Kateřina Šedá
I Live Here

Research Visit
Monday 17 – Friday 21 October 2022

Kateřina Šedá, Everything Is Perfect, 2013

Thank you to everybody who met Kateřina Šedá in October, and showed the artist around Eaglestone in Milton Keynes.

We are very excited at the prospect of working with local residents in developing a project in the estate and will post further information soon.  

Kateřina Šedá is a Czech artist who develops site-specific projects designed, she says, “to create an exchange between people in their everyday spaces". The artist has worked and exhibited across the world and has an international reputation for producing work with communities, and in response to the issues they are facing.

In one such project, Šedá worked with 600 families in Mirror Hill, a community on the outskirts of Budapest. Mirror Hill has no centre or common meeting space and most people, the artist found, didn’t know their neighbours. Šedá invited families to submit a drawing of the view from their front door. A catalogue was distributed to all of the residents and a prize was awarded to the family that could correctly identify the most houses in the catalogue. Through the project, people explored their neighbourhood and started talking to one another. "It was amazing”, the artist says, “to see the streets full of people with their books open, looking at the buildings and searching for the houses... in the evening, they all gathered to discuss the day spent together".

In 2021, Milton Keynes Arts Centre invited Kateřina Šedá to visit Milton Keynes for the first time. Over a week, the artist explored many of the estates – old and new – in which people lived. After a few hours, she became lost – confused by the uniformity of the houses, the grid system and the lack of public spaces.

“I could not find original points of reference – elements that had not been designed by an architect, not been erected by an artist or commissioned by a town hall, but that people had created on their own and that they in some way identified with. Not because somebody had told them to, but simply because they wanted to. And so … I hit upon the idea of adding a new layer to this city after 55 years, one that had evidently been forgotten in the planning process: The notion that a city consists not just of houses but also and above all of people, and that they are by far not as uniform as their façades.”

Based upon an earlier project in the American town of Los Altos, the artist is interested in creating a new social network in the streets of Eaglestone: one that would also act as an unusual navigation system. In Los Altos, Šedá did this with bespoke mailboxes, developed with families living there, and fabricated by local craftspeople, which reflected the residents’ personalities and interests. These mailboxes then became way markers. So, instead of turning left onto West Street then second right, people turned left at the train engine and then right at the cat…

In Eaglestone, the project’s main objective she says, “will be more than to transform people’s perception of their neighbours; above all, I hope to create a model example of a neighbourhood with the potential to positively infect others.”

Kateřina Šedá, Everything Is Perfect, 2013

This is however just a proposal – We need to hear from you!

Please contact Fiona Venables at Milton Keynes Centre if you can spare an hour or so of your time to meet with the artist, or to suggest a group for her to visit.

Please telephone 01908 608108 or email fiona@miltonkeynesartscentre.org.

Thank you!

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Milton Keynes
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