27th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

ji-hlavadok-revuecdfEmerging producersInspiration Forum

A robot is a thing of the future – as it was imagined by people in the era of Karel Čapek, who invented the term in the 1920s. Intelligent technologies intervene with a much wider sphere of society than just factories. In many cases they are simply not visible and yet they have more influence than corporations, governments and traditional media. They are controlled by abstract algorithms that more and more contribute to decision-making processes and affect what we can see and, in effect, what we think. Whose interests are behind the creation of algorithms and what kind of behaviour and needs are stimulated in people? How do algorithms affect today’s society and how to approach this phenomenon?

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Data as the 21st Century’s Most Valuable Commodity

Digital platforms represent directories in the extensive digital space, including browsers such as Google, social networks like Facebook, or the Amazon marketplace. Technology companies behind these platforms have become a brand new type of actors: especially strong economic players collecting data that provide them with great but invisible power. How to approach this new distribution of power in global economy and politics? What are the possibilities of politicians and consumers? What are the less problematic alternatives?

GuestsPhilipp Staab, Kateřina Smejkalová, Ondřej Lánský
ModeratorPatrik Eichler


When Algorithms Manage Our Work

The gradual digitalization of the world changes the relationship of labour and technology: In the past, humans used to control machines, but now we are becoming increasingly more controlled by technology. In principal, in the case of platforms of the so-called gig economy the work is coordinated, allocated, performed and assessed using algorithms. Has this been a major change? How is it reflected in labour law and social security systems? What are the positives and the pitfalls of this kind of labour for the employees? Will it remain a marginal phenomenon or will it grow?

GuestsŠárka Homfray, Matěj Pohorský, Joanna Bronowicka
ModeratorKateřina Smejkalová


Invisible Emissions

Data and information are used to enhance effectiveness in many processes and fields. However, we might not be aware that the very digital tools have to be used so that their impact on the environment and ecosystems depletion of resources is reduced to minimum. How energy-intensive are technologies in the material and in the virtual world? What principles of environmental protection can be applied?

GuestsLukáš Likavčan, Karolína Brabcová, Viktor Třebický
ModeratorEva Svobodová


Abstract Dramaturgy of Democracy

New technologies have initiated crucial changes in our society, both in the sense of progress and risks. They affect all spheres of our life, also the political one. They can be used by political actors to both enforce the democratic processes and status and to simply support anti-democratic and populist powers. How do modern technologies influence us and our policies, what are the contributions and the threats as well as pitfalls and what will be the opportunities to use.

KeynoteHarald Katzmair
GuestsDita Malečková, Jakub Kalenský, Petr Koubský




Karolína Brabcová (CZ)

Karolína Brabcová leads a series of consumer campaigns focused on toxic substances found in goods on both the Czech and European market. She is currently working on European legislation on restricting the use of chemicals in products. She is involved in several analyses of toxic substances contained in products and in communicating this information to consumers.

How would you describe your work and your goals in the field of ecology?
We draw attention to new risks surrounding toxic substances but also present solutions that determine how companies should behave and how hazardous substances should be regulated or banned. We are looking for existing gaps and shortcomings in legislation amending the rules of the production, sale and disposal of materials containing harmful substances. Our goal is for companies producing chemicals in particular to bear the costs associated with the development and sale of those substances that have a negative impact on human health and the environment.

What do you consider to be important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
The responsibility of global corporations to cover external costs associated with the negative effects on the environment and our health. The introduction of economic and social mechanisms that will reverse the path to endless consumerism, which is leading us to the brink of ecological catastrophe.

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
The film Dark Waters and Marc Ruffal’s ecological campaign. His campaign may have tied in with the promotion of the film, but it also sought to help communities and people affected by the environmental disaster surrounding DuPONT’s production of Teflon (PFOA). It’s a classic, American courtroom drama that shows the powerlessness of the current legal system in the face of companies that are harming the environment on a global scale. It’s also an inspiring work because it managed to spur a wave of solidarity and, above all, motivate people and politicians to act and push for a ban on this substance.

