Scaremongering Czech Artists – Ztohoven

A group of 6 Czech artists that call themselves Ztohoven face possible prison time after being acused of scaremongering and propagating false information. In June of 07 the group hacked into a Czech Republic television tower and replaced images of a live weather broadcast with a nuclear explosion going off in the Czech countryside.

czech artists face prison timeThe hoax called “Media Reality” was liked by the Czech National Gallery as the group received prize money of $18,000 for the work. Hopefully they haven’t spent their winnings though as it will now be needed to try and keep them out of prison.

In a USA Today article on the nuclear hoax, the Czech National Gallery head said “This piece.. alongside all of the art the group Ztohoven is making — is crossing the border from art into something more social,” said Milan Knizak. “The artists are trying to escape from the cage of art, and into real life. They would like to influence their own lives, and other people’s lives.”

The Ztohoven group released a statement on their Myspace page, which I found here at Art Threat.. “We are neither a terrorist organization nor a political group, our aim is not to intimidate the society or manipulate it, which is something we witness on daily basis both in the real world and in the world created by the media…We hope our action will become an appeal for the future and remind the media of their duty to bring out the truth.” Ztohoven

And here’s a video of the live weather report on Czech TV..

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. If it was a crime to give false or misleading information through the media Rupert Murdock and Fox news would have been sitting in the penitentiary years ago.

  2. I’m guessing it was just the image of the nuclear bomb that was in the weather report whilst the report was still about the weather?

    They’ll still end up in court though for hacking the channel.

  3. That’s not art, that’s hacking, and they should go to prison. You can’t start committing crimes in the name of “art”. Playing with people’s fear like that is not art, it’s immoral.

  4. Slovak Taskforce says:

    I think this group should be honored. They have proved that it is possible to hack into a live TV feed and manipulate its contents as if it was real.

    How many people take for granted that what’s on TV must be real? Ignorance is far more dangerous than a prank like this, although I might have had chosen for pictures of sudden snowfall, odd animals, the Eiffel Tower or such. A nuclear explosion is over the top.

  5. A rather poignant question and, more importantly, answer found in the newspaper article.

    “When, if ever, does art cross the line?”

    “It’s when an individual’s actions fall into the category of a criminal offence as outlined by this country’s penal code,”

    Pretty much sums it up.

  6. Wow, the inserted video is well produced and fits so good that it DOES seem like it’s real. But here I quote “slovak taskforce”: how many people take for granted that what’s on TV must be real? Conscious, we have to be conscious of what society we live in!

    Nice blog, btw :)

  7. Seeing (T.V.) shouldn’t always mean believing , but people put a certain amount of ‘faith’ in the news and weather reports. We take it for granted that what they report wont be completely fictional even if it is manipulated by the media.

    This artwork could have been more effective (if you want to hoax people?) if it had been shown during the news reel, not the weather.

    Then again perhaps because there is no reason to manipulate the weather, compared to the great many political reasons to manipulate the news it is more convincing in the weather report.

    It’s the gap between reality and representation that’s in question.

  8. I think it succeeded in getting attention, but I can’t see much of a moral message in it. It doesnt make me think that the media is manipulative in anyway.

    I’m probably getting too old too quickly because I think it’s something that a bunch of teenage boys would do, just because they can. And now it looks like they might pay a price for their prank, which is probably when the moral message came up (as a way of defending their childish prank).

    The cynic with no sense of humour today :-P (I’ll probably think differently about it tomorrow)

  9. It reminds me of Orson Well’s radio play “War of the worlds” (based on H.G. Well novel) from 1938 but far less geniously and creative and certainly not worth $18,000.
    The radio broadcast was taken by many radio listeners to be a report of an actual invasion. Not a few people fled their homes and clogged highways in their efforts to flee what they were convinced was a deadly attack from outer space!

  10. A new art style? “Scare Art?” No, it is just another type of “hype” to gain publicity and notority at any cost. Sometimes it works, but usually the artist is relegated to the out of touch pigeon hole and forgotten. However, publicity, even bad at times, is better than obsecurity – ask the rock stars!
    Come on artists – keep on creating!!! Monty Ousley Weddell – Thee Art Gallery at

  11. Impecable work of art, it goes to the ponit, its simplicity is yet very sofisticated and creates this debate of society conventions and limits.
    who is legitimized to manipulate informetion over the media?
    aren’t the mayor tv networks doing the same thing (manipulating information) on a dayly basis and we don’t reflect enough on that?

    Don’t be facists get deeper and do not disqualify an art project using moral arguments.

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