CESTA's Arts Festivals of International, Interdisciplinary Collaborations

Undercovered logo

CESTA's 13th Arts Festival of International, Interdisciplinary Collaborations
August 2009

festival catalogue

Hidden and naked. Protected and endangered. Forgotten and targeted.
The duality of undercovered is inescapable - the concealed to the unveiled, the censored to the recognized.
The current unprecedented access to information encourages discovery, yet we attack the conspicuous.  
We guard our histories, and suffer as the ignored. We pursue knowledge to achieve progress, yet illumination creates shadows, and definition creates margins.
When do we seek protection through visibility and when through anonymity? In our quest for recognition and representation, what do we discard or overlook, and why?

For UNDERCOVERED, CESTA invites artists in all disciplines to collaborate in creating works
implicating this duality through their choices of artistic content, process, or discipline.

WASTE image by Naomi Potter

CESTA's 12th Arts Festival of International, Interdisciplinary Collaborations
August 2007

We can consider waste as

an icon for growth
a harbinger of the future



no one's
a monument to decay
a residuum of history


For WASTE, CESTA invites artists in all disciplines to collaborate in creating works which seek to define the origins, ramifications, uses and abuses of one the most ubiquitous and prevalent elements in our behavior and environment.

sense of fear
Sense of Fear
CESTA's 11th Arts Festival of International, Interdisciplinary Collaborations
August 2006

It is said that fear is the strongest emotion. Perhaps this is its only universal characteristic, and it is a curious one. As something which stimulates every living organism similarly fear carries infinite responses, often strong opposites: arrogance and timidity, empowerment and immobilization, desecration and reverence. Such polarities lend themselves easily to exploitation experienced with alarming regularity in the politicization of otherwise existential, subjectively defined, and potentially manageable fears.

For Sense of Fear, CESTA invites artists from all disciplines to collaborate in creating works which explore, perceive and define fear - the personal and collective - towards discovering where fantasy meets phobia, when a chance to be challenged becomes an opportunity to be oppressed, why selfhood and society are strengthened or compromised.

Spirit Matters
CESTA's 10th Arts Festival of International, Interdisciplinary Collaborations
August 2005

The desire to define existence has produced the most contentious struggles since the dawn of humanity. Civilization is the result of myriad definitions evidenced by science, philosophy and religion. During the epoch of postmodernism, the rift between the spiritual and the material began to grow at an exponential rate; yet, both sides of this split still claim to encompass the other. This contradiction translates into dichotomous interpretations of reality, morality, purpose, expression and power.

For Spirit Matters, CESTA invited artists from all disciplines to approach and interpret the diverse roles spirituality plays in the inspiration to make, and the creation and critique of, artistic work. We asked artists to collaborate in developing works which critically address the tension and harmony between knowledge and belief, understanding and mystery, the devoted and the devout.

Total Recall
CESTA's 9th Arts Festival of International Interdisciplinary Collaborations
August 2003

History or story. True or False.
Manufactured, manipulated, mutated, borrowed, stolen, masked, censored, altered.
Empowering, enlightening, protecting, owned, revealing, conclusive, safe.
Remembered or Forgotten?
Are those who forget the past condemned to repeat it?
Do we 'endure the burden of the past'
1 with 'the charitable deceptions of nostalgia'2 ?

We access memory and replicate it in different ways. The ways that we choose to represent what we remember or forget, consciously or subconsciously, have broad collective as well as personal ramifications. Through monuments and architecture, rituals and religion, oral traditions and legends, even diaries and psychoanalysis, we witness remembering and forgetting defined.

1, 2 Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera p.106

For Total Recall, we invited applicants to address memory, ours and Ours, to investigate how we represent and interpret it.

