amerika room one

This Isolation Collection began in Prague, in an even more Kafkaesque climate than usual. Artists witness and reflect upon world events, and for those of us who cannot stop being productive, even in lockdown, we have created this platform.

We have invited international artists to share their thoughts, stories and works relating to and/or born during these unusual and transformative times...

Sadofsky & Trantina


The continuous American reality show has been a long inspiration for our collaborative work. The new Rome is an inexhaustible source of themes that we explore mostly through the medium of painting and sculpture:

Rihanna in Quarantine, Leeloo the San Francisco Airport Therapy Pig, The Ascension of Marlboro Man, Orange Chief Calling, Washington and Washington – the Return of the Lost Son, No Parking – Reaching, Hunting in Fergusson, Famous LAPD Star Waiving at the Artists From Red Carpet, a Los Angeles police man eating his helicopter titled Kronos Eating Own Sons, a Hockneyish pool scape called Paris Hilton at her Bell Air Pool Trying to Reach the Artist on her Cell Phone, Miss NRA beauty pageant, Cowboy Tuning Radio surprised by real fake news, the robot deployed to kill Micah X as cute toy-hero on the cover of a magazine. These are some examples of the works we were choosing from for the Isolation Collection.

'Time: No Parking, Reaching' is from a series called Real News, where various fake and real content is painted as a loose take on magazine covers such as Time, Vogue, People or Hustler… The Time cover is a cliche caricature of racist stereotypes, tasered on the the street with texts NO PARKING and REACHING. The painting is comprised of five canvases of different sizes, showing various angles and details as in a police file. The multiple canvases are wrapped together by a strap and installed suspended from the ceiling as packages ready to be shipped.

Time: No Parking, Reaching | 2016 | Oil, Acrylic and Spray on 5 Canvases, | approx. 250 x 190 cm

'Miss NRA' is part of our ongoing nude series, in this case depicting the winner of a non-existent beauty pageant of the National Rifle Association. It is our take on the classic contrast of Eros and Thanatos served in a Texas style barbecue rodeo of guns and girls, offering “hunting in Fergusson” as afterparty.

Miss NRA, 2018 | Acrylic, Oil and Spray on Canvas | 200 x 250 cm

The sculpture 'Smiley', from the series In Your Face, has been selected to accompany the two paintings as a social-media demiurge, the smiling face of the new god of chaos.

Smiley, 2015 | Wood, Metal, Fibre Glass, LED Lights, Mixed Media | approx. 220 x 220 x 35 cm

Robert Carrithers & KAYO


Where are we and how did we get here? There has been a lot tension bubbling under the surface for a long time in the U.S.A. The civil war was never truly resolved and it ended with resentment and the Jim Crow laws for African Americans. These laws were state and local laws to enforce segregation and to disenfranchise and remove any political or economic gains made by all black people.

With the Jim Crow laws, segregation was enforced for schools, restaurants, drinking fountains, restrooms, public transportation, hospitals, work places and basically all public places. These laws were enforced until 1965. This law ceased to exist thanks to the Civil Rights act of 1964 and the Voting rights of 1965. The Jim Crow laws purposely instilled fear plus direct and indirect racism within the white population of the U.S. from an early age. The phrase Jim Crow originated out of the black-faced performances of white performers on stage and in film. This is why it is extremely offensive for African Americans when white people do black face for whatever reason.

This fear and inherited racism from the days of Jim Crow laws still exists in America 2020. It exists in the everyday life in the U.S.A. from the police who patrol various American communities to the politicians that use this fear to win elections. It has been an infection that has lasted too long in American society. This has been an inescapable reality for all African Americans and it is something that now needs to be dealt with. This is also why the phrase “Black Lives Matters” is now so important.

Robert Carrithers


I opened my eyes to pitch black darkness. No matter how hard I tried I could not adjust my eyes to see SOMETHING in my immediate surroundings. I heard the noise though. I heard the sound of the scurrying of small animals against the pavement floor. I also hear the faint sound of someone or some things breathing not too far away. I did my best not to panic and racked my brain trying to remember the previous night and how I got here. I should be nervous and panicking. I do not feel even that confused.

