UK exhibition presents Czech innovations past and present

Photo: archive of Czech Centres

An exhibition currently underway at the Czech Centre London and in the Library of Birmingham celebrates a centenary of Czech discoveries and inventions and the emerging generation of scientists and innovators. The interactive show, called Czech Innovation Expo, was prepared by the Czech Centres network together with the Czech Academy of Sciences.

I asked Přemysl Pela, the head of Czech Centre in London, to tell me more details about the project:

“The title of the exhibition relates to its main theme, which is inventions and scientific discoveries. What makes it unique is that it combines various art spheres, such as design, audio-visual arts, but also the latest digital technology, particularly the augmented reality.

Photo: archive of Czech Centres
“The aim of the exhibition is to use the digital technology to present innovations coming from Czechoslovakia in a modern and interactive way. It communicates particularly well with the young generation.”

The exhibition showcases some of the countries’ leading industrial brands but also inventors and scientists, both past and present. Can you mention at least some of them?

“The exhibition is divided into four parts. The first one, as I mentioned, focuses on the scientists and inventors from the past, such as Otto Wichterle, inventor of contacts lenses or Antonín Holý, inventor of a drug for treating HIV.

“The new generation is represented here by Zuzana Holubcová, Kateřina Falk, Bohdan Pomahač and many other scientists.

“The traditional brands, including Baťa, Jawa and Škoda, which are synonymous for former Czechoslovakia, are presented in the iconic brands section.

“And the last part represents the newly emerging brands, founded in the past twenty or thirty years, such as Kiwi, Lasvit and Avast, after the political changes that happened in Czechoslovakia in 1989.”

Photo: archive of Czech Centres
The content of the exhibition is presented through augmented-based technologies and virtual reality. How do the visitors experience the exhibition? How does it work?

“The exhibition is digitally-based exhibition, so you are basically sending data around the world and then you can screen symbols on the wall.

“In order to discover what lies behind the symbols, you have to download an application for the iOS platform, and then a story unfolds for you in the smart smartphone or other device.

“The visitors can explore the symbols even further by clicking through to the web-based platform to find out more about the particular scientists, inventors or brands that we have mentioned.”

The exhibition at the Czech Centre in London wraps up on October 28, but continues in the Library of Birmingham until the end of February 2020.