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Joanna Bronowicka (PL/DE)

Sociologist at the European University Viadrina. She researches how technology affects the power relations at work and how platform workers find new ways to resist digital control. Living in Berlin, she is also a politician active in the new Polish left-wing party Razem and a transnational movement Diem25.

How would you describe your work and your goals in the context of digitisation?
Technology is far from neutral – quite the opposite, it often makes the existing power imbalances worse. As our workplaces become increasingly digitised, the employers are gaining even more control over the workers. My goal is to research how the workers, and the policymakers, can help design technology that makes work more fair and meaningful.

What do you consider important in the light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
We need to be extremely careful about the benefits and costs of the intensified shift to remote office work. What if employers who no longer have incentives to build stable and inclusive organisations, and chose to outsource most office tasks and jobs through freelancing platforms? That would accelerate the ‘uberisation’ of work in new sectors and deprive even more people of stable jobs – with potentially disastrous social consequences.

What resonated with you the most out of this year’s literature and artistic releases?
David Graeber, who died earlier this year, argues in his book “Bullshit Jobs” that many employees spend entire days performing tasks that are utterly meaningless. There might not be enough evidence to back up this controversial claim, but the book made me reconsider why some workers renounce a stable office job in favour of self-employment gig economy.

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Patrik Eichler (CZ)

Journalist and moderator. He is the deputy director of the Masaryk Democratic Academy (MDA) and the editor of the bimonthly periodical Listy. He also worked for Literární noviny (2007–2009) and as a spokesperson for the Minister for Human Rights (2016–2017). He focuses on political programming and both Czech and Central European politics.

How would you describe your work and goals?
Only a policy that is understandable can be credible. If I want people to defend political parties, public service media, public authorities, or human rights (which I do want, and that is my ultimate goal), then I will need to contribute to the proper perception of their role in our society. Making policy understandable again is one of the most important things my colleagues and I do at MDA in various different ways.

What do you consider important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
Social cohesion needs to be addressed at a time when the consequences of the economic crisis are still on our front doorstep. One way is to not visit people on the margins of society but to look for a place where everyone in society can speak at national debates.

What resonated with you the most out of this year’s literature and artistic releases?
My discovery this year is The Small Room of Marie Stryjová. It's a story from the 1950s that shows that even an obvious rise up on the social ladder is not a guarantee of life-long success. I recommend reading it alongside The Story in the Speech of the Indirect Alena Zemančíková , a book dedicated, on the contrary, to the freedom of life of people on the periphery of the 1950s. Out of the books published this year, I recommend The K. Story of a Search, a monument to the victims of the Brazilian military dictatorship of the 1960s and 1980s by writer B. Kucinský. The Luso-Brazilian library edition, which is currently published under Triáda Publishing House, also has afterwords for readers that even the old Odeon would not be ashamed of.

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Šárka Homfray (CZ)

Since 2017, she has been working as a lawyer for the Trade Union of State Bodies and Organisations. In addition to standard labour and service law, she also deals with gender aspects in the world of work and the future of labour and labour laws. She publishes regularly in these areas.

How would you describe your work and your goals in the field of labour law?
I try to apply different perspectives and to transfer experience and knowledge from practical application to conceptual and analytical work. Additionally, my area of law is in everyday law that directly affects the lives of almost all adults. It is all the more important for me to examine it within the context of other social science disciplines.

What do you consider to be important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
There are a whole number of issues, but to stay on topic, I consider it crucial how the pandemic has highlighted some of the existing inequalities as well as the low-level earnings and the fragility of many workers. When drafting new "post-COVID" legislation, we should focus not only on supporting the preservation of jobs but also on rebounding precarious work, its job growth, and other expected changes in forms of work. Our traditional legislation does not sufficiently cover all existing forms and these margins will continue to increase.