As I slowly stood up I heard the screeching sound of what distinctly sounded like a subway train in the distance. I staggered to my feet. I had been sleeping on damp concrete for what seemed like a long time. Time does not mean much in total darkness. I patted down my body to see if I had pain or any injuries. I was relieved that I felt relatively fine other than aches in muscles and joints because of sleeping in what seemed a cold damp basement.

I went through my pockets and found my mobile phone. It was without signal. I looked at my messages and saw a lot of messages asking where I was. The last message was at midnight, which I presumed was the previous night. I could see that the phone did not have much life to it. I realized I have a torch on the phone, put it on and lit up the room. I moved the light around the abandoned room and saw several rats quickly running in the passageway outside of the doorway. I went to the passage and shined my phone down a long endless long narrow passage with various open door ways on each side. I slowly and carefully started to move down this passage.

As I walked I shined the phone into the various rooms and saw people huddled next to each other in the corners of each room. Some people had bare rooms with a few items with food and blankets. Other people had more kind of homelike situations with furniture and cooking utensils. I finally stopped, looked into a room with a fire and people sitting around it. I made eye contact with one man. His sunken red bloodshot eyes stared at me. I blurted out, “Where am I?”

I suddenly instinctively knew I had broken an unwritten rule that one should not speak first unless one was physically given permission to do so. He continued to stare at me and I saw that the other six people were also staring at me with the same glazed look of distrust. I turned away and I continued to walk. I saw multitudes of scurrying rats running ahead of me through the passage with an endless darkness. I was really hoping to see some faint light ahead. Once again I heard the roaring sound of a subway train above me. I knew there was some life above me and there must be a way to go to it.

An excerpt from The Year of the Metal Rat 2020, a collection of short stories and essays

Chantelle Goldthwaite

The In-Betweens

Nothing occurs in singularity. Nothing occurs in the life of a single person that does not occur in another. Nothing occurs in one location that does not cross borders into another. Nothing occurs in the mind of one man, one woman nor one child that does not transpose itself onto another. The occurrences of this past year (and the ones leading up to it) did not wreak havoc on the life of just one person, did not create chaos in just one country, did not unleash fear and discontent in just one group of people and it most certainly did not hold hostage just one singular soul.

This year has been a year of in-betweens. A place of unknowns and discomfort. Unfortunately, distraction is the human cure for such maladies. Stripped of our most obvious distractions we have been left with little but that which we abhor. Left without the option of disassociation... we are left with nothing but our truest selves. Our shadows. Our fears. Our prejudices. And our egos.

These works wander through my days of isolation and introspection. Events in my life, in addition to the obvious, conspired to force me to face my darkness and befriend the parts of myself that I have kept hidden away: wounds, fears, societal programming, habitual patterns and a death grip on the illusion of control. I have found through these long days and nights that the only way through... is through. That I must learn to find acceptance in what is and surrender to the discomfort. That I must sit and breath through the chaos. That I must learn to just BE.

It is a universal truth that all things shall pass. What sets us apart, both individual and country, is whether or not we choose to learn from the opportunities offered to us and who we choose to become on the other side.

delila black


The music industry (and the media at large) has always played a large part in perpetuating stereotypes, colorism, sexism and racism in general. I have chosen to feature the Country music genre specifically - as this genre is known for its exclusionary practices.

Michael J. Rowland

I chose this recent piece of mine to represent the Five of Wands in my Tarot pack as it depicts the struggle both internal and external of artists and others of a passionate nature who wish they could do something to change our current situation for the better. The Five of Wands in the Rider Waite pack depicts 5 young men training for battle with large wooden staffs. Likewise we are all of us training to cope in this 'new world' and, in the best case scenario, protect each other and guide each other towards a better way of living. Satire and violence can only carry us so far in our attempt to keep sane amidst such chaos. We are at a pivotal moment in history and must play our cards intelligently.

In the painting 'Star Spangled Twat' we see Kenickie attempting to stop Danny ('Grease' 1982) from punching Trump ('Shit Storm' 2020) in his fat, stupid, ugly face.


Striking poses. Licking cans. Catching hell from the man.

