Ancient Gods Are Still Online

Czech Poetry & Sound Performance with Jana Orlová, Ondřej Macl, Emma Kausc and Herons Vector

Tue, 30 May 2023, 7 pm, Czech Centre at the Czech Embassy Cinema, 26 Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8 4QY

Three more-than-poets, two sound performers and a selection of the latest video poetry. A meeting of ancient gods with a generation growing up with computers, an invitation into a fascinating world you may never have encountered before…

Performance poets Jana OrlováEmma Kausc and Ondřej Macl invite you into the fascinating world of performance poetry complemented by Anna Luňákováand Jakub Štourač from the Herons Vector theatre and art collective who will accompany the reading with their inventive sound art. Curated by Ondřej Macl, the evening will also feature a selection of contemporary Czech video poetry by Ondřej BuddeusAlžběta StančákováAleš Kauer and the Object:Paradise collective.

“Her poetry is like the voice of thunder in the silent desert night. Maybe I feel it like a warm flow under the Northern frozen seas. And it has a wild vibe full of nature, freedom, and air. And a small breath of individual but ancient eroticism, “ said Valentin Popov about Jana Orlová’s work. Orlová, a well-known Prague-based poet and performer, combines minimalistic form with raw statement. Emma Kausc, a UK based Czech poet and prose writer, is even more minimalist. Commenting on the Latin title of the texts she will perform, she simply uses the Latin phrase ‘status quo ante bellum’ meaning ‘the situation as it was before the war’. And like a modern Cassandra, she comes up with an unwanted prophecy that begins with the lines: ‘nothin’ can happen tomorrow / if today never ends. ‘ Poet and actor Ondřej Macl will perform fragments from the Jiří Orten Award winning collection “I Love My Grandma More Than Young Women”. Descending into the underworld he will introduce his Slovak grandmother, who is as lost to him as the whole of Czechoslovakia. Co-curators of the event, Anna Luňáková and Jakub Štourač from the interdisciplinary theatre group and art collective Herons Vector, will accompany the reading with their inventive sound art. The screening of the best of contemporary Czech video poetry represented by poets Ondřej BuddeusAlžběta StančákováAleš Kauer and the Object: Paradise  collective will complement the evening. You won’t meet them in person, but they will be with us, like phantoms of the new millennium…

“Although I’ve got nothing, I always give you something.” Maria, Macl’s grandma

Jana Orlová is a performance artist, poet, and researcher. In Czech, she has published three books of poetry: Čichat oheň (Sniff the Fire, 2012) with her own illustrations; Újedě (2017) and Neutečeš (You Don’t Run Away, 2022). Her work appeared in the Best Czech Poems collection in 2014 and 2018. Her poetry has been published in Poland, Ukraine and Romania and also in in India in an English ebook translation. Her poems have been translated into Hindi, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Greek, and Italian. She sees her performance art as living poetry, and she perceives her body as a stage working with ritualistic and holistic approaches. In 2017, she was praised by the Next Wave Festival as one “who challenges the borders between literature, visual art, and theatre with a natural lightness.” She received the Dardanica Prize in 2020.

Emma Kausc is a Czech born author based in London.

Ondřej Macl is a poet and performer from the “Bohemian Seacoast”, which is currently the subject of his research fellowship at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies. His experimental book Miluji svou babičku víc než mladé dívky(I Love My Grandma More Than Young Women, 2017) won the Jiří Orten Award. The book develops his diploma thesis on the variances of Eros in the history of European literature. His second book K čemu jste na světě (What You Were Born For, 2018) includes conceptual feminist poetry. The novel Výprava na ohňostroj (The Fireworks Expedition, 2019) is dedicated to the European Union and young people. His last book, written under the pseudonym Baban Rejdiš, Legenda o Bocianovi (Legend of Bocian, 2021) explores in verse the ex Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš. In 2021, he received the international Václav Burian Award for Poetry. He is a part of the European platforms Versopolis Poetry and CELA. His work also includes art criticism, poetry slam, and work with neurodivergent people.

Herons Vector is an interdisciplinary theatre group and art collective. The activities of its members range widely from performance and physical theatre to literary work, publishing, and sound design.

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