Czech artist creates 'National Collection of Bad Habits'

Award-winning artist Kateřina Šedá has launched an online database where anyone can submit bad habits and discover others who share similar traits. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 06.07.2022 12:20:00 (updated on 06.07.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Newsflash: everyone has bad habits. Whether you admit it or not, we are all prone to vices that can be bothersome to us or to the people around us. But award-winning Czech artist Kateřina Šedá has decided to transform something that seems negative at first sight into a positive and uniting work of art.

The artist is now building the National Collection of Bad Habits, and you can contribute! Anyone can report their own bad habits, bad habits from friends or family members, or even national bad habits on the collection's website.

According to the website, the number of bad habits registered has already exceeded 3,400. So far, the collection of bad habits has gathered confessions like taking too many pictures of cats, excessive cleaning, or biting toenails.

Do you have bad habits?

Yes 89 %
No 11 %
53 readers voted on this poll. Voting is open

Kateřina Šedá has been working on projects that "create an exchange between people in their everyday spaces." Her work often explores the relationship between individuals and large groups of people, their interactions, and stereotypes. 

The National Collection of Bad Habits (Národní sbírka zlozvyků) is part of her project Celej von, which has been created on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of the founder of genetics, Gregor Johann Mendel.

Mendel was born in the Czech village of Hynčice on July 20, 1822, and died on January 6, 1884, in Brno.

"He was a biologist, geneticist, beekeeper, mathematician, botanist, priest, naturalist... But Mendel was first and foremost a human. He had many virtues and, like everyone else, he certainly had a few vices," writes the website, mentioning the scientist's addiction to smoking.

Šedá encourages people to not be ashamed of their vices; even Mendel had bad habits. The collection originally had submission categories for "my bad habit" and "someone else's bad habit", but is now also collecting family and national bad habits. The first presentation of the collection will take place on July 17-24 in Brno at the Mendel Festival 2022

But the project does not end there. Bad habits collected will be put together into "Mendel's table of vices," which will become the building block for a labyrinth where people can search for their "relatives": others who share similar bad habits.

"Bad habits are something that accompany each of us in life. They distinguish us from others, characterize our personality and, paradoxically, also unite us. And so I decided to organize the National Collection of Bad Habits and give people a chance to meet 'relatives' they might not have even known about," Šedá says.

The artist also admits to a number of bad habits of her own. Šedá says she talks fast and loudly, jumps into people's conversations, and thinks everyone else is slow. 

She also notes that one person's bad habit can be another's treasure.

"A bad habit is a behavior of a person or a group of people that is constantly repeated and bothers us. Bad habits are different for every person – for example, regular household cleaning might bother some, while others will appreciates it."

The symbol of the collection is an allusion to one of today's widespread bad habits: a two-tailed Czech lion with a mobile phone in its paw.

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