Czech activists cut giant Pac-Man into rapeseed field in protest of prime minister

The political act comes on the 41st anniversary of the release of the iconic arcade game and warns of the dangers of conglomerates.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 25.05.2021 16:00 (updated on 25.05.2021)

The art provocateur group Ztohoven has claimed responsibility for cutting a giant Pac-Man into a rapeseed field owned by Agrofert, the conglomerate associated with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

Police have been investigating the damage to the field in the village Rovné in the Ústí nad Labem region.  

“Police officers from Roudnice nad Labem are investigating the damage to the rapeseed field in the area of the village of Rovné, and at the same time ask potential witnesses for help. A part of the field with an area of ​​about seven hectares has been cut by an unknown perpetrator, causing damage of over CZK 350,000,” Ústí nad Labem regional police spokeswoman Šárka Poláčková said.

The artwork was created on the 41st anniversary of the release of the original Pac-Man game, which came out May 22, 1980. It was also International Biodiversity Day. In the game, Pac-Man gobbles everything in his way, similar to the business model of conglomerates.

“Pac-Man ate subsidies and he also managed to perfectly eat concepts such as capitalism or socialism, which are now freely confused. We are in the phase of social lobotomy, when the right and left hemispheres are irreconcilably promoting their [ideas] without the ability to seek a common language outside the categories of the right-left worldview,” Ztohoven said on Facebook.

“This cut was made by the Pac-Man in us, whom we ourselves let become fully established and were not able to set functional barriers for. The ‘4 ghosts’ who have to stop Pac-Man on the field have failed. If a player guided by sufficient motivation to eat everything chooses a suitable strategy, he proceeds to the next levels of the game, even though we thought that the previous one must have been the last. He will never have enough,” they said.

Should the Ztohoven group face criminal charges for creating a Pac-Man in a field?

Yes.This was nothing but vandalism that created costly damage. 8 %
Yes. This was a well-intentioned statement, but it still broke the law. 17 %
No. Political commentary in the form of guerrilla art is not a crime. 76 %
133 readers voted on this poll. Voting is closed

“Pac-Man eats away individual components of the ecosystem in the landscape, leaving behind a monocultural toxic desert. Pac-Man destroys culture, individual freedoms, the diversity of the business environment, and the ability to deal with crisis situations without the intervention of a central planner. Pac-Man has perfectly hacked the system of democracy and is constantly abusing it. Pac-Man has based its business on taxes that devour everyone in its playing field. Pac-Man throws up critical thinking and serious science. Pac-Man can't deal with individuals who refuse to share the playing field with him,” they said.

“Exit the game,” they concluded.

Agrofert has confirmed that they own the land, and the matter is now in the hands of the police.

“I can confirm that this plot of land is owned by Agrobech from the Agrofert Group. I don't want to comment on the motives of the creators, but it is striking how far some people are able to go. They unequivocally committed a crime in which property was damaged in the order of hundreds of thousands of crowns. We condemn such conduct. It is up to the police to investigate the matter,” Agrofert spokesman Karel Hanzelka said.

He also denied the criticism that Agrofert monopolizes state subsidies for the crop.

“It is not true that all rapeseed in the Czech Republic belongs to Agrofert and that it occupies all agricultural land. Czech farmers grow rapeseed on approximately 16 percent of arable land. Of all the domestic rapeseed grown, only 5 percent is accounted for by Agrofert's agricultural companies. If we draw some agricultural subsidies for cultivated land, we have them exactly the same as all other farmers in the Czech Republic,” Hanzelka added.

Ztohoven has staged several acts that blend art and politics. The most famous perhaps was flying oversize red underwear in place of the presidential flag at Prague Castle in 2015. A year later, the Prague District Court decided that no crime had been committed.

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