Roman Štětina: Shave and a haircut – two bits, Cardiff Contemporary

‘Shave and a haircut – two bits’ was a site specific installation by Czech artist Roman Štětina, on view as part of the 2016 edition of Cardiff Contemporary.

Exploring the narrative of call and response, Štětina approached the festival theme of ‘communication’ through the concept of radio as a form of one way communication. In radio, the set up of a broadcast can be reduced to one individual speaking and one individual listening. The speaker doesn’t know if they are heard, or who hears them, and the listener is unable to respond. ‘Shave and a haircut – two bits’ reflects on our human need to connect with one another. The first knock rings out, and we’re waiting for an answer.

Roman Štětina’s works investigate the ways in which broadcast media is produced. It is an interest which circles back from using broadcast media himself. By working with radio and film, Štětina feels a need to make sense of what he calls ‘the basics’, which in turn come to be a topic of the work. Through installations, sculptures and videos Štětina unveils the props, technologies and studios of ‘backstage’.

At the centre of the installation, four films isolate and represent a series of gestures and motifs, which construct a narrative of call and response. These fragmentary moments are presented as static video works that sit between moving photographs and film stills. Roman describes them as “situations which can last forever and still retain some tension. A burning cigarette without the smoker, a telephone of the hook without someone speaking, tuning the radio receiver without any success, knocking without any answer.”

‘Shave and a haircut – two bits’ is a time-based work, one which only really existed in its installed state. The exhibition venue, a back room in the city centre, has the appearance of being both out of space and out of time, and through a series of light box images, the space is mirrored back into the space, a reflection of a reflection as if somehow the space is perpetuating its own fiction. The installation is made for and of the space it inhabits and it’s within this mirror of the present that the four film works speak of presence and absence, longing and letting go.

Read an interview with the artist here.

Roman Štětina: Shave and a haircut - two bits, Cardiff Contemporary

Roman Štětina: Shave and a haircut - two bits, Cardiff Contemporary

Roman Štětina: Shave and a haircut - two bits, Cardiff Contemporary

Roman Štětina: Shave and a haircut - two bits, Cardiff Contemporary

Roman Štětina: Shave and a haircut - two bits, Cardiff Contemporary

Roman Štětina: Shave and a haircut - two bits, Cardiff Contemporary

Roman Štětina: Shave and a haircut - two bits, Cardiff Contemporary

Roman Štětina: Shave and a haircut - two bits, Cardiff Contemporary

 

Documentation and Virtual Tour by Ashley Carr.