The neckless projekct, orient in us

Liberec gallery, 2017

In my project, I deal with the concept of Orient of the way it works in our culture, their mutual intertwining both in the socialist past, the capitalist present and the possibilities offered in the near future. As Edward Said pointed out, Orient is a highly relative concept that can be defined differently by each country or culture; each country can have a different idea of which countries are seen as oriental and which are not. The concept of Orient as such serves mainly to denote otherness, while at the same time works as a mechanism to create a national identity of countries that are opposed to this idea of the Orient. I wonder what this term means for our Central European, post-socialist country and its culture. The Czech Republic has been on the border between the West and the East for many years, and various currents have been trying to delimit against one side or another. Even today, however, our concept of the West is much clearer and more real than what we see as the East or Orient - and it is, therefore, necessary to take this concept with a grain of salt and approach it critically. I perceive jewelry as a very local thing that is connected to the cultural heritage of every nation and includes mainly religious and traditional elements.

Nowadays tradition recedes above all to global trends that have made the original meaning of jewelry for specific purposes such as weddings, liturgies, or other traditional events disappear. Industrially manufactured products lack any contextual purpose and are frenetically generated by fashion houses. Old-fashioned jewelry was closely related to a specific society; since they were usually made of precious materials it served as a means of hieratical differentiation. In the first part of the videos, I have dealt with Hindi culture and its rich traditions in jewelry wearing and face decoration, such as bindi dots, confronted with the difficulties and economic strains in the slums.

The tradition of jewelry now has the same dimension on the internet as historical jewelry. Luxurious life is still available only to few, but Internet platforms are attributing a new character in the form of mere decoration and one-dimensional delight.