s e j n b o h e m i ae r o s a
BOHEMIÆ ROSA 1995
SITE / BODY EXPLORATION
MSENO, KOKORÍN VALLEY
4–19 September 1995
A grant project of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague
International interdisciplinary open-air workshop
Fund for the University Development, Bohemiæ Rosa Foundation
“Dance is all the knowledge, seeing, building …”
Rudolph von Laban, 1920
In the Kokorín valley natural reserve, approx. 50 km NE of Prague, the first international interdisciplinary
open-air workshop of the Bohemiae Rosa Foundation took place. Here, according to “Miscellanea
Historica Regni Bohemiæ” by Bohuslao Balbino, 1679, are “…dreadful gorges, from which – according to
the assumptions of our ancestors – the northern windstorms come.” Kokorín valley on the river Psovka as
one of the most prominent cretaceous sites of the Bohemian Massif is an ideal location for spontaneous
experience and deeper understanding of the ancient relationship between man and landscape.
Simultaneously it is a place quite typical for amalgamation of architecture, landscape and spiritual history.
The aim of Bohemiæ Rosa Foundation’s activities is an investigation of such locations and, through
challenging such places using the art media, discovering and improving the lost sensitivity of our bodies.
The study of anthropogenic shapes of a landscape through wandering, the recognition of the relationship
of genius loci to one’s own body using bodily exercises which improve one’s sensitivity, as well as exercise
for focusing, lead to events which incorporate the features of theatre, performance and an art event. An
important achievement, as a result of the workshop activities, was changes in the participants’ perception in
terms of its positive improvement.
The teachers of the 1st year of the Bohemiæ Rosa workshop were specialists in dance, architecture and
creative art: Frank van de Ven from Holland, one of the outstanding contemporary dancers, a member
of the former Min Tanaka’s Mai-juku group; Jiﬁí Vorel, one of the few Czech representatives of ground
organic architecture; and Milos Sejn, a teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, a non-conformist
explorer between art and science. Siri Austeen, a Norwegian representative of bodily and sound art, was the
guest teacher; Martin Janícek from Conceptual Media School of Milos Sejn was the assistant. The
workshop team consisted of 17 students selected upon applications from the Academy of Fine Arts,
Academy of Music and Drama, Philosophical Faculty of Charles’ University in Prague, Kunstakademie in
Stuttgart and the Philosophical Faculty of the Budapest University.
The schedules of the events, the manner of introducing the tasks and their fulfilment, as well as the forms
of the final output, were recorded in text and pictures, although making a record of them is close to
impossible. It is difficult to say with certainty whether it was the pre-architectural shaping of the space, predance
finding of the body memory’s resonance with the landscape memory, or pre-musical distribution and
visualisation of time. Group work was the basic method, and inner experience, the surpassing of oneself
and changes of perception were the goals achieved.
The interdisciplinary workshop Bohemiæ Rosa went far beyond the intention of the original project, which
had aimed mainly at the teaching of architecture. The co-operation of teachers of dance, architecture,
creative art and music with students who also represented a large scale of interests, lead in may respects to
introducing such tasks and to such reactions to the location’s atmosphere which still cannot be thought of
within only one school. But it is probably the opening of a new road to the creative knowledge.
This type of workshop was, for the students as well as for their teachers, an ideal opportunity to find and
participate in the research of new approaches to teaching the humanisation of land and of the human it.
Frank van de Ven
Body Weather Laboratory
The body is not a fixed entity, but just like the weather, constantly changing. The accurate observing of
these changes (in fact a beautiful dance in itself) and a neutral and thorough re-examination of our (often
unconscious) movement patterns and possibilities are among the most important themes of Body-Weather
Style and form are irrelevant; movement is stripped of all ornaments and what remains is the reality of the
body in its ever-changing state.
The work can be divided into 3 parts:
– MB (mind/body, muscles/bones) is an energetic, dynamic and rhythmic movement workout to develop
strength, flexibility and grounding
– series of “manipulations”, done in couples, concerned with breathing, stretching, relaxation and
– a great variety of exercises (isolation, work with images, with elements of nature, “blind” movement) all
designed to explore and expand the movement-vocabulary.
