You have been operating for a few years now; did your viewpoints change somehow? How did the whole idea behind your activities change?
Jaroslav Sedlák: We can speak only for a part of the 4AM and for the projects that have been realized by the two of us; those about architecture and urbanism. I think that now we choose our projects more wisely. We pick topics and areas we are really interested in. Earlier we used to get excited about a number of projects; today we are able to reduce and revise.
Šárka Svobodová: The whole purpose of 4AM is also that we ourselves explore the viewpoints. It is and always has been a platform for experiments. In Forum we have an opportunity to try out a lot of things and make our own opinion. We wanted to learn about some topic and that’s why we started to focus on it. But I agree with Jaroslav that we choose more wisely today. But if I were to speak concretely I focus only on two topics now. I am observing the behavior of municipality when it comes to Socialist era architecture. Together with Jaroslav we are working on a project entitled Consonance of Modernism that reflects what takes place today in cities with heritage of post-war architecture. Say, we are inciting public discussion about demolitions of architectonically valuable buildings – for example now it’s a funeral hall in Brno-Židenice. It was designed by architect Ivan Ruller, built in 1970s and now it is threatened by demolition. We are looking for something that transcends usual meanings of architecture in the eyes of the society – for example how are the buildings erected in Socialist era seen today. The other area I am interested in is city development and discussion with city representatives. We are trying to offer them a different view and different options.
Jaroslav Sedlák: I am an architect, so I see it differently. A house in my eyes is a final product of a long collaboration. It is of course not just an investor and architect but involves many other professions including municipal departments that enter the process. Therefore the house changes over time as the things are getting clear. What is produced in the end is a matter of long time. People rarely know what it really involves.
What do you think is a meaningful way to write about architecture?
Šárka Svobodová: That’s what we are trying to find out in our specializations. We are trying to connect scientific research with topics we are focused on in 4AM and it’s a thing I am currently looking for. As a theorist of architecture I am comfortable in collaboration with different domains. Be it collaboration with an architect, artist or movie maker. I can mention collaboration with Martin Hrubý who made a short movie about the aforementioned funeral hall. It is good to talk with someone who sees the architecture differently and to look together for something that works. We did a number of commented tours for the funeral hall and a five-minute-movie can operate very well side by side with texts or even separately.
What are the defining aspects of the view you are looking for? For example when you are collaborating with a movie maker you must prioritize some things, that is to say, it is just like when one writes a text. Or do you just meet, start to talk and go immediately to shooting?
Jaroslav Sedlák: That’s the advantage of collaboration with Martin Hrubý who sees things the same way we do. And he is capable to record a lot of views and qualities for himself.
Šárka Svobodová: Or, on the other hand, Jaroslav, as an architect, is capable to draw his attention to certain moments. And I, as a person who knows the whole story, can identify for him another things I find essential. Together it makes a big picture that allows even an untrained viewer to see the situation of the house; it shows him also the context of the place where the house stands and so on.
So you are deviating from text and looking for other options?
Jaroslav Sedlák: Not really, that was just one example. Text is, in principle, very important because it uncovers the whole context of a building. And there are many buildings one cannot enter. It means that thanks to a text one learns there were used special technologies and that the house has its own idea of usage that determines also the shape of the house. It is something that’s hard to realize when one walks by the house. That’s why the text is essential; it prevents many decisions to condemn and demolish the house.