Page 1

Lennon

W all Spring '16

see

me

Choose


Every care has been taken to trace copyright holders for images and text in this issue. However, if we have ommitted anyone we apologize and will, if informed, make corrections.

editorial

staff

Awakening everyone from the gloomy and cold winter, spring has finally arrived to Prague. Inspired by the blossoming atmosphere Lennon Wall launched new projects that all students of Anglo-American University are welcome to participate in.

Kristina Zakurdaeva | Editor-in-Chief Martin Ranninger | Production Director Karina Verigina | Managing Editor Elizaveta Khodarinova | Marketing Manager Anastasia Kovtunenko | Photo Editor

Photography lovers now have an opportunity to exhibit their works on the pages and social media platforms of the LW. Another section – Golden Quill – has been created for aspiring poets and fiction writers of our university. Furthermore, by gradually expanding LW’s presence on social media we are broadening the readership and giving more space for creative ideas. LW team welcomes you to the Spring Semester issue of our magazine in the hope that you will discover the mysterious world of arts. Kristina Zakurdaeva, Editor-in-Chief

Proofreaders Adam Poplawski Ben Goings Patrick Engels Rob Warren Faculty Adviser Andrew Giarelli

Contributors Abby Newman Bozhidara Boyadzhieva Kirby Sandmeyer Margarita Orlova Oleksandra Kovalevska Rita Puhto V.B.

connect lennon.wall@aauni.edu lennonwall.aauni.edu facebook.com/lennonwallmag instagram.com/lennonwallmag twitter.com/lennonwallmag


Just Returned 4

Celebrating the earth day 6

“too weird to live, too rare to die” 8

bali mission 10

shadow of terror: czechs on alert 18

golden quill 20

off the spotlight 24

the beauty underneath 28

art of craft: luthier from hranice 32

get into focus 34

ZIZKOV: feel the beating 36

the path of choice 40

faculty talks bald about style 44

on the edge of cryptoanarchy 50

soup Phở you 52

sunday cosiness on a checkered tablecloth 54

broken windows of the jewish past 56


just returned story: Oleksandra Kovalevska

L

ove it or hate it, the Erasmus program changed many lives. Every semester Anglo-American University students go on exchange to other countries for studies and unforgettable experiences. Just returned, they have some fresh memories to share.

Adventures in Germany, Maltese Way photos: Karl Antony Borg’s Archive

K

arl Antony Borg, an AAU student from Malta, can’t hide his excitement when talking about Konstanz. Going on exchange during the last semester of his Master’s program was one of the best experiences he had as a student, according to Borg. Konstanz is a traditional German city with timber framing located near the famous Constance Lake (in German Bodensee) bordering Germany, Austria and Switzerland. People here are mostly students. It has everything a young person needs: from the Zeppelin museum to salsa dance clubs. It is, however, a bit pricy for students and doesn’t offer many job opportunities. The University has around 10,000 students, mostly Germans, but Borg didn’t feel lost or forgotten. With the help of exchange student coordinators, who organized plenty of events, he felt at home. There he ice skated for the first time, it was on an ice rink located 30 seconds from the German-Swiss border. Borg laughs when talking about ice skating; he fell a couple of times and needed someone to help him up. While AAU students know British and American educational traditions, Germany has a completely different one. As an International Relations and Diplomacy student, Borg points out that AAU’s program is more theoretical, while in Konstanz students mostly practice political sciences. “It’s like learning something other students already know. It’s not horrible, but it is a challenge,” says Borg.

4 | Spring 2016

During the exchange he decided to go to the tiny Liechtenstein. The journey wasn’t easy – he had to change three trains, two buses and make a stop in Switzerland. It’s worth it anyways: “Liechtenstein is an unusual place to go, but if not now, then when?” One of his brightest memories of the exchange was Constance carnival (Konstanz Fastnacht). A week-long celebration of chasing away winter with a masquerade, street music and foolish games. Borg is still impressed by the carnival: “It’s something you don’t see every day and it’s a very special event for Germans.” If a student is in doubt whether to go on exchange or not Borg’s example can prove that adventures are worth the difficulties. This experience can be a perfect finishing touch to student life.


Learning to Be French in Rennes photos: Hoai Anh Le’s Archive

A

fter spending a semester abroad in Rennes, France, Hoai Anh Le (Ellie) turned into a real French person. Now she pronounces French words with the soft “r” sound, talks about their educational system in a way that locals would and knows why people from Brittany should never be called French. The destination Le chose was the Rennes campus at the Institute of Political Studies, commonly known as Sciences Po – a prestigious university with eight different campuses around France. Rennes’ inhabitants are mostly students, so newcomers don’t have to worry – the old and gracious city has no problems with student life. Rennes differs from the more crowded Paris. While the latter is an international megalopolis, Rennes’ life is based on French culture and traditions. The Sciences Po campus is slightly bigger than AngloAmerican’s and is located in an old, vintage building from the 18th century with auditorium-like rooms. Study programs differ as well: apart from oral exams and a unique evaluation system, where the lowest grade is 0 and the highest is 20, French classes often lack student-teacher communication.

Le’s schedule was busy: she took 6 subjects and a language course. Even though Le had more free time than full time students do, she didn’t get a chance to explore the real French culture. She was limited by the language. Leaving her comfort zone helped Le overcome the fear of mistakes and communication with locals. She decided to actively practice her language skills. “It was a bit hard to adapt because of the French language. But you have no other option,” says Le. When you become friends with Rennais, they will show where to find the freshest French crepes. But be careful, from Le’s observations, locals are easily offended when called simply “French.” Foremost, they are citizens of their region, not the country. Le had enough free time from her studies to spend two weeks in Paris and visit Germany and the UK. It’s not easy for Le to say what was the best moment of the exchange: “I had so many,” she admits. Indubitably she recommends Sciences Po Rennes as a place for exchange: “It’s the first time I experienced a real student life. It’s priceless.”

Student Life | 5


E

Celebrating The Earth Day

ach year, on April 22 people all around the world are uniting on International Earth Day to show their support for environmentfriendly causes and honor the nature. Joining the celebration, AAU ran a photo competition among the students in order to find out how they perceive the role of humanity in nature. The pictures that won in two categories can speak for themselves:

Man and Earth Category | By Nikoloz Tsanava This photo was taken in Batumi, Georgia, and it symbolizes freedom and the indescribable connection between man and nature. Sea is often hit by gloomy and turbulent weather. While many rush to find shelter and warm place, some people prefer to stay and coexist with Earth. A walk along the waves of emotions that a person takes is often lonely and risky. During such times, one might neglect nature and pollute the environment, but people have to remember that cohabitation is a cycle and eventually every good and bad action will come back to them. 6 | Spring 2016


Nature Untouched Category | By Valeryia Baradai I was on excursion to Neuschwanstein castle in Germany, saw something that looked fascinating and worth remembering and sharing. And I captured it. On the picture you can see the Alpsee lake. By the way, for the best views I think you should go there in summer. I went in spring, and this is the only picture without tons of bare tree trunks.

Student Life | 7


“Too weird to live, too rare to die” story: Elizaveta Khodarinova | photos: Aneta Kölblová’s Archive

J

ust like Julius Caesar, who managed to do several things at once, AAU student Aneta Kölblová, 22, successfully combines studying, horse riding, acting, and being a pastry chef. Kölblová started horse riding at the age of eight. It was a completely spontaneous decision. “I had a positive relationship and fond memories with horses since we went pony riding in the kindergarten,” she says. For eleven years she practiced her favorite type of riding – show jumping. “Unfortunately, I had no real talent or prospects,” she says. Three years ago, Kölblová switched to dressage where she found herself on the right spot, competing twice a month. The career of a jockey isn’t easy. Kölblová went through constant falls to the ground, rode insane horses, broke bones and cried at the shows. Her parents, despite their busy schedule, often come to cheer their daughter on at the big finals. Kölblová has three horses: Corazón de Oro, for competition, Miťko – an old, experienced horse to practice advanced dressage and Larino, which currently competes in para dressage with Kölblová’s blind friend. Every day Kölblová trains with Mit’ko and Corazón. They have weekends off unless there is a show, but she still has to take care of them.

