FRONTIERS, METHODS OF ESCAPE

2022

The “fugitive” citizens who sought to escape the totalitarian regime devised and manufactured, creatively and peculiarly, various artifacts, which in theory would allow them to cross the “highly guarded” border. These artifacts did not always meet the necessary physical and mechanical characteristics because in most cases “scientific” calculations failed. These “amateur inventors” used for their purposes various recycled materials manufactured or adapted by themselves; inspiration also peculiar, came from books, newspapers, and even pictorial atlases.
Various testimonies narrate the daring gadgets that people used to circumvent the borders, making for example machines that moved through the heights hung on the high voltage wires from which they took energy to power their movement; hot-air balloons were also built to cross through the air. Other people just as daring, made their own wings to fly or diving suits to cross through the water. This project reviews these past events to reconstruct them in the light of the present. The perception of time in the present epoch is strongly influenced by the constant development of advanced capitalism and by technology, one of its basic tools. Technology shortens time, consumes it, and accelerates the pace of our attention. In hyper-acceleration, capitalism constantly “shoots” “new” products and downplays the old. 
The same logic of the “latest” as the only valuable thing applies to any other area of contemporary life. Also, the problems that torment our societies are often seen as unprecedented events, simple chapters within linear history. In this light, any artistic review of a specific point in the past may seem “irrelevant” and “out-side the current approach”, I deny such a point of view and consider it limited and shallow, as it leaves behind several essential aspects for historical and artistic understanding.

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Frontiers, methods of escape/Archive/ Collage/ Intervention of documents/29,7 x 21 cm /2019-2022


In my opinion, history is not a simple “succession of points”, I perceive it, rather as a “deferred action”, continuous alternations of anticipations and recons-tructions between past and future events. The deferred action is a model that Hal Foster extracts from psychoanalytic theory, to propose a different rea-ding of causality, temporality, and narrative as an alternative to the classic models of historical progression, where an event arises at a specific time and oc-curs once and for all. Foster understands that “one event is always two” since one event becomes understandable only from another that decodes it. “Frontier: Methods of Escape” is a transdisciplinary art project about the methods, procedures, and artifacts used to “illegally” cross the bor-ders of communist Czechoslovakia. “Frontier: methods of escape” uses testimonies, narratives, and archival research to carry out an aesthe-tic procedure and artistic reflection. It is proposed to reconstruct at 1:1 scale five artifacts used to cross borders and described in the testimonies. In this light, the historical moment, which is central to my research, is seen from the perspective of a “deferred action”, because the replicas of the devices I am going to build are: “decoding of the past, a revision of the present and an anticipation of the future”.

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Technical plane of hang glider/ one of the devices used to escape from former Czechoslovakia/ 2022

CONSTRUCTION OF MIGRANT OBJECT NO. I. : “HANG GLIDER”


The original hang glider was manufactured manually by Jirí Jedlička and Josef Kutraen in 1984. This hang-glider left a place between the small towns called Kulov, Klentice and Bavory in the former Czechoslovakia on August 27, around two in the morning. The results of this escape were catastrophic, the blade of the propeller broke and the apparatus fell from a height of five meters, Jirí Jedlička managed to survive, and Josef Kutra lost his life.

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Frontiers, methods of escape/ Hang Glider/ Wood, blanket, nails, glue, thread/ 250 x 105 cm/ 2022