The term virtual environment is simply inaccurate for defining the spaces created by Ondřej Vicena. A more appropriate term is bipolar interactive open space. If we think of these terms as loosely hanging live cables overflowing with data, then their bipolar nature refers to the fact that while a large part of the perceived work takes place virtually, it is installed in a 3D analogue space and still needs the real artifacts and the “body” of the host. Through the beauty of illusory spaces, in which anything and anywhere is possible thanks to virtual connectivity, Vicena reaches a spiritual plane.
The altariness of the situation is materialized in Galerie mladých, especially in the already existing Baroque architecture, which, thanks to its vaults, resembles a sacred space. Vicena responds to the given layout and proportions, which alter materiality. The content codes of relationships that emerge in the transition to the “new world” through a kind of illusory membrane, whether sound or image, open up new possibilities of perception. At times the membrane is fluid to the point that the viewer ceases to be aware of it, Vicena creates it in the installation with either sound or visual effects. This is particularly evident in relation to the sound component, which purposefully creates a nightclub atmosphere.
The ordinary dance floor becomes a disco dance floor, evoking Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean video, in which the pavement tiles gradually light up. This parallel is very elementary, but in Ondřej Vicena’s work, we find quite often references to iconic works, whether it is a cup from Adolf Loos, a Walkman or a Sprite drink. They are dominated by a very aesthetic scale and optical games. Analog “tricks” like mirroring and lighting effects look simple and clean. The unnecessary over-technicalisation that one would expect in these contexts is absent here. The technology in Ondřej Vicena’s work reflects both a technocratic approach and the idea of the Anthropocene.