26.04.2019. - 18.05.2019.

Paper, Scissors, Book

Bruketa & Žinić & Grey, Dejan Dragosavac Ruta, Danijel Dragojević, Irena Frantal, Peter Greenaway, Siniša Labrović, Dubravka Vidović, various artefacts 

Curators: Petra Galović, Klaudio Štefančić

The international newspapers has recently paid much attention to the sales of traditional and electronic books. Namely, the statistics have shown that the drop in sales of paper books has not only ceased but even surpassed the sales of e-books manifold in certain – mainly Anglo-Saxon – markets. In a way, this information is both surprising and decisively not so. It is surprising because at one point it did seem that e-books met the key criteria of democratic education. They were cheap, or at least cheaper from paper ones; they were, thanks to the Internet, widely accessible; they were economical because they did not take up much space or collect dust; they possessed the yet untapped potential of networking texts as well as readers’ experiences, etc. Of course, all that potential would not have been possible without the devices, the new generation of e-readers, such as Kindle or iPad. The new e-readers have gotten better in the field of screen technology and wireless connectivity with sales centres (bookstores) and less so in the area of interpersonal communication and empowering the readers in general. Paradoxically, the greatest efforts have been put into making e-reading as similar to paper books, whether by imitating the colour of paper on screen or by designing new fonts, or – most often – both. One of the key devices in that technological evolution (Kindle 2) would thus be advertised based on its particular achievement: by adjusting the paper colour and font on the new screen, we recreated the nineteenth-century readers' experience, they boasted in Amazon.

The fact that paper books are still more in demand than e-books is not surprising due to several reasons. One of the most important reasons relates to copyrights. In the case of an e-book, a number of different devices and software protocols known under the name Digital Rights Management (DRM) changed the habit of reading from the perspective of book ownership. A DRM-protected e-book cannot be resold, borrowed or donated unless a person has the same reader, that is, if he/she is not part of a closed distribution platform such as Amazon, Apple, etc. An e-book has also changed other habits, for instance, orientation within a text. Faced with a flat screen, the book’s size – the more-or-less acute awareness of one’s position within a text – eludes the readers. At the same time, he reads the texts and operates (new) machinery by clicking, scrolling, moving files, etc. From the point of the flickering cursor, he neither sees the ending nor beginning, how far he came and how much there is still left to read. Not only has the fixed and clear page numbering been lost, but also the materiality of a traditional book, its property of being more than just a mere sum of information, graphically designed, having a cover, spine, etc., of being an object.

Be that as it may, one should not take statistics at face value. The dominant relations that govern the book market, tightly knit with one of the most efficient capitalist sectors – the IT industry led by Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook – herald profound changes. The paper book will not disappear of course, but in the near future it will no longer be the privileged bearer of information, that is, knowledge, not because e-readers will get even better but because social communication will have changed. This communication will perhaps not be oral, as envisioned by Marshall McLuhan fascinated by radio and television. It might rely even more on the alphabet, on text – as Stephane Mallarme probably imagined – in the form of an absolute book. The members of the so-called Generation Y, according to research conducted thus far, have not only done away with fabric softeners, doorbells and living rooms but probably won’t even answer their phone if you call them; they will rather text you. Are paper books on their list of redundant things? It is hard to say, but one thing is certain: the star that stood in the centre of the “Gutenberg Galaxy” – the paper book – will no longer have a central position in the future society taking shape before our eyes. Amongst linguists and cultural theorists, the transition from oral to written culture was marked as one of the most revolutionary ones in the history of mankind. The alphabet developed the ability to think in an abstract way, the sentence emphasized linear time, while written records diminished the importance of memorization. From that perspective, the invention of the printing press just further strengthened, accelerated, and globalized alphabet culture. However, the current changes will not lead us to a new oral era or take us back to some imaginary essence of communication. On the contrary, it seems that we have been hurled further from it. We remember less and write things down more than ever before, in two copies – on paper (analogue) and computer (digital). Archives have sprung up like mushrooms; everything is being meticulously recorded, classified, described, named, tagged, etc.

