Ztohoven Art Collective Launches “Citizen K” Identity Swap

Czech art guerrillas face police investigation over new project
Earth Times News
German Press Agency (DPA)
June 18, 2010

Prague – Czech art pranksters, whose Ztohoven art collective gained international notoriety for implanting images of a fictional atomic blast on live television, face legal action for their latest prank.

Police on Friday launched an investigation into the group’s latest project, during which 12 guerrilla artists lived for months under each other’s identity.

The action aimed to draw the attention to the omnipresent Big-Brother-like control of the public by authorities.

The artists applied for new identity cards with computer-altered photographs that combined features of two members of the group – the man who would use the card and the man in whose name it was issued.

A video on their web site shows that they used the fake identity to get married, travel abroad and even vote in the Czech Republic’s May 28-29 general election.

Občan K. / Citizen K. / Der Bürger K. from Občan K. on Vimeo.

“We entered space where people are no longer under control,” the collective’s mastermind David Brudnak, who uses the pseudonym Roman Tyc, told the German Press Agency dpa.

The group presented the latest action in a Prague show earlier this week.
On Friday, detectives seized as evidence 12 identity cards that were part of the exhibition and briefly detained Brudnak. Police spokeswoman Eva Kropacova told dpa that detectives suspected a crime of “hampering with another’s rights.”

This would not be the first legal trouble for the group, whose name is a pun meaning both “Out of It” and “A Hundred Turds”.

Members were tried in 2008 on scaremongering charges for their atomic blast prank, which also earned them a National Gallery art prize for young artists.

A court cleared them of charges, but several members had to pay a fine of 50,000 koruny each (2,400 dollars) for hampering with television broadcast, Brudnak said.

Brudnak alone was tried for replacing the glass in some 50 pedestrian crossing lights in the Czech capital with slides that included a one-legged man or a girl with braids.

He said that he had already paid 120,000 koruny in damages and plans to go to jail for one month instead of paying a fine of 60,000 koruny.

The legal woes do not appear to hinder the collective from actions that border on illegality. “We do not consider (the sanctions),” Brudnak said. “We primarily care about the message.”

Related Links:

  • Weather report: Expect a brief mushroom cloud coming from the east, June 23, 2007
  • Czech Art Group, Ztohoven, Wins Award AND Faces Prosecution for Nuclear Bomb Prank, January 24, 2008
  • Ztohoven Acquitted for Nuclear Bomb Prank, March 26, 2008
  • Appeals Court Orders Retrial for Ztohoven, July 9, 2008