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One of this year's five winners of the Jindřich Chalupecký Award, the most prestigious award for artists under 35, is Vojtěch Radakulan, a PhD student at the Department of Computer Graphics and Interaction at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering. His work, which, according to art experts, draws its aesthetics mainly from the gaming world, will be on display at the joint exhibition of this year's laureates at the National Gallery from 23 September 2022.

According to the jury, Vojtěch Radakulan's work rejects the tendency to escape the confusion of reality into the sphere of digital lives and identities. Instead, it uses the game environment as a critical tool to reflect on both digital and physical realities, and where the boundaries between them have already collapsed. Radakulan's practice rethinks architecture, public space, and memory, actively engaging the physical and virtual presence of visitors, viewers, and users.

*** You are a PhD student at the Department of Computer Graphics and Interaction. What is your research topic and how does it connect to your artistic work?

I wanted to understand more about the technical skills needed to create interactive 3D computer graphics. I'm now finishing my first year in the Department of Computer Graphics and Interaction at the faculty, and have gone through the same process as thousands of PhD students before me: You come up with a big research question and find that you either drown in it or you have to scale it down. The reward then is that even with a small and seemingly trivial question, you end up with unsuspected things when you investigate it properly. So I'm anchored to the recognition of space within virtual reality, and I'm specifically interested in the phenomenon of imposed perspective. I am setting up an experiment in collaboration with TU Darmstadt and Dr. Julia Frankenstein that uses methods from the field of psychophysics to understand the limits of spatial illusions within virtual reality headsets and translates them into quantifiable results.

*** Can you describe what you do in your artistic work? What formats do you use?

The core of my work is exploring simulations and creating fictional worlds, known as worldbuilding. My tools are hand drawings, text, physical installations, game engines or rendering software. In this world, visitors can try to become something or someone else, to see complicated issues such as new technologies, asymmetrical relationships or globalization problems from the perspective of another person, computer or a pine cone.

*** You have to explain that to us. How does a cone regard new technology?

I don't know, but the magic of new technology is that we can at least pretend to play or see the world through, say, a donut. In one of my past games, I used a donut character to explore a virtual copy of an existing garden. It was simple, one could use the keyboard to rotate the cone and explore the garden. Usually in games you play as yourself or other human characters, so this is kind of an anecdotal commentary on the whole situation. I haven't finished the piece yet, so it can be seen more as a tool for exploring the world - you just roll through the garden like a pine cone, and maybe something will occur to you.

*** How did you get into art?

In addition to architecture, I also studied sculpture, which is my academic qualification. I consider myself an artist because it's the easiest sphere to fit into when someone needs to know. When I talk to architects, they learn that I am an artist; conversely, for artists I am an architect; at a conference on computer graphics, I even inadvertently fell into the category of esotericism.

*** What attracts you in the future? What are your plans?

I would like to connect my studies even more with my art practice, probably through a less quantifiable experiment, and focus more on qualitative explorations of interaction. I'm particularly interested now in the various asymmetries of headset use, where, for example, one user has one and the other doesn't, and they have to interact with each other somehow.


More information about Vojtěch Radakulan can be found on the website of the Jindřich Chalupecký Society. You can also take a look at Vojtěch Radakulan's work through his website