TEXT-BASED ART INTERVENTIONS ON BILLBOARDS IN THE URBAN HEART OF EUROPE
In 2008, The Prague Contemporary Art Festival, Central Europe’s latest international contemporary art event, presented a number of innovative art projects. One of the highlights was a one-year site-specific project featuring textual and word-based artworks on billboards in the Czech capital Prague. Entitled EMERGING WOR(L)DS, the project run since June 2007 until October 2008.
Utilizing billboard spaces normally reserved for product advertising, corporate marketing, political campaigns and public service announcements, EMERGING WOR(L)DS is a platform for diverse artistic interventions, messages and statements, tackling a broad range of issues and subjects concerned with the complex social, political, corporate and cultural structures currently emerging within the context of the post-Cold War – and post 9/11 – world, as well as the way they influence the lives of individuals.
Freed of the constraints of two opposing ideologies and superpowers -and largely abandoning the old Right-Left divisions of the political spectrum - contemporary society is experiencing a proliferation of new complex social, political and cultural structures, networks, patterns, hierarchies and alliances. These newly emerging structures are influenced as much by mass media, global information exchange, phenomena such as multiculturalism and the interweaving of global and local cultural and corporate artefacts, symbols and signs, as by global political and macroeconomic forces.
On a local urban level in Prague, EMERGING WOR(L)DS aims to explore the role and potentials of art and artists in influencing these newly emerging systems, networks and affinities. The site-specific project is open to diverse artistic approaches and strategies, from socially and politically engaged and motivated communications, through media-activist confrontations to contemplative reflections of everyday life.
Rather than using billboards dedicated to the project for its entire duration -performing the function of a public art gallery- EMERGING WOR(L)DS’ billboard artworks are interspersed among commercial advertising billboards, replacing corporate and political messages, modifying standard information flows and exploring new art-based narratives, vocabularies and syntax, becoming parallel markers, tags and signs in Prague’s urban environment.
Having largely completed the process of post-Communist social and economic transformation, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe now play an active role in the evolution and development of globally, regionally and locally emerging social, political and cultural phenomena. Although the old Communist system no longer exercises a hold on power, its remnants continue to influence society. In the Czech Republic, as well as Poland, for example, the archives of the Communist secret police are only now being made fully accessible to the general public and this may yet have serious social repercussions.
EMERGING WOR(L)DS run in synergy with other Tina B. projects and is web-supported. Each month, the EMERGING WOR(L)DS section of the Tina B. website provided maps of the city with locations of the current billboard artworks on show, allowing visitors to explore the city landscape while searching for art.
Curated by Grey Zone
Marek Tomin, Media Manager and Co-curator
TINA B. - The Prague Contemporary Art Festival
EMERGING WOR(L)DS + TINA B. MEETS DESIGN
Group Exhibition including photographs
of participations in "Billboard Text Art: EMERGING WOR(L)DS"
at the Gallery of Critics, Prague.
About TINA B. 2008 - The Prague Contemporary Art Festival
TINA B. is an international contemporary art project, which strives to combine the creative energy of the cultural scene in Central and Eastern Europe with emerging talents and trends from around the world. TINA B. is held under the auspices and with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and the City of Prague.
An acronym for “This Is Not Another Biennial”, TINA B. is also the personification of a fictitious character, the festival’s enigmatic female patron.
For its third edition, TINA B. adopted the general theme and leitmotif of “FORMS OF ENGAGEMENT”, examining the role and influence of art, artists and artistic practice on the wider cultural, social and political sphere on both a local and a global level. This focus on the various ways in which art engages with society was all the more pertinent in the year of the 40th anniversary of the momentous events of 1968, which had a significant impact not only on society and politics in Czechoslovakia, but throughout the world.
TINA B. 2008 views art as a driving force that compels individuals and society to self-reflection and the contemplation of the current course of society on both a global and local level, a factor that strengthens democratic society and its ability to cope with extreme political and social phenomena, a defence mechanism against the suppression of freedom, democracy and human rights - so thoroughly defended and asserted in 1968 - as well as an indicator of a healthy society and culture.
The Main Event of TINA B. - The Prague Contemporary Art Festival 2008 took place from September 25 until October 15, 2008. As well as presented nine curated sections at four main venues and several outstanding standalone special projects, the festival hosted a number of live events, most of which were scheduled for Special Events Week, and took place between October 9 and October 13, 2008.