OBJECT:PRAHA III (The Manifesto)
OBJECT:PRAHA III (2023) documents the collective's take on their manifesto to make the public poetry reading more punk rock, low-brow, and accessible to the general audience. What can and can't happen at a poetry reading? Says who?
While figures show that reading poetry is slowly on the rise, the structure of the public poetry reading has not evolved nearly as much. With the rich shared history that Performance Arts has in Central Europe, we see this as an opportunity to promote poetry beyond its literary conventions by fusing interdisciplinary actions in the exchange of ideas.
Two issues arise when considering the unpopularity of poetry readings: one of language and the second of where the language is shared. The former is an issue because one must understand the language and what the poet is doing with language for the effect of the poetic language to be understood. The latter issue causes exclusion in this process because the meaning of the language being shared is not and cannot be made by the poet but rather by the reader themselves. We are left to answer, "what does the space where poetry occurs look like for poetry to be recognized as poetry?"
These two issues, understanding each other's language and fostering a space where interpretation and connotation can be celebrated, is perhaps what makes the public poetry reading often feel like a private practice. We acknowledge that the power of poetry is to share new ideas through shared methods of communication, but the language and space in which this is done must be recognizable and accessible for input to become intake.
We wish to see a public celebration of language so that everyone can come to a place where prerequisite academic notions of language and art are not needed to engage with the expression.
Bucchianeri writes, "art is in the eye of the beholder"; a poet cannot produce meaning for an audience, but can only provide the substance to be interpreted. It is then the audience's innate task to subject the work to classification.
We propose that in order for a general audience to engage with poetry in an inductive and personal manner, then the methods and space in which language is shared should reflect the interdisciplinary nature in which we also exist in the world. To do this, we encourage the audience to engage with poetry by asking questions: "Who is the poet?", "Is this part of the performance?" When asking these questions at our curation, audience members may then begin to ask these questions outside of our curation, and thus engage with a more inclusive practice of poetics, one which is manifested beyond academics and literature and rather from a pragmatic and personal nature.
Acknowledging that we come from different cultures and thus languages, it may be naive to find common ground through artistic expression. And thus, instead, differences should be celebrated and learned from. By curating a space where these differences are immersive, attendees can then find common ground: the space and moment they share. Together the differences can blur lines and become a singular expression. This is when new, personal, and authentic engagement with the arts and poetry may occur.
Special thank you to everyone who helped make this film possible:
Žižkov, Jaromír Lelek, Sandra Pasławska, Gordon & Žižkovšiška, Connie & Bernie, Ben Rea, Adéla Hrdličková, Hunter Andrews, Jenda Pudlák, Jeff Milton, Louis Armand, Marko Thull, Michael Rowland, Roksan Mandel, Mary Palencar, Sasha Honigman, Lenka Bonderová, Eduard Germis, Stefan Fiedler, Heyme Langbroek, Uglijesa Janjic, Sarah Belejová, Jacob Billings, Marley Wilfing, Sean Brodeur, Jona Kessler, GRID center, Rodrick Mitchell, David Vichnar, Sára Wegerová, Ella Wegerová, Jo Blin, Zoe Perrenoud, Ásgeir H Ingólfsson, Gabi Nechifor, Nikodem Dybiński, Yeva Kupchenko, Ba Bosa, Katerína Bakošova, Medium 43, Loretta Lau, Alibek Kazbekov, Jan Černý, Aaron Barnett, Literary Lavatory, Kampus Hybernská, Maarten Crefcoer, Recompose Studio, Jan Janíček, Valentina Sandoval, Zuzanna Wrona, The Solution, ken Nash, Nata Tsintsabadze, Julie Orlova, Robert Carrithers, Gunnar M Zuppe, Mark Paul Divo, Vit Bohal, Willie Watson, The Czech Inn, Dante, Martin Levallois, The word Addict, BOHO cafe & store, Thor Garcia, Martin Guildenstern, Punctum, and all the artists, performers, and readers who have helped create the Prague scene.