The history of the artists' initiative called Reakcia (Reaction) dates back to the beginning of 2018 when two young innocent people— Martina Kušnírová and Ján Kuciak—were murdered. This terrible event shook the Slovak society and massive protests against the ruling government took place.
That government in fact had allowed certain mechanisms to operate in the country and those had made committing this terrible act possible. During the first anti-government protests organized by the general public, the head of the Biela Noc festival—Zuzana Pacáková—and filmmaker and artist Andrej Kolenčík met on the street and decided to do something about the current situation.
The idea was to create a collective exhibition that would bring together people from across the cultural spectrum and give them the opportunity to freely reflect on the current social situation. They wrote an open call and sent it via e-mail to their fellow artists, stating that if people agreed with the content of the open call, they should forward it to as many artists as possible.
The author's contribution was supposed to be in the form of a short text, slogan, video, gif, animation, drawing, photograph, painting, collage, etc. What’s more, the authors’ reaction had to be quick; they had to create their works in a few days, because the exhibition was planned to be presented in public space during the upcoming protest. In addition, the authors were asked to make their output without sound and vulgarities.
Finally, a huge number of authors responded to the open call. The first public exhibition presented works by 230 artists from all over Slovakia. Several hundred visitors came to see the exhibition during the evening. Except of Kolenčík and Pacáková, Michaela Kučová and Igor Rjabinin also helped to organize the exhibition. Zuzana Jankovičová, Simona Hrušovská, Juraj Ličko and other volunteers, who selflessly put their hands to the work, also helped with the production.
The media responded to Reakcia as well as galleries and cultural centres throughout Slovakia (and abroad) and requested if the project could take place also on their premises. Over the following months, several exhibitions took place and dozens of authors were added to the open call. It should be also mentioned that also amateurs got involved in the challenge and it even received several contributions from children.
As a result, the Reaction of Artists has become a folk platform, where you can see the nominees of the National Design Award or budding authors side by side with the world-famous director Bel Tarr, who also joined the initiative. Because of an endless supply of contributions, the organizers chose (and thanks to Igor Rjabinin) to create a platform where the authors can upload their works directly. To date, 462 works by more than 300 authors are available on the Reakcia website.