They're coming outta the goddamn walls.
July 19, 2008 8:20 AM   Subscribe

The žižkov television tower in Prague was pretty weird looking to begin with, since 2000 it's gotten much stranger...
posted by Artw (42 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yeah, the giant crawling babies with gaping holes in the faces, I just can't get with those. Here's the website of the guy responsible for those awful things. NOTE: embedded (somewhat annoying) audio on that opening page.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:28 AM on July 19, 2008


This is the work of David Cerny. He's pretty big. There was a Mefi thread about him a few years back.

It is a horrible tower.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:29 AM on July 19, 2008


JESUS CHRIST
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:29 AM on July 19, 2008


Are architects now consciously taking their visual cues from Blade Runner? That said, I like the babies, myself.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:34 AM on July 19, 2008


Now? The tower dates back to the mid-eighties.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:37 AM on July 19, 2008


I think it's great.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:37 AM on July 19, 2008


Here's an interview with Radio Prague
and another here.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:38 AM on July 19, 2008


Oh GOD! the faces! Czech art can be really creepy sometimes.
posted by Hoopo at 8:48 AM on July 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, come on. It's great. My brother-in-law and his family live in Prague (I highly recommend having family in Prague, because it's a kick-ass excuse to visit an awesome part of the world) and they think it's great. The objects on the tower are changed regularly - I believe they were ants recently. There's an excellent tradition of surrealism in the Czech Republic (see Kafka) and the city is littered with such oddities. As a planner in a city which has absolutely zero architectural creativity, flair or originality (Calgary) I'd love to see more of this everywhere.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:48 AM on July 19, 2008


(I highly recommend having family in Prague, because it's a kick-ass excuse to visit an awesome part of the world)

Well, there's always Czech beer, as fine a reason as they come!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:51 AM on July 19, 2008


...and I may be recalling that the babies just looked like ants...
posted by jimmythefish at 8:52 AM on July 19, 2008


Whatever you do, do not open Hoopo's links in another tab and then absentmindedly click over to them after they've loaded and begun to play. Especially the second one.

That said, the statues and tower are cooool. It's like the Awesome Android had a baby.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:55 AM on July 19, 2008


here's a nice 1680 x 1050 wallpaper i just made.
posted by quonsar at 9:02 AM on July 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


That building looks awesomely alien; I think the goatse-faced infants just muck it up. Wikipedia has some cool pictures, pre- and post-baby.
posted by Citizen Premier at 9:10 AM on July 19, 2008


Or just post. But in some of them the babies aren't that visible.
posted by Citizen Premier at 9:12 AM on July 19, 2008


I want to live there. I don't know if it's a testament to where I am at this point in my life, but I can think of no better way to wake up in the morning than to peering out the window of my apartment in awesome futurespacecybertower and gazing upon creepy holeface babies (who will feebly attempt to gaze back with gaping maws of nothingness). Just fantastic.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:22 AM on July 19, 2008


I like the cut of this guy's jib.
posted by The Straightener at 9:35 AM on July 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


That's certainly creepy, but it made me smile! I'm trying to imagine what would happen if someone added crawling babies to any structure in the U.S. It would probably end up with some kind of congressional action or Supreme Court hearing.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:48 AM on July 19, 2008


Holy fucking crap, I'm glad I looked at this in the morning, and not tonight before bed.

can't sleep creepy holeface baby will eat me can't sleep creepy holeface baby will eat me
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:05 AM on July 19, 2008


I like the cut of this guy's jib.

Hah!

I think I love that. It puts me in mind of what the world would be like if we actually had Greek/Roman style gods taking human form and interacting with us. "Yeah, I'm jerking off on top of your building, what are you going to do about it, mortals?"
posted by shadow vector at 10:15 AM on July 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


There's a restaurant in the tower, or at least there was back in 2002. It's probably not the best place to eat in Prague, (I wouldn't know as, not long after I came down with an awful cough that prevented anything tasting of anything) but the views from the tower are worth seeing. The babies are actually kind of cool - photos don't really capture the scale, or, indeed, the effect of several huge gravity-defying babies staring down at you as you enter the tower.
posted by xchmp at 10:27 AM on July 19, 2008


quonsar: i am eternally indebted to you for my new wallpaper.

ok...eternally might be a stretch. but indebted, nonetheless.
posted by nosila at 10:27 AM on July 19, 2008


Now? The tower dates back to the mid-eighties.

