Golem Lives with Karla Diaz

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Day Two

Walking around in the morning light, we can see clearly what we have missed by car last night. The place we are staying at is called Ziskov, the neighborhood predominately inhabited by factory workers during World War II. There is a long tunnel that links the neighborhood with what used to be factories during the war. A dramatic political change in the city that started thirteen years ago has prompted a renovation of very old architecture throughout the city. This means that many apartments in the city are being constantly painted and fixed. Our building included in this, we woke up with a group of construction workers drilling outside our window. They wore blue and red suspenders and listened to Britney Spears songs on a portable radio. The neighborhood is a beautiful mixture of the rawness in broken doors, gray buildings of communism with beautiful architectural patterns and detailed sculptural craftsmanship. It is humid and hot. We walk to the exhibition hall where the biennial will take place. We meet the curator who invited us there, Andrea Bellini. We look inside the building. They tell us that it used to be a factory where weapons were kept during the war. Looking at the space designated for the mural, Mario and I decide to make the larger part of the mural in the brick-wall rather than the white-constructed wall they have given us. Having had the chance to take a couple of street pictures, we use one as an inspiration. It is a picture of a woman dancing on the outside wall of a bar. Apparently, drinking is a part of Czech culture and there are more bars than restaurants in the city.

So Mario and I decide to make the mural as if it was painted on a corner of a bar or a store-wall somewhere in Prague. We sweep, gather the ladder, and paint materials. We have only three days to paint the mural before the show opens. The projector we brought from home broke in our luggage and we had to think of a different way to paint the mural. We work all day inside the space. We go to dinner with Bellini, Pepe, an Italian businessman, one of the primary founders of this project and three other artists from L.A. Afterwards, we are invited to go to Alberto and Eugenio’s place a block away from where we are. Alberto and Eugenio own different galleries in Prague and a few years ago bought a castle just outside the city. Slowly they are renovating it, and hope to have art residencies there. They took us to eat dinner there. The castle is amazing, each room filled with art, each room designed differently. The castle has a mote, a river, two barns and one storage facility. People never used the castle during the war only the barns outside were used for storing weapons. We eat dinner at the castle and return home. That night, I begin to write a poem about Golem. It is a poem based on the idea of ‘Golemness’ embodied in young people. It speaks of the need for change to happen and for young people to wake-up from a Golem-mentality. I start with the line that will eventually be the poem’s chorus, ‘If I rise, you rise, If you rise, I rise’