Let me get my hands on the gormless fucker; wipe that shit-kicking grin off his greasy lips.

Behind Nana’s cinema screen in silhouette we can see her (hourglass figure turned upside down and running) ask him, “What will the gang jacket read?” He picks her up like heroes do and carries her off to the black limousine parked out back.

“Thunderbirds,” he says, “We are called the Thunderbirds.”

With heads in hands we call upon our spirit animal to walk us safely across the zebra crossing and feed us milkduds as we learn how to do it all by ourselves. My chain dangling free and skipping behind me till we get to the tree trunk which I would always climb up then jump from, shouting, “GERONIMOOOO!”

I cry when I think of you, now you are so far away. Locked down here with nothing but my memories and my television. “Did you hear what the buffoon said on the news last night?”

Compassion will out. Leave him to his bed of nails and lack of anything resembling intelligence. Si tu voyais ton visage ! Tu as l'air d'un con.

The chemical table weighing in on the matter with heavy hands and penile dysfunctions and oh boy, if you think these teenage delinquents will let that go by unnoticed then you were born under a powerful mean star.

Push push push.

Hold me back. Hold me back.

Push push.

Hold me.

And don’t hit my light sabre too hard. It’s only thin plastic. Just lightly like that. I know its not the same but that star-spangled twat wouldn’t give us anything sturdier than the promise of a fucking miracle.

We’ll be ready for the call up, sister, man, brother.

“You know what Mum said to me yesterday after I told her I’d been to the army recruitment centre and they told me I could be sent abroad within a few weeks and be a sniper? She looked at me sadly and said with great emotion, ‘You’re not a sniper, Carl.’”

The great temptation is to pulverise him but I would settle for punching him in the eye. Transsexuals and transvestites and the binary males and females and asexuals, pansexuals, genderqueer, non-binaries, the questioning and heterosexuals and the wholly disinterested shall rise and the harmful and tragic news will be heard throughout the known unknowns and the pope and the devil will hold hands and dance an awkward dance like Harry and Hermione did in the tent in film of the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

We shall surpass labels until our alphabetti spaghetti runs deeper than Woden’s letterbox.

Teach me all your best karate moves and krav maga and I promise I’ll give you the best goddamn foot massages when all this is over.

Who needs the peace corps when you got Fred and Ginger rioting like pixelated Martians in the brown cleavage of Picasso’s youngest mistress in the arms of the hero in the back of the limousine.

“Dobri Lide Se Bouri. Good People Riot. That’s what it reads on my jacket. It’s not a gang jacket like yours but it’s instigatory don’t you think?”

I do. Now take it off.

The spotlight drifts from the ace bunch with their big sticks to the storm drains of Venice, California, where a normal sized man with a stick of his own is zooming around in a child’s red pussy wagon. His purpose? To explode the idiot president with nuclear powered satire and ‘tiny little dick’ jokes. Oh, and rip the concrete heart from his spindly, rotten chest. Then run over it with his pussy wagon.

No conflict no poetry. No movement no strife.

No guns, no grenades, no throwing stars, no knives.

Just sticks at this stick party. And cider. Lots of cider.

And dancing girls of all elements.

Peter Nolan Smith


American boys loved guns in the 50s. Plastic weapons lay gift-wrapped under the Christmas tree. Our movie heroes slaughtered the country’s enemies on the silver screen and tough cops performed gun ballets on prime time TV. Guns were good for the country and America was good to guns.

Armed with air rifles my older brother, our friends and I re-enacted World War II on the bluffs overlooking Portland harbor. Imaginary bullets tore holes through make-believe Nazis. Hitler was the last enemy to die, however none of us suffered a scratch during these battles.

“I wonder what it would be like to be hit by a real bullet,” I said after our replay of D-Day.

“There’s only one way to find out.” My older brother stuck the muzzle of his air rifle into the soggy grass. He cocked the lever twice and pulled the trigger.

A wad of dirt hit my chest. It stung a little.

“Now it’s my turn.” I rammed my air rifle into the ground.

“I wasn’t wondering nothing.” Frunk backed away at a run.

My shot miss him.

