Nikola Brabcová: Water Lily Tea

12. 6. – 7. 7. 2019
opening: 11. 6. 2019 from 6PM

curator: Gabriela Kotiková
in collaboration with Michal Klodner
sound: 2046

GK: In Michal Klodner’s text, which is a part of this exhibition, the author (put very simply) speaks about the fact that it is necessary to change our consideration of technologies and their use. In a sense that it is important to create another way of communication than the one which is imposed on us and use technologies to create our own independent structures called enclaves and islands, which will better and more naturally answer to more liberal communication. Do you believe in this possibility to create a more liberal environment through the use of technologies?

NB: I think that it is important to create alternatives to the huge commercial and powerful structures and institutions and also to penetrate, influence and disturb them. To be able to use well the digital space but also take care of relationships between people through communities and associations. I think these structures should not be too closed and they should work on being as open as possible and accessible to all who are interested in them, as Michal writes in his text:

“And depending on how welcoming and open they will be, but also how stable and protected from the manipulation of trolls and parasites, they will spread. This is not about expanding control or the number of affected people! This is about creating organisms, creative and viable structures, growing through their surroundings and eventually into the complex semiosphere of our planet.

At the same time, however, it seems important to me to try to understand these media strategies and expose what we close ourselves in. We are used to moving within the scope of the beaten paths and we cease to be alert about how the systems function or who is controlling them, making money on them and how they manipulate us. I would like to know how media deform our way of seeing and what they present to us as the reality. I think the main problem is that they penetrate everything and control marketing strategies, which push us in the direction of their higher profit and they abuse everything including politics.

In his text Michal Klodner also mentions the words of Jussi Parikka, theoretician of media archeology, who offers a post-structural perspective of complex dynamic systems and he depicts phenomena like computer viruses as endemisms of the digital sphere. Can we say that it is possible to look at new media and compare them with natural structures?

I think that technological systems more and more function on the bases of natural structures and they perhaps try to simulate how we think and at the same time they influence our thinking even retroactively. When we move within the boundaries of a computer, we jump from one page to another, we communicate, we work in certain programmes, we read the news, we watch videos, we use the phone, we receive information from social media, and all of that is organized somehow. We see the world through that. The Internet can bring us closer to a large amount of information that we deform in a certain way, however. We have the tendency to believe this information and we forget that there can be other points of view that don’t get to us. We can click on the computer and see the whole world, and yet it is so hard to understand it. We are closed in individual subjects and we are not capable of looking outside of them to see where from and how things come to us.

Perhaps something so different from a human like technologies help us understand better who we are and how we function, but as a whole I think that we do not need them to understand the deeper connections. I think that we know it or at least suspect it and technologies can actually put a distance between ourselves.

Our lives are now inseparably adherent with the Internet and new technical amenities constantly keep coming. Do you think that their increasingly faster development will help to solve the current problems in the world?

I don’t think it’s necessary to constantly develop so many new technologies, to use them to improve human mental and physical abilities or that this would help to solve the ecological crisis. Production of all these new technologies consumes other mineral resources that we continue to extract. It is necessary to start to regulate and limit our needs at the expense of profit and prosperity.

We should see the world in its entirety as a system where everything is dependent on everything else, we cannot continue to indefinitely extract oil, coal and other mineral resources, ruin the soil and pollute water. We are already in the stage when it is problematic to extract these resources, the oil pinnacle is long gone and I think that even electric vehicles won’t solve much because they are dependent on more mining.

In your work on this exhibition you create some sort of an interconnection between natural and technological systems. It is a paradox, however, to interconnect nature and technologies that are in their essence not ecological.

I’m interested in paradoxes, because they help me emphasize how things function. Creating a film, installation or even a text is my way of thinking about things and formulating thoughts during a live process and at the same time sharing them with someone and reflecting on them.

For me the starting point for this installation was the idea from the book A Geology of Media about how media that appear to be intangible are actually tangible and to what extent they burden the environment. How many cables and fibers, screens, speakers and broadcasting towers surround us and what are they actually made of? I have thought about how absurd it is to spend so much time every day observing the world through telephones, computers and tablets…

I would like to turn the attention back to the viewers and allow them to enter the fragile constellation of relationships between objects and the video in which I used some quotes from the book by Radomil Hradil about the soul of a plant. I’d like to direct the view towards materials that surround us daily and rouse the impression that all is taking place just like at home on the carpet or on the kitchen counter, that we are looking on the phone while we drink water lily tea…

Gabriela Kotiková, Nikola Brabcová
transl. Vanda Krutsky


The program of the Jeleni Gallery is possible through kind support of Ministry of Culture of the Czech RepublicPrague City CouncilState Fund of Culture of the Czech RepublicCity District Prague 7
Partners: Kostka stav
Media support: ArtMapjlbjlt.net and UMA: You Make Art

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