Apolena Rychlíková, Vladimír Turner - Memory of the City
An exhibition by Apolena Rychlíková and Vladimír Turner is focused on a critical reflection on contemporary changing conditions in Prague will launch at the Artwall Gallery in Prague. The exhibition deals with overtourism, gentrification, and the climate crisis among others. How do you live in a city where we increasingly feel like unwanted guests? For more than a year, an interdisciplinary project Memory of the City has focused on the issue of contemporary changes in the city of Prague. Podcasts, theoretical texts, guided tours through individual districts or discussions, reflecting the needs and feelings of the inhabitants of Prague, are now complemented by a photographic exhibition in a public space in the Artwall gallery in Letná. Its motif is simple: five hands belonging to five people who live in Prague holding keys with different keychains. These refer to phenomena that make life difficult for Prague residents: overtourism, air pollution and the related climate crisis, risk of homelessness, new luxury development or gentrification, and unification of services in the city.
“We were mainly interested in the perspective of those who are negatively affected by the changes in the city,” explains Apolena Rychlíková, adding that we usually consult economists’ and developers’ opinion on the city's development, while the voice of the inhabitants remains unheard. "Prague is losing its healthy social mix, housing becomes inaccessible even to the middle class, districts are being gentrified or adapted to the one-way needs of cheap tourism," adds artist Vladimír Turner, who has been working on the topic of the city and public space for a long time. "The memory of people and their stories are disappearing. Instead of a city for people, Prague becomes a city for profit,” conclude the authors of the exhibition.
The opening of the exhibition will be accompanied by a discussion with experts and Prague inhabitants on the topic of contemporary changes in the city of Prague. Among the speakers will be sociologist Barbora Matysová, addressing the topic of the depopulation of Karlín, or one of the protagonists of the exhibition, a social worker with experience in homelessness, Zuzana Křičková. They will be joined by urban planner Yuliya Moskvina from the Stop Airbnb Platform. The opening will take place in Holešovice's Prazelenina community garden.
"We found it important to support a truly local initiative that takes care of local needs and relations among the neighbours instead of a simple pursuit of profit," says Rychlíková. In mid-July, there will also be a walk through Holešovice with architect and urban planner Jakub Nakládal. Using specific examples, he will comment on problems typical of individual Prague districts and on how and why Holešovice has changed in recent years. Information about the walk will be available on the Facebook page of the Memory of the city and Artwall Gallery. Opening will take place at 6 p.m. on June 2nd in Prazelenina community garden, Vrahulíkové 13, Holešovice, Prague 7. The opening will be accompanied by a discussion “What happens to the memory of the city?”
Curator: Zuzana Štefková
Photo of the exhibition at Artwall: Martin Micka