Pass it on!

Aspects of collaboration in the work of UMPRUM students

František Jungvirt, Aneta Honzová, Tuan Vuong, Josefina Karlíková, Tomáš Chludil, Jan Kolský, Amálie Koppová, Marie Tučková, Barbora Indráková, David Nosek, Jan Šindler, Igor Machata, Vítek Škop, Anežka Minaříková, Martin Franček, Jan Grabowski, Jakub Delibalta, Daniel Kinský, Nela Kuhnová, Karolína Vintrová, Radek Brezar

Alžběta Brůhová, Vojtěch Märc, Klára Peloušková, Martin Vaněk, Markéta Vinglerová, Darina Zavadilová

Exhibition design:
Alžběta Brůhová

Graphic design:
Josefina Karlíková (collaboration with Tuan Vuong)

Collaboration… no matter how often it has been (over-)used purposively as a trendy term, it resonates in today’s society more than ever before. In the broadest sense, it seems the basic condition for us as mankind to be able jointly face the current global challenges, especially the deepening climatic crisis or the unstoppable development of technologies. Such challenges bring a demand for new types of solutions, in the search for which we cannot rely exclusively on individual authorial production and which require action based on the principle of interdisciplinary and international cooperation. The role of higher education institutions involved in the arts, design and architecture is to educate people who, in the coming decades, will shape our material and immaterial environment, and thus form the lives of people − or entire societies. The scope of creative specialisations − whether “fine” or “applied” − is very wide, and ignoring their relevance or consequences would be short­‑sighted. This is why it is important that the potential of school collaboration is reflected and developed, even if it is often difficult to untangle and describe the invisible knots of the relationships between artists, designers, architects, students, teachers, manufacturers, governmental and non­‑governmental institutions, the audiences, users or material and material and virtual objects. The reassessment of the poles of activity and passivity in networks with many actors and trying to distribute forces between them may bring viable models of creative practice corresponding with the form and difficulty of the challenges we are yet to face.

That is why the “Pass it on!” exhibition at the Medium Gallery shows the diverse works created by students of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (UMPRUM) from the specific perspective of cooperation. This event reprises an exhibition organised under the same name at the Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen last year.

The overview draws on the format of the traditional biennial UMPRUM exhibitions, but it is not a selection of the best student works of the past two years, but production with a common topic. The presented projects are individual school assignments, which to various degrees reconsider the usual schemes of individual production and resonate with the main topic on the level of the methods and approaches used, thematise different aspects of cooperation through their content or give rise to questions and illustrate ambivalences that accompany collaborations. Here, Pass it on! is a metaphor for external instruction as well as the inner willingness to collaborate, divide responsibility and share. However, it is not a directive order automatically attributing value to cooperation as such: cooperation itself is not a quality − and it is not a guarantee of a meaningful creative process or a quality result. However, it is one of the tools for the crossing of disciplinary boundaries and opening discussion between all the involved entities, which may lead to enriching, beneficial, progressive and sustainable concepts.The architectural solution presents the selected projects not as isolated authorial works, but as a fluid totality in which we can observe several interrelated levels of meaning − both the messages and the visual side of the individual projects. It gives rise to a multifaceted network of ties − a map or a game plan − which is also reflected by the graphical solution of the exhibition. The exhibition movables and other installation features, which organise the gallery space, mostly consist of common building materials that will be dismantled and passed on when the exhibition is finished.