series of photos and videos

The project reflects the theme of dystopia in the immediate vicinity of (Slovak) Paradise, while the title refers to an eternal song about the return home and at the same time to the increasingly pressing ecological issues of the present day.

In the multimedia installation, the author draws inspiration from her native Central Spiš region which is the gateway to the Slovak Paradise National Park. Despite the visible natural beauty of this poetic landscape, the region hides long-term unresolved social and environmental problems as a consequence of the development of heavy industry during the socialist era.

The Rudňany iron ore mines were the largest source of mercury in the former Czechoslovakia. After persistent problems, the factory ceased operations in 1993, a decision which resulted in an increase in unemployment and the general social decline of the surrounding municipalities. Decades of intensive production with outdated technology have left a large, hazardous dry tailings pond behind the factory, an ecological timebomb which is still unresolved.

The audiovisual recording shows the tailings pond behind the defunct factory, NPZ Ortuťovna, in the immediate vicinity of the village of Oľšo. Contaminated sand in the pond contains a high concentration of heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, cadmium or lead, which are absorbed into the environment through wind or groundwater.

At the same time, little research has been conducted into the quality of the surrounding soil, and the authorities are reluctant to deal with the issue, with local people remaining poorly informed about the danger. The village of Oľšo, which was depopulated under socialism due to the unsuitable living conditions in the vicinity of the factory, is slowly coming to life again. People buy cheap land there to build housing and an entertainment park has also recently opened in the area, the light-hearted atmosphere of which contrasts sharply with the nearby derelict remains of the factory. The artist installs her swimming performance in the pool of the afore-mentioned entertainment park in order to draw attention to the proximity of invisible or unseen dangers. The output of the project was presented in Kunstahalle Kosice, the former public swimming pool building.

Curator: Denise Herz

Collaboration: Dušan Bevilacqua

Installation view: Kunsthalle Kosice, Slovakia

Supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council.