Story of Meet Factory

Michal Brenner & Zuzana Jakalova

I am Zuzana Jakalova and I am the curator of the residency programme in the center for contemporary arts Meet Factory in Prague. I am Michal Brenner and I am the music promoter and the venue manager at Meet Factory as well. We are sitting here in Meet Factory.

Meet Factory was founded in 2001 by the artist David Cerny, who has been on artistic residence at PS1 in New York in nineties and when came back to Prague he wanted to build similar place for the artists. So that is how Meet factory came to being. First it was based in Holesovice, which is Prague’s district, which used to be very industrial in the 19th century. And the building where Meet Factory was founded used to be a factory where Prague Ham was made. So hence the play on words Meat Factory - Meet Factory. But unfortunately not even after a full year of existence, the massive floods of 2001 came and flooded the factory. So it was not possible to continue the programme there. And David was trying to find another place for Meet Factory, which is this place, which he got from the city council in 2005. And Meet Factory opened in 2007 to the public.

This building used to belong to the glass-works that were built here in 19th century. This building is much newer though. It was built in twenties or thirties. And then after the glass-works came to an end. They belonged to the machinery firm CKD and after that it belonged to the Czech railways for some years. And then it was completely abandoned in nineties. You cannot see it right now but the building sits between railway track and highway. And when highway was being built the city council bought the plot and bought the building. And it was thought it had to be turned down but it survived somehow. But it was completely abandoned and unused except for homeless people who were scavenging for everything that could be sold. And that is when Meet Factory came here in 2005.

It took 2 years to reconstruct the building and to open the center here. The first thing that opened was the artist in residence programme. After that came the gallery. After that came the theatre. And last in 2010 came the music, which is when I came in. And currently this is what Meet Factory offers. Which is international artist in residence programme which has 15 studios, own theatre that has up to five premiers and up to five new plays each year, gallery which has 3 different spaces and a music which I am taking care of, which hosts around 90 events per year and we have around 14000 visitors per year for the music and then some other people for the other departments.

Well, as Michal outlined the current situation has settled into 4 departments. We are producing around 300 events per year and since we are now trying to encompass new methodological approaches. We are also trying to build multi-genre dramaturgical line. So we also have programming, each year the summer cinema just below the highway. We are just trying to make this huge event for all the arts and music performance, visual arts that is entitled the Public House. And we are taking part every year in the Museum Night. So we are trying to be also this multi-genre dramaturgical space or venue.

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Michal Brenner is in charge of Music Department, Zuzana Jakalova is in charge of Artist in Residence Department at Meet factory in Prague, Czech Republic.

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