Prague Chronicle for the end of the millenium



Keplerýv horoskop

"That which is below is like that which is above; and that which is above is lige that which is below in order to fulfil the miracle of that which is unique." Tabula Smaragdina
A few years a go I noticed that some of Prague's sewers were covered with cast-iron lids, whose surface seemed similar to the form of a Baroque-era horoscope chart. Perhaps the best known example of such a horoscope is the one worked out by Johannes Kepler for Waldstein at the beginning of the seventeenth century. These sewer covers, with horoscope motifs have dissappeared, mostly. In 1998, I noticed what could be one of the last, and it is located, significantly, precisely by the New Town hall in Prague's old town, close to the location often cited as the mystical center of the city. The traditional horoscope is a representation of the heavens at a given moment, set in microcosm on paper. My game project with the horoscope of Prague involved photographing that cast-iron sewer lid over the course of one year, and always at the entrance of a new astrological sign. I assumed that chance events, the weather and also the footsteps traced by the paths of people could be interpreted with certain astrological keys. The triangular spaces can be understood as astrological "houses," within which specific aspects are depicted. The placing of the most profane of objects (rocks, torn paper, cigarette butts), understood as a pictue of the heavenly bodies and their acts, can emerge a kind of authentic testemony about the destiny of Prague at the end of the millenium.
This connection of higher with lower ( in this case to the word with the lowest and most banal), is a magical game of otherwise controllable signifiers, because their program is not in prediction, but of documented evidance. Everyone can study the interpretations of Pavel Turnovsky and connect them with the which Prague encountered between September 1998 and October 1999.
The results surprised me twcie over: I assumed that ,the sewer lid would somehow be more "alive," --but then, what particularly revolutionary happened during that time in Prague ? Soon after I'd finished taking the year's cycle of pictures, I noticed the lid had jumped to a different position. This movement of the "lid- horoscope is doubtlessly caused by some sewage cleaner -- some unknown Prague demiurg.
Martin Stejskal.


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