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Art, Science and the Technological Unconscious

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14. 11. – 20. 12. 2012
Slovenj Gradec

The international contemporary art exhibition SOFT CONTROL was held as part of the Maribor – European Capital of Culture 2012 programme. The project was presented at two sites: at the KIBLA Multimedia Centre (Maribor) and the Koroška galerija likovnih umetnosti (Slovenj Gradec). SOFT CONTROL was curated by DMITRY BULATOV, artist, new media theoretician and curator of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts (Kaliningrad branch, Russia). The exhibition featured the work of thirty artists from eleven different countries.
“SOFT CONTROL: Art, Science and the Technological Unconscious” demonstrated various patterns of the use of new technologies in the current artistic process, and also presented works of art that subject the role of technology and the media in contemporary civilisation to critical analysis. “When choosing the theme of the exhibition”, noted Bulatov, “we proceeded from the idea that science and technology are not merely tools that we use to achieve designated goals. On the contrary, technologies are raising new invisible boundaries all around us, penetrating into and transforming all spheres of human activity”. This raises the question of how we ought to understand the nature of control, of the compulsion that forces each and every one of us to participate in the formation of technological systems. In Bulatov’s opinion, “the task of the exhibition can be summed up as follows: to show how artists create new forms and new identities, not, however, as the protagonists of a historically determined technological narrative, but as the creators of that narrative”.

The SOFT CONTROL exhibition put on show more than twenty technological art installations, some of which were promoted as both international and European premieres.

Participating artists:
Bill Vorn (CA), Stelarc (AU), James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau (UK), Joe Davis (US), Polona Tratnik (SLO), Leo Peschta (AT), David Bowen (US), Tuur Van Baalen (NL), Stefan Doepner & Lars Vaupel (SLO/DE), The Tissue Culture & Art Project (AU), Maja Smrekar (SLO), Kuda begut sobaki (RU), Seiko Miekami (Japan), Marina Abramović (Srbija, USA), Andy Gracie (UK/SP), Brandon Ballengee (US) & Louis-Philippe Demers (SG), Ursula Damm (DE), Guy Ben-Ary and Kirsten Hudson (AU), Ken Rinaldo (US)


24. 1.–20. 2. 2014
Slovenj Gradec

The exhibition entitled Temporary Objects and Hybrid Ambients concerns the unveiling of creative space established between art and technology. As an artist, Marko Batista is difficult to situate within a specific artistic direction for his works are created at the intersection of performative intermedia practices, sound and visual installations, and physical-sensorial experiments.

The basic principle of operation followed by the artist is the exploration of intermediate spaces both in the physical sense, where electronic signal – acoustic or visual – are produced via home-made interfaces, as well as in the ideational sense, where human perception is explored in a world suffused with electronic communication, digital devices and technology. Namely, human perception is adapted to a certain kind of use of technology and, therefore, it is limited to a certain type of experience. By creating hybrid technological, electromagnetic or chemical systems, Marko Batista challenges the mystification of technology while he also opens up new ways of thinking about it. With his experimental systems, which bring together various fields, he expands the field of human sensorial perception and the phenomenology of unstable audio-visual systems in space and time.

The exhibition responds to the exhibition space of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška and it works as an integral work of art, which makes it possible for the viewer, depending on his position in space, to get an audio-visual impression of the whole or of the individual modular objects. As regards content, the projects are divided into three exhibition clusters distinguished by the basic principle of “operation”.

The experimental systems of electromagnetic radiation and transfer of information deal with the exploration of visual and sound images, be it sound interventions in space or the fragmentation of media images in the transfer of information.

The cluster entitled Electro-Chemical Systems is based on the interweaving and the mutual impact of electric and chemical processes, in which electric impulses travel through a series of fluid matters, converge in spatial sound stimuli and produce unpredictable effects.

In the final, third cluster entitled High-Voltage Experimental Systems, the author explores the impact of high voltage, which enables the creation of specific architectonics of signals, whose mapping, manipulation and distribution with the system are manifested in the visual and acoustic field of the spectator confronted with real-time projections and a synchronous acoustic backdrop. The repetitive, mutating structures of audio and video elements trigger unpredictable effects at various psycho-sensorial levels of the spectator’s perception.

The artist’s installations reveal his specific relationship to technology, which, on the one hand, he demystifies by using “low-tech” elements and by visualising its processes, while on the other hand, he introduces the element of the unknown and he moves on the cusp between controlled and chaotic modular systems.

The artist’s intermedia practice also introduces the concept of time. By situating the event – the operation – in the museum space, he renders his objects permanent (for the duration of the exhibition) in their existence in the museum space and because they exist only through process – they are temporally limited, while the museum space loses its timelessness.

Nine projects will be presented at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška; they were created over the past six years and they offer and insight into the artist’s creative work.

The projects Error Trash, Hybrid Audio-Mechanical Machines and Bentronix were produced by the K6/4 Institute – Kapelica Gallery. The projects Parallel Digital Structures, H220, Time Diagrams, CHEM:SYS:REACTOR and Optolyth were produced by the Aksioma Institute. The project SIPHON:SYS:APPARATUS was produced by the author.
The exhibition is co-produced by Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, and Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška.


Curator: Andreja Hribernik
Technical support: Maja Brezar, Urška Batista, Žiga Palčar, M7 Grafiks, Dejan Kastelic
Partners for technical equipment: Zavod K6/4 – Kapelica gallery, Zavod Projekt Atol

Copyright KIBLA 2012 and Respective Authors / All rights reserved

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.