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Community lies at the core of Maříž, but it doesn’t exist within a vacuum. Rather, there is a structure of relationships, memories, and traditions that supports this expanding community. 


For this reason, the 2023 edition of Summer School Maříž revolved around the theme of “Social Architecture”. Over the 10-day residency – held between 16.-27.08.2023 – participants explored new forms of collaboration and community building through a series of workshops: ‘Storytelling’ by the Leštnice team, ‘Sound & Music’ by Marius Houschyar Friedrich with Karel Babuljak; and ‘Building as a Social Process’ by MAK! Studio.


To capture even a drop of what occurred over those ten days would be a ten-day read in itself, so instead, let us tell you a story about a ‘Spiritual Experiment and Collective Habitat in Practice’.



Beyond the brow of Slavonice’s border-facing hill, lie two satellites, the quaint village of Maříž and the forest of Leštnice.

The first, Maříž, was churned through the past century, eventually being spat out alive. Message soon took wind and found its way to Prague, where in the basements of the heaving metropolis ‘Divadlo Sklep’ decided to take charge. The theatre group made its way to the forgotten lands to fuel it with spirit, costume and sound. Reinhabiting the shell of the former Czech-German town, Maříž was transformed from strictly forbidden to a safe haven for creative minds.


For the second of our satellites, the story is more bleak… Following along the gravel track towards the wooded hills, you’ll find yourself sifting through Slavonice’s outer orbital field. Leštnice stood here for over 500 years until the communist regime decided it ought to disappear. Here the trees have taken root where bedrooms once stood, all that remains are a few concealed basements. 


It is hard to imagine that Leštnice was once the smaller sister of Maříž. Their shared land was put under fire and only one survived, but family ties are strong and there remains to this day a game of push and pull. One a reminder of the delicacy afforded to the other, their stories are inherently interwoven.


Over the years, the Maříž community has witnessed many stories unfold, all adding towards the illusive spirit of this small village. What this spirit is exactly, is hard to say. We search, we get lost. When we are lost, we feel the spirit tickle our senses. We tell ourselves stories and pass on the tales we hear from the people who came before us. We are rooted in the places that bring us meaning through stories. They unite us as individuals, with the communities we live in and the environment that supports us.


No story can ever truly be known. There is no beginning or ending, just a continuous unfolding that can only be seen from an impossible vantage point. Snippets drift down to us and are sewn into the social fabric, creating a patchwork of perspectives that we feast from. 



Are you hungry?


Look out upon the land

Dusty in parts 

Water swollen 

and green


Harvest what you need

Not an ounce more 

There is plenty to go around

When you harness the forest floor


We have food here

For all the passer bys

Wherever you come from 

Stop in for a bite


Are you hungry?


Unexpected flavours

Tickle your lips

Lick your tongue 

Return for more

There's nothing quite like 

Charred Fennel threads

Celery Salad

And a fried sunflower head

Mix and match 

For you are free

Follow your tastebuds

You are what you eat


Are you hungry?


One Velvet Spring morning, a crowd of theatre folk awoke our desolate town. Among their ranks: a sculptor and a raga man. With brushes in hand, they trekked over the forgotten land, harvesting the constellation of protruding galls the parasites had left behind. 

No time was wasted consolidating their hold. The peripheries were secured, but right at the core, there remained one thing unfound. After forty years of sleep without a heartbeat, the chapel doors were shut and the key withdrawn.

At the last remaining bend before exiting town, the towering steeple could see everything – people came and people went. Among those who left was the raga man, for he knew the town was not complete without its heartbeat.

As time went by, Maříž saw the birth of many new lives. Some arrived blind as a bat in absolute infancy, others were blinded by the modern facts and sought to be reborn. All was well and good, but one thing remained misunderstood.

Not to lose sight of the origin story, the sculptor was appointed the house beneath the chapel walls. Between hammer blows he would listen very closely, for when his anvil sang the tower replied with a quiet rhythm of antiquated mysteries.

Desperate to make sense of the whisper next door, his hammer strikes quickened and his garden filled with weird and wacky forms. The sculptures became a testimony to something truly strange, depicting the chitter-chatter between iron ore and the great hall of another world.

Some thirty years passed, listening to hammer and saw, letters formed but not a single word. “What am I missing!” and that is when the raga man knocked on his door. After all those years away from the gaze of the all-seeing spire, it’s hard to say what happened but his footstep had been ripened to the rhythm of the Moravian wind. He wasted no time explaining he was here to form a band, one that would build its instruments from both the lawnmower and the grass clippings shorn.

A new rhythm of rat-a-tat-tat flooded the town, the sculptor couldn’t rest as he heard the sound. With hammer now light in hand his anvil sang, beckoned on by the paint can band. After all of those years tapping along to the distant chime, he now removed his steel-capped boots to complete the metallurgic score. 

Barefoot, smoked out and proud, the sculptor emerged from his trove with the newly forged key dwarfing his hardened hands. The silence was short as the newly formed group dragged their clattering instruments towards the last remaining bend before exiting town.

Beneath the towering steeple, the crowd watched as the shoe-sized key disappeared into the hollow. After a few rusty clicks as the stiffened key pins turned, the door swung open to the dusty chapel floor.

Anointed by the now Raga Man of Maříž, his stomping boots guided the language-free procession. The ramshackle band drew the patterned floor with sound, swollen feet and panchos were passed around. After all of those years living under the all-seeing spire, the village folk entered one by one into the beating heart. 

Now we are tasked with thinking up a new mystery, for all great journeys are riddled with uncertainty.


Two months after the programme, the community came together again, this time at Floating University Berlin. During the public event, a concert was performed by participants as part of Habitat Ensemble, a library of the eleven publications created during Summer School were presented, and a meal was prepared for the wider community. Furthermore, in April 2024, we will release our publication at the Centre for Arts and Ecology in Prague.

Thanks to all sponsors, workshop leaders, participants, associates and extra helpers and especially the local community of Maříž:

Karel Babuljak, Jan Boháč, Martin Ceplecha, Marius Houschyar Friedrich, Josef “Pepíno” Krejčí, Petr Prokop, Jaromír Štěrba, Katerina Videnova & Adam Wlazel, Jack Laing Aiken, Julian Boháč, Philip Chemayel, Nima Emami, Ester Grohová, Clara Harmssen, Štěpán Herold, Alice Jeannel, Antonio Lorusso, Aaron Maar, Anna Maczky, Františka Malasková, Isabell Alexandra Meldner, Giulia Morlando, Ondřej Novák, Nicolas Prokop, Gabriela Sojková, Jan Vagaday, Scott Wiese, Romane Bourgeois, Mira Friedrich, Lena Hauth, Pauline Hosse-Hartmann, Dorkas Jandová, Abel Kroon, Kristýna Procházková, Vita Lerche, Luisa Pánková, Lukáš Pavlousek, Lorenzo Scandale, Marty Schlichter, Oscar Ström, Anouk van Wijk, Kateřina Zadáková, Ida Zahradnik, Jonaso Otto

Special thanks to Dorkas Jandová for creating this very special map.

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