Don't mind me -- I'm all kinds of stupid, including sleep-deprived & totally illiterate.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:30 AM on July 19, 2008


I spent a year living about fifteen minutes walk from that tower-- it was between my apartment and several clubs I frequented. All I have to say is, you haven't lived till you've gotten wrecked and lain down at the base of the tower looking up at goatse-faced babies crawling down at you out of the sky.

Thanks for the wave of nostalgia :)
posted by speedlime at 10:41 AM on July 19, 2008


Was Prague always this cool, or is all this creativity a consequence of the fall of the austro-hungarian empire?
posted by b1tr0t at 10:45 AM on July 19, 2008


on my first trip to prague i came across that tower. i was already amazed by the amount of public art in the city and the incredibly relevant architecture.

i was on my way to see fanfare ciocarlia (the brass band) and my comrades and i took one of the old soviet-era trams. we passed through some tunnels, shot underground and disembarked in the subterrain. we walked up and out to look for the concert hall and, turning around, that tower was the first notable thing i saw.

it was jaw dropping. huge blue babies migrating on a needle. all my friends laughed hysterically at the dumbfounded look on my face. they'd been there waiting for me for a few days so they were already acquainted with the tower.

thanks for all the cool links about that thing mefites. i love that tower and tell everyone about it. it's not even vaguely creepy when you see it; it's actually endearing. and given the architectural aesthetic regs of that city i wouldn't be surprised if one day a giant talc bottle went up next to it.
posted by artof.mulata at 11:05 AM on July 19, 2008


I visited Prague years ago, and when I first saw the tower, I was convinced that it was some sort of Police State monitoring station. Then again, it was Czechoslovakia about the time of the Velvet Revolution and the Iron Curtain was still a recent memory.

That said; Prague is one of the most magnificent cities I've ever visited. It's truly a stunning, friendly, wonderful place, especially with socket-faced tower babies.
posted by dejah420 at 11:17 AM on July 19, 2008


How is babby deformed?
posted by Tube at 11:17 AM on July 19, 2008 [9 favorites]


Was Prague always this cool, or is all this creativity a consequence of the fall of the austro-hungarian empire?

Prague is one of my greatest passions. Its history is so interesting it could be a novel narrated by large PVC babbies with television-shaped faces.

I highly recommend Prague in Black and Gold and the Coasts of Bohemia.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 11:28 AM on July 19, 2008


See what happens when someone just thinks of the children?!
posted by DenOfSizer at 11:44 AM on July 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Every time I see stuff like this, I get bummed out that I live in North America.
posted by joe defroster at 12:39 PM on July 19, 2008


I feel cold and empty inside. I'm worried I might have stared at the holeface babies for too long and had some of the life force sucked out of me. Maybe I just spent too much time watching the Grace Jones video posted last week.
posted by HotPatatta at 12:40 PM on July 19, 2008


Seems pretty cool to me, except for the gaping maws on the face, but you're not going to see that from the ground.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 1:19 PM on July 19, 2008


Our civilization deserves to be destroyed.
posted by Faze at 3:50 PM on July 19, 2008


Yes, Faze. Precisely because people in Prague put up weird sculptures in their city, rather than BurgerKing and World's Largest Bible Outlet billboards. Would you kindly step up to the front of the line now.
posted by c13 at 5:18 PM on July 19, 2008


Well, there's always Czech beer, as fine a reason as they come!

Since moving back to Canada, I don't drink much beer anymore, but when I do, it's always Czechvar.

