database

  • 22.09.2008. - 12.10.2008.

    db:ae - database aesthetics


    The international exhibition db:ae – aesthetics of data basis deals with works of the artists who use new ways of systematic analysis and presentation of digital media with the help of computer data basis.

    Michael Aschauer (Austria), group UMATIC (the Netherlands), Robert Luxemburg and Jan Gerber (Germany) use archives (primarily of sound and video) and their metadata (descriptions and frames of references) in order to extend the perception boundaries from linear and chronological to systematic and hypermedia. However, the results of questionnaires applied to their data basis are not presentations of financial transactions’ statistics, business trends or material resources. They are sounds of imaginary journeys, images of non-existing landscapes or abstract graphics emerged from overlapping of the film materials.

    Michael Aschauer exhibits works about systematic filming of the banks of the river Nile (http://nilestudies.net) and computer-generated landscapes that resulted from daily and weekly changes’ observation (http://m.ash.to/@/@/Projects/24-7).

    Jan Gerber and Sebastijan Lutgert present their artwork on http://www.0xdb.org film basis created for the needs of Berlin pirate cinema program and on http://www. Pad. ma web application used for manipulation of the Indian activist documentaries’ video archive.

    Group UMATIC i.e. Derek Holzer presents the web project of DIY virtual sound space journey through the web metaphor of an aeroplane flight (http://www.soundtransit.nl) as well as gallery-based installation of slides, images and sound recordings.

    The additional introduction to the artists and the concept together with the open discussion will be held at net-club Mama (17 Preradovićeva St., Zagreb) at 7 p.m. on 23rd September 2008. Furthermore, the projections of Pirate Cinema.org. will be held at the same place on 24th September 2008. (Željko Blaće, curator)

    Exhibition/ project is supported by:
    The City of Velika Gorica
    Ministry of Culture of Republic Croatia
    Austrian Cultural Forum, Zagreb
    Multimedia institute, Zagreb

    Links:
    (1) http://www.wizards-of-os.org/archiv/sprecher/l_m/sebastian_luetgert.html
    (2) http://www.zamirzine.net/spip.php?article3642
    (3) http://www.umatic.nl/info_derek.html

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  • 01.02.2008. - 01.02.2008.

    Art, Technology, Media

    The Galženica Gallery dedicates the 2008 exhibition programme to the latest tendency that finds its artistic and social legitimization in exploring different forms of relationship between technology and art, known under many names such as new media or digital art. However, the focus of our interest is only on the production and presentation of those works that in the context of current transformation of the Internet from communication into a mass medium highlight new ways of networking (Web 2.0, P2P etc.) on one side and the immanent characteristic of the Internet to depend on the different databases on the other. This is especially true of World Wide Web...

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  • 20.02.2008. - 23.03.2008.

    Ivan Marušić Klif, "Telephoning"


    The artwork of Ivan Marušić Klif feature two aspects of media art: one is the use of contemporary electronic and digital technology in the art world context and the other is a research of relationship between human being and his/her technological environment. In the space of an art exhibition, the both aspects are usually indistinguishable: visitor enters the enclosed, technologically created environment, changes its parameters and, leaving more less visible traces of his/ her presence, walks out.

    If we had to choose a corresponding genre, closest to his work, it would be an artistic intervention known as ambient installation. Whether Marušić works with sound, light or video image, he usually construes an enclosed ambience, rather different from the visitors' well-known everyday environment.
    Over time, his ambiences have become technologically more complex. In 1993, his early light ambiences consisted of mobile objects whose moves changed the type and intensity of the light. In 1995, computer set in motion and controlled the installations while since 2001, Marušić has started working with complex interactive sound and video installations. The series of exhibitions entitled “Inside/Outside” that took place in Zagreb, Croatia, Maribor, Slovenia and Labin, Croatia from 2004-2007 were the best examples of the author's approach to technologically determined, interactive ambiences.

