• 25.11.2009. - 25.12.2009.

    Interzone : Economy

    This is the last exhibition in this year's cycle dedicated to the influence of globalization on society. Each artist or artist group in this exhibition commented on the recent changes which have primarily occurred as a consequence of the global and liberal capitalist market and the ways in which it operates.
    In their short animated film the Italian video-artist duo, known as Lemeh42 [1], make an ironic view of the business philosophy of Ikea and their global omnipresence, as well as of their practicality and economical approach to interior design.

    Dmitry Strakovsky [2], on the other hand, in his performance at the opening of the exhibition makes a parody of the most powerful Asian corporations by combining the stereotype of Asian spirituality with the stereotype of Asian economic efficiency.

    A Croatian duo Rosana Ratkovcic and Fedor Kritovac [3] will show the results of their study of Zagreb's and Croatian crafts tradition, which has, due to economic changes, undergone some considerable changes in the last twenty years.

    Carlos Katastrofsky (aka Michael Kargl) [4], a member of Vienna group Cont3xt, is, on the other hand, focuses on the critique of corporation economy present on the Internet. By means of intervening into the source code of a certain Web site, he puts an emphasis on commercialization and monopolization of the Internet.

    Here is the accompanying text of Nina Pisk:

    This year’s exhibition programme in Galerija Galženica under the joint title Interzone was dedicated the influence of the economic globalization on society and its particular constituents. So far, the exhibitions have dealt with those aspects of globalizations that are usually overlooked when defining what makes up globalization. Most of the definitions emphasize the economical aspect of globalization as its main element, and in turn, in most cases it brings to mind big corporations. This exhibition shows works of artists and art groups that have touched upon this, perhaps most obvious, form of globalization. All the works subtly criticize, that is, ironize the globalizing process. As all the Interzone exhibitions, this exhibition offers works which refer to a whole range of phenomena, ranging from local to global.

    In their work, two Croatian artists, Rosana Ratkovčić and Fedor Kritovac [3], have presented the results of their research of the situation in the crafts. Specifically, they looked into the problem of advertising crafts as opposed to big commercial advertisements, i.e. the complex layers of meaning this entails. Ratkovčić and Kritovac emphasize the importants of crafts and their advertising signboards, which can be said to be documents of Zagreb’s urban identity and which are, due to the process of economical globalization slowly disappearing from the city. There are many factors responsible for this, including the strict aesthetic specifications as, among others, defined by the municipal services. The authors hold that a kind of desemantization of the city is taking place, with the aim of creating a new aesthetic ideal stripped of real content and meaning, which is heralded by new wallscapes and billboards, the temporary advertising products in which a lot of funds and creative energy was invested, as opposed to the simple and unsightly crafts signs which, once put up, were to last for years. With digital interventions on the photographs on which the crafts (subversive) and commercial (mainstream) ads are placed within the same context, a new space opens up for critical questioning of society and the direction in which it is developing.

    Lemeh 42 [1], an Italian pair of video artists, take a somewhat different route in their short animated film. They critically look upon the global presence of Ikea by using its well-known iconography. The simple animation accompanies, i.e. visualizes the nursery rhyme which, once in this context, becomes somewhat ironic. On the other hand, the simplicity and intelligibility of the animation itself allude to the philosophy of Ikea as a globally-present brand which aims at the economics, practicality, simplicity, as well as accessibility and functionality of its furniture. At this point, the irony of the video becomes even greater – Ikea bases its business on massive, cheap industrial production, while at the same time propagates care and protection of the environment.

    With his performance Top 10 Asian Brands, Dmitry Strakovsky [2] deals with the specific situation in Asia. The artist’s work is embalmed with binary oppositions via which he parodies the biggest Asian corporations; he brings together the East and the spirituality so often associated with it, with the West and its obsession with material values. With his posture and way of articulating, i.e. chanting, the artist creates a religious atmosphere which reminds one of Buddhist rituals of devotion which include chanting specific verses or mantras. Here, however, the mantras are the names of big corporations. With his performance Strakovsky criticizes not only big corporations, but also the majority of Asian nations which have, despite their historic reputation for always being obsessed with their work, with the appearance of capitalism and big corporations become almost religious towards their work, which has, one might say, become their new religion.

