Jednoho jasného dne | On a Clear Day – installation shot (NF Gallery)

Jednoho jasného dne | On a Clear Day – installation shot (NF Gallery)Filip Cenek        19.5.2010

Jednoho jasného dne | On a Clear Day. 2-kanálová diaprojekce, 250 x 170 cm, asynchronní nekonečná smyčka, 2010
[ 1: OBRAZ (JEDNOHO DNE), 75 diapozitivů, 5:20 min., smyčka ] + [ 2: TEXT (...), 4:10 min., smyčka ]
Ve spolupráci s Markétou Lisou a Terezou Sochorovou.

Info, pozvánka:
Schéma instalace:, before_the_sea_installation.jpg

Poděkování: Martin Mazanec, Lucie Drdová, Luděk Prošek, Prokop Holoubek, Jiří Thýn, Paul Lerch
Viz Před mořem | Before the Sea (2008):

 [EN] Subtitle succession to slides


“Time is peculiarly dissociated in Baudelaire; only a very few days can appear, and they are significant ones. Thus, it is understandable why turns of phrase like ‘if one evening’ occur frequently in his works,” [1] writes, according to Walter Benjamin, Proust about Baudelaire.
With Filip Cenek only a few rare sentences are left from the past and a single day remains from the future:

Suddenly one day
one beautiful morning
she'll meet someone she knows
and won't be able to avoid saying:
“Good morning.” [2]

This is a transcription of a text from the slide projection On a Clear Day, but if I wanted to be accurate, I would also have to record the images and the sounds of the slide projectors.
To say something about repetition in the work of Filip Cenek it might suffice to repeat his own words: “From somewhere I copied years ago into my notepad for projections that it is not important to say something but rather to say it again and in this repetition say something for the first time.” [3] Repetition is inherent to the nature of carousel projection, during which a sequence of slides is repeated, literally round and round, in the specific situation of a gallery projection. As opposed to a cinema projection it has no beginning and no end but waits for the visitor while it is running ready to catch his attention at any time.
A double-channel projection overlaying images projected from a carousel with photographs with those from a carousel projecting only texts, or maybe we can call them subtitles, is for Filip Cenek a medium in its own right, and not just a special kind of installation, as he explained in an interview with Marika Kupková: “For me, a profound shift occurred as early as after the third slide-projector installation (at the turn of 2004/2005), when I began to consider installation as a medium (just as film or photography), the form of which I do not need to change, but in the result I can show something else; the actual thing was no longer ‘an installation of two slide projectors in an asynchronous time loop’ but what happened within the frame of the image and at its margins. The exposure of the system of building the seen image, making the system visible, was merely an initial precondition for one of its possible readings.” [4]
The imagery component of Cenek’s slide projector installations is comprised of photos showing shrubs, fragments of a landscape, the people in it, stains, reflections, trees, flashes, sea. Filip Cenek is fascinated by shores and seams, bushes and branches. It is actually a paradox that photographs capturing duration are on the move and in addition complemented by texts whose presence might usually signify action but which here are rather frozen shards of thoughts whose originator is unknown to us. Before proceeding to discuss Filip Cenek’s relationship with music, I would like to point out how often his interviews and texts reflecting his own work contain the phrase “propel slightly”: “A poorly legible love story, slightly propelled by sound.” [5] “A soiree of surrmedial improvisation. Instruments‘ such as performers‘ memory initially wide successively filled up. Sonic and visual situations without a sting, juxtaposed to the entourage. Machines and devices propelled slightly by people. Kempt and unkempt at the same time.” [6] “But the most adventurous for me (especially in memory) are atypical projections for music which does not have a song form flowing, in an improvised manner, from void and immediacy, without the awaited punch lines. Only devices and instruments slightly propelled by people. Uncomplaining sighs and hindsights in the present tense of the narrative.” [7] (...) This obviously preferred tempo and way of movement, slight propelling, may after all be typical of everything that Filip Cenek does. It might almost feel appropriate to modify the generally applied term live animation to fit him better. With Filip Cenek it is animation slightly pushed forward. It is some kind of movement, when something does not move by itself but is slightly put into motion by something else, it also could be a pass by a computer mouse and the tempo of narration and it seems as if even the two discs of the carousel could set each other in motion in this way. And finally, it is a metaphor for collaboration and Filip Cenek has a number of collaborations under his belt (Magdalena Hrubá, Ivan Palacký, Jiří Havlíček, Tereza Sochorová and others).

He'll say:
“Nice day.”
And it will be.
And everything will start over.

What connects,
is not in the air nor in thought,
but in the moment,
something common,
divided into two views.

I can think of my dog a hundred times,
believe that he knows,
perceptive beings,
but it can't replace the experience,
that joins us, as a pair. [2]

Cenek performs (under alias VJ Věra Lukášová) with the musician Ivan Palacký in the formation called Carpets Curtains. The name strikes a chord with the nature of the sound and the visual tracks which are similar owing to certain plain and rolling underlay generated by machines, whether it is a computer with spinning software inside or the Dopleta knitting machine.
In 2006 Filip Cenek co-founded the electro-pop group Midi Lidi which established, alongside music production (Petr Marek, Prokop Holoubek, Markéta Lisá), its own VJing section (until 2010 Filip Cenek, Magdalena Hrubá and Jan Šrámek). Music collaborations also include a voyeur clip for the Ty Syčáci group or grammar school years with a guitar.
Music is omnipresent. Double-channel projections have their simple but very suggestive sound track produced by asynchronously rotating discs. The slides in the carousel revolve around an empty centre. Repetition as a living eternity into which we are falling. Even the hiss and gusts of the wind have a rhythm, or at least we can find it in them. Rhythm is not something which is given from the outside, but something which naturally tracts thinking, speaking or looking. The sentence “Wait, I’ll read you something”, – after all – repeating itself opens another level of the text and at the same time sounds like a refrain, a familiar voice from the past, known from the darkness of past projections. The texts are recycled, but you don’t mind, in fact rather the reverse. They circle around viewing, language, memory and recalling. As if there was a place with accumulated traces of voices which had uttered something substantial. The source is not important, but the polyphony is preserved. “In the world beyond letters are three-dimensional, what we read are only shadows.” [8]
In the same way as during the watching of the images we have a feeling that we are not viewers but hidden observers, the double-channel projections with text putting into our minds the attitude of the spokesperson, story-teller, commentator or somebody who just had the idea that... Repetition does not cause appropriation but rather embracing. We foresee another sentence simply because we remember it.
“Sometimes I startle myself and do it in such a way as if I started speaking from the middle of a sentence, like when I find out who I am in the morning because I recall that I went to bed before. I feel simply, I trust the twilight, silence, one or two things put aside that have not got swept away. It is not the end yet. Evening draught moved the curtain calmly and showed me something that trickles, something that creases, slightly propelled by sound, and to find a story in it (a way to leave out all accidental) means a step to the side. Black places remain black so that we can see that looking into darkness is different from closing one’s eyes. ... Sometimes I'm startled and do it in such a way as if I was a cinema ticket, torn to pieces,” [9] wrote VJ Věra Lukášová and Filip Cenek recycled her words in the projection Wonky Cinema. [10]
Another poet adds the following:

What we call the beginning is often the end
and to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.

We shall not cease from exploration,
and the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time. [11]

— Lenka Vítková: Texts in Visual Art. Disertation thesis, Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, 2013, pp. 54–60. From the chapter ‘Filip Cenek, On a Clear Day’.

[1] Walter Benjamin, On Some Motifs in Baudelaire (1939)
[2] Subtitle succession to slides,
[11] T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land (1922)