INTERNational Memorial of Eavesdropping And Wiretapping
The INTERNational Memorial of Eavesdropping And Wiretapping, consisting now of the Bretschneider's Ear, Mouth of Truth, and Golden Eyes [That'd Be The Day], is a complex artifact of many dimensions: physical, esthetic, political, historical, ethnic, international, and literary. (The following description is a translation of the Czech original at the http://ucho.hyperlinx.cz.)
The Genesis of the Project:
In the beginning was the Word.
In the beginning was an Ear for which That Word was uttered,
or, on the contrary, an altogether different Ear for which that Word was not intended.
But seriously now.
In the beginning was an idea
- a big ear chiseled in a granite face of a rock,
a poetic artifact,
Wonder of wonders, there were even available people.
And there was a place: a flooded Quarry #1 near Lipnice on the Sázava River.
(You don't think number two would had been better, do you?)
and a title was being sought, like
"Even Walls Have Ears", "Unheard Of", "The Art of Listening"
The Ear of Dionysius at The Castle pricked up.
And then the realization of the project was (thank Lord God) delayed by a year,
by exactly the one year within which once again another wiretapping scandal broke out.
The work attached significance to itself. Even a title.
Just a little case of resonance.
And because the location of the act is Lipnice
the whole thing swung a little from the serious plane to a tongue-in-cheek mockery
under the wings of the local genius loci of Jaroslav Hašek
who moved the municipal representatives to favor the project
and sent to Earth his grandson Richard,
to become the patron of the whole enterprise
and spread its fame from one Prague pub to another
as well as across the Lands of the Czech Crown (!!!!!).
because otherwise perhaps not even a dog's bark would memorialize the huge achievement
which would be paradoxical especially in the case of the neighborhood patrolman Bretschneider,
who was devoured by his own dogs bought in a good deal from Švejk.
Perhaps somebody will in this connection conceive a probing question
having to do with the model for this work of sculpting.
There is an answer: Bretschneider's1 ears not merely a title,
it is a dogma which makes and end of any doubt, sophistry
and gloomy outlook.
We, the sculptors, don't hear such questions and objections,
because we are a bit hard of hearing on account of the banging away in the quarry.
And if anybody has the impression that the whole matter is nothing but a joke,
then we solemnly proclaim that it is, but that we are deadly serious about it,
because it is one thing to be telling jokes and quite another to chisel them in granite.
So in the end it is MAKE(j)2 , after all.
1 Of course, Bretschneider was the "neighborhood patrolman, on loan and working undercover for the State Security Police", introduced to readers of Švejk in Chapter 1 of Book One. He is to neighborhood finks in Central Europe what Quisling is to collaborators in high places - the paradigm of their essence.
2 "makej" ('mah-kay) = Czech slang equivalent of "bang away", i.e. the imperative to work hard.