We broke into warring camps. Shooting the dirt was too slow and my side dropped our rifles in favor of throwing mud clods. My brother’s friends picked up rocks.

One stone hit my head and I keeled over out cold. Our enemies routed us and I woke to my brother and his allies standing over me.

“You give, you dirty Nazi?” Frunk was offering quarter.

“I surrender.” Defeat tasted of mud and blood, but I wasn’t giving him the pleasure of seeing my tears and planned my revenge.

The next time I would end up on top.

At the age of seven time was on my side.

In July of 1960 my father packed our Ford station wagon for a week’s vacation on Watchic Pond. We stopped at my grandmother’s house in Westbrook for lunch. My two brothers and two sisters ate their Italian sandwiches, as my parents argued with Edith about the Space Race with the Soviet Union.

My mother and father feared the communist domination of Space, while my grandmother defended the international pursuit of peace. Edith had served as a nurse in France during World War I. My father had spent World War II with the Army Air Force. None of them heard my request to go to the bathroom or noticed my leaving the kitchen table.

After doing my business I climbed up the stairs to the bedroom over the garage and pushed through a rack of military uniforms in the closet. A repeating rifle rested on wall pegs. Two shotguns hung below its berth. I freed the Winchester and held the rifle in my two hands.

The trigger felt of cold steel and I levered open the chamber.

There were no bullets to be seen.

I kneeled by the window and aimed the rifle at the cars on Main Street. The passing Cadillacs offered a big target and I imagined Adolf Hitler behind the wheel of one. My aim sighted a driver. He had a mustache. Before I could pull the trigger, my father ripped the weapon from my hands.

“What the hell are you doing?” His rage boiled beyond his skin.

“It isn’t loaded.” I backed away to the wall and put my hands behind my back.

“You never know.” My father levered open the chamber.

“I checked before.”

“By levering open the chamber?” His anger simmered below the boiling point, as if he understood my fascination.

“Yes, sir, same as you.”

“Why are you aiming at a car?

I was pretending to kill Hitler.”

“Pretend? Killing a man is not pretend. Your Uncle Jack was in Korea. He did things there. He never talks about them. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Stay away from guns.”

(approx. 30min read. It's worth it)

david cerny

Untitled | Mixed Media | 2020

Zoha Zafran

Zoha is from Dubai and is only 6 years old. Her unique colorful and prolific practice keeps surprising us.

Here's her take on the theme "Amerika"


Painting of a native American to portray that they are a part of America and its history.

SAVE ME - (Bison)

A painting of the national animal of America, to bring awareness that this animal is being hunted down, and they are becoming an endangered species. The green background is to represent their huge contribution to nature.

WITNESS - (The Eye)

This picture is the representation of people of the country, caught in the current dilemma, silently suffering.


A fun patriot painting

I AM CORONA (Humming Bird and the rose)

The rose represent America and the red humming bird portrays the increase of corona in America.


A message to show, has America deteriorates due to corruption and corona, a part of the world is failing and dying due to corruption

Tyko Say


The piece submitted to The Isolation Collection's final edition, Amerika, is a written piece of the same title. Reflecting on Kafka’s journey to the new world, the piece aims to show the faces and the places of the new, the nude, and the knew. The piece was written between the time period of 2010-2020, but assembled in October 2020.

scott batty


2020 | Mixed Media on Paper | 35 cm x 24 cm


In the tortured orchard,

mad minutes and a spiteful storm,

as another apple falls

far from the tree,

its heavy belly hits the hard ground

as it settles ungracefully,

the floor groans then shrugs

as worms and slugs begin

breaking the apple's skin

to suck out its sweet intestines,

as the tree bends in silent defiance,

anchored stubbornly like the

last landlord on earth

2020 | Mixed Media on Card | 21 cm x 30 cm


2020 | Mixed Media on Paper | 16 cm x 15 cm

zuzaNna skiba

Franz Kafka’s work is very close to me philosophically, but also in its visual richness.

As a trained cartographer and visual artist, I have been working for 25 years on landscapes that are always formed from the cartographic distance of the bird’s eye view.

