Katedra fotografie FAMU

Hey, Master!

opening: December 19th 2016 at 6pm
Dec. 20th – 15th 2017
Galerie Panel — FAMU
Smetanovo nábřeží 2 (1. patro), Praha 1

The exhibition presents the works of teachers in FAMU’s Department of Photography.

The name of the pre-Christmas exhibition of the Department of Photography is an example of a nominative sentence. The vocative case of the singular noun “master” is accompanied here by the interjection “hey” (in Czech “hej”) which oscillates between imperative and deictic functions. Let’s take a closer look at these two lexical units.

Hey, may be considered identical to hoy (in Czech “hoj”) and hi (in Czech “haj”). These three interjections are synonymous in many contexts and their resolution is of a rather dialectological nature without significant semantic implications. Hoy, for example, forms the basis of the greeting ahoy (in Czech “ahoj”) which is admittedly taken from English, which, however, as already pointed out by Vladimír Šmilauer (Naše řeč (Our Language) magazine, volume 22, 1938, No. 8, pp. 241-246) cannot be fully asserted about hoy (hoj) as such. We encounter it in various languages; it is an independently originating interjection stemming from the phonetic conditions of calling. The English word hoy does not only serve as the basis for the sailor’s greeting, it is also used for driving cattle. Analogously, in Moravia, according to Bartoš (Dialektologie moravská (Moravian Dialectology) I, p. 323) the command hoy! hoy! hoy! (in Czech hoj! hoj! hoj!) was used to pacify cattle so they wouldn’t be scared. A similar situation exists with the interjections haj (“Goose girls shout at gaggles of honking geese and goslings: “Haj Babulka haj!” V. K. Jeř.) and hej (Hey, wake up, Mr. Sharpeye! Erb.).

The noun “master” was originally used to refer to the head of a craft workshop. However, from the beginning, the responsibilities of this position included the supervision of apprentices and thus pedagogical work. From this usage, the title was accepted, in the Middle Ages, by the university milieu which had nothing to do with crafts. Today, the use of the noun master is very divergent. We encounter it in the context of music (concertmaster), in sport (world master, chess master); however, in practice, it is often not a codified “title” granted under clearly defined conditions, but is rather used more loosely, with emphasis on the general normative dimension. Thus the true mastery of athletes, musicians and artists is valued.

The current exhibition presents the works of masters – teachers in FAMU’s Department of Photography, rather than the apprentices – FAMU photography students, as is otherwise usually the case here on the panel. However, if we expect a higher degree of sovereignty in the meritorious masters and that all due respect to them will be shown, the congenial name of the exhibition reveals how illusory these expectations are. Hey, Master! Here, the master is treated like the cattle in Bartoš’s book, or the above-mentioned geese, except that rather than being calmed down, the master is, by means of the interjection hey, encouraged, or even more likely driven. Driven to do what? For instance, to participate in the pre-Christmas exhibition of FAMU’s Department of Photography teachers.

Josef Ledvina

Posted on: 18. 12. 2016, Editor KF FAMU