The Parallel Polis (Paralelní Polis) – Cryptoanarchy Institute in Prague

Café Coworking space
Paralelní Polis Prague

The Ztohoven artist-activist group opened this space in October 2014. Its name and ideals carry on the traditions of the dissident and political thinker Václav Benda, who first formulated the theory of the functioning of alternative culture (or “underground” culture) in the essay titled Paralelní polis. This “hacker institute’s” economic independence from centralized authority is epitomized by the exclusive use of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency; thus, the local café and work hub will not accept cash or credit card. Nonetheless, the above two features are meant to enable the Institute to function independently of government support. The stated vision is membership-based operation, openness towards the general public, and the use of technology and its socio-political dimensions to effect positive change. The space is meant to be an educational and development center combining technology and art.

  • Paper Hub
  • Cinema 43
  • Bitcoin Coffee
  • Cryptoanarchy Institute

Translator’s note: “Ztohoven” can be read as an artificial contraction of the phrase “z toho ven,” meaning “[getting] out of it.” It is also, however, homophonous to the phrase “sto hoven,” meaning, literally, “one hundred pieces of shit.” The translator has no information regarding whether or not either reading is preferred or in fact intended.

Possible translations include The Parallel Polis, The Parallel Polity, The Parallel City, The Parallel State, Parallel-o-Polis, and so on. Polis is not normally a Czech word, but it is used here in its Ancient Greek meaning of city, polity, city-state (the Ancient Greeks did not have much distinction, politically, between a city and a state, as most of their culture was organized into nothing larger than city-states in the Classical period).

Practical information

Where it is located:
Dělnická 475/43, Prague 7
How to get there:
subway: Nádraží Holešovice, Vltavská, Palmovka -> tram: Dělnická, Maniny