CESTA's 8th Arts Festival of International Interdisciplinary Collaborations
August 22 through August 26, 2002

Art and violence both seem to stem from the abstract: that place beyond logic, the realm of the emotion. When they intersect we are simultaneously repelled and attracted, frightened and excited. Historically this meeting has been wrought with complexity, and as cultural violence in every society increases, we are prevented by paranoia, censorship and ethical demands from asking, and sometimes even posing, some of the most important questions violence and art together and separately produce: how is violence represented, and what or how much of it do we need to resist the cultivation of fear and the encouragement of dependency? Is violence a tool, a process or a result? When are artistic portrayals of violence justifiable? As intellectual exercise, ritual, or spiritual enhancement? For other purposes? Or are they never justifiable? Is violence in art an action, reaction, or reflection?

For Violens we are informed by, but not limited to, defining art as social discourse and violence as the display of power and the expression of dominance. CESTA invites artists from all disciplines to explore through collaboration violent portrayals, acts or themes towards critical analyses of their origins, impact and meaning

What's So Funny?
CESTA's 7th Arts Festival of International Interdisciplinary Collaborations
August 23 - August 27, 2001

The theme of this festival, What's So Funny?, sought closer examinations of how we think about and represent humor through artistic explorations. Though many had perhaps expected a “comedy” festival, the participating artists stretched the limits of even defining humor in their diverse presentations during the festival week.

Overall, 23 artists from nine countries participated in this year's festival. The audience comprised a wide variety of local Tábor and other Czech citizens of all ages, as well as non-Czech Europeans and guests from as far as the United States and Egypt.

Long Ago and Far Ahead: Fusions of Tradition and Unconvention
CESTA's 6th Arts Festival of International Interdisciplinary Collaborations
August 24 - August 28, 2000

CESTA's sixth international collaborative arts festival brought 38 artists from 11 countries together to follow the threads binding tradition and unconvention, and explore what histories and futures share in defining difference. The festival took place in and around the Cesta facilities and incorporated eleven presentations as well as open public forums on the first and last days of the five-day festival. As usual many of the participating artists came to work on site as early as August first, allowing for a richer understanding of the collaborative process and its relevance.

'At Home' Abroad

CESTA's 5th Arts Festival of International Interdisciplinary Collaborations
August 19 - August 23, 1999

At Home Abroad featured nine collaboration groups consisting of thirty four artists presenting work over five days, in and around the Cesta facility. The first and last days were reserved for open public forums where the public and press could speak with the staff. Artists were invited to work on site as early as the first of August so as to develop the work in a collaborative setting specifically for the festival. Related projects were also presented, such as Katarina Soukup's "Radio Bicyclette", during the festival weekend.

Facing Gender
CESTA's 4th Arts Festival of International Interdisciplinary Collaborations
August 21 - August 25, 1997

Our fourth annual international festival of interdisciplinary collaborations. The parameters were as follows: participants had to join a collaboration team with another artist or group of artists who were of a different nationality and who worked in a different medium. It was also necessary to explore the given theme. The results were as varied in content as they were in presentation. Six collaborative groups including artists from Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, France, Germany, England and United States created work in the areas of installation, dance, music, projections and film. CESTA provided a gender studies library to aid the artists and audience with further research on the theme. Open public forums were held on the first and last days of the festival as an opportunity for the artists and the public to address the issue of Gender, of facing Gender- still a young and controversial topic- as well as the collaborative working processes. It was clearly an educational and inspiring experience.The relationships developed will continue benefiting those involved both personally and professionally.

From our pre-festival statement:

The word gender alone carries a myriad of complex definitions and is approachable from a wide variety of perspectives. Facing Gender will examine traditional gender roles and the re/definition of gender roles in regard to socialization and sexuality. Facing Gender seeks to expand the ways we define, confront and defend gender. How does this relate to the individual and community? How do we perceive this theme through the artistic eye? How can the results of this event assist further research in the area of gender studies? Although one event cannot answer these questions, we want to keep the subject matter visible and accessible.

In addition to providing a space and time for artists to experiment, we also concentrate on the impact our events have on the local community. We chose to locate CESTA in the Czech Republic because of the changing social fabric in Central and Eastern Europe. Our activities always include following and contributing to improving East-West relations. For this festival, CESTA will work with organizations here and abroad interested in or familiar with the theme of gender issues to help collect and disseminate relevant literature prior to and during the event.