    It was a video installation that functioned according to the principle of a closed circle of production, processing and projection of an image. Differently positioned cameras produced the image that went through the system of monitors and cameras for several times and then was projected on the walls and monitors in the gallery. The cameras were directly linked to the monitors and video projectors, while the computer controlled their moves, zoom and focus. There was no digital image processing. The installation was in motion, changing the ambience of the space independently of visitors. Marušić's ambiences are extremely visually attractive so we may feel that the aspect of interactivity disrupts technological biotope rather than supporting it.

    One of the most distinguished qualities of Marušić's work is that, although a trace of interactivity aspect can be found, the installation is actually independent of visitors' participation. At the Galženica Gallery exhibition, the potential of his ambient installation to function on its own, without interaction with visitors, is stressed even more. With the help of computer algorithm, Marušić randomly dials phone numbers taken out from the public database of the phone book of Republic Croatia. The dialled users take part in unwanted communication through Skype web server. On the other hand, the visitors can choose between the positions of a voyeur/ listener or a participant/ collocutor.

    Seen from today's perspective, there is something fair about his installations. They have never bothered us with interactivity, in fact the illusion that a visitor participates on equal terms in creation of (new) media artwork. Marušić seduces us with potentials of technology and the beauty of technollogically generated images rather than warning us of cultural and political backround of every technology, including the one used in the art context. (Klaudio Štefančić)

    Ivan Marušić Klif is born in 1969 in Zagreb. Graduated from The School of Audio Engineering in Amsterdam in 1994. His field of interest includes fine arts (light installations and kinetic objects), music and sound for theatre, film and television, set design (theatre, film and television) and performance art. In last few years he started working with computers - mostly in the field of multimedia programming, interactive video and problems of interfacing computers with the real world. Exhibited and performed in Holland, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Poland, Macedonia and Croatia. Teaches multimedia and installations at the Multimedia department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb.

    Links:
    (1) http://boo.mi2.hr/~klif/
    (2) http://www.mediascape.info/seiten/2006/marusic.htm

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  • 03.12.2008. - 24.12.2008.

    Sandro Đukić, "arch_001_089_output / 2008"


    Taxonomy of technological transformation

    The exhibition of Sandro Đukić is demanding. It’s demanding for the author, but even more demanding for the audience. Not as much by its form – although certain level of technological and visual literacy is requred – as by its content, more precisely by the issues it inquires and their heaviness. One of these issues is the nature of photography as a form of art in this, more and more, digitalized world. Althoug digitalization of photography began (in its rudimentary form) more than half a century ago, recent development of technology, with particular relation to lowering costs of personal computers, storage media and digital cameras, results in two important things.

    Photography does not go through chemical processing anymore, which change its values. Not necessary in positive or negative way, but in its essence. Increasing megapixels are not necceserily technologically improving the quality of photography, but adversely excluding numerous possibilities the classic, anolog photography has to offer: from the moment of taking a photograph to developing and processing it. Of course, speed is obtained, as well as authenticity to some degree, but the question which remains unanswered (and often unquestioned) is what is lost. Question raised in mid-nineties by Critical Art Ensamble i Geert Lovink refering to information technology and digital communication is emerging in its new variant. The speed of information transfer, as well as its quantity and accessibility, is rapidly increasing, but time needed for processing remains the same – limited by human cognitive ability. Does the limitation go toward superficiality and prefering quantity over quality? In photographic discourse this question may be: Does increasing quantity of digital photographies leads to less time to observe, analize and process it visually and/or intelectually?

    Sandro Đukić is going even further. In a way he is reversing the question that Benjamin asked in the 1930s (how has photography changed art?) to make it: how has technologicaly mediated art (applied as in graphic design, but also the art market) changed photography? More and more common artistic practices transformed what was essentially an art born in print into a salon art of single pictures on walls, often incorporated in some multimedia instalation in which digitaly taken photograph is digitaly presented or screened – never getting a chance to be present in its intrinsic medium.

