Mark



(For English scroll down)

Kristina Marić:
Kvantum (pri)viđenja

Kako prevladati ograničenja svojih osjetila i iskusiti stvarnost onakvom kakva ona uistinu jest? Kako dirati nedodirljivo i kako gledati nevidljivo? Pitanja su to koja izranjaju kada autor u središte interesa postavi sam čin gledanja, čin viđenja i čin prezentiranja djela.

Sva (pri)viđenja nužno dovodimo u korelaciju s onime što smo ranije već vidjeli. “O tome će se čovjek brzo uvjeriti ako se sjeti da pojave nisu stvari o sebi, nego samo igra naših predodžbi koje se najposlije sastaju u određenjima unutrašnjeg osjetila. (…) Očigledno je, međutim, da ja – kad u mislima povlačim liniju, ili kad pomišljam vrijeme od jednog podneva do drugoga, ili ako hoću sebi predočiti samo kakav broj – moram najprije neminovno zamisliti jednu od ovih raznolikih predodžbi. No kad bih ja prethodne (prve dijelove linije, prethodne dijelove vremena ili jedinice predočene jedna za drugom) uvijek gubio iz misli i kad ih ne bih reproducirao, prelazeći na iduće, onda nikada ne bi mogla nastati cijela predodžba i ni jedna od naprijed spomenutih misli, štoviše, čak ni najčistije i prve osnovne predodžbe o prostoru i vremenu.”[1]Hrvoje Hiršl bavi se upravo takvim čistim predodžbama kakve je analizirao Kant. Hiršl postavlja pitanje je li moguće da vidimo samo kroz sliku već viđenog. “Moramo li simbolično predstaviti, prikazati jedno kao drugo? Je li sve što je dalje od naviknutog, izvan našeg odnosa veličine, manje razumljivo i teže vidjeti?[2]

Hiršl pokušava pronaći uvjete mogućnosti reprezentacije u Kvantnoj teoriji. Prva serija izloženih crteža nastala je tijekom istraživanja i razmjene s dr. Nevenom Šantićem s Max Planck instituta za kvantnu optiku. Sam umjetnik tumači radove kao kvantne simulacije na razini slikarstva. Spontani i nenamjerni dodiri tinte sa stotinama listova papira predstavljeni su na dva stola, posloženi kao otvorene bilježnice mekog uveza. Spomenuti listovi svjedoče brojne slučajne trenutke prelijevanja, preslikavanja, mrljanja i pretapanja. Mjestimično točkasti nanosi mikro tragova boje asociraju na imaginarnu prašinu subatomskih čestica. Promatrajući međuigru i disperziju tih Hiršlovih crnih točaka i linija, lako je zamijetiti repetitivnost, ritmičnost i vibrantnost u pokretu ruke.[3]Sukladno starim spoznajama i ranije viđenim simulacijama atomskih gibanja, gledatelj će vjerojatno u umu stvoriti komparaciju s gibanjima sličnog karaktera i sjetiti se nekog sata fizike u školi, dok će tek iskusnije, upućeno oko, prepoznati grafički prikaz Lorenzovog sustava. Taj tzv. leptirov učinak ukazuje na teorija kaosa. Matematičar i meteorolog Edward Lorenz uočio je vezu između neperiodičnog ponašanja i nepredvidljivosti, prepoznavši u kaotičnim sustavima fini geometrijski ustroj: red prerušen u kaos. Potom je početnih dvanaest, pojednostavio na samo tri diferencijalne jednadžbe. Grafički prikaz jednadžbi nasumičnog ponašanja na taj izbor parametara pokazao je dvostruku spiralu, odnosno gibanje u obliku nalik leptiru koje se odvija u nedogled[4]. Do vrlo sličnog stanovitog reda i zakonitosti ponavljanja unutar kaosa, Hiršl je došao, kada je na rezidencijalnom boravku u Bildraum studiju u Beču, radio slučajne, kružne i nesputane beskrajne linije na papiru (posebno vidljivo u seriji crteža “Val“). Radovi Kretanja I-IV uokvirene su, grandioznije, i nešto urednije inačice ranije spomenutih crteža iz umjetnikovih bilježnica. Dominantan je utisak pokreta i dinamike oštrih crnih linija koje najčešće zakreću u spiralne tokove. U seriji “Kaustike” crteži počinju nalikovati na eksperiment u tehnikama dubokog tiska. U određenoj mjeri tragovi industrijske tinte iznenađuju tonskom gradacijom, dok su iznimno zasićena crna polja, poput crnog tijela, u sebe upila svu moguću svjetlost.

