The Christo
by Dan Senn
Effect Duration is 1hr33m55s See film.
An English Language Documentary Film
of Three Extraordinay Czech Sound Artists
Lucie Vítková, Jiří Suchánek, and Jakub Rataj

The Artists

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.

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.

Jiří 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.

The banner photo above is the artist's
rending of Christo and Jean Claude's
"Wrapped Coastline."

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 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. It was 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”.

Dan Senn's Site

Director Statement

"I generally work alone, even in documentary film, transferring the practice of working solo in my studio work, and live performance, to an otherwise collaborative medium, documentary film. The downside of this approach is the heaviness of the load and the lack of community discourse which a film so benefits from. The upside is a process I am intimate with, working alone, as well as a pure efficiency for I am comfortable interviewing subjects, working behind the camera, editing video, etc. in the studio and without interruption. It also allows me to do what I want without grant obligations and budget concerns. The Christo Effect happened only because of my curiosity in points of astonishing departure in an artist's life. For me it had been the sudden death of a sibling that caused me to "do what is difficult" in my life.  For the artist  David Means, it was war and a chance encounter with the Australian Coastline in 1968. And so I wondered "Were moments like this common amongst other artists? What about those with roots in the old communist system of the Czech Republic?" What I learned was that in each case, none of my three subjects were able to point to a specific event that had caused them to move in the  direction experimental art and economic deprivation. And yet each had at some juncture been confronted with the question, "Am I going to live fully or just as expected?" So, on my own, mostly for my own sake but also for a potentially shared benefit, I interviewed these three young Czech artists, all of whom I had come to know in my Prague media festival." DS