About

My journeys while spending a semester traveling in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland through the School of International Training. I'm studying the Arts and Communism in the scope of the Velvet Revolution.

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My new abode :)

lostandfoundinprague:

Josef Koudelka - Prague Invasion 68’

lostandfoundinprague:

Josef Koudelka - Prague Invasion 68’


(via lostandfoundinprague)

Little Revelations

I’ve realized that the reason I don’t like art museums so much isn’t because I’m not interested in art. I just feel uncomfortable looking at artwork that clearly doesn’t belong in a museum. In the past art was commissioned to be either public, which meant that the city paid for it to be enjoyed by everyone, or in someone’s home, meaning it was customized to that person’s tastes and meant to be this intense, personal thing that a family enjoyed. Either way, no one had to pay to go see art. Putting someone’s personal portrait or religious motif up for the public view seems sterile. It belongs in a home, not a blank wall with no feeling. And art that is created specifically for museums is pretentious. 

Today I saw artwork that was originally commissioned for an Italian family living in Brussels to be put up in the chapel on their estate. It belongs in a church, and to me removing it from that setting feels like tearing a child from its mother. We shouldn’t be able to see all these pieces of art in one place, like a convenience store. We should be able to search and visit the original sites and restore them as they were intended to be seen, with the artwork inside. THAT I would pay to go see. 

filmspiration:

(by Gaby J Photography)

I want to be wherever this photo was taken.

filmspiration:

(by Gaby J Photography)

I want to be wherever this photo was taken.


(via filmspiration)

GEEENIUUUUSSSSSSESSSS

Two of the churches I visited in the borderlands.

Back from the Borderland

It has been a while. And by a while I mean, I am back in Prague and knee deep in ISP work. Unfortunately that means that this blog post is merely another form of procrastination from the 25 page paper that is staring me in the face, so I’ll cut it short: 

I had a fascinating time in Cheb and Decin. I visited two churches in Cheb and talked to a pastor and a priest about the community life there and the ways they work with the Sudeten Germans. They both had really fascinating things to say about the ways the church is viewed in the Czech Republic today and how it is forming lasting German relations. I also went to Ruzova (a tiny town outside Decin) to photograph a church that was renovated in 1990 and then talked with the man responsible for those renovations, and he is quite a character. He is a pastor at a Catholic church in Kamenice, and because he kept being refused a promotion to priest in the Catholic church (there was some sort of power play/ politics going on and they didn’t want him to be a priest) he rebelled by changing his image, and now dresses like an emo rocker. Pretty awesome. He’s such an energetic character, though, and is pretty much personally responsible for restoring 14 churches in the borderland. One man wonder, much? 

My ISP that I am now doing as a result of all of my adventures is a paper on how the churches renovated after 1989 contribute to the relationship with the Sudeten Germans, and Czech German relations as a whole through the church. It has NOTHING to do with my major, and yet I love it, so I am having a slight crisis in what I will do educationally when I return. Hopefully I can find a happy medium. 

Well, I intended this post to be a lot shorter than it actually was, so I’ll end by saying that although I’m glad to be back in Prague, I kind of miss the border cities, because they are much more representative of the real Czech Republic. I especially liked taking the bus trip to Ruzova, since it was in the snow and there was literally nothing surrounding the town but miles and miles of white. 

Perhaps the next time I post, the madness will be over. 

Peace,

Rachel 

Happy Thanksgiving!

It has been a while since I’ve posted, but I have so much to say that it keeps piling up and I don’t what to choose to write down. I can’t include everything that’s happened in the past week, but here are the highlights:

I am in Cheb right now, a town in the Border Zone of the Czech Republic and Germany. I’m here because I had an interview today with a priest at the largest church in the area, because…

I chose a topic for my ISP!! I am looking at the Czech-German conflict and history through the study of churches in the northern Sudetenland. I interviewed H today because he was able to give me personal and historical information on the motivations behind renovating the church in Cheb. 

Yesterday I was in Munich interviewing a man who works at an organization located within the Sudeten German House. Needless to say, I enjoyed my trip very much and I have never felt so confident and independent in my entire life (if you traveled to another country with a train transfer, booked a hostel, and located the site of your interview and arrived on time while still being able to explore, you’d be proud of yourself too). The interview was fantastic and I was able to get a whole other perspective on the Sudeten German conflict, which I was hoping for. 

I’m in Cheb until tomorrow, when I have another interview, and then I leave for Rehlovice (where I spent the regional stay) for a Czech-German cultural brunch. How fitting. I then depart for Decin, where I will hopefully get more interviews and look at more churches. Everything seems to be falling in to place, and I will try to post about the brunch (since I’m sure it will be an experience) but it seems that I have no time to do anything lately. 

To my friends and family at home, Happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully you didn’t spend it like me, which was in an Italian restaurant alone writing about interviews with Czech priests. At least I was able to have hot chocolate :) 

Peace and love, 

Rachel