The story of the 2017 season

The story of the 2017 season

11. 5. 2017

THE MEMORIAL OF SILENCE AT BUBNY STATION IN 2017

For four years, the non-profit organization Prague Shoah Memorial has been working to create a permanent exhibition for the Memorial of Silence while transforming Bubny train station and its immediate surroundings into a platform for discussing modern history. Starting on the second weekend of May, the brownfield site in the greater city center near Vltavská metro station will come alive with artists’ projects and cultural programs, culminating in our now traditional happening “Drumming for Bubny.”

This year’s concerts and theater performances will be accompanied by art projects aimed at creating an open-air art gallery. The works of art will join Aleš Veselý’s The Gate of Infinity as part of Bubny Station’s collection of outdoor art.
The works of art will be ephemeral, changing over time by their interaction with the surroundings, the influence of the weather, and random actions by passers-by.

The project’s meaning

“For this year’s program of events at the Memorial of Silence, we have decided to work with one of the main themes of the future permanent exhibition. We will be talking about the concept of otherness, which has many commonalities with the selection of people according to their perceived quality – as reflected in the Nazis’ Final Solution but also in contemporary expressions of xenophobia and racial enmity. We invite everyone to visit the site of the future Memorial of Silence who, based on their own personal experience, have something to say on the subject of ‘modernism within us.’ During our concerts and theatre performances we will talk with contemporary artists with various kinds of ‘handicaps’, all based on the concept of ‘us and them.’ On the anniversary of the first transports to leave Prague during the war, we would like to present not only works of art in the public space but also to mark a path leading across the train tracks from Letná to Holešovice. If we can meet all the formal requirements, then we would like to name this ‘bridge from the city to the city’ after Sir Nicholas Winton,” says the project’s author, Pavel Štingl.

The 2017 season

The new season of cultural events at Bubny station opens with an event held as part of the Prague Open House Festival on the second weekend in May.
In mid-June, the cultural program at Bubny station continues with the Bubny Alternative Stage, which is a part of the United Islands of Prague festival. During this event, Bubny station will host several music performances accompanied by visual artists. This season’s artistic interventions, entitled Layers of Memory, are curated by scenographer Ivana Brádková.

“The newly created works for Bubny Gallery will reflect the artists’ interpretations of the memory of this place and will be made by students and recent graduates of art schools and also by renowned members of the middle generation of Czech artists such as Bohdan Holomíček, Daniel Pešta, Kryštof Kaplan, and many others. At the train station, we will exhibit objects whose moment of birth also marks the beginning of their path towards destruction. By exhibiting the works in public we are consciously addressing the possibility of visible changes to the building’s original form. This, too, is a valuable contribution to engaging in open dialogue with the public. The unique nature of the gallery allows the works on display to be seen by people in passing trains – and of course also by people who come to the station to see them,” says curator Ivana Brádková.

Drumming for Bubny

This year, we are once again commemorating the anniversary of the first transport to leave Bubny station with “Drumming for Bubny.” Last year, this site of wartime deportations resonated with the sound of 800 drummers expressing their disapproval of the silent majority watching on as the deportations happened. The drummers were joined by the event’s honorable guest, Lord Alfred Dubs, who departed Prague on Nicholas Winton’s Kindertransport, and psychologist Philip Zimbardo, author of the “Stanford experiment,” who was in Prague to present his educational program “Heroic Imagination.” The rhythm was set by musicians David Koller, Miloš Vacík, and Alan Vitouš. Reflections on heroic deeds past and present were read by Bára Hrzánová, Eva Holubová, Klára Melíšková, Jan Kraus, Viktor Tauš, and Petr Vacek.
In October 2017, Drumming for Bubny will feature the cream of the crop of Czech drummers, who tour the country as “Slet bubeníků” – Gathering of Drummers.

Education

The diverse offering of the Memorial of Silence’s seasonal program of events at Bubny station is rounded out by a variety of educational activities, including a documentary seminar for teachers and students from primary and secondary schools and a presentation of how Zimbardo’s project is being slowly adapted for the Memorial of Silence in order to address the important historical events of the 20th century. The project, which has received the personal blessing of Philip Zimbardo himself, is being created in collaboration with EDuin and the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art.

Europeana

All activities organized by the Memorial of Silence at Bubny station are inspired by Patrik Ouředník’s Europeana (“a brief history of the 20th century”) and by his other writings on the topic of “modernism within us,” which he put together for the purpose of revealing this year’s Layers of Memory at Bubny station.

And the late 19th and early 20th centuries witnessed the spread of eugenics, which studied ways of improving the human race. The eugenicists said that in addition to healthy and valuable individuals, the human race also contained inferior individuals, lunatics and criminals and drunks and prostitutes and so on, who slowed the evolution of mankind. And they told the governments to pass a law that would allow them to remove from human evolution those who are biologically unfit or who have an innate tendency towards asocial living. And they prepared statistics and said that for instance an 83-year-old alcoholic will have 894 descendants, of whom 67 will be career criminals, 7 murderers, 181 prostitutes, 142 beggars, and 40 insane, meaning a total of 437 asocial elements. And they calculate that those 437 asocial elements will cost society as much as building 140 apartment buildings.

Press release available for download here: pdfThe Memorial of Silence at Bubny Station in 2017