    Since its beginnings 40 years ago, when it was started as Arpanet, the Internet has undergone fundamental changes and is one of the many changes which were not spared by the influence of economic globalization. Carlos Katastrofsky [4] of the Vienna-based initiative critically approached that phenomenon in his work. His work deals with the problem of web-pages of big corporations. By intervening in the original code of a specific web-page, he points to the commercialization and monopolization of the Internet.
    (Nina Pisk)




  • 18.05.2009. - 22.05.2009.

    Interzone : Networked

    As four nomadic performance makers working in international collaboration projects, the Internet is our only steady point of reference, our common home and regular working place. Drawing from our own experiences we intend to reflect upon it’s relevance in changing society and position ourselves within it as artists. [1]

    On 18th of May four performers enter the gallery space with their suitcases, their mobile phones and their computers. On 18th of May four performers have four things they need to work: a good wireless connection, food, shelter and a sleeping bag. In these four days three offline and one online performer will live in gallery Galzenica in the attempt to recover the show they did in Germany and that has been deleted somehow from their memories and their memory sticks. They’ll invite their Skype friends all around the world to help them. During their stay they will communicate to each other only trough Skype, e-mails and chats. During their stay they will try to entertain you while desperately searching for their lost data and identities. [2]

    Still Life is a performance-installation, which reflects upon our everyday work practice as globally connected artists. Critically dealing with the current discourse about migration and identity in the age of the web 2.0 society the performance project focuses on two elements: self production and presentation and the apparent loss of cultural identity in exchange for a global constructed one.

    Still Life is the result of 730 hours online conference calls, 120 hours of one-to-one skype meetings, 323.560 lines of internet chat, 234 concept development e-mails, two social platform accounts, one blogger account, one online video account, 156 text messages and 576 hours spent in a re(hears)al space.

    Still Life is a part of Pandora Pop Sorry! ( stereo unplugged) project.

    Still Life will be presented at Gallery Galzenica on 20 and 21 May 2009 at 8 p.m..

    Concept, performance & Instalation: Pandora Pop (Hertling, Trabert, Wirthmüller, Zanki)
    Music: Aaron Austin - Glen, Damir Šimunović, Petra Zanki Dramaturgy: Roland Rödermund Media Design & Documentation: Mirco Winde Web Video & Installation: Stjepan Grbić a.k.a Rodion, Anna Hertling, Britta Wirthmüller Production: Plateaux Festival Mousonturm Frankfurt, Banana Gerila Productions Zagreb.
    Publicity Photography: Damir Žižić, Rodion

    With kind support by: Goethe Institut Kroatien, Transwarp foundation - EKS - scena, Zagreb; European Cultural Foundation - Step Beyond, City Council Zagreb, Studentenwerk Braunschweig, Gallery Galzenica, Banana Gerila.

    Thanks to: Ružica Kovačević, Florian Malzacher, Juliane Stegner, Klaudio Štefančić,Jasna Žmak, ekscena crew, Palace Hotel Zagreb, Damir Žižić, Rodion and all our friends.




  • 01.04.2009. - 10.05.2009.

    Interzone : Nation

    There are around 6.7 million foreign residents living in Germany, a fourth of which are Turks, the Federal Office of Statistics in Germany reported. By the end of 2008, there were 0.3 percent less foreigners in Germany than in the previous year. The Turks make up for 1.5 percent of Germany’s total population of around 82 million. Many of these Turks gained German citizenship. Every fifth foreign citizen living in Germany was born in that country. Among these, every third is Turkish, 31 percent is Italian, and 28 percent Greek. According to German law, it is customary for foreigners’ children born in Germany to take up their parents’ citizenship. (Hina) [1]

    The concept of the nation is a complex one; to try and define the notion means taking into account a wide rage of criteria such as language, culture, dissent, history, religion, etc. Such so called objective criteria can be found in many of contemporary definitions of the notion of nation, such as the following: A nation is a relatively self-sufficient and stabile national life community, stemming out of the historical development of the associating of people into communities for the purpose of survival and development, which is characterized by a uniform state territory, common economical life, specific culture and language, adequate religion, a developed collective and individual awareness of national feeling. Another element is included in this complex definition, which can be labelled as a voluntary definition of a nation, the most famous of which is that of the French philosopher Ernest Renan. In his 1882 lecture What is a nation? he concluded that the nation is a daily plebiscite, which is based on the individual’s subjective criteria.

