Josef Sudek (1896 - 1976) was a Czech photographer, best known for his haunting night-scapes of Prague. [more inside]
Nicholas Winton, who saved 669 Jewish children as part of the Kindertransport in 1939, died today aged 106.
• 1.47 Gigapixel panorama of Barack Obama's 2009 Inaugural Address • 4-Gigapixel panorama of the surface of Mars • 34-Gigapixel panorama of Prague • 152-Gigapixel panorama of Rio de Janiero taken from Sugarloaf • 272-Gigapixel panorama of Shanghai • 320-Gigapixel panorama of London • Currently the largest: this 365-Gigapixel panorama of Mont Blanc. [story] • GigaPan has a wide variety of panoramas in their gallery. • Blakeway Gigapixel specializes in sports stadiums in full attendance (where you can tag people you recognize) and National Parks sites like the Grand Canyon
A Tour of David Černý's Prague. David Černý is shaping Prague’s personality - one sculpture at a time. (previously)
Suck the Balls! is an installation by Niklas Roy, the first version in Krakow, the second in Prague.
"When sucking the balls which are surrounding his feet, the balls race through the transparent pipe system, creating a visually stunning scene. The journey of the little balls ends in a container above the ball pit, waiting for the climax of the operation: When the visitor pulls the release handle of the container, a fountain of balls splashes down onto his head in a joyful shower."
"A few days ago, my son, Lucas, and I took the train to Prague for his school break. Usually, when I visit a city, my first port of call is whatever passes for a botanical garden but when he told me that Prague’s zoo contained not only giant salamanders but also two pairs of shoebills, I could not resist the temptation..." (John Burnside's essay in The New Statesman.) [more inside]
So, as we in Prague brace for what is expected to be a river breach later today, our minds wander back to the last time this happened. We've learned a lot since the disaster of 2002, so no one is being caught off guard. In fact, some are even taking advantage of this once a decade opportunity. For those looking for up-to-the-minute updates in english, there is a facebook group you might want to follow, or google+ coverage for those so inclined.
Jan Svankmajer: "Succumb totally to your obsessions; Keep interchanging dream for reality and vice versa"
"Jan Švankmajer is a major figure of contemporary East European animation whose surrealistic, often macabre work owes more to the nightmarish visions of Kafka and Buñuel than to the sunny daydreams of Walt Disney and his creative progeny. Noted for investing otherwise ordinary objects with ominous overtones, Švankmajer reached his widest audience to date with a feature-length adaptation of Lewis Carroll's "Alice" (1988) which blended animated and live-action footage--a technique he had earlier used to hair-raising effect in "Down to the Cellar" (1983)." -- TMC. Often credited with influencing the Brothers Quay, they hadn't actually seen his work until relatively late in their careers, as they mentioned in an introduction to their documentary on Švankmajer (YT playlist). More of Švankmajer inside. [more inside]
“The beast sets me riddles every evening, and when I fail to guess them, it kicks and bites me. It is like a small leopard and in other circumstances I should say it looked quite charming. So far I haven't solved a single one of these riddles…”—Michal Ajvaz. [more inside]
Prague Through the Lens of the Secret Police. Brought to you by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Prague.
If you visit Prague, make sure to check out Petřín, the hill which rises above Malá Strana (Lesser Town). At its base, you can be gutchecked by the Memorial to the Victims of Communism. You can ride up the hill in the Funicular. At the top, you can visit the Lookout Tower for great views of the city, the Štefánik Observatory for great views of the sky, or the Hall of Mirrors for great views of yourself. Then you can walk down the hill to stop in at Reon Argondian’s Magic Cavern, potentially the most amazing place on the planet. Prepare to have your mind blown. many paintings NSFW for naked mythical creature reasons
Out My Window (trailer) is the new web documentary from the Highrise project, one of the world's first interactive 360° documentaries. Delivered entirely on the web, it explores the state of our urban planet told by people who look out on the world from highrise windows. With more than 90 minutes of material, Out My Window features 49 stories from 13 cities, told in 13 languages.
