Hotels are peculiar places. Impersonal, fleeting, eerie but utterly fascinating. Take for instance the Chelsea Hotel, a debauched hotbed of creativity and one of New York’s legendary havens for contemporary art. Or the brilliantly deranged Jack Nicholson staggering in the non-descript environs of an isolated hotel in Kubrick’s The Shining. Then there’s the quintessential hotel-based comedy Four Rooms with each “room” directed by a different director (including Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino).
The concept of the weekend-long event Axa in Action is similar. Set in the functionalist hotel Axa, built in 1932, from Friday December 2 until Sunday 4, the hotel will transform into an ad-hoc arts space with each room being entrusted to creatives of various fields. Video art, installations, performances or parties are all awaiting the curious art guests.
Ghetto 13/26 will unleash their ‘post-avantgarde art’, while James Rutherford unveils his take on Sarah Kane’s final work 4:48 Psychosis. Kate Temple’s and Catherine Street’s Sounds from the Next Room “an experimental action that is open to risk” will suck you into its collaborative mindspace. Martin Parker’s sonic pieces for microphone and reactive computer system will also grace one of Axa’s Rooms.
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A cosmic module lands in the middle of hustle and bustle of a non-descript 21st century city (let’s make it Prague). It observes the outside world, an onslaught of sounds and visual stimuli for the senses, through its six microphones and three cameras. The recorded audiovisual material is subsequently transmitted inside where it is projected and replayed on its walls utilizing an intricate LED system.
What’s more, the city sounds are also transmitted via FM radio waves to acuo’s website where they are stored for “future generations” – if there are any left after 2012 that is. It is meant to be an interactive installation where passers-by can engage and record sounds with highly sensitive directional microphones (periscopes). Anyone can become a field recorder, stopping still for a second in the midst of hi-octane city life to listen and observe.
The installation is a collaboration of several Prague-based artists – the photographer Michal Šeba, sound artists Stanislav Abrahám (together they make up the music project Data-Live), fashion label Sistersconspiracy, Edit! Architecture Studio and others. The production of the module was handled by former aircraft engineer Libor Štych.
The installation is on display until 29 October at Namesti Republiky in Prague. There is a “Silent Concert” planned with several Czech musicians on the last day of the exhibition.