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
I’ve made less time for this than I would like, but this year has brought me some inspirational new experiences. Firstly, I must mention the Mrs. America miniseries to illustrate how little we have progressed in a number of ways. In terms of literature, I was particularly interested in Dani Horáková's book About Paul and Klára Vlasáková's first book Cracks, which I’m now just finishing – she was really spot-on in describing a society in ruin right before the apocalypse. In legal literature, I consider the collection Men's Law to be an exceptional work. Definitely not because I had the honour of contributing to it, but rather because of how many different perspectives it offers on the phenomenon of androcentric law that has so far gone undiscussed in our country.

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Jakub Kalenský (CZ)

Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) based in the Czech Republic. In this capacity, Mr. Kalenský helps raise awareness about pro-Kremlin disinformation campaigns via articles, reports, interviews, public speeches, and briefings for government officials and journalists in Europe. Between 2015 and 2018, Mr. Kalenský worked for the European Union’s East StratCom Task Force as the team lead for countering disinformation. He holds degrees in Philosophy and Russian language and literature.

How would you describe your work and your goals in terms of dealing with and preventing the spread of disinformation?
My strategic goal is to raise awareness of this threat - because I believe that if enough people have a sufficient body of information about this threat, there will be a better chance of successfully being able to confront it. I try to fulfill this strategic goal with many partial, tactical steps, but in short it is about publishing activities, participating in conferences and debates, consulting with government officials and politicians who are in charge of this topic, and working with the media.

What do you consider to be important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
I can only speak about my own domain. When it comes to the issue of global warming, for example, I feel like it’s the experts we should be listening to. So as far “my” issue of misinformation is concerned, I feel that more energy should be devoted to individual actors who spread misinformation. Too often, and especially in the West, this problem is perceived as technological - "let Facebook and Google change the algorithms and let it be the end of all our problems." Unfortunately, this is utter nonsense as social media channels are merely just a tool for information aggressors, and if we take one tool away from them, they will just end up using another one to continue their aggression. Metaphorically speaking, it’s not only necessary to punish a rifle gun manufacturer, but to also deal with the fact that we must also catch the mass murderer who chose to use a rifle to shoot at people in the first place. Because if a killer doesn’t have access to a particular weapon, he will just look for another one he can use.

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
Out of this year's new releases, I am still working on a book Putin's People by Catherine Belton who was a former correspondent for the Financial Times in Moscow. The book is about how the KGB took back Russia with the help of Putin after it nearly lost it during a short period of imperfect democracy under Yeltsin. There are moments in every few pages of the book that resonate with me. I find it quite depressing that despite having a summary of rather frightening facts about the Putin dictatorship, there are still plenty of world leaders who see Putin as a legitimate leader.

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Harald Katzmair (AU)

Director and founder of FASresearch and a leading expert in the field of applied social network analysis with a focus on power relations, innovation and strategic situation analysis. As a social scientist, management philosopher and entrepreneur, Harald Katzmair uses his understanding of network science and resilience theory to make new paths in strategy and decision-making processes.

How would you describe your work and your goals with regard to developments in social sciences?
During this time of crisis, when we experience disruption on all different fronts (economic, social, ecological, and geopolitical), accurate maps are critical. Those who know the terrain in which they operate - the hurdles, the traps, and especially the hidden paths - hold the tactical advantage, especially in an environment in which new opportunities and threats rapidly emerge and vanish. If you set off with the wrong map, you will soon exhaust yourself. If the paths on which we are compelled to travel are paved with shards of glass, sturdy boots are your only option. FASresearch therefore always attempts to uncover different paths and unconventional co-operations and thus tries to contribute to a more resilient society.

