artist / participant
Included as part of Local Stories at Modern Art Oxford, Arrivals>Czech Republic presents the work of Czech artist Katerina Seda (born 1979, lives and works in Brno) for the first time in the UK. The two social projects, documented here, There is Nothing There, 2003 and It Doesn’t Matter, 2005 are humorous, moving and often profound in what they reveal about human nature.
There is Nothing There, began as a project when Seda, "discovered that nowadays people from a village live with a certain scepticism, as they feel all the important things happen in the city (they say that "there is NOTHING" in their village). I therefore set myself the task of pointing out this normalcy.’" Having undertaken a survey that confirmed that all the citizens of Ponetovice more or less did the same things on a Saturday, she drew up a schedule which, if followed, would mean that everyone in the village would, for one day, undertake exactly the same actions at the same time.
After months of discussion, persuasion and reassurance, the event took place on 24 May 2003. On that day everyone woke up, swept their porches, went shopping, had dumplings for lunch and finally met for a beer. Every action followed Seda’s ‘Daily Regime’, which was posted around the village. As the day went by, Seda observed the citizens becoming exhilarated by performing simple tasks together. Suddenly, she says, it seemed as if the "nothing" had gone. Not documented is the possibility that Seda’s project somehow mirrors the years of Communism when much of people’s lives were regulated by the state and living and working collectively was the social norm. Did something essential get lost when communism fell and democracy arrived?
All Seda’s projects are social experiments in which people are participants in a process she designs. Trying out different strategies, feeling her way, the story of each project becomes the story of ordinary lives touched or changed. In It Doesn’t Matter Seda sets out to give her grandmother something to do. Seda re-ignites her pride in having been the head of the tools stock room at a home supplies shop in Brno for 33 years. Seda’s determination pays off as her grandmother starts to recreate the tool room by drawing from memory the hundreds of tools she used to be responsible for.
If art of value aims to alter the perceptions of those who engage with it, then in the two pieces presented here, Seda’s actions, however absurd they may at first appear, triumphantly succeed.
only in german
ARRIVALS: CZECH REPUBLIC