Dematerialization of practices as a degree of freedom

Hrvoje, you created objects inspired by the works of Gaspar Noé, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Richard Serra. Your installation that will be showed in Electronic living room of Polytechnic museum is devoted to Malevich. What are your choice criteria of inspiring pieces?

I am not so much inspired as I am using these works as cultural artefacts, as building blocks, acknowledging the postmodern condition and the impossibility of existing outside the modernist paradigm, the impossibility of producing something “new”, at least in the formal sense of the word.

Everything that has ever been created has been based on previous knowledge, nothing appears out of nothing. It is clear that objects=construct, be it physical object or cultural object. Understanding this imposes the use of any construct (object) inside of a bigger construct (system). In that position the artist constructs a system for interaction of these cultural objects. This enables a greater number of interactions than the use of well-defined materials that have more or less stable symbolical connotations like metal, wood, stone. The immaterialness of the cultural objects makes them more interactive and in this interactivity the meaning is constantly in motion, possibly making the work more alive. To be in motion is being alive, to be alive is being new - as Boris Groys argues in his latest book “On the New”. Art tries to be new, and to be new means being a part of life.

The principle of building one thing atop of another is inherently human, it is the same model of development of us as species, spreading our genes, adapting to the environment and by doing that resisting entropy. You resist entropy by adding, constructing, grouping, that is the basis of life, organization. Entropy represents death, passing, decay, lack of structure and any kind of organization, complete equalness, empty goo, where all of the parts in that environment are completely the same, broken down into smallest fragments. In other words like Vilém Flusser well stated - “natural history runs toward decay, cultural history starts from decay”, meaning that role of culture is to develop bigger narratives from fragments.

That is why I often openly use the work of others, and by doing that acknowledge the impossibility of existing outside of the system.

There is a parallel between your work “Binary impressions” and Futurist machines for producing mechanical noise “Intonarumori”. In your opinion, is there a difference between understandings of mechanical, automation, cybernetics by futurists in early XX century and nowadays?

The Futurists of now are Transhumanists, with the difference that the Futurists were solely focused on the machines and power, while Transhumanists are talking about advancing the body and changing the human being leading to posthuman condition where in relatively near future humans are going to be so radically different that they are not going to have much in common with humans of now, so they shouldn’t be called the same. This speculative practice may have the same level of rebelliousness and danger that Futurists had with their questionable moral views.

What are the main activities of  I’MM_ Media Lab that you organized?

I’MM started as a project emerged during a workshop with Joanna van der Zanden as part of an effort to revitalize MultiMedia center in Zagreb, a space that was active in the 80s in avant-garde, multimedia art and experimental film scene but in the 00s there was no defined program. During this workshop Silvija Stipanov and I designed a program that had a kind of decentralized and democratic idea, with the fixed framework, but with the collective decision making of the participants. This is clearly stated in the title of the organization, a prefix “I” was added to existing MM from the MM center name, thus putting the participants in the focus of the organization. Unfortunately this utopic vision was never fully materialized due to social dynamics in the group and organization, resulting in too centralized decision making and activities that were solely practical and formal without any questioning of the technology or thinking before acting which should have been the main focus of the program. As a positive consequence of its activities it stimulated a more active maker scene. At the moment the project is in state of hibernation but I am leaving open the possibility of reviving it in some other form.

Do you already know who or what will be the next source of inspiration for you? (AR.S) has been in development conceptually for the past year, between a fellow artist, Luis Rodil-Fernández and me. This collaboration is intellectually and productively stimulating and we have a lot of linked projects to this new platform. AR.S is still in the early stages and there are several phases in its development. The first one is a website platform that should be fully functional in the coming weeks, ready to be filled with content.

AR.S is a part of my new effort in experimenting with different alternative models of art practice outside the physical object constraints. Lately I have been more aware of the object as an artefact, seeing the art object as a document of the artistic practice and not as an artwork itself. In performance art, the documentation becomes the artwork because of the lack of the physical object. From this it is easy to deduce that the art object becomes the documentation of the interactions inside of a system, be it real world or an art world. If that is the case, than the works in the museums are documents than represents the “original” work. The original existed for a very short period of time inside the interaction of the original time frame in which it was created. The interactions that the object produced inside of the system are the artwork, not the object.

By dematerializing my art practice and collaborating with other artists I am increasing the possibility of aleatoric interaction inside of the broader field of the system. My second current collaboration is with the artist Jan Vormann. We have been discussing our collaboration since we met two years ago, it is still early to announce it but we will also focus on the system.

All of these projects are connected to the last three years of researching automatisation, cybernetics, complex systems, and network science. These disciplines profoundly influenced my work and me.
The Polytechnic Museum Moscow

Fëdor Vladimirov