What do you consider to be important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
We can see how the current crisis magnifies the tensions between technology and society. The rich and manifold human relationships of our “normal” everyday life are reduced to only dyadic interactions in the virtual world. During our videocalls, we are focused more on ourselves and our own reflection than on the already reduced mimics and signalling of our opposite.
What troubles me most is the disruption of democracies that we are witnessing, the rise of authoritarianism around the globe, which is to some extent facilitated by the logic and economics of technology. Social media is affecting and activating our limbic system as we are tossed about by likes and dislikes, anger and fear. This social validation feedback loop undermines what is so crucial for a healthy and developing democracy: Deliberation and exchange of opinion – and not simply the triggering of our emotions. Democracy is essentially a political frame that allows us to get along with people who we disagree with.

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
Natasha Dow Schüll: Addiction by Design
David Brooks: The Second Mountain
Hanzi Freinacht: Nordic Ideology: A Metamodern Guide to Politics

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Petr Koubský (CZ)

Journalist, analyst of information and communication media, and teacher. Wrote and translated several books on IT, teaches at the Prague School of Economics and the Faculty of Philosophy of Charles University. He worked as a programmer, a journalist for Softwarové noviny (Software Newspaper), he was the editor-in-chief of Inside Magazine, director of iCollege and the publisher of the 067 web magazine.

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Ondřej Lánský (CZ)

Sociologist and social theorist. He heads the Department of Civics and Philosophy at the Faculty of Education at Charles University. He also works at the Institute of Philosophy of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. In the spring semester of 2017, he worked as a Fulbright Fellow at Rutgers University in New Jersey (USA).

How would you describe your work and goals in the field of sociology?
In recent years, I have been working intensively on the topic of oligarchs and the elite. I think that in the field of political sociology and political thinking this is one of the key topics of the present for both a Czech and global context. The global changes we will face in the coming decades, such as climate change, will be reflected in people's lives according to the structure of today's deepening inequalities. What the growing polarisation of societies, the cultural wars, the migratory changes taking place in many societies, the shift of focus of economic power from the West to the East and South, and the robotisation and automation of work all have in common is that they strengthen the positions of the economic elite, i.e. by creating or strengthening oligarchic structures. I would like to contribute to the understanding of these phenomena using a critical-theoretical scientific apparatus. In this respect, I am also interested in the ways in which scientists have tried to face great challenges in the past. I am focused, for example, on the effects of the so-called Mlynář's Team from the 1960s, which tried to prepare a reform of the Czechoslovak political system. But I also explore the phenomena of the changing world of labour in relation to the new role of algorithms and robots in our lives.

What do you consider important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
In particular, I consider it crucial today how humanity will respond to climate change. It poses a new type of problem that presents the real possibility of ending the existence of all life on Earth. This fact is difficult to accept and analyse on a professional level and represents an immense cognitive challenge also in a public space. We must get rid of our dependence on fossil fuels, change our political and economic systems so that they are able to respond effectively to these challenges, and so on, and all in an extremely short amount of time. However, the basis of these systemic changes is a radical redefinition of the concept of society and humankind. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that we cannot survive on neoliberal ideas about the world and humankind, simply because these ideas do not correspond to reality. Human society is a network that connects individuals with groups of people that depend on each other. We do not need further inequalities that weaken the possibility of cooperation and solidarity amongst people. It's also necessary to start working with an expanded idea of the planetary community in this timetable. Obviously, no human society can be made equal in all respects, but I believe it must be egalitarian: your origin or the performance you are capable of must not determine the level and quality of life you get. Perhaps an even greater challenge is to start talking about life itself as a kind of entity that deserves specific considerations in our decisions about how to act.