Body weather workshop was developed by dancer Min Tanaka and is at the base of the work with his
Frank van de Ven lived and worked from 1983 to 1991 in Japan and was a member of Mai-juku. He still
works some months a year with Min Tanaka and Mai-juku; currently he lives in NL-1052 AG Amsterdam,
de Wittenkade 101, tel./fax 20-6842568.
A Lesson on Clay Architecture
Types of clay and the nature of wood. The character of the site, excavation, dwelling and a shelter.
The preparation of clay aggregates, reinforcing elements.
Wooden construction and the principle of clay dab.
The inhabited space of the building.
Jiﬁí Vorel currently lives and works in CZ-289 34 Rozdalovice 83.
Landscape as a Laboratory
Silent walks, pilgrimage and wandering about a landscape by day or by night, the contemplation of one and
the same place – these are exercises to improve the visual and hap tic sensitivity. The experience of the
accord of one•s own body and the earth enriches the changes in the mind.
Among these activities, the processuality and interdisciplinary features of the fine art work are stressed out,
as well as the free choice of the media.
Water caverns inside the landscape of your body•s flame is not a metaphor.
Milo‰ ·ejn teaches at the Academy of Fine Art in Prague, where he leads the studio for the
conceptual/process approach to art.
He lives in CZ-50601 Jicín, Pod lipami 906, tel.: +420 493 531666.
GENERAL PROPOSAL FOR FIRST WEEK
morning – basic ideas of workshop, discussion
MB – mind/body, muscles/bones / back walk, relaxation with trees
afternoon – blind walk (in couple, about 1–2km mutual introduction of the participants, discussions
evening – short walk in trees on one•s own
night homework – dream about the river being in each of us.
One day walk over all main valleys, gorges and paths inside a ten km wide (long) ellipse axed
(centred) on the P‰ovka brook. Silently.
night homework – dream creating of mental map
morning – MB / very slow walk (a line) silently / sitting or lying – among eyes, finger
and landscape / hearted details – close eyes
evening – sun red in closed eyes
night – wide-open eyes (luminous darkness / whole detail)
night homework – dream light of plants
all day – Earth hole / Earth wall
digging of ground and mixing it with grass by the hand – starve and
evening – translucent body – starve and silently
night – campfire
all day – throwing a branch around Kokoﬁín Valleys
Starting from where you will find it, threw a branch, walk to its landing place and from there threes it
forward again. Be continued throwing the branch and walking in this way on a circular route, ending
at the place where you first picked up the branch.
night homework – dress earth from which your motions by day grew
morning – free
Touches on the ground, tree, rock ... – glancing eye.
Closed eye: bird of prey vanishes into a bright blue cloudless sky.
afternoon – preparation on the night march and bivouac
from September 9 to 10
19.20 – 6.43 September Full Moon over the Kokoﬁín Valley
Travelling in a wide bow from M‰eno by way criss-cross trees valleys to the camp-rock shelter
morning – dreaming / from 12 walking by the Duck road to the M‰eno camp.
night – wide-open eyes (with alternating close eyes)
seeing luminous things – earth, grass, water ...
night homework – dream light your blood as cloudy water
couple watching morning landscape – sun, fogs, horizons
journey through the rocks labyrinth into the body – down the gorge, finding place, little music,
outside the body into the landscape
warming up walk
how to approach any wonderful place in a different way
sliding head down on the back across the roots of giant spruce
pressing, hanging over the rock
scars of the body / landscape / body
How else a beautiful place can be touched.
A negative picture of the branching “nerves” in the Kokoﬁín valley. The location of two trips
(wandering around) of the workshop participants and the spot of the cry for and towards the Moon
on the Full Moon on 10 September.
Concentration at the candlelight as the inspiration for the bodily dance (expression).
Frank van de Ven / Milos Sejn: duo performance at the forest theatre, Debﬁ gorge.
Milos S·ejn / 1813 locations, colour dyes and structures.
Around 150 locations are the result of a collection in the gorge Debr near Mseno in the last evening
of the workshop.
Jirí Vorel / House building
Moss – Body
Through the rock labyrinth
Siri Austeen / Toes & Mouth of Clay
Yowling on Moon