[artinfo] A giant airship is rising over Prague

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Wed Nov 16 13:15:13 CET 2016

DOX - Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague

A monumental zeppelin has landed on the rooftop 
of the DOX Centre for Contemporary in Prague.

It will become a space where visual art and literature meet

A unique monumental architectural intervention, 
inspired by the elegant shapes of early 20th 
century airships, is growing on the rooftop of 
one of the largest contemporary art spaces in the 
heart of Europe. The 42 meter-long steel and wood 
structure will become a new permanent space for 
literature at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art 
in Prague, Czech Republic.

In 2008 the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in 
Prague first opened its doors to the public as 
the result of a private initiative by its current 
director, Leo” Válka, and his partners. The 
reconstruction of a former factory into a 
multifunctional space was soon nominated for the 
prestigious Mies van der Rohe Award, and for the 
past eight years the institution has continued to 
fulfil its mission: to create a space for 
research, presentation, and debate on important 
social issues, where arts in dialogue with other 
disciplines encourage a critical view of the 
so-called reality of today's world.

The construction of a giant wooden airship 
"suspended" above the DOX Centre is yet another 
testament to Leo” Válka's personal conviction 
that is reflected in the DOX Centre's overall 
philosophy: that even in today's fast-paced, 
globalized world where nothing that cannot be 
calculated, evaluated, or predicted is worth 
risking for, "things can be done differently."

"The idea to invade the DOX Centre's starkly 
modern austere concrete-and-glass architecture 
with a 'parasitic' structure has been on my mind 
for several years. I first dreamed of an absurdly 
fascinating organic shape that would contrast 
with the DOX Centre's existing architecture," 
says Leo” Válka.

In 2013 he invited internationally acclaimed 
architect Martin Rajni”, the 2014 winner of the 
Global Prize for Sustainable Architecture, to 
join him in realizing what he calls "a dream of 
12-year-old boys." For more than two years 
together with wood and steel specialists they 
have been working on the design of what finally 
turned out to be a 42 meter-long and 10 
meter-wide structure inspired by the shapes of 
the giant airships that began to cruise the skies 
at the dawn of the 20th century.

The shape of the zeppelin is symbolic. The early 
zeppelins represented the optimistic ideals of a 
new era of unprecedented technological 
advancements. With their remarkable monumentality 
and hypnotic dignity that would continue to 
fascinate generations to come long after they had 
vanished from the skies, they have always 
embodied the eternal human desire to fly, and 
have represented a certain utopian ideal.

The airship is to bear the name of one of the 
most famous characters in utopian literature. 
Gulliver will serve as a space for reading and 
public discussions of literature-fiction, poetry 
and critical writing-related to the themes of 
DOX's exhibitions, which typically offer a 
critical view of particular aspects of the 
contemporary human situation.

The Gulliver airship will officially open on December 10, 2016.


A traveller to strange distant landsŠ
A wanderer of faraway seas and unexplored 
territories. An adventurer who repeatedly embarks 
on voyages to the unknown. An eternal stranger 
and an outsider both to the countries and people 
he visits and to his own. An explorer whose 
travels to foreign lands allow him to see various 
aspects of human nature more clearly. A messenger 
who, through the accounts of his sojourns among 
foreign nations, offers a mercilessly satirical 
and critical view of his own society and people, 
thus continuously pushing them to reflect upon 
the state of the world they live in and to 
contemplate their own human conditionŠ

DOX - Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague
Poupetova 1
17000 Prague
Czech Republic
Hours: Thursday 11am-9pm,
Wednesday and Friday 11am-7pm,
Saturday-Monday 10am-6pm

T +295568123
<MAILTO:info at dox.cz>info at dox.cz


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