A unique architectural feat this weekend opened the door to undreamt-of possibilities and starting from today, you can all be part of it.
An opening ceremony was held on Saturday 10 December, kicking off the programme of a project which is unprecedented in the Czech Republic. The unique and luxurious structure of the airship Gulliver is perched on the roof of the DOX Centre and will be playing host to famous writers from the Czech Republic and abroad. This space will thus become a luxurious new place where contemporary art and literature meet.
The first airships represented unique technological progress at the start of the 20th century. People were fascinated by these flying machines from the very start and are still fascinated by them today. We all know full well where these first steps in the era of flight have led. Airships symbolised freedom and Gulliver is no different. It also represents the philosophy of the DOX Centre: You can do things differently even in the globalised world of today where it is not worth taking risks.
The director of the DOX Centre, Leoš Válka, together with the renowned architect Martin Rajniš who designed the structure, took a risk and the result is unique, remarkable and certainly a success.
Over a total of three years of work, and with the aid specialists in creating structures from wood and steel, they managed to bring to life this structure which is 42 m long and 10 m wide in the shape of a huge airship which now perches majestically on the roof of the DOX Centre.
The airship Gulliver, which takes its name from one of the most famous characters of utopian literature, will wedge its way into the themes of the exhibitions at the DOX Centre and will complement them with another type of art – literature.
During the opening ceremony on Saturday 10 December, when specially invited guests were first able to enter the luxury space of the airship Gulliver, the ship was christened by the writer and professor of literature at Johns Hopkins University in Washington Azar Nafisi and Bill Shipsey, founder of the Art for Amnesty organisation, a global programme by Amnesty International linking the world of human rights with the world of art.
Apart from these two famous personalities, the mathematician and pedagogue Karel Janeček also gave a speech on stage, as did the writer Patrik Ouředník and of the course the architect who created the airship, Martin Rajniš. There was talk about the problems facing the world of today, the need for literature and the important legacy of Václav Havel.
A tapestry by Petr Sís which was created in homage to Václav Havel was unveiled at the opening ceremony for the airship Gulliver. This will be on display until February, after which it will be used to decorate the new building of the European Parliament in Strasbourg which will be named after Václav Havel.
The programme already started on Sunday 11 December with readings by the authors Azar Nafisi and Patrik Ouředník.