I moved back to Prague 11 years ago.
You know when you can just sense that something is going on?
You know when something is in the air, something is really happening in the scene, in the streets, with the people and you can hear it in the music and you can see it in the art and dig it from the movies and the theatre?
Well there's been little of that here.
In 1994 it was here. Because something happened. There was a revolution and a lot to process and a lot of fun to be had in the processing. But now?
Culturally speaking one of the biggest things to happen last year....is hard to recall. Let me see...Ai Weiwei exhibited at the National Gallery, but that was the year before.
Well, the very fact that I just considered googling what happened here in 2018 means that whatever I might find didn't add up to much in real terms. I have been out and about with musicians, film directors, artists, actors, dancers, curators and students and as far as I can recollect I have not once been told that I missed something unmissable or in turn told someone they missed something unmissable.
This is a harsh thing to say and a difficult thing to come to terms with when one depends on local 'things' happening to inspire you to greater heights and feed your art career.
There seems to be so many okay projects about that its hard to tell when a genuine, memorable work of art is being presented.
Now do not get me wrong. I believe every artist working in Prague would agree with me to a point and I do not, and cannot, remove myself from the blame game. I am after all an artist working in Prague who is not making a noise or inspiring any 'scene'.
It feels like there is a complacency in the art world here in Prague which is so alluringly comfortable that one can't help but wallow in its affable nothingness.
I cannot tell you the amount of times I have had the discussion about whether one might not be better off moving to Berlin or Dresden or Vienna or London to work. Why stay here? What is the big attraction?
The ease of it all is the eternal answer. No rat race. No stress. No competitors. I don't mean to say there is no competition. There is always a sense of competition in any job, but one's competitors in Prague are working under the same opinion that there is no rush and no need to push.
Yes it is nice. Yes it is cosy. Yes the beer is cheap and the social life blankets you like a warm, velvet anaesthesia.
Where is the scene? Are we too well fed? Have we all been placated? Well no.
Nowadays artists are asking themselves what can we do? In the face of all this fucked up confusion, what can we do?
I don't think artists used to ask anybody else what they could do. They just did stuff.
But there is some sense in asking now because it seems as though everything which has been done before, in the name of art, has failed in its attempt to open everybody's mind to the infinite, positive possibilities of peace, love and understanding.
Preaching to the Converted
So what can I do?
I could step outside. Go to Berlin or London and find out if they are feeling the same. This may not be just a Prague thing.
I have been looking into artist residency programmes. What better motivation than to go and find out what the 'art capitols' are experiencing from within. Find out if the concept of an all encompassing 'scene' even exists anymore. If it can exist.
The internet is a scene of its own I suppose, and one doesn't have to hit the streets or clubs to become a part of it. Could this be one of the reasons for such dissipated happenings?
It may feel like one is part of a scene when one receives a 1000 likes or followers on their Group page but it just doesn't have the same tangible resonance of a 60s youth movement or a New York 80s underground movement does it?
When the preferred drug of choice is overpriced bottled designer beers and electronic cigarettes one has to question the quelled mindset of our school leavers.
As I said, the world appears to be changing for the worse right in front of our eyes but then who's to say anything previous to this very moment will have, or even deserves to have lasting value?
I want a scene because I've experienced scenes and I've seen scenes and they are spiritually profitable. Whether they change societies or not is neither here not there, they are always fun, and
"If it ain't fun
It will not a culture become."
The Mook Manifesto - MJR
We should focus on the fun first.
Nobody likes to go to a party which has an agenda.
Throw the fucking party and if the police come shoo them, if the neighbours complain boo them,
if the government bans it, screw them,
if a racist rears their head, do them!
Throw the party and do not tolerate shitty music, vet all incoming live acts, make sure it's a multi-lingual fun-fest and do not forget the salt & vinegar Pringles.
I'm not looking for a quiet scene or one small pocket of merry pranksters
I want a ship load of belligerents and existential angsters.
Join now and get a free pen.
Join nower and get a free 'p'.
Join nowest and get freeee, baby...
ALL TOGETHER NOW......ZVLÁŠT!!!
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