8 | Spring 2016

While she was working with horses, she found another hobby. Kölblová attended a drama club organized in her primary school, even though it didn’t function long. Years after in high school, her tutor Logan Hillier, now the head of the English College in Prague Drama Department, was the one who got her interested in theatre. Hiller asked her to act in a play he was putting on – “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” by Tom Stoppard, premiered in 2009. “He chose me because I was cynical, dark, and had a twisted sense of humour. I fit the part,” says Kölblová. “Legendary for her dry humour, sharp tongue and quick wit, Aneta isn’t limited to comedy, she can and did deliver powerful and passionate performances,” wrote Hillier, one of the Blood, Love and Rhetoric theatre directors via email. Since then, Kölblová has appeared in various productions, playing lead roles in Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” and Václav Havel’s “Memorandum.” “I am a prototype that has never been intended for mass production: too weird to live, too rare to die,” says Kölblová. Her family doesn’t participate in her theatre life, but they are very supportive. “My sister helps me run the lines, when I make her,” says Kölblová. Upon graduation from the English College in Prague, Kölblová started looking for another school to continue education. Her first and, as it turned out, adverse choice was University of New York in Prague, from which she dropped


out after a week of studies. “I didn’t want to go back to university,” Kölblová says. “I felt like I wasn’t the type.” Nevertheless, for several months Kölblová kept looking for a perfect place, until she found one. “I was so ecstatic when the opportunity to live and study in Paris came along,” she says. Ever since she was a little girl baking was one of her passions and becoming a pâtissier (pastry chef) was a dream. Kölblová studied in Le Cordon Bleu (The Blue Ribbon), a prestigious culinary institute in Paris, established in 1895. In the past, Julia Child, a worldwide known American pastry chef studied there. The program lasted for nine months and courses were divided into three sections: basic, intermediate and superior, which everyone had to go through. Students had both theoretical and practical classes where their assignments were to make a cake or a sugar sculpture. “Inevitably, I got fat, but it was worth it,” says Kölblová. “I received my diploma from Pierre Hermé, the world’s best pastry chef.” Later, she was offered an internship at Hermé’s pastry shop in Paris, where she worked for two months. Kölblová returned to Prague and found a job at a luxury hotel. All of a sudden, just after two weeks of daily attempts to create a perfect croissant, she noticed a rash developing

on her hands. She didn’t pay any attention to it, eager to become a professional pastry chef, but after some time the rash got worse. “One morning I woke up with a face so swollen I couldn’t open my eyes, I looked great,” says Kölblová sarcastically. The visit to the doctor´s showed that she is allergic to a mold present in flour. The dream of becoming a pastry chef was ruined. Kölblová was forbidden to work in the industry. She hasn’t baked since. A few months after, Kölblová was doing only dressage with horses. At this point she decided to try university again, which she thought would be much easier to combine with riding than work. Kölblová found AAU and applied for the BA in Humanities. “This major is organized of courses about culture, and even politics in theatre, which I look forward to doing,” she says. “It was a natural choice given my history of theatre acting.” Long holidays, spontaneous trips and parties – routine for an avarage student – are not for Kölblová. She still has to sacrifice a lot. “Would professors, please stop giving us 90 pages or more a week to read,” said Kölblová desperately. “It just not going to happen, just please, give up.”

Student Life | 9


travel notes from the ocean photos: Bali Mission Archive

On Feb. 1, 2016, nine AAU students, accompanied by their coordinator and project leader, returned from the Bali Mission in Indonesia. They spent a whole month volunteering in cooperation with local NGO Green Lion, which focuses on housing construction and renovation, environmental and health care education, turtle conservation and teaching kids. Get a first hand insight of what your fellow students experienced during their trip.


Off we go We were greeted by a group of Egyptians, who it felt like, had opened the restaurant just for us. The menus seemed to be never-ending, so we just asked what the staff and our bus driver recommended. “Don’t worry,” they said, “we prepare traditional Egyptian dinner for you.” A couple minutes later the two tables we had joined were stuffed with different plates and platters. Falafel, hummus, and Egyptian version of pizza everywhere – and I mean everywhere. No matter how much we tried, we weren’t even close to finishing all of the delicious food we were given. Whatever we didn’t finish we had packed, and gave it to Mohammad to take home to his family. …we were finally standing out in the humid Gulf air. The big question now was: how do we get downtown? As a group of eleven, taking taxis was impractical, and the Dubai metro was already closed for the night. As we stood there, trying to figure out how to find an adventure during our long eight-hour layover, a miracle happened. Out of nowhere a man approached us and asked us whether we wanted a tour. Obviously, we said that we wanted one, but none of us could have expected what was to happen. The miraculous man, our trip-saver, directed us toward a

town bus. Apparently, we were to get a whole bus just for ourselves, with our own driver who would take us around Dubai for several hours; all that for a price of a taxi ride from the Prague Airport to the downtown.

Heat Stroke and Jet Lag “As we landed in Denpasar, Bali at around 10:30 PM local time, the stewardess announced the local temperature of 29 degrees over the plane’s intercom. At first it seemed unbelievable, but the heat and humidity hit us the second we stepped out of the plane. Thankfully, our local coordinator had arranged a car for us from the airport. Entering the arrivals hall, it wasn’t long before we saw our drivers holding signs with our names on; huge smiles beaming from their faces. The drive to Ubud took approximately an hour. Arriving shortly after midnight, our coordinators welcomed us to our new home for the next three weeks. By home, I actually mean a spacious two-story villa with decks and a terrace, which accommodates up to 20 people sleeping on bamboo bunk beds. We were extremely excited to see our new home, so we each quickly took a much needed shower – the 25 hour journey here left us with a significant odor – and gathered on our terrace afterwards.


Selamat Siang from Bali One of the many intriguing things we have come into contact with in Bali is that of the flower offerings, which are left in front of shops and houses each day. We assume they are only meant as a good luck offering, however, during our flower offering creation session we realised it was more complex than that. We learnt how the colours of the flowers and the directions they are placed in represent different gods. The offerings are made to please the five main gods in Bali: Visnu, the god of water; Iswara, the god of wind; Siva, the god of balance and life; Maha Dewa, the god of earth and Brahma, the god of fire. When our coordinators told us the Balinese make these flower offerings 60 times a day, we heard her say 16 but then she corrected us to 60! This made us wonder, do the Balinese have time for anything else apart from making offerings? The next morning we were again woken up by roosters, new mosquito bites and the rising heat. We prepared for a trek through the rice fields, although it was hot, the mornings never quite do reflect how warm the day will become. People such as myself, underestimating the amount of sunscreen required, ended up with tan lines that only help distance me from the local population. But the gorgeous views were worth it.

12 | Spring 2016

A Culture Shock “A lonely farmer with his red t-shirt and plantation knife (an old hand tool sporting a wooden handle and a moonshaped blade) just 40 meters away from our accommodation, removes the redundant weeds from the rice-fields, perhaps as early as first light (at 5:47 a.m.). It is a good reminder that we are located in a developing and interesting country. The sights would indeed confirm the rich culture this tiny island can offer, we would see the Tirta Empul, a temple famous for its fresh spring holy water. The legend says that a famous Balinese king, decided that for the many who had died in wars on the island, their bodies would be bathed in the spring water. Upon doing this the dead claim to been resurrected. The legend continues with this king stabbing his sword into the ground to demonstrate his unwillingness to fight on, and the holy water poured up, and the temple was built around it.

Weekend in Bali After less than five minutes of pop-talking, we started to follow our guide and his “little woman,� with his promise of feeding us once we reached the top of the volcano as fuel for the tricky descent. The first few minutes of trail were not bad at all, but the higher we got the rockier it became.


Student Life | 13


14 | Spring 2016


We found it hard to keep talking and focused instead on our steps. Half-way up the trail, and I had already started to regret my decision. Feelings of hunger, tiredness, and sweat weighed on me but I pushed myself to keep up with our group. When our guide told us we were taking a 10-minute break, I immediately felt better and started looking for a comfortable rock to sit on. Once seated, I played some of my favorite music playlists. Having my music on helped me keep going and took my mind off the feelings of fatigue, and in a matter of seconds I was in a dancing mood.