U interpretacije vlastita rada, Hiršl ističe:"Kvantna domena pokazuje nam kakav je zapravo čin viđenja. To je čin dodira, u određenom smislu agresivan čin, čin bombardiranja određenog objekta fotonima ili drugim valovima. Da bismo nešto vidjeli potrebno je odbiti milijarde čestica / valova s površine objekta kako bi ih registrirali naši uređaji ili osjetila. Na neki način, naša realnost, ako je ne dodirujemo, ako s njom ne komuniciramo, ona se ne registrira za nas, nije tamo – ne postoji. Da bismo vidjeli neviđeno i nevidljivo, potrebna nam je neka vrsta reprezentacije. Nevidljivo je hipoteza, teorija, konstrukt koji još nije dokazan. Tek kad to dokažemo, kad postane dio našeg uobičajenog iskustva, konačno to možemo vidjeti". Svu tu količinu priviđenja Hiršl je odlučio približiti promatraču kroz snimljeno audio-vizualno predavanje, koje se također nalazi unutar izložbenog postava. Takav čin pojašnjavanja rada unutar njega samog, iznova nas uvlači u vrtlog pitanja o ograničenjima reprezentacije.

Misao autora da reprezentirati znači pokušati vidjeti, a da je reprezentacija, zapravo, nemogućnost da se nešto vidi onakvim kakvo zaista jest, vraća nas na trenutak prepoznavanja. ”Ne vidimo svojim osjetilima, već umom. Za nas vidjeti znači razumjeti. A razumjeti znači prepoznati. Prepoznati nešto, znači da je to već doživljeno prije…” Na ove Hiršlove riječi o prepoznavanju, imao bi nešto za dodati Hans-Georg Gadamer: ”Svekoliko prepoznavanje je iskustvo rastuće prisnosti, i sva naša iskustva svijeta konačno su forme u kojima gradimo prisnost s tim svijetom. Kakva god bila, umjetnost je, kao što potpuno ispravno kaže Aristotelovo učenje, način prepoznavanja u kojem se s prepoznavanjem produbljuje samospoznaja, a time i prisnost sa svijetom.” [5]

Kristina Marić



Quantum of vision/apparitions


How do you overcome the limitations of your senses and experience reality as it truly is? How to touch the untouchable and how to look invisible? These are questions that arise when the author focuses on the act of seeing, the act of seeing and the act of presenting the work.


We necessarily correlate all visions/apparitions with what we have seen before. "One will quickly be convinced of this if one remembers that phenomena are not things about oneself, but only a game of our notions, which finally meet in the determinations of the inner sense. (…) It is obvious, however, that I - when I draw a line in my mind, or when I think of the time from one noon to another, or if I want to imagine only some number - first I must inevitably imagine one of these various notions. But if I always lost the previous (first parts of the line, previous parts of time or units presented one after the other) from the thought, and if I did not reproduce them, moving on to the next, then the whole image and none of the above mentioned thoughts could ever arise. , moreover, even the purest and first basic notions of space and time. ” Hrvoje Hiršl deals with precisely such pure notions as Kant analyzed. Hirschl raises the question of whether it is possible to see only through the image of what has already been seen. “Do we have to symbolically represent each other? Is anything further than usual, beyond our relation of size, less understandable and harder to see?