Between the art nudes and fashion shots, Doug Kim's Chasing Light photography blog (front page mildly NSFW, archives more-so) is fast becoming a secret museum of photography with examples and insightful quotes from great photographers. One need go back only as far as December for posts on Dennis Hopper's photography, Cartier-Bresson, Mary Ellen Mark's on set photography, Annie Liebovitz on Hunter S. Thompson, Jousef Koudelka on The Soviet invasion of Prague, Robert Frank's visit to London and Wales, and Akira Kurosawa's group compositions in Seven Samurai.
[NSFWish] In this GlobalPost investigative report, Prague correspondent Iva Skoch gained rare access to one of Eastern Europe’s most secretive industries, uncovering a world where shifting human sexuality meets rampant commercial demand..In this multimedia report, we examine the complex and interlocking pieces of Prague’s booming gay porn business, from its roots in an American entrepreneur, to the cultural, moral and political foundations that make Prague a gay porn capital, as well as the economic necessities that drive many into the industry, and finally, the human toll it takes on workers.
Potentially the world's largest spherical panorama, a seamless, 18-gigapixel-sized 360° view of Prague. Zooms in to a mind-blowing level of detail. Also, a treasure hunt. [more inside]
The Gare de Lyon in Paris has Le Train Bleu. Grand Central Staion in New York has a superb Oyster Bar; Washington Union Station has this neo-classical wonder; while Prague this prime example of art nouveau; Helsinki, meanwhile, offers something suitably democratic. With cafes as good as this, railway stations become destinations in themselves.
The žižkov television tower in Prague was pretty weird looking to begin with, since 2000 it's gotten much stranger...
The proposed new home of the National Library of the Czech Republic. The old one looks like this. The new one ... well ... is it an octopus? What the hell is this thing?
The Black Light Theatre of Prague ("Černé Divadlo" or simply Black Theatre) is a Czech performance style characterised by the use of black box theatre augmented by black light trickery. Although this performance style can be found in many places around the world, nowhere is it more prolific or specialized than in Prague. Some sample images: 1 2 3 4. YouTube: 1 2 3.
A strange ritual is played out in Choupic, Louisiana on Mardi Gras day. Something similar happens in Prague on Easter Monday too. [via]
David Cerny: frilly pink tanks, babies climbing TV towers, and the president feeding slops to the director of the national gallery out of giant asses. Why, this could only be the NEA gone awry! Actually, it’s Magic Prague, the land of Franz Kafka and Milan Kundera, and the artist, like the dissidents of past generations, would rather not do political art , political art. His latest sculpture ridicules the perverse situation in which the country finds itself post Havel: a place where right-wingers like President Klaus and national gallery director Milan Knížák— a past collaborator with secret police, and worse, completely idiotic and banal performance artist — prosper and rub shoulders at the expense of those with a conscience and good taste. Like David Cerny. This isn’t the freshest post, but I’ve been waiting to join Mefi for a long time, and today is the first day I can post.
Prague's latest attraction - the Museum of Communism : it's interesting how the times have changed in eastern Europe...
Stone inhabitants and extraordinary houses of Prague. More at the Praha experience.
If you like this, you might also like fifty doors of Paris and San Francisco.
If you like this, you might also like fifty doors of Paris and San Francisco.
Vaclav Havel is retiring as president of the Czech Republic this weekend. The former dissident and playwright-cum-politician is profiled in the Guardian, the Globe & Mail and Radio Prague's site; or you can browse the great man's website.
I live in Prague and I've been looking for English language sites for expats living here recently. Prague TV is the best I can come up with. There are a few others, some that look promising but not fully functional yet, some absolutely terrible, and a some not so bad, but not really community sites. Do you live or work in Eastern Europe? Know any decent English language sites?