30 kids, 1 teacher It is the 11th day of our crazy adventure on this island. The sound of cricket noises, birds chirping, geckos’ “geckoing” and the sun rising, causes four friends to wake up, as we have recently moved our mattresses out onto our beautiful terrace, due to the unbearable sweaty, hot nights in our room. I have gotten used to falling asleep under the stars and waking up to a green view of tall bamboo, bountiful papaya trees and the misty rice fields that surround us. Sadly enough, in about two weeks time I will once again be sleeping under layers of blankets and waking up to an empty pink wall in my quiet room; planning out how many sweaters I will have to wear that day to protect myself from the cold, snowy weather that awaits me in back in Prague. Having our lesson planned and prepared for the day, we hurry down to the cantine for lunch. Today we were served delicious Balinese fried glass noodles with vegetables and shrimp chips. Once again we left lunch fully satisfied with our stomachs stuffed, leaving just enough time to rest before heading off to teach. Our free time before going to the kindergarten is usually spent “lazying” around on our mattress-filled terrace and relaxing with the rest of the group. This trip has really brought us all together; we’ve formed new friendships and will continue to share our many new adventures.

Uburu! … Will they like us? As we all made our way to breakfast, I could see how everyone was excited for the day ahead. After a breakfast of fresh fruits, we made our way to the ‘rice field house,’ as it’s known, to plan out the day’s lesson. Little did we know at the time that this would become our daily ritual. At the rice field house numerous volunteers gathered and discussed, prepared and printed materials for the different grades they would teach. My best friend Monika and I had chosen

to stay with the kindergartners as we both had previous experience with small children. At first we had imagined that our task would not be so demanding – we were wrong. The Green Lion Kindergarten, which is the one where we were assigned to, follows a very neat schedule in which each week has a different theme. Confused as to what this week’s theme was, we chose one at random and began preparing. Once we were ready, we headed to lunch. On the way we continuously discussed whether or not our class was too easy or perhaps too hard, as we had no idea on which level of English these kids would have. One thing was for sure, we would sing songs with the kids, hoping the three hours we had to teach them would be enough for them to learn the songs by heart – challenge accepted!

Rice, Revision and a Long Ride Home! After breakfast and a walk along the beach, we hopped on our scooters and improvised our way to Kuta, Bali’s most famous surf spot, where the group had planned to meet. After 20 minutes we were in the vicinity but had trouble getting to the exact location because of a number of traffic police stops thanks to the ISIS bombing in Jakarta two days before. After much hassle and loosing each other in the process, we finally made it to the beach. We spent our day there tanning (mostly the women), surfing, and swimming. By the end of the day once everybody had turned into a tomato, it was time for the sunset when all the locals bring out chairs for people to sit and have an ice-cold Bintang as we waited for the Balinese sunset.

Peeling Scabs, Projectile Vomit, and a Whole Lotta Love Spend long enough in Bali and it could become home, at least for a while. Flying down the country roads on our beloved scooters; surrounded by rice paddies and palm trees, with giant volcanos in the distance reminding us of the island’s primordial past – it doesn’t get much better than that. Then there are the beautiful beaches with snorkelling and surfing as well as stunning wildlife – although try not to stare down a macaque or you’ll regret it. There’s also delicious food and the open and loving Balinese, all wrapped up in a Hinduhippy vibe that makes life very easy-going. What more can I say? I miss it and I’m sure my students feel the same. For full blog entries visit: balimission.aauni.edu Student Life | 15


http://www.adbusters.org/spoofads


shadow of terror: czechs on alert story: Oleksandra Kovalevska | photos: Kristina Zakurdaeva, Haidar Ali (AFP)

T

errorist attacks increased by nearly six percent, with a total of 101 incidents, compared to previous months. March 2016, with only two days without terrorist attacks throughout the world, made most European countries reconsider their security policies. Prague is not an exception. The Czech Interior Ministry declared a first level security alert, the lowest on a four point scale, and added soldiers to join police patrols in response to the recent Brussels attacks. These patrols will remain in the airports, railway stations and popular tourist sights till the end of May, reports Radio Prague. With bated breath, Europe has been watching a series of terrorist attacks on its territory since the Charlie Hebdo attack in Jan., 2015. The last explosions happened in Brussels, with one of them next to European Union and 18 | Spring 2016

United Nations institutions. Two explosions in Zaventem airport and one in Maelbeek metro station left 32 civilians dead and hundreds injured, reports BBC. The Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec claimed the EU agreed on a nine point anti-terrorist policy during the emergency EU meeting in Brussels on March 24, 2016. It includes greater control over the European external borders and information exchange about passengers with carriers. The so-called Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL), which had claimed responsibility for the attacks in European countries, in Nov. 2015 released a video called No Respite, where they threatened a number of countries with death and destruction. The Czech Republic was among them. Jaroslav Srňánek, a police officer from the Czech town Děčín, says the city doesn’t have Prague’s novelty of two soldiers and one police officer in each patrol walking through the streets yet. However, the city faced some changes. Police officers in Děčín receive double the number of


bullets at work instead of the usual 15. Police also formed new patrols of first­responders in case of a terrorist attack, who will have better equipment than the usual policemen.

Dabiq also wrote about Nov. 2015 Paris suicide bombings calling the blasts “a selection of military operations” and “revenge.”

Srňánek doesn’t feel as secure as he was before the attacks. “I admit I am afraid, not because something could happen to me,” he says. “It’s more about my loved ones.”

The “revenge” that the magazine repeatedly talks about is a response to deaths caused by the two coalitions, mainly the U.S.­led. According to the monitoring site Airwars.org, the CJTF OIR forces caused between 2,463 and 3,307 civilian deaths in total in the period from Aug. 8, 2014, to April 4, 2016, in Syria and Iraq. Like other Western countries, the Czech Republic is a potential target because of its involvement in the anti­Islamic State operations. The Czech Republic is willing to assist France in the “destruction of the Islamic State,” says the country’s Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka in an interview with The Washington Post. He mentioned that the Czechs are ready to support its allies with more troops and have already supplied munition and hand grenades in 2015. ISIS’ reputation affected how Czechs perceive Middle Eastern nations. According to the newly published annual study by the non-profit research institute STEM, one quarter of Czechs does not accept Arabs as their neighbors.

He thinks it’s possible for attacks to happen in the Czech Republic. “It’s not a question if it happens but when it happens,” he says. “It’s all about being ready; better safe than sorry.” Unfortunately, he thinks police would not be able to prevent such event.

Muhammed Gulmez, a French Charles University medical student of Turkish descent, says he was never insulted or threatened in Prague, though his female friends go through hard times. “People stare at them with mean looks or actually insult them because they wear a hijab,” he says.

He said the threat for Czechs will last until the Czech government stops helping the Coalition with military missions against the Islamic State.

While Gulmez understands why people worry, he doesn’t agree with the Czech Republic’s policy on immigrants, as recent attacks have also affected how Czechs perceive Muslim refugees: “You just can’t let people starve, die, or send them back to their country. Every religion teaches to help each other.”

Dabiq, an official Islamic State magazine, often refers to bombings as a response to “crusader” countries’ military intervention on ISIS-controlled territories. The countries Dabiq refers to are coalitions led by the United States (Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve) and Russia (Russia–Syria–Iran–Iraq) which targets the Islamic State group. France, Belgium, and Saudi Arabia, one of the active antiISIS American coalition members, suffered from at least seven terrorist attacks cumulatively in March. ISIS claimed responsibility. More attacks were suspected to be done by the terrorist group or by “lone wolfs” inspired by the socalled Islamic State.

Michaela Mikesova, a journalism student at AAU, doesn’t believe terrorists would come to Prague, unlike other Czechs. She thinks people see a potential threat in Muslims partly because of the anti-Islamic bias in Czech media. Some of the outlets, she says, mention unidentified sources reporting about terrorists in the country, which makes Czechs scared of Muslims even more. “You have to be careful of what you’re saying,” Mikesova says. “Otherwise you spread hate.” News | 19


golden Quill Illustrations: Valerie Muliar

what am i? By Shko Shwan I’m a car four wheels I have the power of 200 horses I have curves that make boys drop their jaws More curves means more value to my price I was owned by three drivers I never chose any of them My first owner called me baby He liked loud music He never had enough of my volume The higher I shouted The faster he would go The more press he put on my accelerator The more I had shouted from the outside He always used to brag about me in front of his friend “look at my baby and it’s yellow lights” He was the one that torn down the plastic around my seats I was with him for nearly a year until the time I refused to turn on He sold me for half of my price My next owner sold me the second someone else offered him more money I never understood my second driver he always kept me in his garage alongside his other cars He never gave me a nickname My third driver was happy with me He liked slow music When he was driving me I made no sound only the sound of my tires when there were small rocks He treated me good He always pressed hard on my breaks 20 | Spring 2016

whenever I was near the cliff The hard breaks hurt me but I knew I had to suffer to be saved He had a girlfriend He was often fighting with her then came back inside of me to cry I would turn on my radio to calm him down one night he was crying out loud not the radio could calm him down nor my yellow lights could light up the safe road for him He drove fast like my first owner until he was near the cliff but this time he did not stop he drove until there was no road underneath my tires we both dove into the clear water we both filled up with water we both died that night I truly loved him


gilou By Simone Faith 1 we ate shitty pasta with too much curry powder which i later found out was our last night in love with the way the castle lights unfurled as we did. on the roof on our last night in prague 2 you stopped at the kafka statue to read his words on youth but you’d been reading youth aloud to me for about a month in rooms with wallpaper birds and cars of German philosophers and on rock islands with only your hands. 3 i woke to sweepy clouds and sleepy you the curl of your arm still musing on my ribs and spiced chai from the day we forgot to exist. you smell like worn french poetry 4 in staccato spaces i still see the shape of your questions when we forgot who we were and forgot our names you came out in moans heat arched love, god forgot who we, who we, we, and you came out in moans heat arched love, god

Arts | 21


Songs of the Seagull with a Broken Wing By Ján Tompkins

I always wondered why I cry every time I listen to Fleetwood Mac or why I always fall in love with girls with weird names You never said you loved me,

You’d say you’d take the dusty smell of my hair over any Chanel perfume

You’d say you’d blissfully wander the galaxies in my eyes forever

You’d say you’d rather listen to every, single one of my cliché poems than the radio because as you’d say how ‘poetry is a song that’s a pilgrimage into a person’s heart and soul’

You’re now in your cloud-covered California haven, nestled between the redwoods and the Great Pacific, with pine needles in your sandy beechwood hair and pine sap between your fingertips. You let the California sun thaw the Maine goose bumps on your skin and the Northern California rain to trickle along the corners of your mouth that curled like fiddleheads as that smile the world hasn’t seen in years becomes wider and deeper than the Sacramento Valley itself Cherry stem fingers that smelled of ash and wine How I took them and filled the gaps between mine to make you feel whole again In French, L’amour, you sit in Provence with an old man tasting reds and you lift your face to the southern sun that toasts your skin and ask ‘Qu’est-ce que c’est, L’amour? - What is Love?’ the old man shrugs as he takes another sip and you say to yourself, ‘Alors, L’amour est le vin dans son verre - So, Love is the wine in its glass’ I wasn’t born broken, I was born whole and broke myself I’ll never get to feel those incense-stained cheeks on my chapped lips. I’ll never get to pull long strings of golden sandalwood hair off my coats and sweaters. I’ll never get those brisk, autumn nights when we were snug inside watching Ghibli and ghosts and going nowhere And then the tongue of some girl from Wisconsin is down your throat in the art supply closet at camp and you don’t have any doubt in your mind of how awesome that is, and I just skipped over that point in life never fully experiencing it, living it all out in poems and movies I digest like some hopeless, incomplete American dream cookie monster, inhaling memories I’ve never had

22 | Spring 2016


Remembering your American adventure was the last thing you’d sing to me when this world was losing you. The breezy afternoons we spent lost in the cities of sunflowers in Kansas were your last beautiful memories. How we’d picnic along the shaded creek that strung through the patchwork countryside, just you and I, and you beamed and told me how you loved jumping through the endless wheat, your eyes glistening in the sunlight with every stroke in the earthy water that you seemed to find so much magic in Where’s my California? I want her to take me away just like she took you, to coddle me in her dew-covered, fern and moss blankets. Where are my towering redwoods? Where’s my evergreen coast? Where’s my Arcata, my Mount Shasta, my Eureka? You needed her and she answered and now I’ll be waiting for my California to come and hold me with her pine sap kisses and misty embrace and the salty, setting sun-kissed Pacific to sing in my ears that everything will be okay and that I’ll finally be safe You smile and press your cherry stem fingers to your mouth and blow a kiss back to the Sun for me, knowing it won’t be long before I join you with a bottle of Chardonnay in hand and a song on my tongue for you There are just some things in this world I’ll never fully understand, like why I always fall in love with girls with weird names or why I cry everytime I listen to Fleetwood Mac Or if any of them knew they were being so carefully observed by a tiny hopeless romantic, watching this scene unfold before him like some little director watching his work play out for the hundredth time I wonder so much and so often that I must be having some kind of young-adult life crisis but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, because what matters in the end is that they are the Songs of the Seagull with a Broken Wing meant to be sung for the whole world to hear.

Arts | 23


off the spotlight story: Karina Verigina | photos: Štefan Kocán’s Archive

T

he Water Sprite, a mythical, unearthly creature steps on stage at Prague National Theatre. His face is wrinkled, his long hair is grey and an ocean-blue robe slithers behind him while his deep bass voice echoes grief-filled words, “Oh poor, pale Rusalka! Alas!” When Dvořák’s opera is over not the mournful Water Sprite, but smiling Štefan Kocán, a Slovak opera singer, comes out for a final bow and the auditorium vibrates with applause.

Kocán is an operatic bass singer who regularly appears on major stages all over the world. Playing the enchanting roles of Mefistofele in Boito’s “Mefistofele” and the Water Sprite in Dvořák’s “Rusalka” in Prague, in everyday life he wears jeans and loves ice cream. Born and raised in Dolne Dubove, a small village of 500 people in western Slovakia, where he still lives between his many international tours, Kocán has always been attracted to music. As a ten-year-old boy, he was the oldest person in the village to master a musical instrument – a piano – when an organist who played at the local church services died. Kocán’s parents were asked if their first-born would take the man’s place. Honoured, they gladly agreed. “I was scared, as any person would be,” Kocán says, recalling the first time he played organ for church services. “But I had a strong will.” At 14 Kocán entered Bratislava State Conservatory to study singing, though he had never been to a live opera. For the first time seeing “Don Giovanni” and “Magic Flute” performed in poorly translated Slovak instead of their original languages, he second-guessed his career choice. “I wasn’t like many singers who, accepted to the conservatory, could not imagine their lives without opera,” Kocán says. As a student of conservatory and later Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, Kocán was marked as a lyric baritone by his teachers, despite having the low notes of a bass. “Singing all kinds of baritone arias felt absolutely wrong, but I was obedient and thought my teacher must know better than I do,” he says.