What resonated with you the most out of this year’s literature and artistic releases?
In recent years, I've enjoyed relaxing with a good sci-fi book. I have grown to like Chinese fiction writer Liu Cixin, although I am aware that some of his views are problematic. This became especially evident during the time when he was essentially defending the Chinese government's current repression of the Uighurs. Such attitudes are, of course, unacceptable to me. However, his novels from recent years are worth paying attention to, so I must commemorate them. In his Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy, he tells the story of the fall or end of humanity. One of the characters invites enemy aliens with the words, "Come. Our civilisation is unable to solve its problems. We need outside intervention." And only after the arrival of these extraterrestrials does humanity begin to unite in an effort to save itself. However, our current state of the world might indicate that this scenario is probably not entirely realistic. When we look at the actual coronavirus pandemic as a danger in the form of extraterrestrials in a sci-fi novel (with the Czech Republic serving as an example), it not only reveals all of our unsolved problems but also probably confirms them: the polarisation of society, a deep-rooted post-November individualistic ethos favoring me over you (for example, by not going abroad on holiday), etc. The challenge of climate change is and will continue to be more and more serious. If we view COVID-19 as just "a fire drill" of what's to come once the climate crisis hits us real hard, then I'm afraid I'm not sure our species will be able to weather the storm.

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Lukáš Likavčan (SK)

Lukáš Likavčan is a theorist and researcher. He specialises in the philosophy of technology, political ecology, and the theory of visual cultures. He teaches at the FAMU Center for Audiovisual Studies in Prague and at the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow. He is the author of Introduction to Comparative Planetology (Strelka Press, 2019).

How would you describe your work and your goals at the intersection of political ecology, philosophy of technologies and visual culture?
My work seeks to trace the "cosmic background" of the climate crisis - its tacit assumptions in our ways of seeing, displaying, thinking, and reshaping planet Earth. It is against this cosmic background that culture mixes with technology and creates the conditions for the emergence of a society based on a new concept for our place in planetary reality.

In the light of our present situation, what are the matters which in your view deserve utmost societal concern?
We should redefine what collectivity means and how it’s the real prerequisite for freedom and autonomy. This is the starting point for all other reflections on how to change our lives at an individual and social level in the face of environmental catastrophe.

What resonated with you the most out of this year’s literature and artistic releases?
I am very happy that this year, thanks to Neklid Publishing House, a Czech translation of the book Down to Earth by Bruno Latour was published. As with my book, it’s an exercise in "comparative planetology." Latour's philosophy has been a great source of inspiration for me for several years now and I am glad that Czech readers can now finally cross paths with its most current form.

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Dita Malečková (CZ)

Studied philosophy and information science at Charles University. Between the years of 2009 and 2019, she worked at the New Media Studies Department at the Faculty of Arts at Charles University, where she lectured on contemporary philosophy, visual culture, art, and new media. Since 2019, she has been working with neural networks (specifically on the Digital Philosopher and Digital Writer projects).

How would you describe your work and your goals in terms of new media development?
I became interested in new media relatively late, sometime around 2008. Until then, I had considered just book pages, paper, and a pen to be sufficient tools for teaching philosophy. Gradually, however, I came to realize that this discipline is now absolutely essential (not just for philosophically-minded people, but mainly for them). I was and always have been interested in free experimentation (whether it be within the field of thought or artistic creation) and all the hybrid works and pinnacles of contemporary imagination that combine artistic creativity and technological ingenuity.

What do you consider to be important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
On the same token, this very broad discipline of new media is definitely one that we should be following when it comes to societal, and even planetary, events. Personally, I’ve been focusing on artificial intelligence and its current development, including social and political conditions and its relationship to the history of rationality.

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
In terms of literature, I started reading Hegel's Phenomenology of the World (Hegelova fenomenologie světa) by Tereza Matějčková and Unthought by N. Katherine Hayles, which deals with the phenomenon of unconscious cognitive processes.
In general, however, I can say that probably due to the pandemic and the overall regrouping of interests and opportunities, this year I enjoyed mainly small DIY festivals that combine music, performance, art installations, video projections, natural environment, and magical practices into a new type of assemblage", i.e. a dynamic network in which actors become participants and creators in a special way. I would even go so far as to call this a new type of harmony.

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Matěj Pohorský (CZ)

His articles regularly appear at Warengo, a Czech social media for investors, where he shares his 2-year experience with being an Uber driver among other topics. He focuses on market changes in transport services after the invention of Uber and the place this company occupies in the legislative framework, offering an insight into the workings of this transnational giant.

