Magdaléna Petráková: Verdict for Luhačovice

It has been seven years since the summer festival Luhovaný Vincent was firstly launched in Luhačovice. It is organized by people who have a personal connection to the place itself. One of the involved person who apply the “dramaturgy without compromises” is its director Magdaléna Petráková, a graduate of the Department of Theater and Film Science in Olomouc and currently a student of Culture Management at Masaryk University. We may come across her activities not only in Luhačovice, but in other places such as Olomouc where she participates, for example, in the project Second Chance, which brings to this town an unconventional post-Christmas revival.

What is the most difficult aspect of organizing events in Luhačovice?

We deliberately chose the peak spa season for the realization of the festival. Indeed, this is the most stressful period when Luhačovice is full to bursting. Naturally, these conditions bring several problems - such as lack of accommodation capacity. However, we want to be confronted with unforgettable atmosphere and visitors.

The project "Temporary Forest" will be launched in front of the Town Hall on the Upper Square on Friday, January 13th. How did this event in the public space get to Olomouc? How much attention do you pay to the projects in public space?

It is a project to which I have been invited - to my great pleasure - by an informal group of talented enthusiasts (Marcela Straková, Michaela Klakurková and Jan Žaloudek) who have presented this project many times in various big European cities (Bristol, Berlin, Bucharest) and above all in Prague. I am delighted that Olomouc is the first town in the Czech Republic where the project will be realized. We will be ready to gather the used Christmas trees from 13th to 15th of January. On the 15th of January, a "preview" will be held, accompanied by a concert of the music band "Please the Trees". And the following week the Olomouc public will be offered an opportunity to use this temporary forest as a promenade. We will have a chance to enjoy all these Christmas trees longer and together! We currently deal with the problem of the best ecological way to dispose of the Christmas trees.

I consider the projects in public space to be very challenging mainly because they are unpredictable and create non-transferable experiences. At the same time - from the point of view of a "lawyer of culture" - they have the potential to create a functional, lively, changing shared space, to promote understanding of the identity associated with the place and thus to strengthen the responsibility for such a place.

What has recently made you happy in the field of culture?

In the last two months, it was a stimulating conference RE: PUBLIKUM on the topic of public development, a passionate discussion in Karlovy Vary on the topic "Open-Air Museum for Tourists or the Cultural Heart of Vary". Furthermore, it was the wild 15th Festival of Film Animation and Contemporary Art in Olomouc or a friendly Nova síť regional meeting in Varnsdorf.

What, on the contrary, has disappointed you?

A concert of the openly xenophobic band Ortel in the Municipal House of Culture in Luhačovice. By permitting this concert, the competent authorities enabled fear, xenophobia and racism to spread and thus legitimized hateful and socially dangerous actions hidden under the mask of art. Nevertheless, the main disappointment for me was the attitude of the respective officials to our protest against this concert. Allegedly, our criticism should rather be directed against the Czech Nightingale Awards. I am asking: What's the difference in giving the band Ortel space in television or by other such institutions? One comes to my mind: Nova, where Slavík is broadcasted, is a private TV station, while the Municipal House of Culture is an institution set up to execute tasks in the public interest.

Moreover, I would welcome more support and interconnection of local communities and subcultures existing here. All the more so, because Luhačovice struggles with a significant withdrawal of young creative people. It is a cultural house that in my opinion should serve as a catalyst that awakens people in a sense of feeling the bonds with a particular place and thus strengthens the relation to a place, follows the trends and reacts to them, etc. However, this is a long-term process based on the participation of locals.

What are Your wishes?

I would like to fight with omnipresent irritating pragocentrism, which manifests itself in all aspects (not only) of culture, especially in the financing and media attention, and to encourage talented cultural people to move back to their towns and villages and to be active there, because there is a great need of them. And then, although it may sound like a cliche, truth and love.

Regular blog of Nová síť published in the Internet blog on the contemporary theatre in context