Yevgeny Nesterenko, famous Russian bass singer, was a savior of Kocán’s voice. After graduation from the Academy, Kocán sang for the maestro at his summer master class in Slovakia. This encounter changed his life. Kocán was 25 and his voice was finally accepted as a true bass. Determined to continue his studies under Nesterenko’s tutelage at the Vienna Conservatory, Kocán moved to Austria. Yet, more difficulties were to come. Kocán didn’t speak any other languages but Slovak and could hardly finance his schooling; the money his grandmother has been saving for her entire life was enough to pay a five month rental only. He didn’t shy away from all kinds of hard labor jobs. “I allowed myself a special treat once a year for my birthday: I had a waffle from Rosenberger for 3 Euros and 50 cents,” wrote Kocán in a public letter on his official website. His professional career began in Linz, a city in Upper Austria. In 2002, Kocán was accepted to Linz State Theatre under fixed contract, singing various leading roles for the company. Soon, his talent was recognised internationally. Throughout his career Kocán has performed on many stages all around the world: Switzerland, Germany, Japan and even Chile. His varied roles include Mephisto in “Faust,” the Grand Inquisitor and Filippo in “Don Carlos,” and Attila in Verdi’s opera of the same name. Kocán never dreamed of singing at La Scala, Milan, and the Metropolitan Opera, New York. Yet, in 2011, he debuted at La Scala as Masetto in the production of Don Giovanni, featuring Anna Netrebko. Kocán is most excited to sing at the Metropolitan Opera, where he has been performing in a number of productions every season since 2009. Ramfis in “Aida,” Sparafucile in “Rigoletto,” and Khan Konchak in “Prince Igor” are some of the roles he sang there. “It doesn’t matter if you get a small part,” he says. “Singing there is very hard, since you realize that the place has a long tradition, and something great is always expected of you.” Kocán values the quality of work. “The names of the conductor or theatre mean nothing to me, if I feel a personal

Young Kocán playing piano. On stage as Ramfis in “Aida”. Mourning Water Sprite. Intimidating Mefistofele. 26 | Spring 2016


connection with the production,” he says, referring to an open-air Revolving Theatre in Český Krumlov – a minor opera venue compared to the Metropolitan Opera or La Scala – where in August he will sing the role of Water Sprite in the production of “Rusalka,” one of his favourite operas. “You always feel an adrenaline rush,” he says, describing his feelings before going on stage. “When I was younger, it came from fear and anxiety, now it comes from the sense of responsibility.” He points out that as a person gets older, this constant rush of adrenaline can threaten his health. However, Kocán is in love with music, seeing it as a natural way of making the deepest human feelings tangible.

When faced with the question of what the most important part of the opera is – acting or singing – he takes a moment to approach the issue philosophically. His gaze then falls on a cup of coffee sitting on the table. “Opera is like cappuccino,” Kocán says, immediately explaining that coffee and milk, only when mixed together, make the final product. Kocán loves to sing in Prague. Besides playing in the National Theatre’s production of “Rusalka,” he sings the title role in Arrigo Boito’s “Mefistofele” at the State Opera every season. Martin Buchta, Chorus master at the National Theatre Opera, who worked with Kocán on both productions, describes him as a friendly person with

a big voice and charisma. “At the same time, there was something mysterious and, even, demonic about Štefan, that made him respectable,” Buchta recalls his first meeting with Kocán. Although, 2015/2016 season at the National Theatre of Prague is over for Kocán, he makes his debut as the Watcher in George Enescu’s “Oedipe” at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London, in May 2016. Kocán doesn’t make big plans for the future; his only dream is to sing the title role in Modest Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov.” He often mentions the opera – casually referring to it as Boris – and then admits that he’s hoping to get the role in 2017, although, not revealing where. Dreams do come true, after all.

Arts | 27


28 | Spring 2016


The Beauty Underneath w

A

dazzling redhead hides behind the camera creating art that leaves many speechless. Sára Saudková, 49, is a Czech artist and writer, known for her exceptional work as a nude photographer. A devotee of creativity, Saudková aspires to make good photography, not money. “Creating art just for money or fame is short-sighted,” she says. “It can’t satisfy your need to leave some trace, some good work.” She shaped her view on life by the freedom she had as a child. As a young tomboy growing up in Moravia, Saudková was fond of adventure, wishing to become a shepherd or a landscape architect. Spending most of the time outside with her friends, exploring forbidden places or even stealing cherries from the neighbour’s’ garden – that was the life she knew. That little carefree girl never thought of working with a camera. Saudková comes from an average family. Her parents were always working and couldn’t devote their time to children; despite that they still encouraged their daughter to read, paint and draw. She never had a problem entertaining herself, it helped to expand her imagination. As a student of economics, Saudková got interested in photography after her first acquaintance with the works of Jan Saudek, a world-renowned Czech nude photographer. From the day they met, she knew they shared the ability to see hidden beauty everywhere. After a long-time collaboration, Saudek introduced her to the mystery of photography. “I was completely astonished by his world and his personality attracted me a lot,” Saudková said. Lack of experience allowed her to make mistakes which helped an aspiring photographer to distinguish herself from her mentor. With growing independence, Saudková found her main muse – life – that daily introduces new faces, colours, feelings and stories. “Saudková’s style, while clearly showing similarities to the work of her former partner, is rooted in a different sensibility,” says Emilio Bellu, Prague based Italian journalist, filmmaker and photographer. “Softer, wistful, drawn to the lighter side of the surreal, often shows the power of Czech relationship with the body, sexuality and curiosity that are hard to find in other cultures.”

Arts | 29


Finding the right model for a photograph can be time consuming, especially when an artist is at the peak of inspiration. Then, nothing is left but posing for yourself. It has nothing to do with self-love, she says. Saudková’s techniques are old-fashioned and she has never used a digital camera, only an analog camera that is hard to work with.

Creating nude photography is an art and being both a subject and a master shows her models that she is willing to fully dedicate herself, not sparing the film for photography along the way. “The problem and pleasure of creating a photograph are just two sides of the coin,” Saudková says. “Every pleasure is redeemed with some trouble or sorrow, each problem is replaced with joy and happiness.” She has always been a stubborn and tireless woman, without it she wouldn’t have anything that she has now. Last year, Saudková debuted as a writer, publishing her novel “Ta Zrzavá – Láska, nenávist a to mezi tím” (That Red-haired) in Mladá Fronta publishing house. Readers can detect similarities to her personal life. The author describes everything that is happening from the perspective of a small child, teenage rebellious girl, and then, amorous woman who enters the world of men. She ends depicting motherhood without the usual sweet epithets. Now she’s working on writing another one. Saudková is a mother of four children, she despises today’s tendency to look up at the baby as a little god. “Parents shouldn’t sacrifice themselves, they have their own lives too,” she said. On her photographs children appear rarely, but when they do, the atmosphere is filled with purity and kindness. “She’s an old soul when it comes to creating photography, the usage of erotic style shows the enjoyments of life,” says Andreas Hamitouche Olsen, a photography student at Michael school in Prague. “It’s an uncommon style today: black&white and sepia pictures of naked people with an interesting atmosphere are simply amazing.” Everyone expresses themselves differently, Saudková, like her former mentor, takes insightful photographs. One glance is enough to see the beauty, which is always hidden underneath the layers of clothes. Endless depth of nudity, fearless women and men, both thin and plump, indoors and outdoors, all these are created by Saudková’s bottomless imagination. “I am a draft horse that does everything at a full blast: love, family, work,” says Saudková, with a sparkle in her eyes and a smile.

30 | Spring 2016


http://www.adbusters.org/spoofads

Arts | 31


Art of Craft: Luthier from Hranice story: Bozhidara Boyadzhieva | photos: Jan Dietl’s Archive

I

n a small room with a large right-angled wooden desk coupled with two chairs and two lamps tools are neatly hanging on the wall. Here Jan Dietl created a perfect one-man workshop where he customizes electric guitars; and most importantly, he is his own boss.

The Moravian town of Hranice, located in Eastern Czech Republic, is the home of a young musician and entrepreneur who has managed to combine his passion for music and handiwork into a small, but slowly growing, private business of lute-making – the craft of constructing wooden, stringed instruments. “I usually start working in the workshop around 10 a.m. and finish around 6 p.m.,” Dietl says. “There are days when I don’t touch a guitar at all and just plan behind the computer,

and days when I build all day and then do planning and computer work into the night.” Dietl’s interest in handiwork started at a young age under the influence of his father, who taught him the basics of hand craft. “My father used to build RC airplanes, so I was always around that sort of things. I played around with the planes too but it never stuck with me for too long,” he recalls. His favorite alternative rock bands sparked his love for the instrument at an early age. “But as soon as I started playing the guitar, I knew I wanted to build one for myself one day.” Occasionally drawing guitar designs as a pastime, the 24-year-old AAU Business and Administration graduate took his hobby to another level by learning 3D modeling and creating guitar designs in CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. He spent a whole summer perfecting his skills in using the software and working on various guitar models. “I spent from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. just drawing and drawing,” he says. But the sleepless nights paid off: In Jan. 2015 he finally established his own brand Aviator Guitars. “The impulse that really pushed me to it was when my mom told me she was really tired of her job,” he says. It made him question what he really wanted to do in life. The garage at his family home has also become a part of the workshop. Additionally he set up a small shop that sells guitar accessories like strings and picks. Dietl’s family supports the business venture not only financially, they often help him out in the workshop. Being able to work from home, his mother also tends the shop. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without them. Not many parents that I know would put so much

32 | Spring 2016


money into something not guaranteed to succeed,” says Dietl with gratitude. Dietl gets his customers mainly from Facebook and Instagram but the brand also has an official website. It is a visually stimulating, clean-cut and customer friendly webpage where people order their guitars and discuss the design with the master in details. Dietl tries to involve customers in the process – for him it is a collaboration. Once on the website, customers fill out a very detailed order form in which they can choose their desired specifications and get the price. “After the form is submitted, I create a Photoshop image of the build in question and then discuss the specifications and visual qualities with the customer,” Dietl says. The guitar-making process begins with a 2D sketch followed by creating a 3D design which a computerized machine uses for carving out the wooden outline and body of the instrument. The painting, sanding, lacquering, and adding of all the technical parts Jan does himself. It takes three to four months to complete one guitar. However, it is also possible to finish in two weeks if all materials needed are ready. The first custom guitar order of Aviator Guitars was from a Copenhagen-based producer and bass player Chris Kreutzfeld, whom Jan helps record a new album in summer.

