METAMORPHOSIS, SWARM Mag’s second theme for 2020, is now underway and here is your introduction to it. METAMORPHOSIS will run from 11th May to 17th July 2020.

Hey y’all,

we’ve got news about changes. No, we’re not going to address how the second quarter of 2020 got us a new meaning for the C-word. Besides, this is not the place – let’s focus on other transformations. For the upcoming three months, we’ll be making your acquaintance with METAMORPHOSIS, our second umbrella theme for 2020.

What’s more everlasting than change?

Human fascination with metamorphosis has been endless. The development stages and alien beauty of insects, the mythologies of shapeshifters, mermaids, baby-stealing faes, heaven and hell, count in getting possessed, human and non-human animal hybrids, the desired change of state into bettering and elevating oneself, the coming of age, and all shades of transcendence, ripening, moulting, pupating, transhumanism or morphing. In art, of course, it’s been ever-present. In this theme, we’ll treat METAMORPHOSIS as an out-of-body, out-of-gender, out-of-identity, out-of-comfort-zone, out-of-mind experience. It will include but will not be limited to transformations of states, materials, bodies, ideas and substances. It will manifest as a perceived achieving of a final, higher, better form or as a transfer station there. Break habits, break characters, break a nose or two if you have to – but don’t hold off change.

You’ll see fashion dematerialised in virtual apparel, a resurrected fashion doll as a lifeless trend harbinger, high-end shoewear born out of refuse. A contemplation on the transformation of visual culture involving face filters and digital painting, the occurrence of sacred symbol thorough art history and their evolving influence over viewers, a snake becoming a human – its owner, landscapes eating themselves.

The changes in our once harmonic relationship with bees alongside photos of Ukrainian beekeepers, the unpredictable technical evolution with our lives entangled in it in paint, illustrated diaries from Echoworld – a non-existent landscape used as a backdrop to illustrate surreal corporeal changes. Animals and humans, nature and culture, beauty and abjection merged in sculptures. 3D video of a praying mantis, looking like a perfect jewel, and upending the modelling standards of attractiveness and beauty and their advertising value.

You’ll become a gnarly orc in an RPG game, just enjoying a meadow brushed by a golden sunrise. You’ll witness a Chalupecký-nominated utopian video, illustrations dealing with the urge to simplify a complex and fast-moving society, a fabricated documentary on special microorganisms rebuilding our world in the distant future. A journey of gender dysphoria and a vulnerably intimate quest towards a desired identity, transforming online imagery into flesh and bone on canvases, and crafting a 3D online presence and product of oneself.

If you’ve read all the way here, we love you. Be good and look forward to everything.


SWARM team

For your reading pleasure:

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick

Doing Gender in Media, Art and Culture by Rosemarie Buikema, Liedeke Plate, Kathrin Thiele

Metamorphoses and Heroides by Publius Ovidius Naso

Atlas of Transformation by Collegium

Bauhaus Bodies: Gender, Sexuality, and Body Culture in Modernism’s Legendary Art School by Elizabeth Otto, Patrick Rössler

Beekeeping, Illustrated by Yves Gustin

Lives of Bees by Thomas D. Seeley

The Insect Apocalypse Is Here By Brooke Jarvis, New York Times,

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’ by The Guardian,

Without Bugs, We Might All Be Dead by National Geographic,

Lil Miguela’s Instagram

What Is Transhumanism?

Critics In 2030s Ask Why Teen Climate Activist Isn’t In Abandoned School Bailing Water And Shooting Enemy Foragers by The Onion


Text / Františka Blažková

Animation / Tran Thanh Mai @____thanhmai & Jáchym Štulíř

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