s e j n                                                                    b o h e m i ae   r o s a






B o h e m i ae  R o s a   24 - 30 August 2013

S i t e B o d y E x p l o r a t i o n

The Elbe Sandstone Mountains - The Czech Republic & Germany


International Interdisciplinary Open-Air Workshop for dancers and artists exploring the relation among body, art and landscape

led by Frank van de Ven, Milos Sejn / Václav Cílek as a guest

Suported by Bohemiae Rosa Foundation, The Bohemian & Saxon Switzerland National Parks, The Elbe Sandstone Mountains, Europarc Federation


The table mountain Lilienstein is the symbol of the Saxon Switzerland National Park (Germany) (Photo by Frank Richter)


Since 1995 Milos Sejn and Frank van de Ven have co-operated in their bi-annual interdisciplinary open-air Body-Site-Exploration projects in various National & Cultural Reserves in the Czech Republic (Kokorin Valley, Plasy Monastery, Bohemian Karst, Bechyne Monastery with the Luznice River, Bohemian Paradise, Sumava and Krkonose Mountains, Kuks Spa) known as the Bohemiae Rosa Project.


This 11th edition of the Bohemiae Rosa Project, which will take place in an area known from the begining of 19th century as „Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland“, will evolve in the famous historical landscape with figurative rocks, caves, valleys, brooks, forests, groves and meadows. Walking and working in the Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland we investigate the historical relation of Body and Landscape and its signification and relation to contemporary Performing Arts.


The program will include:

•        MB -(mind/body, muscles/bones) dance training

•        practice of and reflection on physical and mental training

•        walking and wandering, silent walk, pilgrimage and nocturnal journeys

•        various modes of experiencing body, movement and landscape

•        investigating divergent senses of space and time

•        peripatetic records, drawing, writing, immediate contact with surroundings

•        mental topography of a location, myth, archaic mind and genius loci

•        geology, archaeology and history of the Bohemian Paradise as a model of self: layers, vertical connections and labyrinths


An integral part of the workshop will be the individual artistic projects that participants are encouraged to formulate and work on for about 1 to 2 hours a day. (in the fields architecture, landscape art, dance, performance, photography, sculpture, theatre, visual arts, biology and natural history). The workshop leaders are available to guide and support these processes.


The body is a landscape in itself moving within the larger frame of the given surrounding environment. The vertical and horizontal layering of the (historical) landscape invites us to reflect upon our own layers and connections of self and imagination.


Participants profile: for artists and advanced students working in the fields of performance, dance, landscape art, sculpture, photography, architecture, theatre, visual arts, biology and natural history.



Practical information



24 - 30 August - 2013, arrival evening of 23 August
Meeting Place: Tadeáš Hanke School, 407 44 Chřibská 280 (near Děčín), Czech Republic

GPS N 50°51.64698', E 14°28.85842'


Accessible by train from Prague Masaryk station - Děčín and then by bus from Děčín to Varnsdorf direction - Chřibská station or by car from Prague, cross Mělník, Česká Lípa and Nový Bor.


The number of participants is limited. We recommend early applications.


Bring sleeping bag, sheets, work/yoga mat, backpack for day hikes, raincoat and hiking boots.

There will be space to put up tents, bring one if you want.

All participants must have a personal insurance and must provide a copy of this before start of the project.

For artists and advanced students working in the fields of performance, dance, landscape art, sculpture, photography, architecture, theatre, visual arts, biology and natural history.

No previous (dance) training is necessary but the workshop will be physically and mentally demanding, therefore a good overall condition is required.

To apply send name, a short c.v. and a motivation letter to
Frank van de Ven
or Milos Sejn ms@sejn.cz.

