Jana Vanecek

+c1 Jana Vanecek -c1 was born in former Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and is based in Switzerland. They hold degrees in fine arts, critical theory and transdisciplinarity in the arts. Their +c2 transdisciplinary artistic research -c2 is situated at the intersection of +c5 visual art, autotheory and speculative fiction,-c5 with an emphasis on +c4 planetary health,  the economization of healthcare, health inequality, and critical neurodiversity.-c4 Beyond these areas, Vanecek delves into the realms of +c3 non-human agency, posthumanism,-c3 and critically engages with the implications of +c3 generative A.I., -c3 showcasing a broad yet focused spectrum of inquiry.

As the co-founder of the Arab Film Festival Zurich and the HOSPIZ DER FAULHEIT artist group, Vanecek fosters collaborative spaces for creative expression and dialogue. Their participation in the Madame Psychosis online publishing collective and Club La Fafa, alongside their partnership with Chantal Romani in the KUNST BRAUCHT KOHLE duo, illustrates a socially engaged approach to contemporary art practice.

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Pro Helvetia Residency Shanghai

During their Residency in Shanghai Jana Vanecek will continue their work on “TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS“. Weaving together speculative fiction, philosophies of the simulacrum and generative A.I. “TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS“ challenges us to reconsider our notions of representation and coexistence.

“TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS“ draws inspiration from Alexander Bogdanov’s 1908 science fiction novel “RED STAR,” presenting a speculative narrative that reverses traditional fantasies of Mars colonization. In this story, Earth is visited by 4600 intergalactic cyborg cockroaches aiming to save the planet from global warming and teach humans to establish a reciprocal relationship with the cosmos.

The artist created each of these cockroaches using an AI text-to-image generator with the same prompt, exploring the concept of the simulacrum, as discussed by Gilles Deleuze in his book ‘The Logic of Sense,’ particularly in the chapter titled ‘Plato and the Simulacrum’. This concept challenges the notion of original and copy, asserting that the simulacrum holds a positive power that negates both, which is embodied in the unique appearance of each cockroach.

The project not only celebrates the differences among the cockroaches, emphasizing Deleuze’s philosophy of difference and repetition, but also delves into the neurodiversity found within the cockroach species. Contrary to their common perception as pests, cockroaches exhibit complex behaviors and neurological adaptations, including memory and learning capabilities similar to mammals, and a decentralized “second brain,” showcasing their advanced neuroanatomy.

Cockroaches, with their ancient lineage and remarkable adaptability through mass extinctions (survived the dinosaurs), symbolize resilience and non-hierarchical social structures, reflecting the interconnected, simulacrum world “TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS” portrays. Their close relationship with human environments and their overlooked role in ecosystems are highlighted, inviting viewers to reconsider their perceptions of these creatures.

The project aligns with ecofeminist principles of mutual respect and interconnectedness among all living beings and the land, emphasizing the need for reciprocity to maintain health and well-being in both human and non-human communities. The choice of cockroaches as the main protagonists echoes Donna Haraway’s concept of “making kin” and Karen Barad’s „intra-action“. It also seizes Isabelle Stengers’ call for an “ecology of practices“, urging a reevaluation of our relationship with nature and advocating for a future of harmony and balance. “TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS” serves as a poignant reminder of our shared destiny with the non-human world and the essential role each species plays in planetary health.