Hirschl tries to find the conditions for the possibility of representation in the Quantum Theory. The first series of exhibited drawings was created during research and exchange with Dr. Neven Šantić from the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics. The artist himself interprets the works as quantum simulations at the level of painting. Spontaneous and unintentional touches of ink with hundreds of sheets of paper are presented on two tables, arranged like open softcover notebooks. The mentioned sheets of paper testify numerous random moments of spilling, mapping, staining and melting. Partial dotted deposits of micro traces of paint are associated with imaginary dust of subatomic particles. Observing the interplay and dispersion of these Hirschl's black dots and lines, it is easy to notice the repetitiveness, rhythmicity and vibrancy in the movement of the hand. In accordance with old knowledge and previously seen simulations of atomic motions, the viewer is likely to create a comparison in the mind with motions of a similar character and recall a physics class at school, while only the more experienced, knowledgeable eye, will recognize a graphical representation of the Lorenz system. That so-called the butterfly effect, indicates Chaos Theory. Mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz observed a connection between nonperiodic behavior and unpredictability, recognizing in chaotic systems a fine geometric structure: order disguised as chaos. He then simplified the initial twelve to just three differential equations. The graphical representation of the equations of random behavior on this choice of parameters showed a double spiral, i.e. a butterfly-like motion that takes place indefinitely. Hirschl came to a very similar order and regularity of repetition within chaos when, during his residency at the Bildraum studio in Vienna, he made random, circular and unfettered endless lines on paper (especially visible in the "Val" series of drawings). Movement I-IV's works are framed, more grandiose, and somewhat neater versions of the previously mentioned drawings from the artist's notebooks. The dominant impression is the movement and dynamics of sharp black lines that usually turn into spiral flows. In the “Caustics” series, the drawings begin to resemble an experiment in intaglio printing techniques. To a certain extent, the traces of industrial ink surprise with tonal gradation, while extremely saturated black fields, like a black body, absorbed all possible light.

In interpreting his own work, Hirschl points out: "The quantum domain shows us what the act of seeing actually is. It is the act of touch, in a sense an aggressive act, the act of bombing a certain object with photons or other waves. In order for us to see something, it is necessary to reflect billions of particles/waves from the surface of an object, so they can end up registered by our devices or senses.In a way, our reality, if we do not touch it, if we do not communicate with it, it does not register for us, it is not there - it does not exist. We need some kind of representation in order to see the unseen and the invisible. Invisible is a hypothesis, a theory, a construct that has not yet been proven. Only when we prove it, when it becomes part of our usual experience, can we finally see it. " Hirschl decided to bring all this amount of apparition closer to the observer through a recorded audio-visual lecture, which is also a part of the exhibition. Such an act of clarifying the work within himself, again draws us into a whirlpool of questions about the limitations of representation.

The author's thought "to represent means trying to see", and that representation is, in fact, "the impossibility of seeing something as it really is", brings us back to the moment of recognition. “We do not see with our senses, but with our mind. For us, seeing means understanding and understanding means recognizing. To recognize something means that it has already been experienced before… ”To these Hirschl's words about recognition, Hans-Georg Gadamer would have something to add:“ All recognition is the experience of growing intimacy, and all our experiences of the world are finally the forms in which we build intimacy with that world. Whatever it is, art is, as Aristotle's teaching rightly says, a way of recognizing, in which self-knowledge deepens with recognition, and thus intimacy with the world. ”
Kristina Marić



[1] Kant, Immanuel, Kritika čistog uma, Nakladni zavod Matice hrvatske, Zagreb, 1984., 73.str.

[2] Hrvoje Hiršl, parafrazirane riječi autora

[3] doslovno značenje - onaj koji može vibrirati.koji titra, treperi; vibrirajući

[4] Poland, Douglas, Cooperative Catalysis and Chemical Chaos: A Chemical Model for the Lorenz Equations, Physica D 65 (1-2), 1993., 86.-99.str.

[5] Gadamer, Hans-Georg, Ogledi o filozofiji umjetnosti, Zagreb: AGM 2003., 100. str.

