Punk as an artistic style is usually associated with music and fashion but Prague’s Jaroslav Fragner Gallery now explores punk elements in architecture. The exhibition, featuring structures built over the span of five centuries, looks as what elements of the punk movement can be identified in historic and contemporary architecture in the Czech Republic and abroad.
The world-renowned Chinese writer Yan Lianke arrived in Prague this week to collect the annual Franz Kafka prize. The 55-year old writer has become the fourteenth recipient of the international literary award, which is given to authors whose work appeals to readers across different cultures. Among the previous winners were Austria’s Elfriede Jelinek and British playwright Harold Pinter, both of whom went on to win the Nobel Prize in literature the same year.
This Wednesday, the annual Bollywood festival of Indian film gets underway in Prague. Now in its 12th year, the festival offers a selection of classical as well as contemporary movies from India and Pakistan, along with a rich accompanying programme. The subtitle of this year’s event is “Children of Bollywood.” I spoke to Radim Špaček, one of the festival’s organizers, and first asked him about the choice of the main theme:
Countless Hollywood movies and TV series have been shot in the Czech Republic in the last two decades. Casting director Nancy Bishop, who moved to Prague in 1994, has worked on many of those projects, from The Bourne Identity to Mission Impossible IV to the as yet unreleased Child 44. We began our tour of “her Prague” at Náměstí Míru, a square close to where she lives. As Bishop and I spoke, a passer-by tinkled the ivories on a free piano metres from our bench.
Czech writer Jan Němec is among 13 young European authors who have won the 2014 European Union Prize for Literature. Němec was recognized for his unusual debut novel about the renowned Czech photographer František Drtikol. Entitled A History of Light, the novel captures Drtikol’s complex personality, and follows his path from photography to eastern spirituality and Buddhism.
Prague’s Signal light festival was a massive hit when it was held for the first time last year, with an estimated quarter of a million people enjoying spectacular video mapping on historic buildings, playful light installations and other events around the city. Ahead of the second edition, which gets underway on Thursday, I asked Signal founder Martin Pošta whether last year’s success had made it easier to put this year’s festival together.
The guerrilla art group Ztohoven, known for their controversial projects and often operating in anonymity, have made a somewhat surprising move. This weekend, they opened an official institution, a so-called institute of crypto-anarchy. Situated in a former factory building in Holešovice, the Paralelní Polis or parallel world will serve as a hacker space, a hub and a bitcoin café. According to its founders, it will offer the public a possibility to “step out of the system”.