Facing Gender

Facing Gender
Uro Teatr Koku

Facing Gender
Collaboration 1997

Orient to Occident

CESTA's 3rd Arts Festival of International Interdisciplinary Collaborations
August 29 - September 2, 1996

Orient to Occident: A Meeting of Minds, Media and Mannerisms comprised thirty-seven artists from fourteen countries. This year we did not suggest a particular theme, but our parameters served as directives for the participants. Each presentation needed to contain collaboration between more than one artistic medium and at least one representative of the East and one of the West with the former Iron Curtain being the dividing line. In the end the artists formed eight groups which all crossed the invisible line between the visual and performing arts, and explored a variety of themes from different cultural perspectives.

Off-site preparation was the method of a few for collaboration, but more met each other for the first time at CESTA and worked on their presentations during their stay at the project. Having the artists live and work together for some time before the Festival itself created a casual atmosphere and allowed spontaneity in both the selected collaborations and side projects which emerged through common ideas shared during that time. We also included an open public forum on the first and last days of the festival to allow the audience and artists time for interchange.

One main focus of our parameters is to expose and expand the process of developing collaborations, communicating through different media, and doing so with people from different cultures. Participants in Orient to Occident produced not only unique presentations, but also formed special relationships which will enhance both their personal and artistic pursuits.

A catalogue of photographs, artist biographies and statements, and a full description of Orient to Occident is available from CESTA on request.

Orient to Occident
Golem of Consciousness
Golem of Consciousness
Rosa untitled still life
Rosa untitled still life
Yoshida and Roman Franta
Yoshida and Roman Franta

From our pre-festival statement:

The need for countering divisive national tendencies and respecting cultural heritage and autonomy is imperative. Cross-cultural productions offer the opportunity to observe current and historical changes in society. Interdisciplinary processes demand communication that can provide new understandings and help avoid the barriers of traditional interpretation.

The primary goal of Orient to Occident is to study and document these processes and then present them as alternatives to standard forms of exchange. Orient to Occident will also help CESTA further its goals of developing alternatives to social hierarchies and supporting resolution through creative expression.

CESTA will accept proposals and applications from artists working in one or more of seven categories: dance, two-dimensional visual art, three-dimensional visual art, film/video, music, spoken word/language arts, and theater/performance. Each presentation will include at least one represenative from both the East and the West. The public forums will be held as panel discussions with translation available as needed.

To record the results, a catalogue of artists' statements, excerpts from the public forums and photographs of the event will be published following the festival. In addition, a video documentary will be made of the performances.

All performances, exhibitions and public forums will be held at CESTA and also accommodation for the participating artists.

CESTA's 2nd Arts Festival of International Interdisciplinary Collaborations
August 19 - August 27, 1995

An arts and performance exhibition comprised of sixteen visual artists and seven performance groups from six countries; One week of on-site collaboration and ten days of exhibitions and performances attracted more than 200 viewers to CESTA.

Using the method of a "scientific investigation" of the phenomenon of lying, the participants experimented with media collaboration. The results included video-installation, spoken word-visual art, music-installation, theater-music-visual art, and installation-spoken word.

The participants held a daily discussion group to monitor the process of collaboration and a public tour was held after the exhibition opening to analyze/criticize the results.

The results of the "investigation" were made into a video, in which artist and viewer alike offer their perspectives on lying as a social phenomenon.

Upside down room
Divadlo SVKT
Corella Ditz painting

Open Air in Tábor

CESTA's first international arts festival
September 3 & 4, 1994

Although this festival did not contain collaborative performances or exhibitions, it did include a broad spectrum of media. Over 50 artists from six countries participated and helped CESTA introduce itself to the local community.

Open Air
Open Air
Potsdam Dance Fabrik
Open Air
Divadlo Bechyne
Open Air



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