workTaking over

Taking over

... Building sites and development projects are in the rangefinder of Libor Svoboda, the last Exit award winner. He erects a dummy structure in the middle of a gallery space and gives a vent to a glorifying parody. Taken. Privately impropriated. However, the corrugated metal plate covers only one wall of a monumental block. Is it in fact a developer megalith or a symbol of national apathy towards its own cultural heritage: lucrative building lot in the center of Europe? Kafka-like world of bypassing the Historic Preservation Council and "Potemkin Village" projects, which serve no real people and no real purpose apart from hoarding of assets by individuals, whose reasoning resembles of late feudal thinking.
And what would a spectator "developer" think? The structure may remind him of deadline of his own project. "It was supposed to be finished long time ago", may cross his mind or "Every day of delay cost thousands"; " How am I going to explain this to our investors". The tragedy accompanying new buildings may lie in the fact that nothing else can be built there. Once constructed, no other building can be in its place, even if it suits the place better. Built, approved, done. There can't be a park anymore. There no longer can be a highway.
Taking Over (the name of the installation) could also stand for "accept": is the developer accepting public space, or is the public accepting the space from a developer to use? Ideally, these two kinds of acceptance should lead to mutual satisfaction of both subject of this social transaction. In many developed countries, it is a courtesy and common practice to introduce the intended project (e.g.: gas station) to the residents of the given location, who later have a chance to halt it or modify it in a way that would comply with the location and its characteristic. Their right to control the nature of their environment is respected in these modern and mature societies.
Unfortunately, in our country the functionality or social contribution of a new building is of marginal, if any, concern. The only concern is the developer's or investor's profit. The public opinion is treated with magical formulas of "doublespeak" creating anticipated consent. If the public opinion differs and appears when the foundations are already being dug out, those malcontent grumblers are dispatched, with such words as "site taken!" or "too bad, too late!".
And so the future generations can already dread the day when they will inherit a country with the highest hypermarket density per square km and with the highest gas station density per km, which one day, in that hypothetic future, may be under strict protection regulations of Historic Preservation Councils as buildings of rare technical qualities.

Extract from the article in Flou Magazine 09/10
Vladislav Unger: Recenze výstavy Ceny Exit 2009