If the tower was built in the 80s, it was probably designed by Communists or whatever in the late 70s in Warsaw Pact-era Czechoslovakia. Hopefully the babies are intended to take some of the piss out of a crappy building built by bullies.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:26 PM on July 19, 2008


Well I'll tell you, c13, I don't like Burger King or World Largest Bible Outlet billboards any more than you do, but they are a function of commerce, which is what feeds us all and gives us every nice thing we have in our lives. I don't need to tell anyone that the attempt to evade commerce through communism did a great deal of harm to the Czechs and Eastern Europe. Historically, public sculpture has reflected the values and aspirations of a society. Monumentalizing babies-with-their-faces-bashed-in (or gouged out, as if by an abortionist's tool) suggests a society in the thrall of weirdness for its own sake, if not outright infant sacrifice on the level of ancient Catharge or other Moloch-worshipers. Such societies have been leveled to the ground and sown with salt by those whom they have disgusted. Does anyone miss the human-sacrificing, ugly-idol-worshipping societies of the Incas and Aztecs?
posted by Faze at 8:20 AM on July 20, 2008


faze- What, really?

Things are OK as long as they fit an economic need or structure what you think is important. But what could pretty well be considered art by everyone (and playful art by some interpretation, to take the piss out of the soviet era construction) is grounds for the extermination of a city and a culture.

Besides, what is Weird? Is weird just what is different to you? It sounds like it. Of course, a society that finds things that you think are weird as normal are grounds enough to extermination, because how can we let such savages live who have accepted such horrible things!

And yes, I do miss the Inac's and the Aztecs. How are we to know what their society would have become after 600 years. Possibly new agrarian practices and the introduction of cattle could have shifted the established power base (and religious power base) away to something else. Instead we have a society that is one of the thousands that have been eliminated, and whose cultural knowledge has been last. Western society seemed to have changed enough in the last 600 years to be atleast palatable.

But you do illustrate a very common point: people who call for the extermination of another group of people take steps to dehumanize them in language. To this day, there is still talk of Israeli doctors using palestinian babies for medical research in Anti Israel groups (and the label of jews stealing babies goes back for ages). Not to mention there is more proof that people were using cannibalism as a way to describe the otherness of another group or society. It made it handy for the Spanish and Portuguese as they were colonizing south america to label the indigenous tribes as Cannibals, because at that point in time the Pope had banned the enslavement of people, with the exception of Cannibals. There is evidence of cannibalism, but just not on the scale that people would hope to find to justify their convictions of otherness and difference between "us and them."
posted by mrzarquon at 9:53 AM on July 20, 2008


mrzarquon -- I appreciate your comments, and I very much agree with you about the cannibalism. I'm of the anthropologic school that believes that cannibalism, as it has been described up until our own day, is either non-existent or exaggerated, and a way of describing the "other guy," or that "tribe over the mountain." However, I can't agree with you about the babies. They don't strike me as playful at all. The appear to me as anti-baby propaganda.
posted by Faze at 7:00 PM on July 20, 2008


faze- well that would just be your cultural perception of them, correct? I still do not see that as anti baby propaganda. While eastern bloc countries do have their fair share of propagandist art (stalinist statues, etc.) I do not see how you can draw the conclusion based solely on photos of these pieces that they are anti baby.

Let alone I didn't know there was an anti baby movement with deep seated roots in Prague with their absinthe and bohemian ideals.
posted by mrzarquon at 7:11 PM on July 20, 2008


Monumentalizing babies-with-their-faces-bashed-in (or gouged out, as if by an abortionist's tool) suggests a society in the thrall of weirdness for its own sake, if not outright infant sacrifice on the level of ancient Catharge or other Moloch-worshipers.

Non, imbecile!

As I'm sure will surprise no-one, children are a frequent metaphor for the future. Somewhat more concretely, they are often considered, or at least idealized, as being the body around which the family unit revolves, essentially the sun of the domestic solar system. In the broader socio-economic view, children are also the stars around which spins the Family of Man, representing both its future and center. However, these small suns are or have collapsed in upon themselves, the future has gone supernova, resulting in gaping black holes where light is consumed, where time is trapped and lost all meaning.
What have we done to our children?
By neglecting our future, have we destroyed ourselves?
Are the post-Communist nations doomed to a static, lightless present because of a dark, Soviet past that collapsed without a new center to anchor it?
And how come I can't get no Tang 'round here?

That ain't a society in thrall of weirdness for its own sake, bucko, that's motherlovin' AHT.

J'epater en ton direction general, philistine!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:32 PM on July 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


woking’s awesome martian fighting machine
posted by homunculus at 3:50 PM on August 4, 2008


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