From Bohemiae Rosa Project – September 11

2003 Bohemiae Rosa V Bohemian Paradise




E   X   T   E   N   D   E   D          I   N   F   O   R   M   A   T   I   O   N


The 300 m deep canyon of the Elbe River near Děčín (Czech Republic) (Photo by Vaclav Sojka)

Elbe Sandstones (Czech Republic/Germany)
Radek Mikulas
, Jirí Adamovic, Handrij Härtel, Pavel Benda, MilošTrýzna and Lenka Kucerová  

Name(s) of the sandstone region (incl. synonyms): Elbe Sandstones, Elbsandsteingebirge, Labské pískovce, Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland, Sachsisch-Bohmische Schweiz, Českosaské Švýcarsko
Geographical location:
northern Bohemia (Czech Republic) and southeastern Saxony (Germany)
Central coordinates: 50053'N, 14°24'E
The nearest large cities:
Dresden (Germany), Děčín (Czech Republic)
Area: 700 km2
Min. and max. altitude: 125 m (the Elbe River near Pirna, Saxony) - 726 m (Vysoký Sněžník Hill near Děčín, Bohemia)

The Elbe Sandstones, known also under the romantic name Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland, are an erosional landscape lining the Elbe River valley on both sides of the German-Czech border. The region represents a part of the large Bohemian Cretaceous Basin. This part of the basin is formed by quartzose sandstones of Cenomanian to Coniacian age (mostly Middle Turonian), which were deposited in a shallow sea during a time span of 10-12 million years. The whole sandstone package was originally up to 1000 m thick. The block of the Elbe Sandstones is separated from the subsided block of the Eger Graben by the Krušné hory (Erzgebirge) Fault in the south and from the uplifted blocks of the Krkonoše-Jizera Crystalline Complex by the Lusatian Fault in the northeast. Small tectonic blocks of Jurassic (limestones and calcareous sandstones) and Permian (sandstones) rocks are exposed closer to the Lusatian Fault between Kyjov and Doubice. Movements on the Lusatian Fault in the latest Cretaceous were accompanied by the emplacement of basaltic dykes striking east-northeast-west-southwest (Zeughausgang). Many fracture zones of the same orientation were impregnated with iron oxyhydroxides. Other volcanic bodies in the area are younger, Tertiary in age.

Fracturing along the Lusatian Fault and volcanic intrusions were the main factors in the creation of typical sandstone relief of the Elbe Sandstones. A whole range of geomorphic forms are well represented, ranging from microforms to macroforms: honeycombs, mushroom rocks, cliffs and pillars, rock walls, arches, gorges and canyons, rock cities and table mountains. The whole area is cut by the 100-300 m deep canyon of the Elbe River between Děčín and Pirna, representing a unique landscape, at least in a Central European context. Outcrops of crystalline basement occur at some places in the deepest parts of the canyon. Most table mountains are situated on the Saxon side, e.g. Königstein, Grosser and Kleiner Zschirnstein or Lilienstein - symbol of the Saxon Switzerland; however, the highest and most massive one - the Vysoký Sněžník Hill (Hoher Schneeberg, 726 m a.s.l.) is situated on the Bohemian side. The most famous object of the whole area is the Pravčická brána Arch (Prebischtor) - the biggest sandstone arch in Europe, 16 m high and 27 m wide. Very narrow and deep valleys were also created by the Kamenice River, Chřibská Kamenice River, Polenz Stream and Křinice/Kirnitzsch River. Among the rock cities, the Tiské stěny Cliffs (Tyssaer Wände) are the best known.

The most prominent basaltic intrusion is the one of the Růžovský vrch Hill (Rosenberg, 619 m a.s.l.) in Bohemian Switzerland, lined by an apron of basaltic block fields. On the Saxon side, the Grosser Winterberg Hill (556 m) is the highest volcanic elevation.

Moderately warm area. Average annual temperatures 7-8 °C; however, inversion valleys and gorges are significantly colder. Precipitation: 750-850 mm per year.

Flora and vegetation
The region of the Elbe Sandstones is covered mostly by forests. A typical manifestation of the phenomenon of these sandstone rock areas is an inversion of the vegetation levels, leading to the presence of montane and sub-montane species at heights above sea level of only about 150 m (e.g., Viola biflora, Lycopodium annotinum, Dentaria enneaphyllos, Streptopus amplexifolius, bryophytes Hygrobiella laxifolia, Anastrophyllum michauxii). The presence of Atlantic and sub-Atlantic species (e.g. Chrysosplenium oppositifolium, Juncus squarrosus, Hypericum humifusum, Galium saxatile, Luronium natans, Hypericum pulchrum, Trichomanes speciosum (gametophytes; Vogel et al. 1993) and formerly also Hymenophyllum tunbrigense) is a very typical feature for this area. The occurrence of boreal elements Ledum palustre and Empetrum nigrum on sandstone rock walls and in canyon-valleys is also a remarkable phenomenon of this region.