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Kateřina Smejkalová (CZ)

Researcher at the German public think-tank Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and publicist. She focuses mainly on social implications of technology, work and its future, commenting on current events in Germany. She has studied German and political science at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany.

How would you describe your work and your goals in regard to work and technology?
I try mainly to critically analyse the social consequences of technology because I think this topic doesn’t resonate much in our country. There’s this kind of free-market techno-optimism telling us that everything business comes up with and customers ask for is okay or even desirable. In this regard, I’m especially interested in fundamental issues such as the changes of work and changes in power relations. These issues also include socio-psychological and political implications of various technologies, from digital platforms through autonomous vehicles to smart production lines.

What do you consider important in the light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
I think the most neglected topic are the innermost aspects of digital technology – its political economy that is qualitatively transforming the global economic and political system. It’s essentially an invisible, data-driven power regime. We don’t usually think about such consequences when we use Google or Facebook, for example. But in the long term, it’s the most revolutionary and also the most disturbing thing.

What resonated with you the most out of this year’s literature and artistic releases?
I liked the novel Praskliny (Cracks) by Klára Vlasáková. It takes place in a world where all the megatrends of our time such as the automation of work or climate change are a little more advanced. I also appreciate the theatrical adaptation of the report on low-income occupations Hrdinové kapitalistické práce (The Heroes of Capitalist Labour) at the Divadlo Komedie theatre. Director Michal Hába shows that there are a lot of jobs where digitalization is either irrelevant, or it may be a release from a living hell. Provided the workers had something else to live off.

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Philipp Staab (DE)

Professor of the Sociology of the Future of Work at Humboldt University Berlin and Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF). As a sociologist he deals with questions of technological change, labor, political economy and social inequality.

How would you describe your work and your goals in relation to digital capitalism?
In recent years I have worked on a theory of digital capitalism which was published in 2019. I see digital capitalism as an emerging formation in which leading corporations of the commercial internet operate as a vanguard. What is rather unique about these companies is that they have managed to literally establish themselves as market owners or as I call it “proprietary markets” thereby accumulating enormous power within the economy and society.

What do you consider to be important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
Digital capitalisms leading companies are moving from consumer markets into the realm of public goods. They increasingly operate as providers of basic infrastructures. Where regulation doesn´t work, we need to build public alternatives.

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
We need to combine the thoughts of proponents of public goods such as the Foundational Economy Collective (their research work Foundational Economy: The infrastructure of everyday life) with an understanding of digital infrastructure like the one José van Dijck and others have developed (book The Platform Society: Public Values in a Connective World).

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Eva Svobodová (CZ)

Current affairs editor on Radio Wave in the Czech Radio. As a student of political science at Charles University, she carried out research on anti-Islamic protest movement in the Czech Republic. At present, she’s interested in Parisian suburbs. She worked with autistic children for two years. She spent another year teaching preschool Roma children.

How would you describe your work and your goals?
I’m a current affairs editor. I make interviews, reports, and try to see what’s behind the corner.

What do you consider important in the light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
The most pressing issue at this point is of course the coronavirus pandemic. It lets us see how difficult it is to solve global problems, including climate change. I also keep asking myself how to address global issues at a global level and not to make them far off the reality of people in various states and at the same time, not to ignore locally specific problems.

What resonated with you the most out of this year’s literature and artistic releases?
Thinking about this question, I’ve realized that I haven’t been to the cinema or seen an exhibition since the spring lockdown. At the beginning of the year, I liked Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire). As for books, I liked, for example, En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule (The End of Eddy B.) by Edouard Louis, brilliantly translated [into Czech] by Sára Vybíralová.

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Viktor Třebický (CZ)

Worked in ecology, environmental protection, and sustainable development for almost a quarter of a century. He studied these fields at Charles University in Prague and at UJEP in Ústí nad Labem. In his dissertation, he dealt with the connection between tourism and nature conservation at Šumava National Park. He worked at the Institute for Ecopolitics and has been a part of the Team Initiative for Local Sustainable Development since 2004. Since 2013, he has been active in the non-profit organisation CI2, o.p.s., of which he is a co-founder.

