Photographer Eugen Kukla made several visits to Ukraine during the Maidan protests in Kiev in late 2013 and early 2014, documenting events that shook the country and getting close to several key players. Here in Prague he is a kind of man about town whose black-and-white photos from all kinds of arts and social events (and his favourite pub) have won him a large and devoted following on Facebook.
Every language has its own rhythms and melodies, and these influence the way we speak foreign languages too. However hard we try, we nearly always end up imposing the melodies of our native tongue onto the language we’re trying to speak. Would Greta Garbo saying “I want to be alone” or JFK’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” have the same impact without the accent? This question is not just a curiosity. With so much of the world’s communication going on in English, a group of academics at the Institute of Phonetics of Prague’s Charles University is researching
The French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo recently made world headlines when Islamic radicals killed its editor-in-chief and leading cartoonists. Now Czechs have a unique opportunity to get acquainted with Charlie Hebdo at Prague’s DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, which has just launched an exhibition of more than 200 front covers of the magazine. I spoke to Leoš Válka, the founder of DOX, and first asked him what the thinking behind the show was.
After years of speculation regarding its future, the famous Werich Villa on Prague’s Kampa, once the home of the famous Czech actor Jan Werich, is set to get a new tenant. The Prague authorities have just decided to rent the historical building to the Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation, which will turn it into the Voskovec and Werich Arts and Social Centre in honour of the great Czech acting duo.
Novelist Alex Vella Gera made headlines in his native Malta in 2009 when he found himself in court over a short story deemed obscene by the authorities. The piece had been written several years earlier, during a spell the writer – then in his 20s – spent living in Prague in the second half of the 1990s. Vella Gera has just been back in the Czech capital for the first time since then for a short visit. When he came into our studios, I asked what for him had been the appeal of ‘90s Prague.
Mezi Lopatky, the third LP from Prague group Kieslowski, was one of the most acclaimed local indie releases of 2014. Duo Marie Kieslowski and David Pomahač describe themselves as “urban folk” and “amplified acoustic”, though their downtempo sound and intimate, relationship-exploring lyrics will no doubt put some in mind of England’s the XX.
Most dedicated listeners but also more casual fans of classical music have at some point wondered about the sound of early musical instruments once played by the great composers. The question of how historic instruments might have sounded veritably haunted Russian pianist Anton Rubinstein, who lamented that while some instruments that had survived in museums they had long lost their original colour and tone. The result was that nobody really knew any longer which techniques had been used in their production, or what their exact sound was like. That
This Saturday, Pilsen will officially become 2015 European City of Culture. The project will kick off with a grand opening ceremony, featuring more than 150 artists from the Czech Republic and abroad, the largest video mapping in the country and the sound of new bells from the local cathedral. I spoke to Jiří Sulženko, the head of the project's Programme Department, and started by asking about the spectacular opening event.