Adam Novotník and Adam Hudec: A Nightmare Turned into a Dream open-air 10. 3. 2022 – 10. 6. 2022
The viability and value of an architectural work is often assessed by its ability to “stay pure”, which always means destroying any form of life that emerges on the building’s surface. That’s why urban surfaces are treated with paints and coatings that prevent the formation of this organic patina. The aim of the site-specific installation is to celebrate the phenomenon of bio-patina, and to reject the usual patterns where architecture only serves the human needs, suppressing all other forms of life. The installation demonstrates that the bio-patina – a thin layer of cyanobacteria, algae, fungi and moss that has formed on the walls of the Vltavská staircase – is able to absorb toxic substances from the environment, for example the traffic-generated pollution from the nearby city highway. How would the city look like if we support, rather than suppress, the biogenic growth on architecture?
The project expands from the Vltavská area, and pictures the adjacent city highway as the natural habitat of bio-patina, using the vast road surface to eliminate its negative impact on the local ecosystem. The evocative idea of the transformation of the passive highway surface into an active habitat is a utopian provocation – the infrastructure would become meta-structure. A nightmare turned into a dream, such as the constantly forming, unwanted and regularly removed layer of bio-patina on the staircase of the Vltavská station…
Adam Hudec is a researcher, architect and activist from Slovakia, living and working in Vienna. His research is based on the intersection of science, art and architecture, where interdisciplinarity became a tool that enables the research of hidden or ignored anomalies. His project were published internationally on various exhibitions, including the Bi-City Biennale in Shenzhen and BIO26 Biennale in Ljubljana. Since 2019, his activities are represented by the Dust Institute, Vienna-based research platform co-founded by Adam Hudec. At present, he’s working on the dissertation “Epidermitecture” at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna; this dissertation is one of the starting points for the Vltavská installation. The Epidermitecture project is led by professor of architecture Michelle Howard and professor of geomicrobiology Katja Sterflinger of the same university; the latter is also the author of microscopic representations of bio-patina on the installation. The theoretical background of the project was created in cooperation with curator Beatrice Zaidenberg.
Adam Novotník, a Prague-based architect, has been long investigating the overlaps of architecture in other scientific and artistic disciplines. He then uses the new knowledge in experimental projects, including the “MECHanization of the City Highway”, another starting point for “A Nightmare Turned into a Dream”. The project suggests a solution to the hot issue of the Prague city highway – merging on utopian dreams but pretty attractive for the audience, which is forced to stop and think the issues over. Mr. Novotník’s other research topics include parametric projects, virtual reality and speculative architecture. His projects, often with visionary qualities, are exhibited in Czechia and abroad. Examples include Baltic Sea Hypoxia, a project investigating the dead zones in the Baltic Sea, presented at the Architectural Biennale in Tallinn, or the Virtual Academy concept, awarded by the Czech Chamber of Architects. This year, he founded the Moloko.Studio that will represent his activities in the future.