How would you describe your work and your goals in the field of ecology?
I try to "translate" the complex links between man and resources (or "nature") into numbers that would be comprehensible even to second graders in elementary school. In other words, I deal mainly with the behavior of individuals, companies, and cities and their influence on the environment and try to express my findings numerically. I have participated in a number of projects in this area, resulting in the first-ever publication on humans’ ecological footprint in the Czech language in 2000 (Rábelová, E., Třebický, V. Bendl, J .: Will the Earth carry civilisation? The environment, migration security, and ecological footprint, Planeta 2000, VIII, 1/2000) and a number of related publications. I also often give lectures and lead discussions, now unfortunately mainly through video. I designed a personal ecological footprint calculator, calculators designed for cities and schools, and a personal carbon footprint calculator. As part of my work at CI2, o.p.s., I currently deal primarily with the carbon and environmental footprint on a corporate level, but also in public administration.

What do you consider to be important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
Maybe I’m a bit biased due to my field, but I believe that the biggest challenge for humanity will be climate change.

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
In my area, especially after working in it for 25 years, it’s easy to fall into skepticism and environmental grief. The numbers don't look good, scientists are bringing us new evidence every day that the climate is changing much faster than we thought ten or twenty years ago. On the contrary, I am optimistic about the interest of the young generation in ecology and climate change. It's all about their world. And there are many examples of how some things are changing for the better, including on a local level.
In terms of books, I was fascinated by the two-part memoirs of Stanislav Komárek entitled
Cities and Towns. I was already a huge fan of his rich, interdisciplinary lectures at the faculty. In his memoirs, he managed to poignantly capture a world that has already disappeared, such as a South Bohemian village in the 1960s.

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Droplets (Jitka Cejkova, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, 2018)

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If you want to delve deeper into this topic, we offer you a selection of the most interesting sources that we came across while thinking through the program of this year's Inspiration Forum.

TTF Series: Jussi Parikka on Geology of Media (Strelka Institute) 

Music and video streaming services underwent a huge amount of development over the past decade. However, every single streaming of a show on Netflix or a song on Spotify has an environmental footprint. The media theorist and author of A Geology of Media, Jussi Parikka, reminds us in his work that even the digital world has a material foundation – from the minerals, metals and chemicals without which out phones and computers couldn’t work to the e-waste they eventually become and data centres that consume ludicrous amounts of energy. In a podcast from the Strelka Institute (where Parikka is a faculty member), he talks about which cultural theory would be the most appropriate for the period of climate disruption, technological advances and large-scale infrastructures in which we currently live.



Nick Srnicek: The only way to rein in big tech is to treat them as a public service (The Guardian)

A few years ago, the Canadian philosopher Nick Srnicek wrote the book Platform Capitalism (with a Czech translation currently in the works), in which he observed the emergence and rise of tech companies like Facebook, Google or the controversial app Uber. He described these digital platforms as tools that create and subsequently mine a new type of resource – the data produced by people using their platforms. In a last year's article for The Guardian, he hypothesised that competition on its own is not enough to tame these tech giants. He offered a radical vision based according to which these issues could be partially solved by nationalising these companies.

“It’s competition for ad dollars that drives Google, Facebook and Amazon to ignore privacy concerns and expand data collection. It’s the struggle to dominate voice interfaces and smart-home data that leads Amazon and Google to aggressively push their surveillance machines into our homes. It’s competition for attention that leads apps and platforms to make their products as addictive as possible. It’s competition for users and engagement that makes Twitter, Facebook and others turn a blind eye to abuse, fake news and far-right radicalisation. And it’s competition over who will be the dominant AI provider that leads the tech giants to constantly colonise new sources of data. The government’s efforts to increase competition risk simply aggravating these problems.“

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