Briefly summarize the basic nature of your work, long-term interests and topics.
EXTRASENSORY AESTHETICS RESEARCH WORKING GROUP has more or less the nature of interdisciplinary cooperation. Individual members come from artistic or theoretical-art-historical circles. Our research and production is focused on psychotronics in socialist Czechoslovakia in relation to the material and spiritual conditions of that time. The term psychotronics has been used in the local environment since the late 1960s, when it generally referred to "the theory of distant interactions between subjects and between subjects and objects" and referred to phenomena such as telepathy, telekinesis and telegnose. We examine the historical context of psychotronics, with particular emphasis on its institutionalization in the 1970s and 1980s.
Describe the context of your work - what are your sources of inspiration, theoretical background, or which artists, tendencies, etc., do you consider as a reference for your work?
Our work could be partially described as a mimetic research when in order to understand our subject we mimic it. We turn to parapsychological (or historically precisely “psychotronic” and “psychoenergetic”) protocols from which we derive our strategies with varying degree of critical detachment. Diverted parapsychological methods are then crossbred with “para-scientific” methods of so called artistic research. In this manner we try to verify the theorem that by mimicking we produce difference. We aim at traversal production of knowledge defining the edges of science understood (among others in the local “tradition”) as a social phenomenon, as the subject of negotiations in the field of conflicting interests and as a subject of ethics as well as esthetics. In this we see the potential and relevance of our practice.
Try to characterize how specific your work is, what its power is, how it differs from artists with similar approaches or themes.
Contemporary art is a highly esoteric discipline. In the worst case, it is reserved for experts who know the secret language of hypertrophic theory, in the best case it forms a hard-to-reach group of insiders. In contrast, we attempt an “exoteric” approach that would not obscure but acknowledge the “irrational” sources of terms such as the aura or the medium (in the art-theoretical and technical context). Extrasensory aesthetics (which we derive both from research on extrasensory perception and from experience with post-conceptual art) could help to understand how the alchemical processes of dematerialization and rematerialisation of works of art correspond to the processes of disenchantment and re-enchantment of the contemporary world.
What is the progress of your work? Do you prepare, research? How do you look for your topics? How do you consider using specific means / media?
Our work is based on archive work and research. We began to focus on psychotronics in spring 2017, and since then, topics and interest have steadily deepened and expanded from exploring extrasensory aesthetics, telepathy, geopathogenic zones, and so on.
Our output is therefore mostly related to contemporary archival materials from texts, publications, objects to videos and movies. We often edit, modify and interfere with the media.
What is your vision for the future? How do you want to develop your work, build on existing projects / realizations? What is your long-term goal / dream?
In the future, we would like to open and open our privilege / archive online. We would like to realize exhibitions (or create works) of works by contemporary artists dealing with psychotronics in the current context. After researching Czechoslovak psychotronics, continue research in other countries of the former Eastern Bloc.
EXTRASENSORY AESTHETICS RESEARCH WORKING GROUP was established in spring 2017. Its members are Jan Kolský, Matěj Pavlík, Peter Sit, former students of art at and Vojtěch Märch a doctoral student of theory and history of art at AAAD, Prague. Members also act individually or in other associations, organizations and collectives. Their ongoing research was exhibited at the Josef Sudek Studio, 2017 as part of the Fotograf Festival, at the exhibition Conditions of Impossibility: The Psychopathology of the Planets, 2018, and at the exhibition HANDS ANTENNA: An Attempt at Surface Shading, 2019 in Bratislava, also was published online under the name Telephatology and Parapsychogeography on artalk.cz or as part of WE ARE WOODS organized by the Institue of Anxiety, 2019.