I spent the Friday evening somewhat unexpectedly in Ricany cinema, where Embryo, 000333 and Perplex organised a visually focused event. Primarily it was about Alenka, the Alice in Wonderland themed movie from MB and 03, and there were also new fluorescent paintings of similar origin. Other films included a very interesting Czech comedy classic Happy End, which is actually shot backwards, and it was projected in the normal way (backwards) and backwards (in what should be the normal direction) in two instances next to each other. There was also Krakatit, remixed with some custom visuals from Embryo, which really got me good, and Perplex’s Russian hallucinations. Alenka is nice, and the fluoropaintings are amazing.
I finally got to install this thing, and I’m overwhelmed. The feeling you get when you look at a place where you were standing a year ago (a cliff above a botanical garden near Cape Town, 34°20’42.52″S, 18°55’39.40″E) is nothing but godlike. It is like an upgraded view from a plane, except that while sitting in a plane you can’t zoom and rotate. I can see myself driving in a car somewhere in SA (I’m going again this Christmas I hope), pausing to take a look at my notebook, and seeing – now this valley nearby looks pretty, let’s have a small detour… Wow. Strongly recommended.
When I get to process photos from my two previous SA trips, you’ll be probably getting coordinates for every picture :)
Update: I got stuck at it for the whole day, and today I’m getting stuck again. This is a way to make geography an interesting subject in schools. It is a way to fall in love with this planet, if you don’t already love it here. It is a way to understand how it works – you can see the land of India colliding with Asia, and how the Himalaya comes out of that as a drapery on a blanket. You can see the lungs of this planet, the forest of Amazonia, with it’s fields of cloud and the cancer of deforestation – which, seen like this, looks really scary. You can see huge volcanoes in South America. Colors and fractal shapes everywhere. And then the work of humans. Look how huge is Tokyo and it’s surroundings. Look at the amount of smog above Shanghai. Look at the detailed cities of North America and western Europe. Awesome. Google Earth seems to be an amazing achievement. They have done it again. They’ve succeeded in changing the perspective of how we perceive information. I’ll be hungrily awaiting each new detailed place. Thanks, Google! By the way, I started adding some content in Czech rep., which was (until now at least, ha ha) quite poor on information signs.
DIY Carnival 3.5 in Prague, partly a street rave, partly a protest against the prime minister Paroubek and minister Bublan, who still don’t want to give in after the messed up Czechtek party, was pretty good. Photos are here.
I have come to Vltavska metro station to take a tram up to Hradcanska and then go by foot to Strahov, where the carnival should start. Since there was a football match this evening on Letna, there were a few young guys who came out of the metro with me. Outside on the tram station, we heard a cry and about 200 bald fans of FC Banik Ostrava appeard running to the station around a corner. As they spotted the Prague fans, they went straight for them and started beating them up. You could hear sirens and police cars started to arrive in large numbers. What a start for the carnival. Since I wasn’t dressed like a football fan, the violence swept past me without anyone taking notice of me or any of the other people waiting for the tram, and so I went to Strossmayerovo Namesti and took a tram across Letna to Hradcanska. I was a bit afraid I might encounter more “fans” on the way, and I did, but without any incidents.
I went from Hradcanska to Strahov, and from a distance I could hear overlapping beats of the soundsystems. Masks were often very nice, as you can see in the pictures, some of them were really funny or original (like the snowsleigh, dragged behind a car, metal on which got so hot from the friction that smoke started coming from the wooden part of it). The parade was more then a kilometer long, and went from Strahov down to the river, through the city center and onto the Stvanice island, where it ended. It was quite a walk.
Police took control of traffic, sometimes diverting it and letting it mix with the parade on main crossings in the center. Most drivers were obviously having fun watching us go by, tourists in buses passing along cheered, people were coming out of shops and houses, sometimes joining the parade. Atmosphere was great and I believe whoever joined had a good time. You could see some drunk people, but there weren’t as many of them as we had feared before. At the Stvanice island the music went on for some time.
The atmosphere was similar to the atmosphere on the demonstrations during the summer (reason for them was police action against the Czechtek teknival, worth checking out), but it wasn’t some kind of rigid political protest – it was more like a show what this subculture is about, and although I don’t think it got to all the prejudiced people, who support the police actions, I thing it did have an effect. Despite the fact, that there was almost no media coverage whatsoever – which is unbelievable, for several thousand people marched loudly through the center of Prague, but true. Anyway. Hope to see you next time.
I’ve sent following mail to Boing Boing, of all the places (result – not worthy), and I’m going to prepare some more info in English tomorrow (hopefully). You’re allowed to post this text, and anything I’m gonna write about Czechtek in the future, wherever you want. By the way, you have to see the end of this video.