    What is in that proces changed in visual economy? The very notion of visual economy is developed from the work of Deborah Poole, and places emphasis on the organization of the production and exchange of images, rather than relying simply on an analysis of their visual content: The word economy suggests that the field of vision is organised in some systematic way. It is also clear that this organisation has as much to do with social relationships, inequality, and power as with shared meanings and community ... For Poole, a visual economy has three levels: the organization of production, encompassing both the individuals and the technologies that produce images; the circulation of ... images and image-objects; and the cultural and discursive systems through which graphic images are appraised, interpreted, and assigned historical, scientific, and aesthetic worth

    By removing the images from their original contexts of production and circulation, and placing them into a gallery, the visual economy that produced these images is negated or obscured in favour of a more neutral sense of the photograph as raw material or a window onto history. Whit such an action single photographs, but also their whole (in the form of photography data-base) becomes repositioned in relation to the time/place of thir origin, and at the same time in relation to the time/place of their initialy intented purpose. That is leading us to (maybe) the crucial problem of digitaly mediated photography: the question of clasification, of taxonomy. That is the question more and more essential in many branches of information and library sciences (especially in the theories of so-called semantic web), but also unavoidable one for consuments of visual images, ranging from pornophiles probing the Net in search for a distinct fetish, marketing experts deciding on media campaign’s visual images, or common people trying to handle ever biger family albums. How to find what one is looking for in the seemingly endless piles of photos (not to mention that very often they are incredibly alike each other)?

    Analogy with another problem of classification of visual material is almost inevitable. Every human fingerprints is unique (although the final scientific verdict is still awaited), but the clasification of them is a problem yet unresolved. In case of photohgraphy confirmation is much easier. Acoording to the laws of physics two objects can not occupy the same space in the same time, therefore, no matter how short exposition is, even bursted shooting allways will result with a set of very similar (to the point of concealment), but not the same photographs. System of clasification, however, can not benefit from such evidence, as analogy with the history of dactiloscopy unmistakably shows.

    An important first issue is that any one image has varied content, which may be available either consecutively or concurrently to the same or to different viewers. These multiple ways of seeing have been discussed over the years, but it’s still a very open field. It is worth noting here the contrast with textual data. While textual data can have a multiplicity of content and meaning, in terms of the discrete elements of a query, the visual and linguistic content are homologous. The fundamental building blocks of text databases are ASCII character strings representing words that have a direct semantic interpretation.

    In contrast, the pixel values making up digital images have no inherent significance. Considerable processing of the image is necessary even to infer the presence of a simple shape like a circle, let alone a complex object such as a tree. Direct comparison of image bitmaps can tell us only one thing about a given pair of images – whether they are identical or not. Nothing can be deduced about their similarity in terms of the objects they contain, or scenes they represent.
    Art history and its pertaining theories are rich in narratological, iconographic, multidiscursive and other attampts of clasification of visual material, ranging from already classics like Panofsky to contemporary, technologicaly highly sofisticated theories of Ornager and Rasmussen (among others), however there is still no universaly applicable method of catalogizing photographies, other then on a very basic, bumpy level. Neither contemporary catalogization of image types nor more traditional iconography just aren’t a match to the problem.

    Maybe the premier value of Sandro Đukić’s exhibition lay in the fact that, thorough playing with his own archive, thorough permutations and variations of its parts, excessing from one media to another, from one technique and technology to another clearly pointing to the problem itself. (Igor Marković)


    Sandro Đukić was born 1964. in Zagreb. He graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1989. In period from 1989 to1993 he attended Art Academy in Dusseldorf (class of prof. Nam June Paik and prof. Nan Hoover). At the same academy he attended postgraduate studies (class of prof. Nan Hoover) in period from 1993. to 1994. Exhibited in Slovenia, Germany, USA, Italy, Serbia, Austria and Croatia and lectured at the numerous conferences dedicated to media art (Rijeka, Zagreb, Plasy). In 1991. he received Croatian Artist Association Award.

    Links:
    (1) http://www2.mmsu.hr/en/exhibiti
    ons/dukic/index.html
    (2) http://www.d-a-z.hr/ostalo/predavanja/sandro-dukic-prostor-realnosti.htm

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  • 29.10.2008. - 23.11.2008.

