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Go Only Halfway? At Least Then You Are Halfway There.
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Go Only Halfway? At Least Then You Are Halfway There.

Umělec magazine 2005/3


Jiří Ptáček | info | en cs de es

To any passer-by one Friday morning last May, the smoke billowing over the roof of Prague’s House at the Stone Bell could have seemed rather frightening. But this gothic monument was not aflame; the smoke was an experiment by Jana Kalinová to create an artificial cloud there, while worried firemen stood by.

White gas wafted through a transparent pipe upwards reaching a set of balloons, enveloping them several meters over the cornice of the house; it formed what appeared to be a small cloud. This illusion was shattered as wind pulled the gas away from the balloons, dispersing it in the air. “I consider it only a preliminary,” explained Kalinová. “The conditions were not propitious for us to achieve satisfactory results.”
Over the course of a year, the artist has been working out technical solutions allowing her to create a little cloud that might be arbitrarily manipulated. Karel Císař, the curator of the “Zvon” Biennial of Young Artists, was the first person to get Kalinová to test her idea in the field. The audience got the opportunity to witness an attempt that was aimed at verifying or falsifying the theory. Since no unusual spectacle took place and the cloud resembled a cloud only remotely, the audience left disappointed.
Increasingly, Kalinová has been exploring the interstice of imagination and science. Her efforts to work out the problems of creating an artificial cloud result from her trying to work out the concepts of her artwork through technology. Or perhaps it is an ironic reflection of that Communist slogan, „We will command the wind and the rain.“ Could it be an effort to turn away from the pressure made by economists and politicians for scientific research to focus mainly on particular problems of contemporary society? An effort to test the limits of an amateur to explore fields that science with its range of interests has thus far failed to look into? Isn’t it like inventors of flying machines who likewise couldn’t justify their research as valid, or say who it was for, but still did not give it up? A return to an alchemist’s methods of cognition? An admonition?
Kalinová’s gesture has called forth an array of questions. Therefore, one might very well consider this as the most effective intervention in a Prague public space for some time. Indeed, for it is a challenge for experts on the behavior of gasses to explain the cloud’s dispersal. By the time they are able to relax in the shadow of the mobile cloud, maybe they will be grateful for such artists who hang onto their fantasies.



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