Inspiration Forum

Inspiration Forum 2023 – Food, Space, Water, Communities and Artificial Intelligence

At the thirteenth annual Inspiration Forum, we asked how the world can be changed through water, what it means to be part of a community, what impact the advent of artificial intelligence will have on our lives, how to eat sustainably and locally, and what we can learn about life and Earth's crises from space.

On Tuesday 24 October, we opened the Forum programme with an invitation to the table – to good food and a discussion about it. In the debate called A Treasure Trove of Local Ingredients with bistro operator Michal Burda, foodblogger Petra Tajovský Pospěchová, politician Eva Nováková and biofarmer Josef Sklenář, we explored the extent to which the ideas of localism can be carried out in practice. In the Sustainable Cooking Show, chef Pavel Drdel showed us how to prepare a unique festival dish – creamy minestrone – without waste and using local ingredients.

Wednesday 25 October was a day at the Forum dedicated to space. Astronomer Soňa Ehlerová guided us not only through the life of the stars but also through distant galaxies in her inner world Meeting with the Stars. In a conversation with art critic Klara Peloušková called We Who Are the Grass of the Universe…, philosopher Lukáš Likavčan reflected on the relationship between environmentalism and our perception of the universe and the planet, and critical theorist of the cosmos Natalie B. Treviño presented new possibilities for space research that is freed from colonial logic in the programme Coloniality in Space together with analyst Petr Boháček. The debate After Remek brought together populariser of cosmonautics Dušan Majer, anthropologist Lucie Ráčková, astronaut Aleš Svoboda and populariser of space activities Jan Spratek to reflect on the role of the Czech Republic in space activities in the field of science and research and beyond it. The day dedicated to space at the Inspiration Forum culminated in a presentation by theoretical physicist and astrobiologist Sara Imari Walker, who presented her thesis on life as a process in the programme It's a Process and talked about what forms life can take and where it can be found in a conversation with publicist Lenka Vrtišková Nejezchlebová.

On Thursday 26 October, we delved into the topic of water at the forum. The inner world of singer-songwriter Jana Vébrová We're Dissolving Away From Each Other in a Single Stream transported us to the river and, with the sounds of her accordion, we tuned in to the river rhythm that has accompanied the musician for part of her life and shaped her everyday situations. Marine biologist Patricia Esquete took us on a guided tour of the seabed and its fascinating biodiversity in her programme Mining the Bottom, and they discussed the threat posed to these ecosystems by deep-sea mining with environmentalist Jan Freidinger and journalist Štěpán Sedláček. The consequences of water scarcity and how to effectively deal with drought in the Czech Republic were discussed in the following panel debate Like a Fish out of Water by hydrologist Václav Hradilek, environmentalist Vlastimil Karlík, analyst Helena Truchlá and social anthropologist Markéta Zandlová. Writer and documentary filmmaker Andri Snær Magnason talked with journalist Jonáš Zbořil about how to communicate the unprecedented events caused by climate change through water and what stories to tell in this transformative period in a programme called On Time and Water. The Day of Water was closed at the forum by hydrofeminist art duo cyber_nymphs – WetMeWild (Justyna Górowska) and Underwater_activist (Ewelina Jarosz) – with the program Hydrosex!, in which they presented the hydrosexual movement in art and talked with curator Zuzana Štefková about their work and their intimate relationship with water.

At the Forum on Friday, October 27, we looked for ways to live together, collective solidarity and community sharing and understanding. Anežka Bartlová, Miloš Hroch and Táňa Zabloudilová presented their manifesto called Enthusiasm Won’t Pay the Rent, which called for sustainable and dignified conditions for cultural journalism and outlined possibilities for healing Czech cultural journalism. In the next session, Deliberation for Democracy, political analyst Ieva Česnulaitytė introduced a democratic institution that has been gaining a second wind in recent years and bringing hope for greater democratic legitimacy, equality and inclusiveness – participatory citizens' assemblies. In a debate with documentary filmmaker Andrea Culková and Vendula Menšíková from the Network to Protect Democracy project, they then talked about what the real possibilities of these assemblies are for environmentalism and more. In a panel debate entitled Cottagers, analyst Sarah Komasová, publicist Josef Patočka, member of the Silo Jihlava Community Centre Kateřina Vondráková and publicist Táňa Zabloudilová discussed Czech individualism and the forms of community living in our country. Then, in the Community Central Europe? programme, sociologist Jan Sowa outlined the answer to the question of how the Central European experience can direct us in the search for an alternative to the neoliberal free market and the anti-liberal authoritarianism of today's populists, and in an interview with Josef Patočka, he explained what we might imagine under the hopeful term of “commonism”. The day dedicated to communities was rounded off with a presentation by publisher Bára Baronová, philosopher Alice Koubová and artist Vladimír Turner, who presented the film Let's Connect Yesterday in a session entitled Resilience Through Communities, asking what resilience means for individuals and society and how to strengthen it through the transformation of interpersonal relationships.

On Saturday 28 October, the forum was devoted to thinking about the emergence and impact of artificial intelligence. Data journalist and programmer Jan Cibulka shared his experiences with AI in the inner world of The Real Possibilities of AI, giving us a glimpse into what AI can really do today and where its limits still lie. Tech industry critic and author of the podcast Tech Won't Save Us Paris Marx then showed the risks AI poses to workers around the world in his interview Artificial Intelligence in the Service of Capitalism, and in a conversation with columnist Matúš Hrdina, they also discussed how the tech industry has long used the language of emancipation to make us believe in projects that are contrary to our interests. Then, in the panel discussion Work in the Days of AI with trade union lawyer Šárka Homfray, artist Ondřej Vavrečka, sociologist Ondřej Lánský and political scientist Kateřina Smejkalová, we looked at the impact that the advent of artificial intelligence has had and will have on the world of work. The possibilities and current state of AI regulation in the European context were discussed by lawyer Monika Hanych, media manager at Amnesty International Hajira Maryam, journalist Luca Bertuzzi, sociologist and analyst Heda Čepelová, and researcher Klára Votavová in the following session EU vs. AI. At the end of the day, we were introduced to the secrets of the development of artificial intelligence by researcher Stanislav Fořt, who in an interview with journalist Michael Rozsypal entitled How Artificial Intelligence is Made? shared his experience not only with working on safe general AI systems but also his own hopes for what AI can bring to humanity in the future.

At this year's Inspiration Forum, we also wanted to open up the discussion to you even more, and that's why we prepared the first Inspiration Forum’s participatory assembly, which we used on Sunday 29 October for the culmination of the programme. Festival-goers were thus able to think and debate together about How to Create a World Together Where Life is Good? The specific topics were decided upon by the participants of the gathering themselves; we talked, for example, about where to find the courage for respect and open communication in the workplace, the role of violence in activism, crisis management, or positive examples of masculinity. At the assembly, we shared our experiences, knowledge and feelings in an effort to find practical solutions to pressing issues. With the help of experienced lecturers and tutors Kristýna Hrubánová, Petra Frühbauerová, Veronika Ambrozy, Dan Vykoukal and Lukáš Pokorný from the NGO NaZemi, we put our heads together and searched for ways to move closer to the world we dream of.

This year, you could also practice yoga with us. From Wednesday to Saturday, under the guidance of experienced teacher Iva Pařízková, Inspirational Yoga classes were held, where festival-goers could physically and spiritually tune in to the various topics of the Inspiration Forum before the start of the programme.