    Dan Oki, "The Last Super 8 mm Film"


    This is the second time that Super 8 mm film has faced artistically more propulsive media since Eastman Kodak released it in 1965. First time was when Super 8 motion picture film format was less favoured than VHS (Video Home System) technology. This happened again 20 years later, due to the increasing accessibility of high quality digital video and the advent of new distributional channels such as the Internet. Therefore, Super 8 mm film never conquered the world of film and video arts. It was predominantly used for its initial purpose of home movie format. It enabled amateurs with little technical knowledge to record and reproduce 3-minute films about highlights of their everyday lives.

    Although Super 8 was widely used in everyday life, it was a particular, almost obscure genre in film and video arts. Some of the reasons were a specific antiquary character of the picture, shooting of 18 pictures per second, frequent lack of sound etc. The artwork of Dan Oki can serve the purpose of illustrating such position of Super 8. “The Last Super 8 mm Film” is a collection of his private films shot in the period between 1986 and 2005. These films, including Dan Oki’s earliest video experiences as a young film amateur from Zadar, his wife’s performances never seen in public and everyday family life, have so far been perceived as inferior in the context of his official artistic career. Instead of well shaped narrative form, refined production and technological excellence, all these being prevailing features of his artwork, his Super 8 films, “diaries” put in chronological order, seem “unfinished and common place”. They represent the ill-defined area where private life overlaps with professional and even social lives.

    Remedialization has been a constant characteristic of media art. According to theoreticians such as Mcluhan and Manovich, insights into the process in which “technology of the past becomes the art of the future” (Mc Luhan) never lose its sharpness. When it comes to the exhibition “The Last Super 8 mm Film”, it presents a particular remedialization and it refers to the phenomenon of archives and archiving. By going through the process of transformation of Super 8 films into digital signal, Dan Oki’s films are not only adapted to reproduction on digital equipment (computer, TV screens etc.) but they are also organized as a system. According to Dew Harrison’s essay “Digital Archiving as an Art Practice” <http://www.chart.ac.uk/chart2005/papers/harrison.html>, practice of archiving has not been rare in the 20th century art. He pays special attention to self-archiving illustrated by the works of such artists as Art & Language group. Although this group cannot be classified as media art (but conceptual art) and its members unambiguously disassociated themselves from it throughout 1970’s, the destiny of their work “Indexes” (1972-1974) clearly showed the range of remedialization that digital technology introduced in the art culture. “Indexes” is a system with interchanging structure: in 1972, when first shown at Documenta 5 in Kassel, it consisted of 350 text sections (text fragments) derived from the texts and conversations about art written by members of the group that were organized in such a way that each section was related to every other section, thus resulting in 122,500 references. (The group members claimed that was the only way to reach the area where meanings were established and art criticism transformed into exact, not fantasy practice). The work was presented in the form of archive cabinets with indexed text fragments and wall display with charts that put those fragments into different relations. About 30 years later, translation of this work into DVD medium, of text into hypertext, provided opportunity for the Art & Language group members to treat their artwork as a document and to re-interpret it. According to Dew Harrison, digital variant of this work was inevitable.

    A similar idea of self-archiving is the subject of “The Last Super 8 mm Film”. However, the logic of data indexation is in accordance with a current shift of interest from personal computer to World Wide Web and Super 8 is adapted to so-called folksonomy, the practice and method of creating tags to annotate and categorize content. In other words, when Web 2.0 was released, a traditional method of classification became the focus of interest. The metadata of our private analogue archives often contain both chronological and subject indexing that reveal what the saved data actually is. These tags, such as “summer”, “wedding”, “first birthday”, “graduation”, “miscellaneous” etc. describe the content of the saved material. This logic was applied to Dan Oki’s film: by digitalizing the collection of Super 8 films, he organized a traditional film archive as a contemporary data basis thus using the old principle of systematization, so-called folksonomy. In this way, the exhibition visitor/ the Internet user can easily search and watch the films regardless of his/ her knowledge of the latest communication trends.