    In the 21st century the problem of nation and its self-definition is not less complex; in fact, it could be argued that the question is more complicated than ever, especially when observed in the context of globalization. Globalization has not treated kindly the nation as idea, concept and social reality. The nation was associated with the backlash against irresistible historical forces, doomed to obsolescence by global postmodern culture, deprived of its institutional shell by the decline of the state, and with a questionable reputation among social scientists to boot, the nation appears to be rapidly fading into little more than a historical phenomenon. [2]

    In the last couple of decades, central and south-east Europe found itself caught up between two extremities: between East and West, between capitalism and communism, between globalization as a factor of unifying and the tendency to create one’s own identity. In the early nineties, countries of this area found themselves in the paradoxical position in which they were to denationalize their economies and nationalize their culture at the same time. Today, the question arises – what does globalization mean for this area, what changes will it bring, how does it affect the projection of national identity? It is certain that in the contemporary world, the problem of nation and national identity cannot be examined separately from the process of globalization. This exhibition therefore looks at the phenomenon of nation and national identity within the globalization process, as well as the problems, paradoxes and ironies arising from that correlation.

    The work of a young artist from Dubrovnik working in Zagreb under the artistic name of Id Sarup [3] deals with the problem of creating an image of Croatian society and the questioning of that image through a series of ambivalences which the author creates by transforming data and by editing parts of the show The Faces of the Nation. The first ambivalence rises from the reformulated statistical data on the basis of original ones which give the overall image of Croatia. The author creates his own interpretation which at times seems absurd or even more realistic than the real-life situation. The result is a tragicomic image of the Croatian society which introduces the observer with a pessimistic world which is possible in its entirety, created with exaggerating and falsification. The question arises about the author’s view of social engagement; does he warn of all the negative facts of society and how rotten it is, and wishes to stimulate change, or does he animatedly observe from a safe distance how things are becoming worse. The second part of the work consists of the questions asked by the author and presenter of the talk-show The Faces of the Nation; the questions are about global capital, the nation, borders, Croatia, man, etc. These questions, however, remain without answers. An ambivalence similar to the first one arises; support to the people who fanatically dwell upon the faith of Croatian society, or the fact that man is helpless when faced with capital both amuses and saddens the observer? Both ambivalences give enough space for multiple interpretations which are to serve to assist the observer to take up their own view on the matter.

    While this work opens numerous possibilities for interpretations, the protagonist of Saša Karalić’s video work, Schwabo, gives his view of art and religion, the East and West. Although his answers may seem simple enough, they carry in their essence paradoxes and contradictories of religious, geopolitical, and national identity. It could be argued that the experience of identity testified by the protagonist of Karalić’s work can be an emblem for every national identity today.

    A global vision of the nation problem will be presented in the video works of Hakan Akçura [5] a citizen of Turkey, a country still waiting for EU membership, who moved and started a new life in Sweden, an EU country, where he has encountered numerous problems as an emigrant. His works were created as a reaction to the indifference and even ignoring of the problem of emigrants, that is, a situation in which a large number of people is treated and considered as a – number. With his performances, Akçura does not fight the system, but tries to facilitate its work and at the same time to make it just, humane and remove its label of discrimination. With this pacifist approach, he primarily tires to acknowledge his existence and fulfil his right to free movement and equality.
    Nation, that is nationalism and sport are often intertwined concepts, since sport represents a symbolic competition between nations; sports competition often reflects national conflict.

    Jasminka Končić’s work [6] Product of Croatia questions national identity in the time of globalization, taking examples from the world of sports, while touching upon the phenomenon of multiculturalism/multinationalism that occurs in the world of sports. What happens when a foreign citizen decides to accept Croatian citizenship and to compete for Croatia? We mostly approve of such transactions, but incredulously watch when Croatian sportsmen leave to compete for other countries. The author observes with irony that phenomenon of national pathos and multinationalism which simultaneously appear in sports, as well as the flexible boundaries between them.
    A series of photographies by Ana Lozica [7] also deals with the question of nationalism in sports, but from a somewhat different point of view. The author is fascinated with the privileged, almost exclusive media and social attention sports enjoys, especially when Croatian athletes are successful; judging by newspaper headlines, all other problems in the state seem irrelevant in comparison to sport success. With this work, she questions the role and creation of national identity within sports – how is sport actually important in that role? It is enough to remind ourselves that most people start naming successful Croatian athletes to foreigners when talking about Croatia, or when they are at least trying to locate it on the imaginary geopolitical map... (Nina Pisk)


    Curators: Ivana Hanaček, Klaudio Štefančić
    Assistant curators: Sanja Horvatinčić, Nina Pisk