Daniela Snepp

Tour of the Underground Convent
Underground of the Water System of Monastery

Entarctic Shelf Festival: 27. june – 3. july


Setting: a hot summer day, a heat you cannot help, but breath-in as you wander around the massive stone structure weighted with centuries of history. The monastery of Plasy.

Scene: Interior, upstairs on the main levels, most of the renovations is nearly finished, spacious and heavy, grand, white walls cover the traces of its varied history. The tour guides leads the visitors through the maze of architecture with a memorized recital of recorded history, at times pausing to look over the balustrade down to one of two pools of water situated within the building´s interior, reflecting the stair wells into the depth of no physical existence. Through the small crowd walk two characters with thigh-high rubber fisherman´s boot strewn over their shoulders. They descend the stairs beyond the official tour participate in “20 minutes of water,” the dungeon tour. Moving down the stone stairwell to the reflecting pool, each descent brings a noticeable drop in temperature. Breath condenses into low clouds clinging to the water in the pool. We do up our coats and slide on the boots, securing them through belt loops. Sliding down the clammy stone into the water, cautiously, uncertain of footing, one foot in front of the other we find the bottom. Icy cold, watching yourself exhale as the boots tighten around your leg and cling to your skin….

(Excerpts from 17 tours)
“It´s so dark, you can´t see where you going.”
“The water is freezing cold, I can feel it through the boots as if I didn´t have them on, they are forced to mold to calf and thigh by the pressure of water.”
“I am scared.”
“like it reveals the world of invisible basements of the human mind.”
“Sound from the rest of the world comes in faint and filtered the further in we go.”
“Oh, I feel like I´m floating”
“Looking back the entrance reflects itself in the water, it looms so brightly like a full moon in the darkest heavens.”
“I had no idea this was here.”
“Imagine this illusive reality, the appearance of stable, static tonnes of stone sitting on water dependent on it for its existence.”
“We are walking on the bones of the building.”
“Can you leave me here? I want to be here alone.”
The keystone of the building situated at the mouth of the tunnel reads (rough translation from Latin):
Without water, this edifice will be ruined.

Daniela Snepp (b. Mariánské Lázně, 1963 ) lives and works in Windsor, Canada. Daniela specializes in contemporary art practice with a focus on media art, film, animation, video and digital imaging; visual culture studies; Czech culture with a focus on the totalitarian regime of 1968-1989 and practices of resistance, performance and gender studies. Her creative work encompasses many different activities including designing, managing print and new media projects, independent video production, writing and directing commercial videos, designing promotional materials for film festivals, and as curator of art at museums. Studies: M. F. A. Master of Fine Arts, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.