“He needed a custom guitar for his new band Cabal where he is the main songwriter. And his feedback has been amazing,” recalls Dietl. He is currently building a second guitar for the Danish musician and a few for his new band. “All of the guitars that I’ve made I really like. I wouldn’t be ashamed to take them on stage myself. I think that’s really important,” he says humbly. Until now he has built 13 guitars. Six of which were completed only over Jan. and Feb. 2016. He is currently working on 15 new pieces with more pending orders. Dietl is planning to expand his business, but not for the cost of quantity over quality. “I want to make more, but improve the quality,” he says. “I want people to be happy with what I make.” He believes in creating guitars of value and excellence. Once firmly established, he wants to hire someone to deal with lacquering and for the simple handwork which, he says, is extremely time-consuming. Dietl encourages young entrepreneurs and musicians venturing out into the market to be brave, to have faith in what they do, and to be prepared for anything. “Just do it. There’s not a reason not to. If you have something that is interesting others will believe in it too. If you believe that what you do has a purpose, it will have purpose for others too.” Arts | 33


cu

fo

34 | Spring 2016


s

Photography is a unique way of telling stories, the ones that are sometimes hidden from the human eye. Stories of a man, of a struggle, of beauty residing in the most unexpected places. Starting from spring 2016 all of the AAU students interested in photography are able to show how they see the world on various platforms of Lennon Wall magazine.If you venture further you will see these pictures in this printed issue, as well as online.

FOCUS | 35


izkov: Feel the Beating My first experience of Žižkov was through the window of a taxi that I had taken from the airport. The gothic style buildings, contrasted with graffiti and a cultural mix of local residents walking around. As the taxi pulled up to my apartment building, I didn’t know what to make of my surroundings. Over the course of a few weeks and lots of strolling around the area, I still couldn’t form a concrete image of the neighborhood which now was a home to me. However, after spending six months in this area, with countless walks home at seven in the morning from one of the local 24-hour bars, I can definitely say, now I have a feeling of this place called Žižkov. The word I would use to describe this neighborhood full of bars, dodgy massage cabaret shows, various potraviny and interesting people, would be unique. A typical reaction I get from others when I say that I live here is “How can you walk around at night especially since you’re a girl!” After getting over the desire to start a rant on some kind of sexist arguments, I just reply: “why not.” These spooky night photographs captured the essence of what I believe Žižkov is: which is a safe but mysterious place.

story: Rita Puhto | photos: Rita Puhto

Dream club for alcoholics Starting place for plotting the Velvet Revolution, supposedly Somewhat reminiscent of fearand loathing, don’t you think?

36 | Spring 2016


FOCUS | 37


38 | Spring 2016


Asian bistro. Again. The landmark for the metro station which I don’t think I’ll ever learn how to pronounce. An artistic representation of blurry walks home. The various bars of Zizkov never disappoint, except, probably, Dream club. Yes, mom, there is a tower a few hundred meters long with babies climbing it.

FOCUS | 39


The path of choice V. B.

I

n the search for silence I found myself in the life of nuns and monks. I was looking for a silence that could be heard and seen among them, that resides in their lives and space. For the language of silence among them. How is it possible to keep and hear silence, surrounded by noise and distractions?

I was also interested in seeing women in the roles of nuns, as I have researched other roles women occupy in today’s world. In some sense, one can say that it’s the same as with any profession, however, here one single “mystical sign” makes the difference. Here one’s inner voice, impossible to muffle in the sea of noise, plays the central role. It involves one’s capacity to valorize one’s own deep voice, the voice that leads one to choose what to believe in. It involves one’s capacity to take up this path and follow it until the end. It is the same voice that each individual has, but because of too much distraction, in many this voice slowly loses its illumination and disappears. Though it sometimes attempts to call back, to awaken the individual, it may be too late or

40 | Spring 2016

impossible, as the surroundings attempt to extinguish that thin, pale voice, which in itself is not weak at all, merely mute. A simple life – one’s own choice and life, that’s it. Nothing more or less. The opportunity to photograph not only nuns but also monks, showed men and women in different life circumstances and seeking different vocations. As in every occupation, there are several procedures one must undertake in order to become a nun or monk, like a trial period, help inside and outside the service. Some emerge from those procedures with a will for a new beginning that comes with a new name. As if to be born again into his/her new life, a new becoming for one’s self. What I have noticed is that women have “something” in themselves that is very strong and this “something” seeks soil in order to bloom; and once she finds genuine grounded soil, she can be ungrounded with all her mysteries. Sometimes the “something” finds its soil in religion, in plants, in children, or in a man’s heart.


FOCUS | 41


42 | Spring 2016


FOCUS | 43


Faculty Talks BOld About Their Style story: Margarita Orlova | photos: Anastasia Mezenina

The way people dress gives an insight into their interests, reveals a home country and shows one’s voice. AAU is a choir with hundreds of abundant styles resonating with their own tunes. Last semester we took a quick peak into the students’ fashion, this time faculty staff opens up their wardrobes.

Melinda Reidinger

44 | Spring 2016


Stephan Delbos Health & Lifestyle | 45


Melinda Reidinger Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Long Island, New York, USA Style: Woodland, a modern style that incorporates some fantasy and forest elements, and Retro. Fashion Passion: Accessories, I like to put strange things in my hair and I feel undressed without earrings. University outfit: A little more professional and a little less wild than I might wear to some other place. Fashion stores: In the Czech Republic – second-hand stores, sometimes Promod. In America – ModCloth and various outlets. My student look: Because of the tough weather conditions, I had to dress practically. I had big dark boots, some ripped-up jean because it was 90s and some colorful sweater and Also, I always had some kind of interesting earrings that made me feel good. Changing point: I always used elements of the Woodland style, it just gradually evolved. Interesting fact: I have been making my own jewelry for about 10-11 years. At first, I was just repairing the old ones, but then it grew into buying more jewelry material to go with my clothes and making necklaces from leftovers.

Stephan Delbos Professor of Composition and Seminar in Poetry Massachusetts, USA Style: Sharp and Angular. Fashion Passion: Jackets. University outfit: In terms of choice what to wear there are two things that matter: situation and your personal style. When it comes to teaching and standing in front of bunch of people for three hours, I tend to dress a little bit more formal. For me it always comes down to fabric and cut, and if the clothes fits well – it is the main thing. Fashion stores: Occasionally, I order something online or buy clothes when I go back to the States. My student look: When I was a student, I was really into skateboarding, so I wore baggier pants, sneakers and T-shirts.. Changing point: When the need to present myself in public appeared. Interesting fact: A British writer W. H. Auden once said, “Poets should dress like businessmen.” I really liked that idea because for me it is very different to what you usually conceive of a poet.

