Česká centra, Czech Centres

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4 Jan 2007 00:00 - 5 Jan 2007 00:00

Cold War Expo 1945-75

A two day research symposium on the theme of exhibitions as vital forms of cultural exchange and competition during the Cold War, to be held at the V&A Museum on 4th and 5th January 2007. This event is organised in conjunction with the exhibition Cold War Modern: Art and Design in a Divided World, 1945-1975, which will be staged at the V&A in 2008.


Friday 5 January 2007, 10:40 hod


Irena Murray, British Architectural Library, Royal Institute of British Architects


Culture and Conflict Among the Caribou: Geopolitics and the Czechloslovak Pavillion at Expo ‘67


With 50 million visitors overall, Expo ‘67 was an unprecedented opportunity to show off the Eastern Bloc to North America. Buoyed by the remarkable success of its pavilion at Expo ‘58 in Brussels, the Czech Pavilion presented a compelling exhibition in a minimalist architectural envelope by Miroslav Repa, playing off its 1,200 years of cultural wealth, from the precious artefacts of the Great Moravian Empire, to the ‘far out’ experimental multimedia of the Diapolyecran and the Kinoautomat . The grand themes of cosmic evolution and industrial progress  easily transcended the changing structures—dissembling and reassembling in spliced and composite images. Kinoautomat, the experimental, polyform theatre of live acting and cinematic choices was perhaps the discovery of the Fair.


The enchanting, technologically and culturally forward world of the Czechoslovak pavilion had a profound effect on the visitors to Expo ‘67, as most Canadians’ prior experience of Central and Eastern Europe had primarily derived from random contact with émigré cultures. The effect was so powerful that the then Premier of Newfoundland purchased the Pavilion to make it a cultural centre in Grand Falls, a pulp and paper community of 10,000 inhabitants, 2,200 kilometres east of Montreal. This peculiar metonymy stood for the transformative power of Czech culture until a discovery of asbestos forced a temporary closure and renovation of the pavilion in recent years. When, barely a year after the Expo, troops of the Warsaw pact marched into Czechoslovakia, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Eliot Trudeau ordered completely free entry for tens of thousands of Czechs and Slovaks into Canada, in great part because of the lingering effect of  Czech culture as represented at Expo. Czech architects, designers and other professionals received unprecedented support in Canada as impact of the 1,200 year old Great Moravian Empire resonated in a former Viking village in the far reaches of the Atlantic coast.


The paper will interrogate these issues in relation to the overall concept and content of the Czech exhibit.


For more information about the symposium click here


For the symposium full programme click here



30 Kensington Palace Gardens
W8 4QY London
United Kingdom


From: 4 Jan 2007 00:00
To: 5 Jan 2007 00:00



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