One central focus of the Agosto Foundation’s Mediateka is on supporting research into various archives for the unpublished, forgotten or newly re-discovered documentation of art activities from the recent past. As part of this commitment, we are building a web presentation dedicated to the activities of the Hermit Foundation and the Center for Metamedia, as manifested by the Plasy Symposia of 1992–1999. The collection also includes audio and video recordings that document the Hermit symposia, including the famous photography exhibition 9x9 of 1981.
Artistic events and activities in the (former) Cistercian monastery of Plasy have a long history, but this media archive concentrates mainly on the series of events initiated by the Hermit Foundation and the Center of Metamedia Plasy. This series of activities began in the winter of 1991 and ended during the winter of 1999. In spite of their longevity, there is very little reference material about these events circulating in the public sphere.
We aim to provide a nonlinear collection and overview of the various surviving data, materials, and documentation, including photographs, texts, video and sound. Each item has been updated and revised and is provided with supplementary commentary where needed. This documentation still exists due to the foresight of the participants, who have maintained their own personal archives. Most of the photographs come from the archives of Daniel Šperl, some are provided by Gert de Ruijter, Iris Honderdos and Radovan Kodera. Many other images were dispersed among participants and visitors, who have kindly provided them for the media archeology project, such as Avraham Eilat, and David Miller. The videos have been digitized from VHS tapes stored in boxes for 25 years and their quality is usually poor. Sometimes the author of the documentation is unknown. Inevitably, a certain part of the documentation has been lost forever, as was the case with all physical evidence of the activities of the Center for Metamedia.
The activities of the Hermit Foundation/Center for Metamedia Plasy/Civic Association of Friends of Art in Plasy took place over the years with the support of several funding bodies, foremost of which were: the Foundation Pro Helvetia Ost-West (1996-1998), Foundation for Contemporary Art/Soros Center for Contemporary Art, Prince Bernhard Fonds, Het Mondrian Stichting, The Ministry of Culture of Czech Republic, and others.
The core of this research is led by Miloš Vojtěchovský, the main initiator of many of the Plasy symposia. In addition, Radoslava Schmelzová has made several in-depth examinations of the Plasy archive material prior to this survey. Thanks to Jo Williams and Iren Stehli, among others. The technical aspects of the project are managed by Lloyd Dunn.
The rights for the items in this presentation remain with their creators. This project is still under construction, with new material appearing regularly.
The exhibition of the Archive Hermit Foundation will be in 2023 in the Museum of Art Olomouc, where the archive is in deposit.
In 2018, the publication of the archive of the Hermit Foundation Center for Metamedia Plasy 1992-99 was supported in part by a grant of 70,000 CZK from the Foundation for Contemporary Art Prague from funds provided by the Gestor copyright protection association.