Single-channel video created through gradual interventions to the cover page of an original copy of a soviet-era samizdat edition of The Power of the Powerless, an expansive essay written in 1978 by Václav Havel. This text was suppressed at the time by the totalitarian regime that ruled Czechoslovakia before the Velvet Revolution.
This text is an essential resource to understand the ideological framework of czech dissidence and its opposition to the Soviet Bloc. The content, banned by the Communist Party, spread in the form of samizdats, a self-publishing strategy that citizens of the eastern european country devised to confront the strict control of print materials that opposed the interests of the Soviet Regime. The possession of these materials was invariably punished by imprisonment.
This video is part of Ontological Politics, an ongoing series of works in which the notions of political change and the pertinence of radical ideologies in our current sociopolitical climate are explored through brief videos. These works establish hypothetical parallels between diverse moments of conflict in contemporary history, creating a critical perspective of the way these ideologies are structurally and aesthetically conformed. The topics treated in this series range from specific incidents in specific disturbance scenarios, the future of dissidence, the nature of political violence and the aestheticization of protest, incorporating formal resources such as appropriated imagery and content extracted from diverse sources such as mass media, document archives, notorious political speeches and similar material, elaborating on a broad and disenchanted vision of the fissures that permeate social super-structures in the western world.