 The natural forest vegetation of the area is determined by dominant acidophilous beech and spruce-beech forests (Luzulo-Fagetum) on sandstones, enriched by herb-rich beech forests (Melico-Fagetum) on volcanic hills. On the sandstone rocks, typical communities are pine (Dicrano-Pinetum, Ledum palustre-Pinus sylvestris comm.) and oak-pine forests (Vaccinio vitisidaeae-Quercetum) .

The Elbe Sandstones are characterised by large woods, numerous rock walls and pillars that determine the occurrence of the following species: black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), pygmy owl (Glaucidium passerinum), Tengmalm's owl (Aegolius funereus) and eagle owl (Bubo bubo). Old beech forests are colonized by red-breasted flycatcher (Ficedula parva), stock dove (Columba oenas) or grey-headed woodpecker (Picus canus). The populations of garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) and edible dormouse (Glis glis) are important. Bigger mammals are represented e.g. by red deer (Cervus elaphus) and since 1908 also by the introduced population of chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra). One of their main predators is the lynx (Lynx lynx). Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) and raven (Corvus corax) typically nest on rocks. Rock crevices are an important winter quarters of some bat species, e.g. noctule (Nyctalus noctula) or pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus). The frequent occurrence of the viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara) is also typical for the region. Watercourses are colonized by characteristic species - European brook lamprey (Lampetra planen), brown trout (Salmo trutta), grayling (Thymallus thymallus), common sculpin (Cottus gobio) and thanks to the re-introduction also salmon (Salmo safar). Often met are fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra), dipper (Cinclus cinclus) and grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea). Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), water shrew (Neomys fodiens) and otter (Lutra lutra) occur also regularly, in the Elbe River along with beaver (Castor fiber). Local watercourses are an important nourishment base for the black stork (Ciconia nigra). Characteristic dwellers of stagnant watersheds are the smooth newt (Triturus vulgaris), alpine newt (Triturus alpestris) and grass snake (Natrix natrix).
Typical dwellers of a small non-forest landscape enclave are corncrake (Crex crex), quail (Coturnix coturnix), whinchat (saxicola rubetra) and western polecat (Muste/a putorius). A number of rare invertebrate species live in the Elbe Sandstones.
Endemic species are the grasshopper Pholidoptera aptera ssp. bohemica and the diptera Phorbia kulai. The lucanid beetle Ceruchus chrysomelinus and the ground beetle Carabus irregulars rarely occur in beech forests. In inversion locations species, which would normally appear exclusively in mountain locations, are found e.g. the weevils Liparus glabrirostris, Plinthus tischeri, Otiorhynchus lepidopterus and Notaris aterrimus, the leaf-beetles Minota obesa and Timarcha metallica, the ground beetle Carabus problematicus and the click-beetle Seticus subaeneus. The occurrence of more than 1000 species of butterflies has been confirmed, rare are e.g. Euphydryas aurinia, Heteropterus morpheus and the white butterfly Aporia crataegi. Near watercourses the dragonflies Calopteryx splendens, Cordulegaster boltonii and Ophiogomphus cecilia can be encountered, other dragonfly species are on the contrary characteristic for stagnant watersheds - sympetrum danae, Aeschna juncea and Leucorrhinia dubia.

 Protected areas
here are 4 large-scale protected areas in the region of the Elbe Sandstones: (i) České Švýcarsko (Bohemian Switzerland) National Park (since 2000,80 km2, (ii) Labské pískovce (Elbe Sandstones) Protected Landscape Area (since 1972),245 km2, (iii) Sachsische Schweiz (Saxon Switzerland) National Park (since 1990), 93 km2, (iv) Sachsische Schweiz Protected Landscape Area (since 1956), 287 km2. A number of small-scale protected areas (nature reserves and monuments) are also present in the Elbe Sandstones as well as Natura 2000 sites: Labské pískovce SPA, České Švýcarsko SAC, Labské údolí SAC a.o.

