. During the process of creating this film, I tried to understand violence that I cause to the others when I articulate my ideas, when I look for the language of communication in order to express myself. I am interested to what extent do we use behavioural patterns of the so called symbolic violence that are part of our speech and schematic behaviour.
I wanted the method to be part of the question since one cannot escape the cycle of violence by simply naming it and pointing at it. This would only spin another cycle of violence which is also difficult to understand since it’s difficult to decipher it. We use symbolic violence on one other every day.
Last Flight. No boredom, please. Being bored is worse than being dead. Death is (hopefully) quick, just a moment. Boredom is death stretched in time. It’s necessary to step out of the frame of everydayness, not to repeat anything, least of all yourself. Kill routine. Routine is boredom and boredom is death.
Time and energy that we invest in order to pass the frame of our routine lives are missing elsewhere. We don’t have time to live.
Routine is to free your mind. Routine makes you able to think of something else rather than think of what we want and it enables us to do what we really want to. Hail routine! Long live boredom!