The Czech robot will also appear at the World Exposition in Dubai

9. 9. 2020

One year before the opening of the first General World Exposition in the Arab World, the organizers of the EXPO in Dubai published a book of fairy tales from all over the world. In it, the Czech Republic is represented by the story of the robots Radius and Helena written based on the play R.U.R. by Karel Čapek. The Czech author wrote this with the help of his brother Josef exactly one hundred years ago, and on January 25, 1921, the word robot was first heard on stage.

„I also thought about the vodník (vodyanoy), which is also a purely Czech character, but the well-known literary models are either fairly rough, or the vodník is not the central character in them, "explains Jiří F. Potužník, the General Commissioner of National Participation at the EXPO, “in addition, dehumanized civilizations and humanized robots seem relevant to me even after a hundred years and it is in line with the spirit of the World Expositions, which should focus primarily on scientific and industrial innovation. Our exposition is a sci-fi.”

The original illustrations were created by Klára Vodenková, a student at Grammar School Na Zatlance, who won a competition created under the auspices of the Chair of the Committee on Education and Schooling of the Prague City Council.

"There was little time to announce and create an art competition. The time period also coincided with the summer holidays, but students from our schools have shown that they can be creative even in unexpectedly demanding situations. "Robot" is one of the few Czech words that has enriched the international vocabulary, and I believe that its story can appeal to children readers, who are often open to all things new, and that it will also contribute to connecting society across different countries. "Says Mariana Čapková, the Chair of the committee.

In the end, the General Commissioner's Advisory Board selected from five final proposals - and the watercolour paintings of a robot with bright glowing eyes won.

"I was inspired by a humanoid, i.e. a human-like machine, but it needed the addition of a little childish naivety and mystery. Watercolour is ideal for this futuristic motif.” says the young author Klára Vodenková when describing the birth of the illustrations.

The robot should appear at the EXPO a hundred years after the premiere of R.U.R. in another form as well: in the pantomime adaptation of Robot Radius, which is being prepared for the World Exposition by the Thalia Awardwinning Radim Vizváry and the composer and guitarist Michal Pavlíček. However, the date of the Czech and world premiere has not yet been confirmed due to the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Download the storybook here