    What is the message of this re archiving? Does Oki’s digitalization of already existing archive discover something new or just cast a slightly different light on what has already been known about his artwork, art culture and media art in general? When compared to other examples of self-archiving in contemporary art and history of art criticism suggested by Dew Harrison, the first difference is the content of the systematized material. All the examples given by Harrison have been the attempts to systematize particular super-individual areas of life labeled as “culture”, “the spirit of the times”, “imaginary”, “dictionary” etc. (the title of Warburg’s project “Mnemosyne Atlas ”(1927-1929) illustrates this quite well). On the other hand, Oki’s systematization is focused on his own private and professional life that through the process of revalorization of personal history offers new contents and methods for future art practice (unlike typically (post) modern goal to correct the dominant discourses of art criticism, as was the case with Art & Language’s artwork “Indexes”). In the context of media art, where Oki’s artwork is at home, such revalorization becomes remedialization. Remedialization of “The Last Super 8 mm Film” refers to two things. First, at the level of artistic poetics his Super 8 mm films refer to often neglected thematic aspect of his works. He uses subjectivity, romantic preoccupation with himself as an artist to “soften” media art, determined by technological, economic and political factors. Many of his works support this thesis (Housekeeper (1997); “Forget, Remember and Know” (1998) etc.) Finally, his need for continuous recording of everyday life affirms the filmmaker (artist) as a centre of representational view (universe) (another possible reference to Oki’s films is Jonas Mekas’ film “Lost, lost, lost” (1976)). “The Last Super 8 mm Film” also refers to contemporary culture and the situation in which extremely personal information (birth of a child, summer holidays, daily routine including resting, eating or reading, love and marital relationships etc.) become socially relevant. Once digitalized and systematized, put into software “data-mining” operations, their informational relevance gradually increases. Although it is possible to differentiate more private from less private videos, such as those showing the members of Zagreb subculture who emigrated to Amsterdam in the early 1990’s, the fact they were made in the intimate circle of friends and not in conditions of the professional documentary production, emphasizes the privacy of Oki’s Super 8 films even more.

    Prior to digital cultural shift, art practice could have differed documents, p
    rivate archives from public archives of general importance. Nowadays, especially after Web 2.0 was released this is no longer possible. Constantly establishing and annulling the border between private and public, digitalization archives all areas of human life. In the case of Oki’s “The Last Super 8 mm Film”, digitalization casts a new light on his work on one hand and creates data basis that will become less private and more public, less his and more ours on the other. (Klaudio Štefančić)


    Dan Oki (Slobodan Jokic, 1965, Zadar) is a media artist and film author. In his work he uses the media of film and video, installation, computer arts and the Internet. His works are based on the process of researching personal, visual, and narrative contents, which demand various media forms and the ways of their presentation. During a few latest years, he has focused his interest on hybrid feature-length film and cinematographic database in the context of the new media. He realised his first exhibitions and experimental films in Zagreb between 1987 and 1989. From 1991 to 1993, he studied film and video at De Vrije Academie in Den Haag as one of Professor Frans Zwartjes’ students. In 1996 he completed his graduate (M.A.) studies in media arts at Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Arnhem. From 1997 to 1999, he studied at the postgraduate studies in film directing and screenwriting at Maurits Binger Film Institute in Amsterdam. He belongs to the generation of artists who in 1990s worked on cinematographic databases, interactive video, CD ROM's, web art and computer animation. He teaches as Associate Professor in the field of film and video art at the University of Split Arts Academy and the University of Zagreb Academy of Drama. He has taught as a visiting professor at many academies in Europe. He was awarded the following prizes: Grand Prix Videoex 2000 for the film “Divine Beings”, Zurich; Special Award by the New Media Jury at the international Split Film Festival for the CD ROM "U okolišu himera", Split, Croatia 1999; Werkbeurs by the Netherlands Foundation for Fine Arts and Design, Amsterdam 1998.; Jury Award at the International Biennal ARTEC'97 for computer animation "The Householder", Nagoya, 1997.; The Third Award for the Experimental Film at the Croatian Film Show for the film "V moje oči letio igle", Zagreb, 1989.

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