Umělec magazine 2003/3 >> Units of Speakers Threaten the Peace List of all editions.
Units of Speakers Threaten the Peace
Umělec magazine
Year 2003, 3
6,50 EUR
Send the printed edition:
Order subscription

Units of Speakers Threaten the Peace

Umělec magazine 2003/3


Ivan Mečl | profile | en cs

“And by Wednesday I’ve got to have everything ready. But now if I think about it, there’s still a chance to postpone it, yeah, that would be good, because then I could get done what I haven’t done yet, but then again it’s not like it can wait, and what’s got to get done gets done. But then, what if I just don’t even do it? Anyway, nothing would even happen if I never even did it. Maybe what would happen is that I would rethink doing things. Maybe then it’s better to do nothing at all. Then on Tuesday I wouldn’t have to pick it up here and on Monday we wouldn’t have to get all the stuff ready for the pick up, yeah that’s right. Well, then if I never even bothered with this matter, then I could do something that I really wanted to do.”
The first Speakers were little motionless dolls, which still managed to kick up a lot of good cheer among gallery visitors. These faceless child-like figures with their prattling voices imitating intellectuals, stoners and office managers became extremely popular. But this was certainly the last thing their creator, Kryštof Kintera, wanted from them.
So it became necessary to set the Speakers in motion and send them out to be among people. Why build complicated steel androids when intelligent pieces of meat serve just as well. That meat is called Jednotka (Unit), a group of actors and artists who do not perform in Unit under their own names.
How are living Speakers made? Not everyone can become a Speaker, and a person is only a Speaker for a short time. You see, a Speaker is the spiritual and, at the same time, mechanical superstructure of a human being. To acquire this gift it requires a lot of time spent in individual and group concentration on naked mental and creative psychic work.
First the Speakers prepare themselves. In the privacy of home or at a friend’s. They relax and close their eyes or stare with crazed spastic eyes at the sidewalk. And then they speak. They have to verbalize absolutely everything that pops into their heads, while paying attention to the communication and ideas of the posture they are impersonating. In his mind he meets pedestrians, and he chooses to speak to some of them, like he wants to tell them everything he can think of. What would a mentally tormented queen like to convey? What would she like to say to
almost everyone she meets? What words would come streaming from that good-
natured fatty, who is a pathological glutton? What pops into the mind of the sullen and furious manager on his way to work. All of this the biological component of the Speaker records before he enters into the collective seance. While in the seance, as a group, they listen to the testimonies and make collective corrections. The Unit must come to an agreement. They must be certain as a group and as individuals. Now all that’s left is to modulate the edited recording with intonation.
The real Speaker, that is, the one who is actually speaking is the technical equipment carried by biological carrier. It weighs up to several dozen kilos, and once turned on operates independently of the muscled being. On the other hand, while in action the human can adjust to the best of his ability to the statements of the technological speaker and the reactions of the environment. Sometimes it happens that the biological carrier of the Speaker is trounced by the reactions of the environment. The advantage of the Speaker is its indestructibility. It continues working and speaking even after the biological death of the carrier. Even if he or she is handcuffed, beaten and smacked on the hood of a police car, the endless, unchanging drivel with its urgent intonation drones on. You might say that a dead Speaker is still a Speaker, even if it no longer looks so good. The existence of the Speaker ends when the batteries die.
The strategy of Speakers for the group Unit is clear: the mucking up of the social life in various public places in different cities. Communication in the social life of European cities apparently consists of oblivious and gloomy people walking around without any interest in their animate or inanimate surroundings. Such individuals, of course,
react to any disturbance in the surroundings with a verbal attack, a sulky retreat or a knowingly ironic grimace. Inside, however, these people are actually jolly ol’ fellows, slyboots, or sometimes spiteful bastards that notice every move of the people passing them by, people sitting in the park, and they follow along after them with their many awkward thoughts. Among them you will find many unconsciously engaged philosophers and priests. They are only afraid to speak up. Their brains contains all of human knowledge, but while in public they only repeat half-remembered utterances from TV or the radio. Not so with Speakers. The Speaker is the conscience of the passer-by. The speaker vocalizes the thoughts of the passers-by. That is its purpose. A Speaker simply speaks its mind, for all to hear.
The power of the group Unit lies in its heterogeneity. This impressive performance is put together from flashes of consciousness, fragments of sentences, contorted facial expressions and movements. The human
carrier doesn’t speak at all, only makes faces, usually so successfully that even if the Speaker — machine — falls silent, the person would still stick out. He looks into the faces of those around him in the streets and flirtatiously smokes a cigarette, acts like a savior, and makes incredibly angry faces. He gorges himself on a bag full of food or lies down on the pavement. He is bitter among all these people and his thoughts crawl under their coats and into their pants. A few spectators laugh. He is confused. When the attack comes, it appears to be unorganized.
The first feeling the spectator has — there’s something a little bit off in my surroundings. Something’s different from my usual wait here for the tram. A mental monologue creeps up in his thoughts. Gadzooks, it’s as if I’m thinking out loud. And similar desperate analogies. But there’s no one speaking. It’s coming from that hardboiled yuppie standing next to me. “I’m really sweating here. And I think there’s more in my right armpit than in my left. This is strange, this. Or maybe it’s just the same thing, to say. I’m just sweaty. Don’t know why this is. I feel just fine, ok, this is. I’m sweating, only. I don’t know if all people sweat like this. Mmm, yes, it’s normal, I think, everybody sweats.” And there comes that slut with the big tits. Smokes like she’s in a bar and acts like a homegrown porno star: “Hey, do you suffer? I mean, like, do you suffer in life. Like, if you feel sick. I feel sick. Like, I’m really bad off, I feel sick, I have no money, no flat, nowhere to go, I have no... and you have friends? Do you have friends? Or a girlfriend? A boyfriend? One? Or at least a teacher? I don’t even have a teacher. I used to have a teacher, but he’s gone.... I’m so bad off that I need some help. Eh... do you need help? We could help each other.... like, if you’re as bad off as me, then I could help you and you could help me, or you could help me, me, I feel so bad that I can’t see who you are.” And that fatty! Sausage in one hand, can of beer in the other. God, he eats nonstop. He can’t even breathe. His eyes are popping out of his head. And he’s going on about how to live a harmonious and happy life. “Everyone be happy and eat.” He’s so fat, and he doesn’t mind. No one has to mind. Just thinking about food.
The Roma have the most fun with Speakers. They are amused that they behave in the street just like they do. The Roma solve all their problems out loud in the open and everywhere. And so do the Whites who have fallen out of their standard roles. Who is that guy speaking to nobody in the tram or addressing others with seemingly illogical questions? Drunkards, lunatics, the smallest kids and the oldest pensioners. But who is best off? Of course those who know the meaning of their words, their message and the value of the scattered pearls they toss. The non-speakers.
“Here we go over there and over there, well, and... you’re just hanging around here. And this is begging, is it? You think that it’s possible to do this here, just like that, to lie around, like, here? So I lay down, just like you there. So what do you think about that, huh? You’d like it, wouldn’t you, if I was just hanging here like this all the time. Sure you’d like it! And how would they like it, huh? Well, how would they like it? I’d say let’s join them, we’ll join them. All of us. We’ll go to the zoo, like.



