About the festival

In 2019, the Fotograf Festival entitled “Archeology of Euphoria” will present exhibitions, accompanying educational programs and discussions dedicated to the transformation of society from totalitarian regime to capitalism. As every year, the festival will focus on the specifics of photography and reproducible images as such, through the work of both foreign and local authors.

Although the contemporary Central Europe is undoubtedly experiencing the most idyllic period of its modern existence, the growing political and social problems of recent years, which often radically question the evolution of the last three decades, are increasingly returning us to the question of the anchoring and legitimacy of contemporary neoliberal society. An inconspicuous but essential part of today is a constant struggle for the image and logic of our past.

At the end of 1989, totalitarian regimes had fallen throughout the entire “Eastern Bloc”, which radically predestinated the development of further decades.  However, the prevailing bipolar view of these political changes often simplifies the whole situation. With today‘s sufficient distance, it is possible to look at the issue of political and social changes not by the perspective of the turning point, but rather with the prospect of “melting” or “transition”.

The issue of the legitimacy and fundamentals of our democratic past, is, of course, related also to the question of the credibility of photography, mass media and propaganda and their influence on forming the social awareness and ethos of the times. The latest decades of the 20th century represent a time that has completed and subsequently problematized the domination of photography as a modern mass medium.The disintegration of the hierarchical and regulated distribution of media and information, which was being disturbed by the then “new media” (video, xerox, computers), gradually accessible to the wider public, contributed significantly to breaking the hegemony of central power.

A project is underway within the festival My history


Discussion Forum

From the Benefits of Centralised Culture to Artists on Benefits: How Has the State Support of Arts Changed after 1989?

10:00 am – 12:30 pm

In none of the countries of the former Eastern Bloc, artists played such an important role in the overthrow of the communist regime as it was in Czechoslovakia. Rather than demanding transition to a market economy, the demonstrations against the rule of the Communist Party were held in the name of freedom from oppression. Václav Havel articulated the demands of the opposition in a widely circulated petition in the summer of 1989, asking the government (among other things) to put an end to the persecution of independent associations and to the censorship of media and culture. Only one year later, Havel was democratically elected as president and a new law was passed that legalised the free association of citizens and the establishment of independent unions, clubs and movements. The ideological funding of exhibitions, public commissions and artists’ fees were substituted with a slowly developing grant system of the Czech Ministry of Culture and local governments. Thirty years later, the euphoria caused by the newly gained freedom of expression has been replaced with disenchantment arising from precarious working conditions. What strategies and criteria have been and could have been deployed in the new market-oriented society to support art that does not simply comply with the principles of consumerist culture?


Markéta Jonášová


Anežka Bartlová


Vesna Čopič
Hajnalka Somogyi
Eva Žáková

Event venue:

Library of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague
17. listopadu Street No.2
Prague 1

Line Up:

10:00 am — 10:45 am 
Vesna Čopič
11:00 am — 11:20 am
Hanjalka Somogyi
11:20 am — 11:40 am
Eva Žáková
11:40 am — 12:30 pm
discussion – moderated by Anežka Bartlová



Transformation of the media thirty years after

Since 1989, the Czech media landscape has developed rapidly. The media have been privatized and commercialized, the market liberalized, advertising introduced, and several waves of ownership changes and a number of technological innovations have come. The attitudes of the public and political representation to the media have changed. The way how the media transformation influenced our lives and the media images themselves will be the theme of a panel discussion of leading experts in media and visual culture.

Line Up:

2:30 — 4:30 pm
discussion: Petr Krejzek, Jan Křeček, Milan Šmíd; moderated by Filip Láb

Dramaturgy & moderator:

Filip Láb


Petr Krejzek
Jan Křeček
Milan Šmíd

Event venue:

Library of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague
17. listopadu Street No.2
Prague 1




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