Today, after exploring the public space of Opatov for three days, I ventured into the centre of Prague for the first time. My work area for the next two days will be Vatslavska Namesti (Wencelas Square). I chose this place because, in spite of all the tourists, this square also belongs to the Czech people who come here to celebrate, commemorate and rise in revolt.
I have to orientate myself again and find out where, from a central perspective, Opatov is situated. I discover it is towards the south-southeast, 140 degrees on my compass. I’ve never used a compass before, so I ask the people in the square to help me find the right direction. First I ask someone who is sitting on a bench. I’m not sure if he is a tourist or a resident. He tells me that he is from Kazachstan and can’t help me. I show him a Russian newspaper I just bought and he laughs and tells me he doesn’t read that particular newspaper.
I bought the newspaper for one of my interventions. It consists of wrapping a label printed with “To Opatov” around a newspaper in a kiosk. In this way I hope that people from many different countries who buy a newspaper will become aware where Opatov is located. I ask at two kiosks if they want to collaborate, but they say no. They have to ask the distributor for permission or they won’t accept any other form of branding.
Then I ask a Czech boy if he knows the direction to Opatov and if he has a compass on his smartphone. He doesn’t. Then I meet a policewoman. I ask her if she can indicate where Opatov lies. She shows me by pointing her arm very decisively towards a distant point between two buildings. I ask her how she knows. She answers: “Yes, I’m sure!” and extends her arm even further. She points to the right with her back to Metro Mustek.
Finally, a Czech boy shows me with the compass on his smartphone where the south-southeast is.