Eva Koťátková | Rozhovory s monstrem
Project Title: Interviews with the Monster
Location: Prague, Czech Republic (Gallery Meet Factory)
Curator: Tereza Jindrová
Author: Eva Koťátková
Client: Meet Factory
Photo: Zdeněk Porcal
“Eva Koťátková’s exhibition project Interviews with the Monster takes the form of the de- and re- construction of situations in which the majority’s encounters with otherness reveal social prejudices and the mechanisms of exclusion. One example is the relatively recent and unsuccessful sheltered housing projects intended for disadvantaged people that emerged in several Czech municipalities. Koťátková uses publicly available sources, in addition to her own archive of interviews and testimonies, to allow various parties to speak, including witnesses and those who have been harmed.
Three monumental, thematically linked installations portray a spectrum of opinions on the issue of normativity and the discrimination and fear of otherness connected with it. The monster in the name of Koťátková’s exhibition deliberately diverts from the derogatory connotation of the traditional understanding of “monstrosity” as otherness (one infamous example of this would be traveling “human curiosities” or freak shows); and on the contrary, as a dark monster, illustrates the irrational and socially pervasive fear of the other and the unknown, and the attempt to equip oneself with defense mechanisms and push otherness to the margins.
The artist explains: “Our society is built on inequality and exclusion. Beginning in childhood, we are purposefully ingrained with a fear of what is different or unknown. There is no place for difference; it poses a threat to the system. That which is different is often labeled malfunctioning, incomplete or ill – something that needs to be fixed or removed from service. A distinctive movement, gesture or sound is immediately diagnosed, corrected, treated. Imagination is tolerated only as a means for dreaming, not as a tool for change. We are taught one story while others are silenced, erased. The social monster is the embodiment of our learned concerns and fears. It grows as inequality and oppression grow. It is our collective emotional body. It speaks in the exhibition because it cannot stop. It has its own little lair; in the evenings sometimes it takes a walk around the city, returning each time a little bigger. It speaks about how it is to be labeled different and what kind of unexpected forms fear of the unknown can take.” (Tereza Jindrová)