Photo: Josef Klimeš

Claudia Bosse
the tears of stalin


Claudia Bosse
the tears of stalin
a three-part urban intervention
visual– the tears of stalin
performative– explosion of silence I
acoustic– explosion of silence II

the tears of stalin

the visual installation involved the placement of the words “the tears of stalin” (6 x 54 meters) on white background on the pedestal of the monument on letna hill. a sign, a poetic-political irritant for the entire duration of the quadrennial, as a linkage to the history of the hill, the history of the largest stalin monument in Europe – its 6-and-a-half-year existence on the city’s skyline and its subsequent explosion and destruction– as well as a reference to the history of prague since the 1989 revolution (radio stalin, etc.) and the era’s promises, etc.

explosion of silence I

Change of the project:

We could not find the number of people with which the artistic project explosion of silence was thinkable for Claudia Bosse to realise. So this part of the project had to be cancelled.

the performative intervention gathers at least 500 people or more, who stand from the letna hill steps all the way to old town square... ca. 750 m by 15 m, occupying the public space, the street, the sidewalk, the bridge, stopping traffic. this uniform network of a silent choir brings silence to the public space, focus it, claim it. the participants stand in a loose but precise formation, always ca. 7 m apart, in various positions. they observe the other users of the urban space and assert their space, coming together in this silent choir. they may engage in small physical actions, stylized everyday gestures in slow motion– the primary aspect of working with the choir participants, however, involves presence: the presence of the various bodies and the presence of calmness and concentration within public space as a collective counter-activity, a claim, a possibility. silent, attentive communication. 

after ca. 50 minutes of silence and physical stillness, the choir participants begin to whisper: individually and simultaneously. their life stories, opinions, questions of identity or politics, memories– i.e., views of the history of prague from the second republic to the present day. this talking follow a “score” consisting of questions to be developed over the project’s course. the answers develop individually and in the rhythmic course of the whispering.

a walkable installation of history and life stories. a discreet, monumental, intimate space. a temporary living archive of bodies, life stories, generations, nations, standpoints, lives, convictions, and dreams, all in the public space.

the expansion of silence as a collective virus in the urban space. the spatial and acoustic silencing of a part of prague. silence. freedom of opinion as a promise of democracy, although nobody listens anymore. capitalist censorship is the allocation and distribution of attention. silence as concentration and possibility, as a productive “nothing” that creates something: it speaks with the body, with presence, with the surrounding space, the movements of the city that only become visible after the imposition of silence. a living archive. people. their lives. their bodies, a promise. then: the intimacy of life stories, of convictions. whispered and simultaneously, a contemporary multi-narrative. an intimate solitude within democratic society. a (un)traceable whole. a multiperspective (acoustic) sculpture. explosion of silence.

explosion of silence II

the acoustic intervention based on the ideas of the russian avant-garde – in particular arseni avraamov and his “symphony of sirens"– aimed at getting the city to resonate, to produce sound. the acoustic intervention involved at least 9 automobiles fitted with sound systems on their rooftops. the siren-like tones coming from the rooftop speakers were tuned to one another, composed with the use of pauses, and in rhythm with one another. the tones, the sounds of the city and the movement of the mobile tone-carriers created an urban composition that was heard differently at different locations throughout the city centre. each car had a precise timescore according to which the car’s movements – and thus the composition of mobile sound-carriers – were coordinated within the urban space and choreographed through the use of motifs, such as how the cars recede in the distance, come together, split up, are turned on and off – all of this spread out over the city. one axis of this performance was the street leading from letna down to old town square, the location of explosion of silence I; another is wenceslas square, etc. this choreographic composition’s area of sound and movement is the entire area of the old town.  duration: ca. 2h. the composition was created in collaboration with milan gustar.



drivers/ Filip Čáslava, Jan Hladík , Jaroslav Kriebel, Viktor Balogh, Jan Belis, Jagar Erdenechuluun, Roman Dovgopol, Aleš Grepl, Klára Tampierová

asistents/Ladislav Čuhaj, Zita Kyselová, Filip Kačer, Tomáš Héráček, Martin Bihuš, Oskar Babek, Adam Kazda, Jana Julínková, Kateřina Kubátová

installation+interventions: claudia bosse

the tears of stalin/ lettering: filip blazek

explosion of silence I/

coordination/ assistant director: lucie spackova, translation: daniela 

explosion of silence II/

composition consultant: günther auer,  sound processing: milan guštar, chiefdriver: jan, sound system: miroslav pich

manager the tears of stalin/ installation organisation: renata bendova

head of production – intersection: jakub matejka
text translation consultant: christine standfest

thanks for help or inspiration to josef klimes, monika pajerová, michail rataj, petr sourek, klara misunova etc.

EN          CZ 

PQ web