If one of the features of Gutenberg’s culture was assigning greater importance to the medium than to the content – or as McLuhan said, “the medium is the message” – what does the declining symbolic importance of a traditional book infer? The future reduction of bookstores and libraries? Definitely. Decreasing the production of bookshelves? That as well. The architectural reinvention of an urban apartment? Very likely. Regardless of all these epiphenomena, the most important and dramatic “message” lies in yet another stage of cultural dematerialization. During the long process of immobilizing the body, from reading in solitude, to shushing and disciplining the body in the library, a paper book always found a way to animate the body. For every book worm, its touch, smell, weight, dust, dirt, etc. represent secret and sensual codes. Once that experience is lost, when text leaves the pages of a book – it could always exist on its own, right?! – the material world will no longer be the same, and neither will the reader’s body as its integral part.

The exhibition “Paper, scissors, book” is more melancholic than nostalgic. It emphasizes the importance of a bound book, but in order to get ready for its disappearance in the future. Similar to some previous projects (Inner Museum exhibition project), it includes artworks, texts, and various artefacts which by interacting with the audience reify cultural processes and elucidate certain phenomena.

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Bruketa&Žinić&Grey has been a part of the global Grey network since 2017, when WPP acquired a majority stake in Bruketa&Žinić OM. The agency is a Brand, Product & Retail Design Hub and Digital Shopper Hub for Grey network. It is one of the most award-winning advertising agencies in Southeastern Europe, with over 450 international awards for creativity and effectiveness in design and advertising.

Dejan Dragosavac Ruta (1971, Nova Gradiška) is a graphic designer. He attended the Faculty of Graphic Technology in Zagreb. From 1994 to 2003 he had worked for Arkzin magazine before opening his own design studio. He designed and graphically edited layouts of many magazines, including Arkzin, Nomad, Godine Nove, Libra Libera, Gordogan, Up&underground and Frakcija.

Danijel Dragojević was born in 1934 in Vela Luka on Korčula. He currently lives in Zagreb where he writes poetry, prose and essays. He has published more than 20 titles including Kornjača i drugi predjeli, Nevrijeme i drugo, Prirodopis, Razdoblje karbona, Rasuti teret, Cvjetni trg, Žamor and Negdje.

Irena Frantal is a visual artist from Zagreb. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in 2004. In 2010 she obtained a Master’s degree in Book Arts at the University of the Arts in London. In her work she is primarily concerned with the idea of book as a medium. She regularly holds solo exhibitions in Croatia and also participates in group exhibitions abroad. Furthermore, she also participates in art book fairs in Great Britain. Irena Frantal often collaborates with other artists in projects regarding the art of the book. Her books can be
bought in Biblofil shop in Zagreb.

Peter Greenaway (1942, Newport) is a British film director, screenwriter, and artist. After finishing his formal art education at Walthamstow College of Art, in 1965, he started working
as a film editor and director at Central Office of Information (COI) and shortly afterward he started working on his own projects. Peter Greenaway worked on more than sixty short and feature-length films and he also held several solo and curatorial exhibitions around the world.

Siniša Labrović (1965, Sinj) began his work in visual arts in 2000. In 2005 he produced a work titled Stado.org which depicted sheep as participants in a reality show. His works are held in collections of Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Museum of Fine Arts in Split and Museum of Modern Art in Dubrovnik. In 2009 at the 11th International İstanbul Biennial he exhibited work titled Postdiplomsko obrazovanje/Postgraduate Education. Along with other artists, he represented Croatia at 13th Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2012.

Dubravka Vidović (1970, Zadar) is a visual artist who works in a variety of mediums, including photography, installation art, video and archive. She lives and works both in Shangai and Milan. Dubravka Vidović graduated from Accademia di Belle Arti in Brera and was also accepted into Advanced Course in Visual Arts at Foundation Ratti in Como. She exhibited in over 25 groups and 9 solo exhibitions in Italy, Germany, China, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. She won grand prix at 11th Zadar Youth Salon in 2005 and exhibited at T-HT exhibition in 2003

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The additional program is realized in cooperation with the  City Library of Velika Gorica and Romana Perečinec.

 

Let's talk about poetry. Poetry evening hosted by Romana Perečinec

Participants: Sonja Manojlović, Suzana Matić i Lara Mitraković.

May 3, 2019 at 7 p.m., Galženica Hall

 

Seid Serdarević (Fraktura), How a book is made?, talk

May 10, 2019 at 7 p.m., City Library of Velika Gorica (Zagrebačka 37)

 

Let's talk about poetry. Poetry evening hosted by Romana Perečinec

Participants: Monika Herceg, Lucija Butković i Lidija Deduš

May 17, 2019 at 7 p.m., Galženica Hall

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The program of Galženica Gallery is supported by the City of Velika Gorica, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and the Zagreb's County.