It's Buildable


[video, 8min]

Concept, Directing, Editing, Performance, Postproduction, Sound: Oskar Helcel

Directing of Photography: Zdena Sýkorová, Luboš Ballek

Thanks to: Eliška Raiterová, Markéta Sasínová, Majka Natomes, Marian Helcel, Adam Kratochvíl

The eight-minute video loop It´s Buildable takes place in the gap between Masaryk Railway Station, Florence and Na Florenci Street, which is one of the last undeveloped areas in the center of Prague. This vacancy became privately owned in 2004 when it was bought for a third of its price by the multinational corporation Penta Investsments. It announced a private competition to build the plot with commercial buildings, the winner of which was the London studio of Zaha Hadid Architects, founded by the famous Iraqi architect of the same name. The winning design of the interconnected complex of eight buildings, topped by a golden monoblock next to the Art Deco railway station building, was designed by the studio in 2014. The process of approving and approving construction is now coming to an end. In the summer of 2020, Penta unexpectedly withdrew from the original construction plan and is currently seeking approval for a single building, the golden monoblock.

Next to Masaryk railway station, there has been a fenced depression for several years, which seems to be stuck in silent hibernation. As time went on, Zaha Hadid died, and a wild habitat spontaneously emerged in the valley near the station. Weedy plants erupted in the sandy soil, and birds and hares appeared here. What kind of (non) place is this depression, a space in the busy center of Prague, which has a significant historical memory? Is it purgatory, a space of cessation, the purpose of which is eternal waiting? The waiting that comes with questioning, sadness, regret and reconciliation personified by the late Zaha Hadid, whose position will remain forever controversial. Position where, on the one hand, she represents the revolutionary author of extravagant buildings denying gravity and the canon of right angle, and on the other hand, she plays the role of a court architect of development companies and multinational corporations, the most spectacular imprint of her is possible to find in totalitarian countries such as China, Russia or Azerbaijan. As illusory as the visualization of the golden façade, Zaha Hadid's synthetic face and inappropriate, grotesque body, trapped in the foundations of his last designed building, becomes just another gleaming proof of power over public space.

Oskar Helcel is an audiovisual artist, photographer and performer based in Prague, Czech Republic. He graduated from the Department of Photography at FAMU at the studios of Markéta Kinterová and Hynek Alt. He completed an internship in the Intermedia studio of Pavel Sterec at the Brno Faculty of Fine Arts. He has had several group and solo exhibitions, for instance: Tekoucí Dům/The Flow Building, Jelení Gallery, Prague, 2020; Domy kultury/Houses of Culture, Prague Foundation and Center for Contemporary Art, in collaboration with Martin Netočný, 2019; Semifinals of the competition within the exhibition Czech Theater Photography. He is currently participating in the START POINT Prize exhibition 2020, an European competition of artistic diploma theses.

Among other issues, in his work he has long been dealing with the issue of the human face in the context of media and machine learning.