The Moral Reform

The Moral Reform

30 March–15 April 2016

Aksioma | Project Space, Ljubljana

Part of the programme Masters & Servers

In June 2012, during the 40th Congress of the Czech parliament, 585 text messages were sent to different politicians. The politicians from various political parties were unknowingly “sending” SMS messages to one another about the need for a mysterious “Moral Reform” and apologizing to each other. The messages called for better behavior, political decency and negotiation with less emphasis on grudges and prejudice.

A typical message went something like this: President of Republic, Prof. Ing. Vaclav Klaus, CSc., is sending an SMS to JUDr. Vojtûch Filip, head of the Communist party of Czech and Moravia: “Your history, as well as mine, is full of acts of shame. Please, accept my invitation to today’s urgent meeting on Moral Reform.”

The happening’s success was further amplified by the fact that the Parliament meeting was live broadcast in the Czech national TV. So, during the first tens of minutes, television audience looked at targeted deputies staring on their cells, twisting heads, searching for the authors of messages in order to confirm the sender.
The performance – probably the first ever artistic performance taking place in the local parliament house – was later claimed by the famous Czech art movement Ztohoven, that published all the messages and the related information (who sent what to whom) on a specially designed webpage; and it was made technically possible by an hack into a mobile phone SMS gate.

According to Neural Magazine, “The Ztohoven Parliament puppet show explored the notion of alternative futures being influenced by some unknown moral force. Revealing a new form of activist and “revolutionary” art, which is subversively opportunistic rather than openly confrontational. It uses extreme moral and religious discourse rather than critique, reflection or visions. It “reforms” reality by generating unexpected events that are closer to quantum physics and chaos theory experiments with butterfly wings than just simple provocations.”

The action blurred the distinction between real time TV coverage, theater and political performance and its impressive effects can be partly attributed to the fact that it leaves a lot of room for individual interpretation. Art is turning politics into a type of liminal experience with parallel and alternative universes and futures, almost extra-terrestrial interventions that resemble a TV show like Fringe.



Ztohoven is a Czech artist collective known for its artistically motivated pranks. The group consists of a core of around 20 regularly active artists, rising to around 100 when additional participants are called upon for a particular task. The group aims to use familiar tools and methods to challenge public perceptions of society. Members of the group are anonymous, and use pseudonyms when appearing or commenting in public. Many of the names used by the group’s members are puns, some of which (e.g. Roman Tyc, Dan Gerous or Ana Ward) are chosen to work in English as well as Czech.


Citizen K

Aksioma | Project Space, Ljubljana
WED, 6 April 2016 at 7 pm

Citizen K is the movie about the identity swap project during which 12 guerrilla artists from the Ztohoven collective lived for months under each other’s identity. The action aimed to draw the attention to the omnipresent Big-Brother-like control of the public by authorities. The artists applied for new identity cards with computer-altered photographs that combined features of two members of the group – the man who would use the card and the man in whose name it was issued. Subsequently they used the fake identity to get married, travel abroad and even vote in the Czech Republic’s general election in 2010.

In the framework of Akcija!, a cycle of screening events

Media Reality

WED, 13 April 2016 at 7 pm
Aksioma | Project Space, Ljubljana

For Media Reality Ztohoven hacked the Czech Public Television’s transmitter used for automatic live broadcasting. They inserted an atomic mushroom exploding in the quiet landscape of the Czech countryside near the Krkonose mountains. Thousand TV viewers witnessed it live on June 17, 2007, during the morning show Panorama.


Author: Ztohoven

Production of the exhibition in Ljubljana:
Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2016

Event realized in the framework of Masters & Servers, a joint project by Aksioma (SI), Drugo more (HR), AND (UK), Link Art Center (IT) and d-i-n-a / The Influencers (ES).

Supported by: 
the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, the Municipality of Ljubljana.

To top