27. February – 29. March 2009
The exhibition joins artists, activists, eco-designers and activist organizations. The concept of the exhibition works with the disposition of MeetFactory, which is an isolated building standing between a motorway and railway tracks. It is concerned with mobility and resource alternatives and utopian ideas.
Folke Köbberling & Martin Kaltwasser, live and work Berlin
Since 1998 the emphasis of their artistic activities has been the urban space as an experimental field. Köbberling and Kaltwasser worked on topics concerning the public sphere, surveillance tactics, illegality and self-organization. Up until now they have realized installations, exhibits and interventions in the urban space and thus attempting to question city life in the context of privatization and economization, to transform it through practical examples of temporary use and informal methods as well as to show possibilities for its enlivenment and repossession.
What they refer to as the „city as a resource“ is a recognition of the value of impulse, communication, conflict, surprise moments and the quality of the free use of the urban public space. This includes, of course, leaving behind things for others. The recognition of the city as a resource and the use of public space in this manner is an objective of scorn for the proponents and stooges of the neoliberal and entrepreneurial privatized city and order fanatics. Both strive with all means available to eradicate the creative places, the free stores, the grey market economy and its visible structural existence in the city.
Jan Jaroslav Sterec (CZ)
]„I decided to write the text about my father not to describe an Art Brut artist unappreciated by the society but to describe the activities of an entrepreneur – a pioneer of irrational entrepreneurship. With Jan Jaroslav Sterec the installations, performances, architectonic and environmental visions acquired the shapes of commercial products and services. Without the support of state institutions and out of cultural context, Sterec seems to be an independent creator of sometimes very extensive projects. Having been influenced by an Austrian artist Hundertwasser, who operates at the boundary between architecture, ecology and art, Sterec started a company called Stowasser s.r.o. in the business euphoria after Velvet Revolution.Without having architectural, artistic or natural science education he designed and constructed garden houses, green roofs, botanical wastewater treatment plants, garden biotopes, composting toilets and many others.
The concept of Eco-Architecture in Sterec’s interpretation blends with Recycling Architecture. This seems to be a logical conclusion at the time of current excess waste production but it is often incompatible with the concepts of investors who seek the eco image scented with wood and soil. The use of alternative building materials was not motivated by the effort to reduce the costs (as it often might have seemed) but rather by the joy of experimentation and the consistency in the implementation of the ideological fundamentals. He insulated the tanks and roofs with the use of discarded advert banners, for creating green roofs he used waste ashes mixed with crushed polystyrene instead of soil. Garden houses looking like the amalgams of African dwellings and Sci-Fi buildings known from films emerged in several private gardens. What served as the material for their construction was just anything – from dried reed-mace to scrap freezers.
My father’s claims often remained unpaid because of the discrepancies between his and his customers’ views and in the course of those 10 years of the company’s existence it hovered on the verge of bankruptcy. Thanks to his persuasive powers Sterec kept on gaining new customers – he, for example, penetrated – in a guerilla way – into a TOP100 dinner party of the most successful Czech companies and he made a speech about his company, prospects of Eco-Architecture and handed out his visiting cards the same way as the other, invited participants.
While Sterec’s model – artist Hundertwasser, a signatory of a manifesto against rationalism in architecture, executed lucrative, kitsch and in its final effect not very special architectonic projects in Austria, Germany and the USA, Sterec’s Stowasser s.r.o. company offers houses which look like igloos built of potato sacks filled with keramzit or wastewater treatment objects in the shape of a teepee. He develops a project of a camping site on the roof of Lucerna Palace – a camping site in the centre of Prague. Chemapol company, one of the part owners of the roof, however, sent threatening letters to Sterec, which were motivated not by the dissent about the project itself but rather by the fact that they could not understand that the project was not a mere provocation against their company.
Nowadays provocation tends to be accepted by the society and the institutions as one of the artist’s functions, the attempts to shock are becoming a trade. However, the compliance with an institution absorbs and dissolves any excess from within.
I took part in several negotiations between my father and the investors and I could not help feeling certain envy – how much excitement, emotions and fuss (compared to my own artistic projects) was provoked by each slight change, each experiment made by my father in the course of an order execution, any „bonus“ which was created on the investors’ grounds without their knowledge.
Stowasser company became more authentic and more independent than the artist by whom it had been inspired. The position of the company which is expected to generate profits in the first place was the best base for disrupting the rational petit-bourgeois world views of post-revolutionary profiteers. Also, incomparably more effective than the drawing-room, legalized activism of some of other artists. In 2005 the company ceases to exist.“ text by Pavel Sterec