The Nightingale’s Living Space

Miloš Šejn
artist’s talk
Mathey Hall, Center for Architectural Heritage Plasy

_I record a moment of the nightingale’s living space. I have entered his house, his home. Reflections of vegetation, overhanging willows, and viburnums on the surface of the water say something of of our, yes, perhaps our dialogue._


I don’t know what the avian beings truly see and feel, but I am enraptured by the visual impression of this moment. When I wake up early in the morning, I lie on my bed and the branches from the garden stretch in from the window, clouds, the first rays of sun, and birdsong, it’s a perfect situation. Half asleep, loved ones and acquaintances approach, my consciousness is just as much between corporeality as between a dream and the consciousness of the house.

I don’t know how the singing birds perceive this moment, and I know even less how long it has been since people have tried to capture this musical stream of speech in their own language. Probably since time immemorial. Various languages and dialects hear something different each time. What follows are examples of translations of nightingales from the history of ornithology. And do we hear today at least some of a fragment of the nightingale’s building of a nest? Interjections are not enough for me.

The talk is a commentary on the eponymous one minute video available here.

Miloš Šejn (b. 1947, Jablonec nad Nisou) is a Czech visual artist, teacher and performer. He organizes workshops Bohemiae Rosa. He graduated from the Faculty of Humanities of Charles University in Prague in where he received his Doctorate of Philosophy in 1976. In 1991 he was appointed as professor and taught in the intermediate studio at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague.

Since the early 1960s, he has been journeying and photographing, drawing, collecting and describing his observations of nature. He currently focuses on the immediate creative possibilities of addresing the relationship of humanized landscapes and intact nature. Consciously, the artist has woven his work between expressive language and text, visual tracks, body movement, voice and expansion into space. One of his recent large realisations is The Mountain of Dreams, made in cooperation with the project Sluňákov House of Nature in Litovelské Pomoraví.

Miloš Šejn participated in the very first Hermit symposium in Plasy in 1992. In 1994, he also attended Hermit III Transparent Messenger, and the same year participated in the international symposium Fungus: Inquiry of Place (1145–1995). In 1997, together with dancer Frank van de Ven, he organised the international interdisciplinary workshop Bohemiæ Rosa in Plasy (Dancing Plasy Times 8, Rolf Meesters and Miloš Šejn, 1997).