Intervention #26: Extrasensory-Aesthetics Research Working Group

Intervention #26: Extrasensory-Aesthetics Research Working Group

The Rod Technology

Jan Kolský and Matěj Pavlík, two of the four members of the Extrasensory-Aesthetics Research Working Group, have embarked on a new project that follows
up on their work for the Jindřich Chalupecký Award 2020 in the PLATO Gallery in
Ostrava. The authors once again present their film Looking for Dowsers by Means of
Drought and continue to elaborate on the topic of psychotronics, this time in the
context of the Czech military.

Extrasensory-Aesthetics Research Working Group was founded in 2017 and its
current members include Jan Kolský, Vojtěch Märc, Matěj Pavlík and Peter Sit. The
work of the group is based on ongoing research of Czechoslovak parapsychology
and on the belief that art can become a tool for social learning. The Group explores
the limits of science and art and examines their language that often stems from
esoteric principles.  Their work refers to technology and magic and their connection
with art, the occasional inability to distinguish between the two spheres, and the
various forms of rationality employed in these fields. They study the effect
of extrasensory perception on contemporary art, perceived as part of the world which
has been conjured away and conjured up again  Their research of
phenomena like telepathy and telekinesis hopes to refine our attention towards non-
standard ways of creation and transmission of information and peculiar methods of
manipulation. The outputs of the Working Group have been presented, among
others, at Josef Sudek Studio in Prague as part of the Fotograf Festival, in the Cursor
Gallery in Prague, at LOM in Bratislava, online and in a forest as part of a program
organized by the Institute of Anxiety.


Curatorial text

"All living and non-living things, humans and other organisms are immersed in an
ocean of energetic ether", says Lieutenant Colonel Ing. Václav Morávek, head of the Scientific Club of Psychotronics at the Military Technical College in Liptovský Mikuláš, in a documentary made by Viliam Poltikovič in 1990. The term "energy field” is defined as a multi-component physical field in which the entire Earth and other entities in the universe are immersed. Its deformation gives rise to so-called geoanomalous zones, such as cavities, geological faults, groundwater, etc. These zones affect the entire life on our planet – and humans in particular. They disturb our stability and, according to psychotronics, may cause serious physical and psychological illnesses.

Extrasensory-Aesthetics Research Working Group (represented by Jan Kolský and Matěj Pavlík) has long been concerned with so-called parapsychological phenomena in Czechoslovak history. Currently, their reflections on non-standard transmissions of energy, thoughts, information, but also matter (known as telepathy, telekinesis or telesthesia) are shifting focus towards the field of the military. They reveal the background and little-known facts about Czechoslovak military research, which became internationally renowned and reached its prime in the second half of the 20th century during so-called psychological wars, the methods of which are applied to this day. It was psychotronics that aspired to play a decisive role during the Cold War, as apparent in the promotional military films of the time. From their position of visual artists, the authors also point to the object of the dowsing rod – the fascinating possibilities of this instrument that, although simple in terms of shape and material, has remarkable results in conjunction with a certain setting of human consciousness. Interestingly, even some contemporary military technologies used to detect objects or people also employ a sort of a hybrid form of this traditional rod.

The Rod Technology installation explores these and other themes through three different types of media. One of them, the film Looking for Dowsers by Means of Drought, was first presented at the Jindřich Chalupecký Award 2020 exhibition. It comprises two case studies of extrasensory perception: portraying a retired deposit geologist, filmed while conducting a dowsing course, and a graduate geophysicist, whose own methodology for delineating and blocking geopathogenic zones is used in the construction of residential houses, as well as on construction jobs commissioned by private and state institutions. The documentary is accompanied with an authorial photograph that reconstructs the practice of searching for objects through a map using a rod. The last documentary media is a series of photograms. This technique allowed the artists to reproduce and copy contemporary writings, adding to and layering them into fictional narratives. Therefore, we can speak of a (re)construction of a historical archive or a kind of information assemblage. The text used as the basis or the photograms was discovered in the estate of Zdeněk Rejdák, the founder of psychotronics, and was probably written in the 1980s to defend the purpose of Ing. Václav Morávek’s seminar and his unique research on psychotronics in the military context.

The exhibition is intended neither as a critique nor a celebration of psychotronics, but rather as an observation and a record of the process of artistic and scientific research. The factual information serves as a starting point for further interpretations. In the context of interdisciplinary dialogue, they point to the possibilities of a visual language which allows communicating phenomena that are not perceivable by the senses. On a more general level, we can explore the potential of the image and its ability to influence reality.

Author of the text: Barbora Ciprová