Cubitt Gallery presents That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles, the fourth step of an ongoing project by Czech artist Katerina Sedá.
In 2006 a Hyundai factory was built in fields at the centre of Nosovice in the Czech Republic. Socially and geographically it has divided the town. Roads that once led through the fields now stop abruptly in dead ends around the factory. A short walk to a neighbour's house takes four times as long around its circular perimeter. 'edá describes the people of Nosovice as 'caught going round in a circle' and the greatest problem is that they are resigned to that fact.
Three years ago Sedá set out to re-connect the townspeople through the very thing that has divided them: the inaccessible blind spot in the centre. Firstly, she asked them to imagine standing within the factory and draw everything in a 360-degree circle around them, literally standing within skirt-like circular canvases. These were turned into embroidered tablecloths (with holes in the middle) and placed on tables, as objects that 'bring people together'.
Sedá often asks people to draw their surroundings in order to look at them differently. She directs actions in which a social or physical barrier 'for instance a simple garden fence' is turned into something that connects rather than divides people. In post-communist Czech Republic, Sedá says 'someone's always fencing something off and everyone else has to go round it'.
In other projects, once the action is completed Sedá moves on. Nosovice is different. The divide is so visible and concrete that the search for a solution has become a longer, more complex process. The first attempt, rather than solving anything, revealed the problem more clearly. From there she asked the townspeople to draw what they thought should be in the centre on plates and other circular objects. Many drew water, which led 'edá to involve inhabitants of Sicily to imagine No'ovice as an island surrounded by sea. One attempt has led to another. That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles at Cubitt shows the progression of steps so far, including the most recent, fourth attempt.
Over time Sedá imagines another centre of production slowly forming around the Hyundai factory, one where new, hybrid, handmade objects by and for the people of the town are created. The project could continue for 40 years or until the factory has shut down, leaving an empty shell behind. According to Sedá, nobody 'including her' is ready for a solution yet.