The gallery’s Projectroom exhibition space presents a visual project by Johana Střížková, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (where she studied under professors Miloš Šejn, Veronika Bromová, and Jiří Příhoda) and a candidate for the 2016 Jindřich Chalupecký Award, consisting of test tube objects, large-format photographs attacked by an algal solution, and video projections.
The idea behind The Great Oxidation Event was inspired by scientific theories related to events that occurred 2.4 billion years ago that irreversibly changed the workings of the entire biosphere, when small cyanobacteria joined with a eucaryotic cell to create the first algae. Over time, evolution produced additional lines of algae, and these organisms soon took over the entire world. The original primary algae developed into a diverse range of forms, one of which evolved into vascular plants. Plant photosynthesis began to fill the atmosphere with oxygen, a gas that had previously not been present in the air but that was absolutely toxic for most primitive single-cell life. Only photosynthetic cyanobacteria – which themselves produced oxygen and thus could handle it – survived. If a species failed to adapt, it died out.
These events recall the situation faced by mankind today. Over the course of history, people have been a part of nature, and as such they have attempted to subjugate and dominate all living and non-living things around them. Sometimes, they have been successful, but never completely so. Over time, technological development has allowed people to “colonize” the Earth, but – intoxicated by the myth of their own invincibility and their desire for wealth and well-being – they have set in motion a sequence of events that they are now struggling to stop.
The multimedial exhibition The Great Oxidation Event metaphorically presents the message that we are clearly standing on the brink of a fatal transformation of the world as we know it. It may even be the beginning of our end.