 Main conservation efforts
Provision of adequate and high-quality protection of the natural and landscape environment in an undivided area, In a comprehensive and balanced range of natural, semi-natural and man-made ecosystems which fully represent the landscape of the Bohemian Paradise, (ii) active, focused and sustainable care for the natural, landscape and cultural environment aiming to maintain biological diversity and control invasive species, (iii) preservation and optimization of the landscape potential for sustainable tourism and adequate commercial utilization of the landscape of the Bohemian Paradise, (iv) the development of a unified, environmentally friendly method of management and utilization of the landscape while preserving the character of the landscape and the high potential of natural and cultural values.

Basic literature
Čeřovský and Härtel (2000), Härtel and Hadincová (1998), Lobst (ed.) (1993), Rast (1959), Riebe et al. (1999), Valečka (ed.) (1997), Vogel et al. (1993)

Contacts and further information
The Elbe Sandstone Mountains

 Excerpt from: Sandstone Landscapes, Handrij Härtel, Václav Cílek, Tomáš Herben, Andrew Jackson, Rendel Williams (eds.), ACADEMIA in collaboration with Bohemian Switzerland National Park Administration and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Prague 2007

From Bohemiae Rosa Project – September 11



Milos Sejn works in the fields of visual art, performance and study of visual perception. From the beginning of the 1960s he took pictures, drew, collected and described his observations of nature during his wanderings through the Czech landscape. Currently he teaches mixed media and the relationship of nature and art as intrinsic needs of the mind, and focuses on immediate creative possibilities, based upon relations between historical humanized landscapes and intact nature. 
CD ROMs: Colorvm Natvrae Varietas (Centrum for Culture and Communication in Budapest c3, 2000); Make Your Own Island/Make Your Own Forest (Utrecht School of the Arts, Institute for postgraduate and professional higher education in the Arts, 2001); Books: Being Landscape, 2010

Frank van de Ven is a dancer and choreographer who spend his formative years in Japan working with Min Tanaka and the Maijuku Performance Company. In 1993 he founded together with Katerina Bakatsaki 'Body Weather Amsterdam', a platform for training and performance. Since 1995 he conducts with Milos Sejn the interdisciplinary Bohemiae Rosa Project, connecting body and landscape with art, geology and architecture. Interest in dance and theory led to the 'How to make yourself a Dancing Body Without Organs' Project. Together with Peter Snow (Monash University) he performs the famed Thought/Action Improvisations.  An ongoing collaboration exists with musician Daniel Schorno, artistic director of Steim Amsterdam.
Films (video and 16mm): Dancing Plasy Times 8, CI-VIT, LOM and NOUGHTS.

Václav Cílek is a Quaternary geologist who specializes in landscape development, past changes and interactions between prehistoric cultures and the environment. He teaches students of cultural anthropology at Charles University, CR, Prague and North-western University in Evanston, USA. He is interested in the narrow area where archaic mind is confronted with contemporary culture.

Dictionary definitions


*site n., pl. -s [Latin situs "place, position", from sinere "to leave, place, lay"] 1. the actual or planned location 2 the place or scene of something (a camp site) / site vt., to place on a site or in position: locate


*body n., pl. -ies [OE, bodig, cask] 1. the whole physical substance of a man, animal or plant 2. the trunk of a man or animal 3. a corpse 4. [Colloq.] a person 5. a distinct mass [a body of water] 6. a distinct group of people or things 7. the main part 8. substance or consistency, as of liquid 9. richness of flavor


*landscape n., pl. -s [Dutsch landschap, from land + -schap "-ship"] 1. a picture of natural inland scenery 2. a portion of land that the eye can see in one glance


*wander vb., wan-dered, wan-der-ing [OE, wandrian] 1. to move about aimlessly or without a fixed course or goal: ramble 2a to deviate (as from a course): stray 2b to go astray morally: err 2c to lose normal mental contact (as delirium or madness)


*walk n., pl. -s [vb OE, wealkan "to roll, toss"] 1. a going on foot (go for a walk) 2. a place, path, or course for walking 3. distance to be walked 4a manner of living 4b social or economic status (various walks of life) 5a manner of walking 5b a gait of a four-footed animal in which there are always at least two feet on the ground


Gaspar David Friedrich: Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1818). 94.8 × 74.8 cm, Kunsthalle Hamburg.

Important part of the cultural history of the place.

Production: Bohemiae Rosa Laboratory

Communication: ms@sejn.cz / +420-723701658