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VŶCHOD
April 25, 2012 8:04 AM   Subscribe

Prague Through the Lens of the Secret Police. Brought to you by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Prague.
posted by timshel (15 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
A great day this has turned out to be. I'm suicidal, me mate tries to kill me, me gun gets nicked and we're still in fucking Bruges.
posted by Fizz at 8:07 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure why I posted that there except that any time I think of Prague, I think of that film.
posted by Fizz at 8:08 AM on April 25, 2012


Here's a link to the exhibition panels. I'd be curious to read feedback about the exhibition's presentation style.
posted by Ellie Higginbottom at 8:34 AM on April 25, 2012


Seeing this through the eyes of somebody who grew up in the era of spy thrillers and cold war paranoia, everybody in these photos looks guilty of something. Who needs actual clandestine activities to investigate when you can make them look so guilty of a crime just by standing there?

And thinking that way exacerbates the horror.
posted by ardgedee at 8:58 AM on April 25, 2012


Does Vychod mean 'exit' in Czech like in Russian or is it something else?
posted by spicynuts at 9:01 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh. Duh.
posted by spicynuts at 9:03 AM on April 25, 2012


Sorry to toot my own horn, but I wrote about this exhibit a couple of years ago here.
posted by nasreddin at 9:20 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, yes, very nice, when can I get the lens for Instagram?
posted by Scoo at 10:05 AM on April 25, 2012


Seeing this through the eyes of somebody who grew up in the era of spy thrillers and cold war paranoia, everybody in these photos looks guilty of something. Who needs actual clandestine activities to investigate when you can make them look so guilty of a crime just by standing there?

Example 1 and Example 2
posted by NoMich at 10:17 AM on April 25, 2012


Wow, these are amazing; they're like stills from some unreleased b&w Keislowski movie. Poignent and beautiful and sad.
posted by marienbad at 10:37 AM on April 25, 2012


Interesting photos, without a doubt, but Vice's "some of our favorite photographers of the last century" makes me want to see everyone involved with writing and publishing the linked piece spend, oh, I don't know, a year or two in a secret-police dungeon somewhere. Christ, I'm sick of the willed amorality, the cover-it-all-with-a-layer-of-snark-and-look-supercool ethos of this wretched period we're living through. Ha ha, totalitarianism is so twentieth-century! You know what we really hate? Internet Explorer/Comic Sans/unfunny web comics! And moral earnestness, we really hate moral earnestness! Ah well, the world will turn, the securities of civilized life will crash down around everyone's ears, and we'll all rediscover together the reasons why a moral outlook on life is indispensable.
posted by languagehat at 11:06 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Languagehat, we won't be the first, the last, or even the 100th civilization to fiddle while the whole thing burns.
posted by spicynuts at 12:25 PM on April 25, 2012


For anyone who is a fan of the awesomely streamlined Tatra 603, there's a great shot in the Milos Forman series in this pdf (that EH linked to). Its the very last panel, on the right. The image and the text enlarge surprisingly well.

surveilled subject / sledovaný objekt : Miloš FORMAN, Praha 1982 „The subject will reside in the hotel ,U tří pštrosů´ in Prague. The goal is to document the subject’s relations with enemy-oriented individuals from film and theater, his relations with representatives of the enemy groups Charter 77 and VONS, and to ascertain his activity during non-working hours.”

(Sorry, hard to link to the specific place within the pdf.)
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 1:46 PM on April 25, 2012


Seeing this through the eyes of somebody who grew up in the era of spy thrillers and cold war paranoia, everybody in these photos looks guilty of something. Who needs actual clandestine activities to investigate when you can make them look so guilty of a crime just by standing there?

I had the same reaction. I also wonder how my (or any average, non-spy person's) life would look through a surveillance camera. Just about anyone can be made to look guilty of something.

Innocently looking around while waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green, or making sure that you are not being followed? Turning back because you forgot something, or because you spotted someone following you? Walking fast because you want to catch the 6:07 and not have to wait till 6:27 or did you time it deliberately so it would be easier to shake off your tail? Not having lunch at your usual place because you are bored, or because you have a rendezvous elsewhere?
posted by vidur at 1:57 PM on April 25, 2012


> Languagehat, we won't be the first, the last, or even the 100th civilization to fiddle while the whole thing burns.

Oh, I know, I know. They were doing it in the 1920s, too. Doesn't make it any more enjoyable to live through.

Also, I have to get this off my chest: it's VÝCHOD, not VŶCHOD.
posted by languagehat at 5:05 PM on April 25, 2012


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