46 | Spring 2016


anthony marais Professor of Composition California, USA Style: Retro / Eclectic / One foot in the grave. Fashion Passion: Glasses. I started wearing them about the same time I realized I am not going to be a surfer. University outfit: What you see is what you get. I dress the same all the time whether jumping around in front of students or jumping around on stage playing bass. Fashion stores: Any shop, flea market or garbage bin will do. My student look: In High School, I went through a “dandyish” phase of dressing up, wearing make-up and having cool haircuts. Basically, I was a heterosexual drag queen. Changing point: I had to make some radical reassessments of what fashion means when I started traveling in my twenties. Living in the tropics made me care less and less about my style. Interesting fact: I developed my current hairstyle while doing archaeology on Tahiti. Since we didn’t have electricity, after every cold shower I started putting gobs of gel in my hair and then violently rubbing it free as it dried. My friends could tell the time of day by the stickiness or messiness of my hair – they still can!

william eddleston Professor of Cold War History and European History Australia Style: I try to look as little as Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear as possible. Fashion Passion: Definitely jackets, I have approximately eight of them. University outfit: I do not turn up to work in shorts, that’s for sure, even though I would love to. Fashion stores: The ones I can afford: Marks & Spencer and Van Graaf. My student look: I was a sort of student who was dressed by his mother. Elderly people thought I looked very smart, but women avoided me. Changing point: When I changed my hairdresser. Interesting fact: A pair of good old Levi’s jeans are an inevitable part of my style.

Health & Lifestyle | 47


Anthony Marais 48 | Spring 2016


William Eddleston Health & Lifestyle | 49


On the Edge of Cryptoanarchy story: Martin Ranninger | photos: Martin Ranninger

Bez penez do hospody nelez” is an old Czech proverb, literally meaning “don’t go to the pub without money” – but the proverb isn’t true at Paralelni Polis. That’s because Polis uses only the virtual currency Bitcoin, and no physical money. Bitcoin, invented in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto, enables Internet users to make decentralised peer-to-peer digital payments. Nestled in the booming Holesovice district, Polis has an onsite Bitcoin ATM. Newcomers can pay either through digital wallets in smartphones or by QR-codes printed on paper cards, however, the staff is always ready to help with Bitcoin-payments. Bitcoins can be purchased on several website, like Bitcoin exchange, or received as payment for goods and services. Polis gained attention after they organized the first group microchip implantation at the beginning of this year. The microchips implanted in wrists allow people to communicate wirelessly with electronic devices through Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. NFC chips are nowadays installed in smartphones as a replacement for credit cards or smart keys.

“I could pay just with my hand, and that’s kind of cool,” says Jan Hubík in an interview to Czech Radio. Hubík is one of the first Czech self-styled “cyborgs,” with a 700 CZK ricegrain size glass chip in his left hand. Implantation caught his curiosity when he started coming regularly to Polis and found a practical use for the chip. Hubík organized a 10 plus person group implantation in January. “It’s supplied by a company from the United States (called Dangerous Things) and they supply it already preloaded in an injector. So you just have to sterilise the skin and then you can just inject it. Then it’s done. It’s really easy,” Hubík describes his implant experience. Polis is a multi-use hackerspace with an award-winning hub, 3D printing workshop center, and Prague’s only Bitcoin espresso bar. It was founded as Institute of Cryptoanarchy in late 2014 by the Czech art group Ztohoven, known for pranks usually aimed at state officials. Their recent installation was at Prague Castle: they replaced the president’s flag with a pair of red boxer shorts. The Institute is a joint project between the Ztohoven group and hackers, who after years of cooperation decided to establish the Polis. “We were considering where and how, and then we found an absolutely amazing house and we started to consider establishing something more than a hacker space, a social


institution,” explains Petr Žílka, the group’s spokesman. “And finally, here it is, it is called Paralelní Polis.” “The idea was to create an absolutely independent space dedicated for people who search for another way to use and apply modern technologies, which is a strong tool for social change,” says Žílka. The Hacker’s Congress in Oct. 2014 was not only the beginning of Polis itself, but also a fresh start for Martin Šíp. “Bitcoin is one of the tools for society to attain cryptoanarchy, a state where people can be independent of the government and genuinely free,” says Šíp. Noting that a highly developed organizational structure is a prerequisite for such a state. The annual Fall Congress is a 3-day event with workshops and public lectures led by speakers ranging from Internet security experts and artists, to social activists. Its goal is to provide tools and guidance for the development of a civic society without state interference through emerging technologies centred around the Internet and cryptocurrencies.

The brain and heart of Polis are on the third floor in the Institute of Cryptoanarchy, where regular events and meetups take place. Apart from public lectures, the Institute organizes panels and film screenings with the latter centred around death. Criminologists, religion professors and sociologists discussed the meaning, acceptance and perception of the ending of life. Another, called Transhumanism, focuses on how humans transform in relation to technological developments. “For me personally our 2 recent Bitcoin meetups have been a truly great experience,” Sip says, talking about recent visits by Andreas Antonopoulos, a Bitcoin expert and visionary, and Adam Back, a British cryptographer and crypto-hacker whose work has directly inspired the creation of Bitcoin. Apart from virtual currency payments, the Bitcoin cafe on the ground floor offers premium quality coffee, homemade cakes and regular Thursday coffee and tea cuppings. Occasionally, they hold potluck freegan cooking events to raise awareness about the wasting of food.


Soup Pháť&#x; You recipe: AAU Cooking Club | photos: Rita Puhto Pho, a famous Asian noodle soup, popularized all over the world after the Vietnam War. Refugees, fleeing from their homeland, took traditional recipe to the new destinations, where locals immediately liked it. Originated

Ingredients 1 cube vegetable stock Half an onion Clove garlic Ginger Soy Sauce Pepper Cinnamon Rice noodles Basil Coriander Shiitake mushrooms Chilli Peanuts Spring Onion Lime 52 | Spring 2016

in the 20th century in northern Vietnam soup recipe has undergone many changes; we present you a vegan option. No need to go to the Vietnamese eateries, thanks to LW and AAU Cooking Club now you can make it yourself:

instructions Get the vegetable stock boiling with the onion, garlic, soy sauce and spices. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, the longer it simmers the more prominent the flavour of the soup. Optional to remove the onion and cinnamon sticks after the broth is ready. Cook the rice noodles, however leave them rather al dente as the hot broth will cook them further, after set them in the bowl. Pour the broth over the top If using fresh mushrooms, it’s better to fry them before. If using dried, hydrate them first and put into the bowl with the noodles. Put the coriander, basil, spring onions around the bowl along with the peanuts and chilli Squeeze the lime over the soup and enjoy!


Health & Lifestyle | 53


coziness on a checkered tablecloth story: Kirby Sandmeyer | photos: Rita Puhto

T

he deep, resounding bells of the new hour ring out from Kostel Nejsvětějšího Srdce Paně – a uniquely modern church with a see-through train station clock, right in the center of Jiřího z Poděbrad park. Instead only the sonorous tune of the bells are heard, which finish to reveal the distant chorus of a bustling market. The area is devoid of the hordes of loud tourists that litter almost every other historical street of Prague. The market, comprising of about thirty stalls, sits at the edge of the barren park along a blocked-off street. It feels entirely separate from the city that surrounds it, despite the great baronial buildings that tower over it. The Jiřák market, as it is known to locals, is in Prague’s Vinohrady district, and is one of the many farmer’s markets in town. Opened in 2010 during a push for better fresh produce options, Jiřák is a fairly new addition to the city. As the market and its products are heavily regulated, the

