16mm found footage digitalize to SD video, 6’42“, 2005-7
The film is founded on the confrontation between the Communist Manifesto and the utopian ideas of functionalist architect Karel Honzík. Based upon the film footage of socialist Czechoslovakia a question is posited here regarding the further development of post-communist countries. The Communist Manifesto and the concepts of Karel Honzík, who in the early ’60s developed in his literary work the idea of a perfect communist society as the inevitable goal of cosmic matter, serve as a reflective bridge for considerations directed towards liberal capitalist societies.
Metaphors can create reality for us. I first thought that the Communist Manifesto could be a horizon that emerged from the past to show us the future, despite the fact that we have first-hand experience of the tragic failure of communism. I like the idea that all responsibility is revolutionary because it attempts to do the impossible: to interrupt the order of things on the basis of events that cannot be planned. A revolution cannot be planned. In a certain way it surpasses any possible horizon, any horizon possible – including the horizon of power and force. And yet, it can happen that the interstellar emptiness remains empty even after a revolution. Recalculation is a way of interpreting a new age. An analogous age culminated with enlightenment and the development of celluloid film. A digital calculator easily refutes it. The spectre of revolution hovers over the ruins of a transformed world like the remorse of abandoned ideals. A utopian society was within reach, from minimum dwelling as conditions for the right life for everyone, to allotted prefab housing, back to housing depending on mortgages. Paradise is postponed another twenty years. The Golden Age ended, we no longer expect the advent of a just society.If a person wants to pass through an open door successfully, he must assume that it has a firm frame: this principle is the requirement of a sense for reality. If there exists a sense for reality, there must also exist something that can be called a sense for possibility. Functionalist architect Karel Honzík wrote books in the 1960s on the perfect society: highly imaginative descriptions of non-existing advanced civilizations. His unfulfilled architectural vision materialized in the form of descriptions of extraterrestrial worlds, perfect societies, creatures that look like us, that went through the same evolutionary process as us, except that their initial stage was not that of an ape, but of a squirrel. Their society is classless, there exists no private ownership, no seat of government, just self-governing human centers equipped with self-sufficient production equipment. There are no wars. Honzík states that highly organized life forms, such as thinking man, must arrive at Marxism anywhere in the universe. He calls it convergence in the development of cosmic matter. The construction of a better world begins on the ruins of an obsolete culture. A 1986 film was shot as work safety training in demolishing buildings. It shows how to get rid of old buildings without injury. It’s important that during such activities no one is injured or dies. This is why work procedure rules and plans were drawn up. Precisely ten years before that, a secret agent of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic returned home from West Germany and declared at a press conference: “The mission that I had in Munich was fully justified by the defence of the interests of socialism worldwide.” His plan to blow up the Radio Free Europe radio station was deemed to risky by his superiors since it would damage the reputation of a peace-loving country. Destruction is a condition of change. One of the forms of destruction is forgetting. Yet this is also a general principal of the self-motion of human life. We forget everything. We forget Marx, we forget our lives. Our memory is merciful and does not allow us to remember everything in detail. The Communist Manifesto deals with destruction in detail. Capitalism appals in that it’s nearly impossible to get off its merry-go-round. Fragmentary perceptions of reality give us new possibilities of interpretation. The Communist Manifesto is prepared to be reread here. The spectre of revolution threatening the West’s tranquillity is constantly returning with it. Destruction does not necessarily have to accompany revolution: it can come by forgetting it.