Installation in Slovak National Museum with replicated virtual objects
Selected virtual objects
Collected personal photographs
Virtual capital of the Czecholslovak Community in Second Life
Czechoslovakia Second Life is a multi-layered probe into a complexity of relationships between actual and virtual processes in the history of modern Slovakia, where this country paradoxically coexists in its two different historical realities. In one way, in the physical world, it exists as the historical consequence of the division of Czechoslovakia in 1993 into two sovereign countries: Slovakia and Czech Republic. Another way, in an online virtual world, after the split it came spontaneously back together in the form of mixed Czechoslovak community inhabiting a Czech virtual capital Bohemia and Slovak virtual capital Valuta. The site of the installation, a permanent exhibition of the Slovak History at the Slovak National Museum, was deliberately chosen to amplify this paradoxical relationship between the real world and virtual history. The original show in the museum depicted life in Czechoslovakia from the establishment of the country in 1918 until its breakup in 1993. Uniquely colored multimedia cabinets divide the show into ten chapters, each representing a particular period of the history. Each cabinet includes a monitor with documentary films, photographs, and objects used in the daily lives of people from that given period. In collaboration with the Museum, I decided to create a site-specific art intervention into the exhibition. I added a new section to the display, which presents the virtual Czechoslovak community. I appropriated the visual language of the show and introduced the community of virtual Valuta City through personal photographs and daily use objects of the members of the mixed Czechoslovak community installed in a freshly fabricated display. The replicas of the virtual objects were made using heat press and 3D printed. These collected artifacts critically displayed how personal image and the dematerialized consumption of virtual goods play a critical role in the everyday lives of Second Life Czechoslovaks. Almost every member of the community had an idealized body with enhanced masculinity or femininity wearing virtual copies of luxury items such as jewelry or Rolex watches. This utopian world with its historical timeline shows how we project our human desires replacing them with virtuality that sometimes correlates and sometimes utterly differs from our social and economic realities. The relationships between these desires and the state in our real world create another interesting reflection of both worlds - the two Slovak capital cities; the virtual Valuta inhabited by Czechoslovak community and real world Bratislava populated by Slovak majority, not quite there but longing for leveling up with rich economies of the western world and capital.
The project was exhibited in the Slovak National Museum and Slovak National Gallery.