To be Titled (First Version)

To be Titled (First Version), 2008, sound installation with audio recording, 3:16 min., two CD players, hi-fi headphones, metal construction, Biennial of Young Art Bell 2008, Prague City Gallery, photo: author's archive

It was an ever strengthening skepticism – an essentially deeply irrational, unexplainable but constantly strengthening skepticism – which finally forced me to look up the Ministry’s telephone number.

I had decided to take a psychological test designed for future judges.

I may not have the necessary education or experience for my taking this test to have any real meaning – I don’t even want to be a judge. I merely wanted to confirm whether I would be able – every day, every hour, or even every minute and second – to make subjective judgments corresponding to the personality of a judge. And I expected that, should I succeed, I would become fully independent from the opinions of others, and thus my skepticism would disappear. I would no longer be stressed out in situations in which my opinions were confronted with my surroundings, with the constant feeling that I was losing ever more ground under my feet.  

At least that is how I saw it at the outset.

The first contact went quite smoothly. After being transferred a few times to "higher" and "higher" levels, I was finally connected with the right office. I made an appointment to see Mr. Kocourek, where I was informed that he did not see any problem with my request and would gladly pass it on to his supervisor for approval. The first hurdle had been overcome. My skepticism slowly began to fade.

This was two Novembers ago.

During the subsequent six-month wait, which included several more phone calls and e-mails exchanged between Mr. Kocourek and myself, I gradually began to realize that something would change if I took the test: I would no longer be dependent on my surroundings, but if I wanted to achieve this goal through a test intended for future judges, I would have to admit to myself that I am actually a bureaucrat by nature.

At this point of realization, I began to think about the possibility of calling this whole test thing quits.

Last June, I was finally given a date and place for my test – the twenty-fifth of October at two o’clock in the afternoon at the office of a psychologist, Jiří Dan, in Brno.

I won’t go into detail about the test. It was made up of simple questions. As an example, it should be enough to mention two questions which are almost poetic in their implication: "How do you imagine paradise?" and "Who would you take with you there?" My answer was simple: I imagine paradise the same as my life so far, but without pain, and I would take my mom.

No questions having to do with law. Everything as simple as could be. Nothing can be learned – you have to bluff your way through it, if you can.

I passed.

The verdict: You would make a great bureaucrat. I have never met a person so confident of himself.

Jiří Dan and I shook hands and said goodbye; I stepped into the elevator he had called for me and traveled down to the ground floor.

My character as judged by a psychologist; if I take it seriously – and I will have to, because it cost me a year of my life – then it suddenly seems… average.

I could even think of myself as the essence of average.