Installation at the Anglo-American University, Prague, 2015

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On Thursday, May 28th, the AAU Courtyard (formerly known as Art Space) celebrated its revival with Alena Foustkova’s exhibition Sputnik (2015), Prague Calling. If you missed the opening, Sputnik will be on display in the AAU Courtyard until September 11th.

In Oct. 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first satellite to orbit the globe – it was a quaint communications satellite with four antennas to broadcast radio pulses back down to earth. For radio buffs across the planet, this was an event that was met with great enthusiasm. For some politicians in the USA, however, this was also seen as a threat and provocation. To this day, historians debate whether Sputnik 1, intentionally or unintentionally, sparked the arms race into space.

SPUTNIK (2015), Prague Calling, by Alena Foustkova, imagines Sputnik 1 falling back down to earth and landing in the courtyard of Prague‘s Thurn and Taxis palace, or Vrtbovsky palace, at the time it was built: at the end of the 17th century, in the shadow of Prague Castle.

At that time, in the era of Rudolfine Prague (1583-1612), Rudolf II, the King of Bohemia and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, supported a motley court of artists, scientists and musicians all in their own way reaching for the stars, and especially the astrologists and alchemists Johannes Kepler, Tycho de Brahe, and Edward Kelley.

Sputnik (2015) was greeted back here on earth, after landing in Prague, by the minimalist Baroque duo the Havels (playing on the viola da gamba).

Text by: Tony Ozuna, AAU, May 2015