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Ground Plan | History
The Center for Metamedia is
located on the grounds of a former Cistercian monastery in Plasy, a
town in the western Bohemian region of the Czech Republic. The entire
complex is a national monument and under the
care of the Institute for Historic Monuments.
The architecture of the former monastery and the surrounding
landscape are resonant, inspiring environments for work and study and for
artists' dialogue with a place. The spaces used by the Center are ideal
for art installations and exhibitions, performance, concerts and recordings.
Film and video projects, as well as work in other forms of new media may
also benefit from the environment. The facilities are also well-suited for
seminars and workshops, and other types of meetings and educational projects.
The areas used by the Center include:
A large two-story structure built in the Baroque style around
an interior courtyard. The cloister is being restored by the state and is
open to the public for guided tours. Its two chapels have exceptional
acoustics for recordings and performances of experimental sound and music.
Other areas of the cloister – the ambit, courtyard, rotunda, refectory –
are also periodically available for exhibitions and performances.[more]
A Baroque expansion from a gothic chapel that had been used built for
food storage is now the CMM’s primary space for work, rehearsal, exhibitions,
screenings, and performances. Eight spacious work and performance areas
(each 320 sq. meters) are located here, as well as various ground-level
and subterranean rooms as well as a clock tower.[more]
A hexagon-shaped space originally built as a garden room. It is used by
the Center as a work and rehearsal studio, and for exhibitions and performances.
The monastery's grounds include courtyards and parks used
for performances and outdoor studios. The surroundings--the Strela River,
meadows, and forested hills--are also frequently incorporated into artists'
The monastery, a national monument under
the care of the Czech state, was founded by the Cistercian Order in 1145.
Its grounds have been settled, however, since the Neolithic period, and
the town within which it lies has been called Plasy since the Celts resided
here around 700 b.c. It is a descriptive name: the Celtic word for a place
where one may cross a river. The monastery stands, in fact, within a turn
of the Strela River, and the river's underground steams underlie the structure's
foundation. At the time of the monastery's Baroque reconstruction by Jan
Blazej Santini, an inscription was carved above the convent's basement-level
aqueduct: hoc aedificium sine aquis ruet [without water this edifice
will fall to ruin]. While today the architecture's fundamental dependence
upon the natural environment threatens its stability as the river's pollution
rises, for the Cistercian Order, the connection with nature was an attempt
at Eden, the monastery being a sheltered retreat from urbanity.
With a decree of Josef II around the time of the French Revolution, the
monastery was closed. A representative of the new aristocratic elite, C.W.L.
Metternich-Wineberg purchased the complex in the 1820s, and the property
remained in his family until it was confiscated by the Czechoslovak state
in 1945. Public cultural events were organized at the former monastery by
the residents of Plasy in the 1950s, but its use soon became secondary to
the efforts to protect and restore its architecture. Today the complex and
grounds are used jointly by the state's Historical Monument Institute, the
County Archive and Library, for public concerts, and by the Center for Metamedia.
With its activities, the Center allows for a rediscovery of the former monastery's
past and its re-connection with the present.
2500 b.c. - Neolithic settlement along the banks of the Strela
700 b.c. - Celtic settlement
800 a.d. - first Slavic settlement
around 1000 - Prague princedom's assumes sovereignty over Plasy and
its surrounding region.
1144 - Prince Vladislav II grants the Plasy and surrounding villages
to the Cistercian Order.
1150 - Extensive construction begins under Abbot Ivo.
1154 - The St. Wenceslaus and Mary Magdalene Chapels are built.
1204 - The convent's basilica is built.
1230-1253 - King Wenceslaus resides in the Plasy monastery.
1253-1278 - King Premysla Otakar II resides in the Plasy monastery.
1420 - Hussites attack and damage the monastery.
1500-1550 - The monastery and its grounds fall into decline.
1611 - The Virgin Mary Ruzencová Church is built along the
1616 - Abbot Jiri Wasmutius is named as of head the monastery.
1666 - Construction is completed on the Church of the Annunciation
of the Virgin Mary.
1686 - Construction is completed on the granary by the architect
J.B. Mathey, which extends out from the King's Chapel.
1701 - The new prelature is finished.
1711 - Abbot Eugene Tyttl inaugurates the construction of a new convent
by the architect Jan Blazej Santini-Aichel which is completed in 1740. Important
works of Baroque sculpture and painting are placed within the convent.
around 1750 - Courts are established by the convent's aristocracy.
1785 - Emperor Josef II decrees the monastery's dissolution.
1826 - The former monastery is purchased by the Chancellor C.W.L.
1828 - Chancellor Metternich establishes an iron works and in the
former monastery's vicinity an English Park; part of the monastery's wall
is torn down.
1894 - A fire destroys the convent's roof; Chancellor Metternich
undertakes its repair.
1945 - The Czechoslovak state confiscates Chancellor Metternich's
1949 - The village of Plasy becomes the county's capital, and the
convent and prelature are used as its main administrative offices.
1956 - Galerie Stretti begins holding exhibitions at the former monastery.
1960 - Gradual restoration of the former monastery begins with Plasy's
incorporation into North Plzen county.
1963 - A bunker is built under the prelature.
1965 - The former monastery and its grounds are subsumed by the state
office for the Care of Historical Monument.
1976 - The convent's hospital wing is reconstructed and an exhibition
of historical paintings is installed there.
1980 - The ambit on the convent's first floor is restored.
1981 - The now-legendary, unofficial photography exhibition "9x9"
is held in the granary.
1982 - The convent's interior is gradually filled with historical
exhibitions by the Historical Monuments Institute.
1992 - The first annual Hermit Symposium is held by the Center for
1993 - The Hermit Foundation is established.
1995-1997 - Reconstruction and restoration of various parts of the
former monastery is organized by the Historical Monuments Institute and
the Hermit Foundation.
1997 - The Center for Metamedia begins organizing a more extensive
program of residencies and projects throughout the monument's open season
from May to November.