RICK VAN DER LINDEN
It was my last evening in Prague. After a long and intensive weekend of observing traces of Disneyfication, mapping mass-tourism, searching for representations of the city and altering picture perfect views, it was almost time to leave the city.
Together with some participants of the Between Realities project, I spend my remaining hours walking around town. It was past midnight and the streets in the city center were mostly deserted. It was a complete contrast with the daylight hustle and bustle.
We passed a beautiful shopping mall with a floor made of mosaic tiles, fancy shops with golden window-frames and sophisticated lamps illuminating the space. A man dressed in a suit came towards us and invited us to ‘visit his club’. We hesitated for a moment, but decided that one drink couldn’t hurt us.
He opened a door in the mall and walked down a flight of stairs. We followed him, through a door at the end of the hallway and entered… a strip club.
Suddenly we were surrounded by purple and red lights and escorted to a round table facing a naked woman pole-dancing.
‘What do you want to drink?’ a woman asked.
‘Ehm, beer?’ one of us asked hesitantly and looked at the others. We all nodded simultaneously.
We sat down. Nobody spoke. Not long after we saw a man and a stripper dissappearing through a door, but only after he had pulled out his wallet and given the woman behind the bar a stack of banknotes. We left the club after one drink, and although I felt uncomfortable the whole time I was there, I also felt very relieved. After all the scenes I had witnessed during the last couple of days, this experience proved that behind the veil of this picture-perfect city, there was also evidence of coarse, harsh reality. Although hidden behind the glossy, refined facade of the Lindtova Pasáž, these traces were definitely present…