An honest disclosure of a bad habit from a Czech teenager reading: "When I have to study, I clean so I do not study", Source:

Czechia creates a national collection of…bad habits

Czechia creates a national collection of…bad habits

Part of a massive art project, honouring the 200th year since the birth of Gregor Johann Mendel – the father of genetics

If you are from Czechia, you can now disclose all your vices free from guilt. This is possible thanks to a group of Czech artists busy creating the country’s only national collection of bad habits. Kateřina Šedé’s project was launched on the occasion of the 200th birth anniversary of the founder of genetics, Gregor Johann Mendel.

What do genetics and bad habits have in common?

Mendel, a botanist and a monk (who died in the city of Brno, Czechia), is widely known for his adventurous and experimental scientific portfolio. Although not recognised during his lifetime, one of his scientific research studies is now considered the starting point of genetics.

More specifically, after many years of experiments with peas in the monastery’s garden, Mendel discovered how the plants transfer characteristics related to height, shape, colour to the next generations. He then formulated some of the most important laws of heredity and is the author of concepts like recessive and dominant traits.

His findings have important implications for agriculture and animal breeding. The hybridization of plants and animals was able to increase the prominence and frequency of desired qualities in the offspring, which also leads to increased profits.

Be as it may, Mendel himself was not the incarnation of good traits, project authors informed. Just like any human being, he had multiple bad habits, including heavy smoking.

“My bad habits lead to you”

According to the project's author, a bad habit is “a behaviour of a person or a group of people that is constantly repeated and bothers us. A bad habit is different for every person - for example, regular household cleaning bothers someone, and someone appreciates it, on the contrary.”

But what does collecting bad habits have to do with art? Bad habits accompany us through our lifetimes, but also unite us.

The project website reads: “We wish to inherit and pass on the best qualities [to generations], but the older we get, the clearer it becomes how much our parents have left us with. Thus, our society consists not only of families that are connected by genetic roots, but also of other families, families of so-called distant relatives… individuals who are proud of some of the bad habits we ourselves have.”

Thus, the idea is to collect 10,000 bad habits and ultimately create Mendel’s table of bad habits by the autumn. Based on this table, people could search for “peers” based on the habits they have in common.

One can report their own bad habits, their friends’ and relatives’ habits and even national habits and features typical for all Czechs.

The project's goal is one-third completed and the first results will be shown during the Mendel Festival 2022 (17-24 July).



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