To be Titled (Second Version)

To be Titled (Second Version), 2008, sound installation with audio recording, 3:15 min., two CD players, hi-fi headphones, metal construction, Biennial of Young Art Bell 2008, Prague City Gallery, photo: author's archive

About a year and a half ago I decided, after a nine-month deliberation, to request the highest initiation - it’s no longer shrouded in any mystery. Everything is clear: why it was set up, its history, who set it up and who maintained its status. The ministry has provided information on it in countless media, such as promotional brochures, the Internet, and conferences and debates open to the public. You can go to a bookstore and buy books by its supporters and opponents.

Establishing contact with the first person was not, as I'd expected, any problem. All it took was to find the number in the phone directory and to call. The first door opened. I met with Mr. Kocourek and submitted my request to him. No eternal waiting in an antechamber filled with increasing distrust.   

A year after my first contact with the Ministry, filled with several unexpected phone calls and emails and clarification of less apparent passages of my request, I finally stood before the last door. Behind it was the one who was to help me fulfil my dream.

The dream: to rid myself of the need, based on a regular meeting with people, to validate my thinking. If I successfully pass through the last door, I’ll become fully independent of the opinions of others.

The person was Jiří Dan, a psychologist, and the initiative was psychological tests that all candidates for a judicial post are subject to.

The size of the room first surprised me as it was nearly ten square meters. Then there was the way the psychologist himself acted during the test: The more I tried to answer the designated questions, the less he seemed to concentrate. He fussed around the room and kept telling me about his broken computer. He even called during the test to the university's technical department to inquire into his computer. It made me increasingly anxious.

It was a mask that concealed the attention of an experienced psychologist catching all of my behavioural patterns which he'd be able to describe on the basis of his scientific experience.  He played everything so well that even when his pretence was apparent, he wasn’t able to free himself of it even for a moment.   

I didn’t pass the test.

This was the verdict: That which I had undergone with the Ministry is designed to find gifted bureaucrats. And you’re not that.

I left through the door and its lock lightly clicked behind me.

Since the test I've realised one important thing: my upbringing and my own interests predetermine whatever I may be, but that I can't be someone who has the right to pass down verdicts in consent with the majority, since I wasn't predetermined to do this by the correct constellation of genes and social upbringing.  Perhaps in a hundred years’ time all candidates will be able to pass through the last door - and not only providing that there’s a social change, but a genetic change as well.

I wouldn’t even consider being in their place.