54 | Spring 2016

quality of produce is higher than that of what can be found in a grocery store. This is just what the Prague natives are looking for. Unlike other farmers markets, Jiřák is open Wednesday through Saturday, which allows it to change day-to-day. A crop of about ninety-five vendors rotate between this market and others, allowing Jiřák to be a place of variety. Adding to this mix of stalls are the many events that turn Jiřák into a specialty market. Visitors enjoy Easter and Christmas markets here, as well as an Apple Fest and the Festival of Pumpkins and Spirits, among others, throughout the year. Despite daily changes, regulars are familiar with many of sellers, making it feel like a tiny neighborhood market of the past. The closely packed vendors are around a center of activity that, though busy, remains calm. People move through the stalls casually and intimately, at a pace that mirrors the feel of the late Saturday morning. Some push strollers with stirring children bundled up in colorful blankets and hats. Some pull along their dogs, at least the ones that are on leashes, with their noses in the air, sniffing the aromas


of fresh, melt-in-your-mouth bread and cheeses, meats, and rows of fragrant spices. This may be the one place in the city where the oppressive stench of cigarette smoke doesn’t dominate the atmosphere. Though each station is fairly uniform, featuring a standard red and blue awning, the real color comes from what fills the space. There are crisp, verdant vegetables and vibrant jams, each with a uniquely patterned lid. Behind a stand topped with mounds of crispy baguettes, arranged on red and white gingham cloth, stands a woman who despite the chill that sends most visitors to the silver vats of steaming soup, still smiles. She sings on and off, and her cheerful tune fills the market with lightheartedness, even as clouds steal the sun which adds a gloomy shade of gray to the pastel buildings. Accompanying her tune is the constant rustling of plastic bags being filled with the main event of the farmers market – farm-fresh fruits and vegetables. The Jiřák market is quaint in size compared to the bigger markets that are around the city. It is a nice change from the greatness of markets like the extensive Náplavka market located along an embankment of the Vltava River in Prague 2. Náplavka is only open on Saturdays, and because of its scenic location, is one of the most popular markets in Prague. It features over sixty permanent vendors, and is accustomed to substantial crowds of visitors streaming through the booths. The Jiřák market, on the other hand, never feels crowded or claustrophobic, and its small size lends itself to an intimacy other markets lack. This community closeness is exactly what attracts locals like expat Rachel Hurwitz who is disinterested in the size of markets like Náplavka. “Farmers markets are about the feeling of community surrounding local products. You don’t really get that if it’s as busy as any grocery store you walk into,” she says.

before them, and adding to the chorus of “děkuju, děkuju, děkuju” that punctuates the endless metallic jangling of coins passing through hands and settling in jars. Others sit intimately at small tables along the grass, speaking in hushed tones over rich coffees, or gathered around golden wine, all toothy smiles and flushed cheeks. Each visitor’s movements are languid and relaxed, while children chase after pigeons, that swarm for bits of food dropped absentmindedly by the shoppers. The bells sound again, and people exit. Bags are bulging with purchases, that are hanging from shoulders and the crooks of elbows. The market remains, but is always changing, emptying and refilling throughout the day, with a constant stream of visitors exploring the booths and experiencing all that the market has to offer.

Like others, the little market of the Jiřího z Poděbrad park offers a direct link between consumers and producers – and therefore their products – which is lacking with third-party providers such as Tesco. This direct connection allows consumers to be fully informed on what they buy directly from the vendors. Taking full advantage of this, people stroll slowly down the center aisle popping in and out of the short lines, talking freely with vendors about whatever products are

Travel | 55


bROKEN WINDOWS OF THE JEWISH PAST story: Abby Newman | photos: Elizaveta Khodarinova and Karina Verigina

A

n eerie silence enveloped the community. It was so quiet and serene that even a closing door radiated an echo. The passengers of the metro stood like crayons stuffed in a box as it ventured from the ever-crowded Prague 1 to Palmovka in Prague 8. As the metro journeyed farther away from the center of the city, the passengers trickled off, enabling every remaining rider to have their own seat. The crisp, winter air above the metro station and the wide-streets distinguish the suburb of Palmovka from the city center. The old-fashioned red trams that travelled beneath the cable along the straight tracks were the main source of noise in this quaint neighborhood. Palmovka is located on the outskirts of the city center containing minimal tourists and visitors despite its richness in history. The Jewish quarter of Libeň was once the second most significant Jewish settlement in Prague, and has since been eradicated. The original synagogue of the ghetto was established in 1592 following the relocation of Jews after expulsion, pogroms, epidemics, and regulations. The synagogue standing today was built in 1858 and remained functioning until the onset of the Second World War. The first sight upon exit of the metro was a wall, not too high off the ground, which served to separate the road from the apartments. A text is repeatedly inscribed in the wall in what appears to be an illegible 3-letter word. Not even several minutes of attempted deciphering resolved

what the text said. The wall stands perpendicular to an abandoned building. An intricate stained-glass emblem of a Star of David, clarified it was a religious building - the Libeň Synagogue. It is no longer used for Jewish worship. Several windows were smashed or cracked and graffiti lined the bottom corners. “Some anti-Semitic graffiti was here twenty years ago, which was investigated by the police,” said Pavlína Kalandrová, a local resident interested in the Jewish history of Libeň. However, the graffiti visible today appeared meaningless. Standing alone in a grassy square, the unnerving silence makes curious, what Palmovka was like in the past. “The building is one of very few remaining buildings of the Jewish community in Libeň which used to be very big and important,” she says. The barren synagogue symbolizes the loss of life in Libeň after the Jew deportations to the Terezin concentration camp. Activity in the synagogue ceased as the Nazis converted it into a warehouse of confiscated Jewish belongings. With increased anti-Semitism following World War II, the synagogue continued to deteriorate. Though bleak in its appearance and a reminder of a devastating history, it still gathers people on occasions. The Prague Jewish community rented the synagogue at a very low cost to Serpens, an art association. This organization maintains it and organizes different cultural events pertaining to art, music and theater. Gatherings are rare and no Shabbat songs ever fill the square from the broken windows that tower above. “There is no active Jewish community in Libeň now. Only approximately 10 percent of Jews came back to Prague after the Second World War and the Libeň community wasn’t re-established,” says Kalandrová. The only thing alive around this building was the flock of pigeons that grazed the ground. The music of their “coo” was a distraction from the solitude felt amongst the

56 | Spring 2016


desolate setting. One woman and her dog walked along the synagogue courtyard. The dog, restrained by a leash the woman held, ran amongst the pigeons briefly barking beneath the cloud of silence. An unexpected pop of color encircled the naked winter trees of the synagogue’s yard. Four tree trunks were clothed by a colorful array of soft cloth. The contrast between the rough, cold tree bark and the brightly colored fabric makes up a work of art within the dreary square. Flowers and stripes decorated the cloth in colors of bright pink, neon yellow, purple and more to add beauty amongst the bleakness. On the other side of the synagogue’s yard stands a small monument inscribed with the date “9.5.1945”. Though the short, bumpy, tree-like structure lacks a distinguishable design, the date commemorates the Prague Uprising. May 5, 1994. Morning. The assault on city radio buildings, which broadcasted messages of help, has begun. People asked for liberation of the city from German occupation. By May 9, the Red Army arrived and the Germans surrendered. Leaving memorials of the end of the Nazi rule in Czech Republic all over the city, including this particular one.

Travel | 57


As the wind blew, the smell of baked breads and pastries wafted from a bakery located on the edge of the square. The smells were tempting, however, the taste of absence still was there. Palmovka lacks the billows of cigarette smoke that hover over the city center. Without such a mask of smoke, the smells of the various restaurants are more distinguishable and endearing. Nevertheless, people were not going to any stores or restaurants or leaving them. Passing people appeared to have no destination. They strolled casually along the paved sidewalks either alone

58 | Spring 2016

or walking beyond the lonely square. Buildings of blush pink, macaroni and cheese orange, and sandstone tan colors line the tram-filled streets. Although different in color, material, and architecture, each building has a graffiti tagged base. A perfect rectangle shapes of the buildings with symmetrical rectangular windows create the sense of modesty. In every direction from this strip lies a construction site for renovation of old or building of new houses. The contrast between the old, quiet, unattended square in

Palmovka and the noisy construction zones exemplify this unique Prague’s ability to combine strives for history preservation and for modernization of the the city outlook. Grey clouds were painted overhead these buildings and the smell of incoming rain permeated the air. When the streets were cleared of pedestrians, the feeling of loneliness returned. It was time to head home, back to the hustle bustle of the city center crowded with tourists and residents, buses and trams, busy stores and supermarkets.


100% rostlinnĂ˝ produkt

Section | 59


Mediální partneři

Mediální partneři koncertu

Part neři Divadlo Archa je podporováno grantem hl. m. Prahy pro rok 2016 ve výši 22.000.000 Kč

Heartache City 16.5 2016

Lennon Wall - Spring 2016  

Spring 2016 issue of the Anglo-American University student magazine.

Lennon Wall - Spring 2016  

Spring 2016 issue of the Anglo-American University student magazine.

Advertisement