Living with the enemy

Graduates show Academy of Fine Arts in Prague
September 15th – 26th 2021
4k video, 9 minutes

Living with the Enemy uses a story that was featured in a popular documentary show called The Monsters inside Me. The original story revolves around Wendy, a young financial worker who one day gets an excruciating headache. After many medical tests, it is discovered that she has a parasite in her body that makes it impossible for her to carry out everyday activities. After a series of non-invasive treatments, it seems that the parasite is defeated - but it is not. We find that the parasite has taken up residence in her brain and cannot be removed. Surgery is necessary for Wendy to survive. The goal of the surgery is not to get rid of the parasite, but to modify Wendy's body so that it can function with the parasite.

In the video, the two actors, Wendy and Paula, interact with the camera in a highly stylized environment that resembles several spaces closely associated with neoliberal ideas of the personhood - the hospital, the school and the corporation. There are no boundaries here and the different spaces communicate with each other seamlessly.

Brna takes the original story from the series in the form of an audio track, but instead of a medical curiosity, he uses it in the context of performance culture. The perspective of the parasite has changed from internal to external, private to public. Brna relegates the biological aspects of the parasite to the background and focuses on the social and political ones. Asking questions like: who is the parasite here? And how do we change to live with it? Or have we already changed?