There are currently no comments.

Add new comment

Recommended articles

The Top 10 Czech Artists from the 1990s The Top 10 Czech Artists from the 1990s
The editors of Umělec have decided to come up with a list of ten artists who, in our opinion, were of crucial importance for the Czech art scene in the 1990s. After long debate and the setting of criteria, we arrived at a list of names we consider significant for the local context, for the presentation of Czech art outside the country and especially for the future of art. Our criteria did not…
Tunelling Culture II Tunelling Culture II
Le Dernier Cri and the black penis of Marseille Le Dernier Cri and the black penis of Marseille
We’re constantly hearing that someone would like to do some joint project, organize something together, some event, but… damn, how to put it... we really like what you’re doing but it might piss someone off back home. Sure, it’s true that every now and then someone gets kicked out of this institution or that institute for organizing something with Divus, but weren’t they actually terribly self…
Contents 2016/1 Contents 2016/1
Contents of the new issue.
Where to go next?
out - archeology
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
Josef Jindrák
Who is S.d.Ch? A person of many interests, active in various fields—literature, theater—known for his comics and collages in the art field. A poet and playwright foremost. A loner by nature and determination, his work doesn’t meet the current trends. He always puts forth personal enunciation, although its inner structure can get very complicated. It’s pleasant that he is a normal person and a…
Spaghetti Sauce on Your Moo Shoo Pork
Charlie Citron
Road trip Lithuania
Road trip Lithuania
Arunase Gudaitas
Aš menininkas — Aš save myliu Vincent van Gogh in one letter to his brother described a café as a place where one could easily go insane. The café in the Center for Contemporary Art (CAC) in Vilnius is such a place. Insider connoisseurs of the local scene consider it “very bohemian” and, indeed, in contrast to traditionally lackluster and overpriced eateries in museums, the atmosphere in the CAC…
Under the Shadow of Heroes
Under the Shadow of Heroes
Alena Boika
Books, video, editions and artworks that might interest you Go to e-shop
2000, 35 x 42.5 cm, Pen & Ink Drawing
More info...
559,20 EUR
649 USD
Cycle of 28 digital photographs of a photographer fascinated by watching the cold, anonymous countryside. She is trying to...
More info...
2,01 EUR
V této autorské knize propojuje Martin Zet viditelné / hmatatelné / uskutečněné / formulované, do jednoho celku
More info...
From series of rare photographs never released before year 2012. Signed and numbered Edition. Photography on 1cm high white...
More info...
220 EUR
255 USD


Divus and its services

Studio Divus designs and develops your ideas for projects, presentations or entire PR packages using all sorts of visual means and media. We offer our clients complete solutions as well as all the individual steps along the way. In our work we bring together the most up-to-date and classic technologies, enabling us to produce a wide range of products. But we do more than just prints and digital projects, ad materials, posters, catalogues, books, the production of screen and space presentations in interiors or exteriors, digital work and image publication on the internet; we also produce digital films—including the editing, sound and 3-D effects—and we use this technology for web pages and for company presentations. We specialize in ...

Citation of the day. Publisher is not liable for any mental and physical states which may arise after reading the quote.

Enlightenment is always late.
CONTACTS AND VISITOR INFORMATION The entire editorial staff contacts



Arch 8, Resolution Way, Deptford

London SE8 4NT, United Kingdom
Open on appointment


7 West Street, Hastings
East Sussex, TN34 3AN
, United Kingdom
Open on appointment

Ivan Mečl, +44 (0) 7526 902 082

Kyjov 37, 407 47 Krásná Lípa
Czech Republic
+420 222 264 830, +420 602 269 888

Open daily 10am to 6pm
and on appointment.


Potsdamer Str. 161, 10783 Berlin
Germany, +49 (0) 1512 9088 150
Open on appointment.



Divus New book by I.M.Jirous in English at our online bookshop.