Ztohoven (CZ) Media Reality

Documentary, 2007

On June 17, 2007, the art group Ztohoven secretly altered a Czech TV broadcast. They inserted footage into the Panorama program of ČT2 channel showing an illusionary nuke explosion in the picturesque setting of the Krkonoše Mountains.

Their aim was to contribute to the discussion of media manipulation, hence the entire action was called Media Reality. However, in the end, it touched upon many other topics. Regardless of the action’s point, the artists were labeled dangerous hackers and digital pirates. The debate about media (in)dependence swiftly turned into accusations of hoaxing. All hell broke loose as they had accidentally tapped the system’s weak points, many more than they had originally expected. These days, seven members of the up to the point anonymous group are being dragged from court to court. Fined by the council for public TV and radio broadcasting on one hand, awarded the National Gallery’s NG 333 Prize on the other, Ztohoven members gave birth to an action that, over the period of one year, has grown into unforeseen dimensions.

Ztohoven (CZ)

Ztohoven (from 2003) is a Czech artistic collective known for its ironic, punning interventions, public actions and provocations dealing with media manipulations and the “hacking” of mainstream communication systems. Name Ztohoven can be read as Z toho ven (the way out), or Sto Hoven (the hundred shits). The core of the collective consists of Roman Týc, Aleš Kodim, Eman Cipace, Zdeněk Dostál, Míra Svoboda, Otto Horší, Tomáš Jasný, Dan Gerous, Anna Bolická, Tomáš Mrnc and Petr Žílka. The number of associates varies up as many as 100, according to the nature of the project. The group’s subversive actions have resulted in numerous arrests and multiple court prosecutions. Their actions include placing a question mark over Prague Castle, replacing all of Prague’s subway posters with question mark posters signed with the group's website, sending SMS text messages directly to the President of the Czech Republic, deputies, journalists and government members on behalf of the deputies themselves, and hacking a Czech Television live broadcast into which they inserted images of a nuclear explosion. The Czech National Gallery awarded the collective with the 2007 national prize for young artists.