Two very differing world views were evident in an intriguing exhibition I came across recently during a mini-break to Prague. The exhibition—Everything Is Different—at DOX Centre for Contemporary Art brings together art, science and folklore, and takes the form of wall drawings, video, photography and sculpture.
For me, the exhibition pivots on a brief conversation between a Papua New Guinea tribal chief and a NASA astronaut on the International Space Station. The conversation, via satellite phone, is presented as a split-screen video (see right).
The astronaut explains that he’s orbiting the Earth on the space station and the Yali Mek tribal chief replies that his own father knew how to travel in smoke to the heavens.
According to the exhibition artists Barbora Šlapetová and Lukáš Rittstein, “Papuans believe that the eyes of living things that sleep at night travel to the Heavens and observe their sleeping bodies. This is why the stars shine.”
A large wall drawing by Šlapetová brings together all these elements—astronauts, tribes people of Papua New Guinea and depictions of their folklore. And on the roof of the gallery Rittstein presents large-scale sculptures that symbolize the clash of the natural and man-made worlds—very photogenic but perhaps a tad less subtle than the rest of the exhibition.
So if you find yourself in Prague before 8th June (and if you can work out the bus and tram connections!)—go along and immerse yourself in the rich folklore of the Yali Mek tribe and enjoy a heart-warming clash of cultures.
Here are some snaps: