The 12-Hour Conference

This publication by the authors Barbora Kleinhamplová and Eva Koťátková is the outcome of one year of field research at the National Institute of Mental Health in Klecany, incorporating more than 70 interviews with its employees, with the aim of building up a subjective portrait of the institution.

The backbone of the publication is the transcript of a 12-hour conference of a performative authorial format, divided into three parts: Conference, Hallucination and Judgement, plus an extensive pictorial part composed of fragments of images of the institution. The script offers an insight into the daily rituals, operational functions, dreams, visions and also pressures and anxieties of the employees of an institution which not only examines, but also generates anxiety.

Graphic design by Jan Brož
Translation by Tereza Novická

     “Work infiltrates my dreams. They often take place in our apartment. My family is there, but so are some guests. The NIMH [National Institute of Mental Health] directors are there too. With more confidence: For instance: My boss is sick. He’s resting in my bed, in our apartment. My mother is taking care of him. She makes him tea. And I have to keep quiet. I’m not allowed to play the piano so I won’t disturb him.
    Or: I dream that I am my co-worker’s lover. My female co-worker from magnetic resonance. I look for some convenient spot for us in the building. And one time, another colleague of mine showed up in my dream, I don’t like this guy in real life but that changed thanks to the dream.
    I also keep dreaming about some conference. People from NIMH are there, a big crowd of people…Some sort of teambuilding. It’s taking place outside of Prague. People are working as they ride horses at the same time. They’re playing some mysterious game. Something like that Fort Boyard show. But there’s no clear-cut rules: nobody knows what sort of game they are actually playing.
    I often recall these dreams of mine during the day, at work. I write them down. I find it hard to keep up. It’s a permanent feeling I have.” 

Barbora Kleinhamplová & Eva Koťátková. 12hodinová konference. ArtMap a Institut úzkosti. Praha, 2020. ISBN 978-80-907873-2-2


Kniha vychází za podpory Magistrátu hlavního města Prahy, Státního fondu kultury České republiky a Goethe-Institutu.

Barbora Kleinhamplová & Eva Koťátková. The 12-Hour Conference. ArtMap and Institut úzkosti. Prague, 2020. ISBN 978-80-907873-2-2

Translation by Tereza Novická


Published with the support of the Prague City Council, the State Culture Fund and the Goethe-Institute.