The Christo
2018
by Dan Senn
featuring
Effect Duration is 1hr33m55s See Film
An English Language Documentary Film
of Three Extraordinay Czech Sound Artists
Lucie Vítková, Jiří Suchánek, and Jakub Rataj
Lucie Vítková lives in New York City coming from a small town in Moravia near Brno in the Czech Republic. This is wide ranging and colorful interview taped at the original site of Roulette Intermedium, located now in Brooklyn where Lucie recently presented full concerts of her works OPERA and Spectacle. See Lucie's solo film segment.

Jakub Rataj is a composer from Karlovo Vary in the western Czech Repubic where he began his musical studies in his late teens. This interview was conducted in Vonoklasy, a small town
near Prague where he lives with his dancer- collaborator partner, Helena Šťávová,
and their small child. See Jakub's solo film segment.

Jíří Suchánek lives in Brno, The Czech Republic and was interiewed in an old trafo (power) station in that city where he and two other artists are building a studio space. Jíří is a gifted inventor of sculptural and live performance instruments as well as a performer
of the same. See Jíří's solo film segment.








This documentary is an intimate look at the work of three young Czech sound artists, Lucie Vítková, Jiří Suchánek, and Jakub Rataj, as the director, Dan Senn, searches for a moment or the conditions that triggered a move in the direction of experimentation in time-based art. "The Christo Effect", the title, relates to a moment in 1968 when a colleague of Dan's, David Means of Minneapolis, came upon Christo and Jean-Claude's "Wrapped Coastline" in Australia while on R and R from the Vietnam War, a moment that changed his life.

Dan Senn is an interdisciplinary artist working in experimental music composition, video, and sound sculpture but also makes documentary films usually with little, if any, assistance from others. He is the director of the Echofluxx media festivals in Prague and co-founder of Roulette Intermedium in New York City and lives in Prague, The Czech Republic, and Watertown, Wisconsin. Dan has directed and produced “The Exquisite Risk of Civil War Brass”, "A House on Jungmanova” and most recently, “Voices of Theresa”.



Director Statement — "I generally work alone, even in documentary film, transferring the practice of composing solo in my studio, and presenting live sound and video performances, to an otherwise collaborative medium. The downside of this approach is the heaviness of the load and a loss of the benefits of community discourse. The upside is a process I am at ease with, that is, self dependency, and a disciplined focus that enables me to interview subjects while working simultaneously behind the camera. Working this way also allows me to do what I want without grant obligations or budget concerns.
The Christo Effect was born out of a curiosity in the points of “astonishing interruption” in a person’s life. For me this life as an artist started with a sudden death of a sibling causing me to heed an inner voice to "do what is difficult". For David Means, it was a hideously wretched war and a chance encounter along the Australian Coastline in 1968 with Christo’s work. Over the years I had heard other similar stories from American artists and so I wondered "Were moments like this common amongst European artists? What about those with roots in the communist system of the Czech Republic?” Therefore, within the context of a documentary film, I set out to find the answer by interviewing three talented young Czech sound artists and what I learned was that in each case, none of them were able to point to a specific “Paulian” event causing them to abruptly move into experimental art. Yet each subject, at some juncture, had been confronted with the question, "Am I going to live fully or just as expected?" Each had an overwhelming desire to think their own thoughts, So, with a communal benefit in mind, I set out to sate my inquisitiveness by interviewing these artists, all of whom I had come to know in my Prague media festival, Echofluxx." DS.
Dan Senn's Site

The photo banner above is of Lucie at the original performance space for Roulette Intermedium in New York City. Click image for a higher rez version.