I think this might be of interest to you and your readers. In a galaxy far, far away, the country of Czech Republic (the capital is Prague, rings a bell?), there was once an annual event, which started as a teknival in the nineties, and evolved into a free multicultural event with as much as 40,000 visitors. In last years, Czechtek attracted more and more interest from the media, and more and more interest from the police. Since it is a DIY thing, people usually found some remote meadow and brought in the soundsystems, and spent a weekend in open air with different music styles playing on tens of systems. Since French and English people have trouble organizing free parties in their homelands, they were coming here to visit and perform. Last year, the event was held on a rented place, but there was trouble with the agreement and police halted the party after two days (I believe). That was ok – what happened now is that they said a week in advance, that they are gonna stop Czechtek no matter what, and they held the promise. I suggest following links for more details, but to make it short, the event was legal, on a rented place, and police stopped it using false arguments and lies on Saturday in a very, very brutal way. Tear gas, water cannons, smoke grenades and about a thousand of riot cops swept across the meadow, brutally hitting people, breaking windows of cars and throwing tear gas into them, etc. – see the videos and pictures for yourselves. They simply made a raid to stop an event which was legal, and their main “argument” was that they have to stop anything illegal. The problem was there was nothing illegal (yet, as they didn’t allow it to happen – guilty until proven innocent?)At first public was on their side, but they stepped on toes of too many people and really underestimated both the situation and the power of the people they’re fucking with. On Sunday, the day after they’ve stopped the party, there was a peaceful demonstration of several thousand people, marching through Prague. Everyone was afraid that it is gonna end silently and nothing is going to happen or change, so they came – even older people, who remember the velvet revolution against communism in 1989, and who were scared by the very similar approach of the police and government, and parents of people who went to Czechtek, who were scared to death when they saw what is happeningat the place their kids are on Saturday (there’s even a casualty, said by the police to be hit by a truck on a highway, which was next to the place, but there are witnesses who saw police cars running into groups of people, and who saw that a guy was run over – after so many lies, noone who saw what happened can really trust that the police didn’t simply put the guy on the highway and blame it on a truck – they didn’t find the truck which supposedly did it).
On Sunday, it was said – tomorrow, here, again, something has to happen. But we didn’t actually believe anyone would come again, after a day at work. But people did, there was even more of them – more angry parents, more political activists, more tekno travelers, the demonstration today was really big and more powerful than yesterday, and it ended with a truck of some italian sound system coming in front the building of ministry, and starting to play tekno. We were afraid this is going to put things in wrong perspective, but after a while, everything shifted a few hundred meters to a huge park and open space of Letna, and the soundsystem kept playing for at least two thousand people until about 9:30 pm. Then it stopped in order not to create bad public opinion, and as we were leaving, everything was quite orderly and people were going home.
But the event. You cannot imagine the atmosphere, the power in the air, both in the warzone of the Czechtek meadow and now on the after-demonstration party. A week ago, we were making jokes that it would be funny to do Czechtek on Letna, everyone would have it really close and so on, and now it really happened. So many people, who would never come to listen to tekno came, danced, had an incredible amount of fun, and made almost no problems. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, people were united by the idea of being right to fight the approach of the police and so on. There will be next demonstration on Wednesday. Well, this is it in short, as I said, you’ll find more info on the links under. Remember please, that some of the info is old and the information the police gave was proven as false even by mainstream media here.
Pictures – http://czechtek2005.freetekno.cz/
Videos – http://g4.freetekno.cz/divx/czechtek2005_p1040648.avi
http://g4.avu.cz/czechtek2005/ / http://g4.freetekno.cz/
Info – http://www.indymedia.org/en/2005/07/118313.shtml
http://news.google.com/news?q=czechtek – not much actual info in English yet, but as I’m free of work tomorrow, I’ll probably write some more, since most people here, while they do speak English, don’t have the patience/skills to actually write something longer. I hope you’ll find this worthy of attention, in todays world full of supposed
terrorists and unseen threats, and big thanks if you decide to publish something about it. There’s by far not enough foreign support.
Have a good time today and – hey, nice thing you have going-going :)
Unbelievable. Totally and definitely unbelievable. We’ve just returned from Czechtek, and there’s too much to say to do it right now. I’ve tasted teargas for the first time in my life, tomorrow is a demonstration, and so many people are so fucking outraged it’s also unbelievable. I’ll find or write more English info tomorrow. Just some basic stuff about what happened on Czechtek 2005 for now, seen from the viewpoint of media and police.