Kateřina Svatoňová Former Senior Fellow

Kateřina Svatoňová
October 2018 - January 2019


Kateřina Svatoňová is the head of the Department of Film Studies at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, in Prague. On a long-term basis, she has been studying the theory, history and philosophy of the media, media/archaeological research of (Czech) modern art, the transformations of the (perception of) the space and time in visual culture and the relationship between film and other media. She is a curator of exhibitions concerning the history of film and media, an editor of several publications and monothematic periodicals and the author of books 2 ½ D: The Space (in) the Film in the Context of Literature and Visual Art (2008), Unbound Images: Archaeology of the Czech Virtual Space (2013) and In Between Images: Jaroslav Kučera’s Media Practices (2016).
Dated from 2020

Fields of research

  • theory and philosophy of media, media archeology, media practices
  • film media in the context of other medias and various cultural forms
  • theories of film/image/photography
  • archiv research etc.

IKKM Research Project

The Laterna Magika Multimedia Theater

I focus on Laterna Magika Theater, presented for the first time at EXPO 1958. In addition to being an acclaimed multimedia performance, a unique synthesis of stage acting, ballet, mime and cinema, a space for various artistic, technical and technological experiments, it was a site for a particular cultural exile within socialist Czechoslovakia. From the 1970s on, the theater hired a number of progressive artists who were not allowed to pursue their craft or who were blacklisted altogether (directors Alfréd Radok and Evald Schorm, cinematographer Jaroslav Kučera, musician Michael Kocáb, artists Eva and Jan Švankmajer). While these artists were not allowed to focus on their own art, they were allowed to work within Laterna Magika to create performances that represented socialist Czechoslovakia with tourists or abroad, and showcased the country’s progressive leanings and high-quality art.

The multimedia performances did not just combine several art forms and genres, they also constituted an inadvertent media transfer. Inside the Laterna Magika’s “lab” artists revived experiments from the 1960s, and created new works using their own personal archives and established approaches. Individual radicalism and subversion were incorporated into the performance, while some of the newly created devices often amounted to little more than empty gestures. These state-funded “miracles for export” were created in the very strange space of transfers, anachronisms and preservation, both in the media/artistic and the political/social sense, and in the artificially constructed un-space (and nonplace) and (Foucauldian) heterotopia.

Selected Publications


Mezi-obrazy: Mediální praktiky kameramana Jaroslava Kučery (Between-the-Images: Medial Practices of Cinematographer Jaroslav Kučera). Praha: NFA – FFUK 2016. – Winner of F. X. Šalda Award for Czech art criticism
Odpoutané obrazy: Archeologie českého virtuálního prostoru (Unbinding Images: Archeology of the Czech Virtual Space). Praha: Academia 2013.

Edited Books:

with Kateřina Krtilová (eds.): Mizení: Fenomény, mediální praktiky a techniky na prahu zjevného. (Disappearing: Phenomena, Media Practices and Techniques on the Verge of Appearing). Praha: Karolinum 2017.
with Kateřina Krtilová (eds.): Medienwissenschaft: Východiska a aktuální pozice německé filosofie a toeorie médií (Medienwissenschaft: Background and Current Position of German Media Philosophy and Theory od Media). Praha: Academia – FFUK 2016.

Journal articles:

with Libuše Heczková: Difermineto, dislocazione, stratificazione: Luoghi strain nel teatro socialista (Delay, dislocation, stratification: Odd places of socialist theater). In: A. Cosentino – A. Tarantino: Luoghi strain: Dislocazioni e spostamenti dell'espressione e del significato nelle società illiberali nel Novecento, Romània Orientale 2017, č. 30, s. 93–119.
Život v obrazech a odchylující se vidění: Úvahy nad medialitou pohyblivých obrazů v souladu s německou teorií/filosofií médií (Life in Images and Deviating Vision: Reflections on the Mediality of Moving Images according to the German Theory / Media Philosophy). Sešit pro umění, teorii a příbuzné zóny 2017, č. 22, s. 83–106.
with Libuše Heczková: O cytowaniu Bacona i Caravaggio oraz o wędrowaniu śladami Máchy jako nad/interpretacji (Quoting Francis Bacon, Caravaggio - Walking Karel Hynek Mácha). tłum. Magdalena Supeł, Tekstualia 48, 2017, nr 1, s. 105–114.
with Libuše Heczková: Ostranenie Does Not Equal Ozvláštnění: An Issue of a Term Transferred and Misunderstood, Slovo a smysl vol. 12, 2015, n. 24, p. 50–58.