The recurring longing that forms when thinking of an unexpected scenic challenge is reflected in my work by a pulsating magnetic field. This - also metaphorical - approach builds a bridge between my artistic work and Kafka’s literature. In my work as well as in Kafka’s texts, the distance and closeness is what drives the work. This results in a thought construct of an abstract, always floating, world bedded in the dark, which represents a limitless structure that keeps thinking ahead. In Kafka’s stories, the description of an inner observation is at the same time a metaphor for a mental inner map that draws attention to outer, dark circumstances, which allows inside and outside to correspond in many ways.

Both Kafka’s AMERIKA and DAS SCHLOSS and other stories are about understanding the situation in which the protagonist finds himself, be it as a surveyor, tramp or newcomer to a foreign country. The loss of a coordinate system is always about failure, looking at oneself, turning and still not getting any further. In failure due to the constant passivity of the literary main character, the path to advancement remains stuck in the imaginary. The new home is not tangible for the main actor of AMERIKA, Karl Roßmann. The reason for a forced new beginning, the departure ordered by his family, turns out to be an imaginary hope. The beginning darkness in the book, whether at the stoker or the night crossing on the ship, represents the dreamy, intangible world of new life for Karl. This mysteriousness of being continues and actually never leads to solutions or even to light.

Summary: If there is no escape from the world, it is still possible, with and in artistic work such as painting, to precisely uncover elements, the conditions that rule this world and are created by it. My selected work on Kafka’s AMERIKA is made possible by the fact that it realizes the multilayered complexity of darkness and suffering by Karl Roßmann and transforms the representation of a land of promise into the power of constant nocturnal irritations.

VULCANO_SLEEPING_FLOATING No.6 | Oil / Bitumen on Canvas, 110 x 158 cm | 2013

Jamika Ajalon


I was asked to do an "answer" poem to Billie Holiday's "Strange fruit"... What started off strictly as text, morphed into sonic poetry and finally into this video. I have used it also over the years as part of many of my "anti-lectures”, to speak to the fetishisation of black suffering, drawing on the historical, while bringing it back to our ‘digital’ present. White Birch Blues also speaks to memory and narrative; organic vs synthetic/manufactured and/or collective; using the history of AmeriKan lynchings as a connecting point.


This poem was originally an outro to an early experimental documentary of mine “Intro-Cultural to Skit-zo-frenia” (thirdworldnewsreel) in which codes of “blackness” were interrogated. Years later I decided to re-create this poem in the form of this video as a kind of answer to some aspects of the “post-black” dialogues that were happening at that time. However the overall theme, flipping a very charged word on its head, exposes the not so black and white underpinnings of the AmeriKan narrative as it relates to “Race” and Displacement.

Jo Blin

I AM a Mass Protest

Acrylic on OSB Board | 120cm x 80cm | 2020

Post-Glitch Delirium

Post-Glitch Delirium is a confused video collage stitching together current anxieties, information distortions, performative anomalies, misunderstandings, troubled poetry and aimless protests.

Andi Arnovitz

"Please Stop Talking." | Mixed Media


A suite of 8 etchings/silkscreens about the lack of a coherent American climate change policy. Some could say the United States has completely backed away from any climate change commitments it made.

The Isolation Collection


Room One

Room Two Coming Soon

“The dismantling of the assemblages that Kafka's text undertakes involves a sweeping up of the content which vacuums up in its movement all politics, all economy, all bureaucracy, all judiciary. And the effect of this operation consists in prolonging, in accelerating, a whole movement that already is traversing the social field. It sucks them like a vampire in order to make them render still unknown sounds that come from near future-Fascism, Stalinism, Americanism, diabolical powers that are knocking at the door.”

Gilles Deleuze / Felix Guattari - about Kafka’s “Amerika”

in “Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature”

If you want to know more about the project, support us and/or the artists, or if you are interested in buying a piece you've just seen, please contact us at isolationcollection[at]gmail[dot]com

The Isolation Collection is curated by Robert Carrithers, Hagai Segev, Jo Blin and Michael J. Rowland


© The Isolation Collection, 2020

© all rights reserved to the individual artists


The Isolation Collection