Tekst objavljen u godišnjem katalogu HDLU Osijek, 2021.
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Text published in the annual catalog of Croatian Society of Fine Artists Osijek, 2021




The Question of Scale


It all started with the Industrial Revolution – the steam engine and conveyor belt: the progressive shortening of time, space, and the possibility of reaction. In the digital age the shortening reached the scale of atoms and picoseconds – optical cables transfer information at the speed of light. The exponential shortening of time, and with it space, determined by the emergence of digital technologies and the ever-faster processing and transfer of data, changes the position of the body in that space and thus the space of the body.

The thing that perhaps most defines us as beings of this universe is time and our understanding of it. We inhabit spacetime and observe all our activities through the prism of cycles, flow, movement. Time is the one thing we perceive most as something constant. It is interesting to observe changes in the perception of this constant in the last 200 years or so, that have occurred under the influence of technological advances. Perhaps it is ‘time’ to redefine our perception of that ‘constant’. If space and time are continuous, then by shortening time, the space in which we operate shortens too, and shifts outside of our scale.






Einstein's theory of special relativity did not separate space from time, but considers them inextricably connected. This is especially relevant in the context of gravitational waves that were recently detected and that are distortions on the ‘surface’ of spacetime. The most common analogy for this is to imagine spacetime as a surface that bends under the influence of gravitational forces. The bigger the gravitational force, the faster spacetime passes. Therefore, if the space is distorted, time is bent. Since we know that certain technologies in use today are already very close to the speed of light, like optical cables and superfast computers, perhaps it is logical to assume that they bend our physical time. They are an ever-increasing gravitational force that causes ripples in our perceptual field.

All technological advances are, at their core, related to time and its shortening: to increase the number of activities that we can carry out in as little time as possible, to speed up certain tasks or move faster through space. All technologies shorten space-time, so it is no wonder that these technologies change our perception of the passage of time. Lately, it is our collective impression that time is passing faster and faster. According to some studies, the reason is that our brains are exposed to an increasing number of stimuli and the enormous amount of information that we consume daily.



Perhaps the psychological experience of perceptual time distortion, caused by an increasing information stimuli, could be correlated with Moore's law of the shortening gaps between technological jumps, which in its essence means nothing more than an ever larger number of changes (and with it more and more information to absorb) in an ever shorter timeframe. Moore's law was defined in 1965 by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, while analyzing the speed of computer processor development. He stated: ‘the number of transistors that can be placed on a chip for the most affordable price doubles about every two years’. Over time it was established that in a less literal sense Moore's law can be applied to the entire history of human technological progress. Some even argue that there is some sort of rule or natural law with which Moore's law overlaps.


A representative of this view of progress is transhumanist Ray Kurzweil, who calls it ‘The Law of Accelerating Returns’. Analysis of the history of technological development has shown that technology develops exponentially, contrary to our intuitive sense of linearity that we associate with the passage of time. As a consequence, the changes of the last 100 years have been more dramatic than of the last 20,000 years. First, big jumps in human progress took thousands of years, then they took centuries, then decades, and now they occur every couple of years. Soon, progress that used to require millennia will take a month, week, day, hour, minute, or second. We will literally see history passing in front of our eyes as some sort of material Facebook timeline scrolling in front of us and leaving us behind.

As the outcome of this swift progress Kurzweil foresees a moment which he calls the Singularity – technological changes so fast and profound that they represent a rupture in the tissue of human history. If we were to compare technological development with gravitational force, we would be located on the event horizon of a black hole, on our way toward a singularity, a point in the black hole where the laws of spacetime no longer apply.

Even though it is probable that Kurzweil overestimated the proximity of humanity to the black horizon, it would not be so hard to imagine this moment of history speeding up till it passes us by and leaves us stranded in some time limbo, where everything keeps going except us, leaving us behind.





Here are some examples of sequencing, where time is parsed into smaller segments that were initially used to discover invisible hidden micro-durations, and how that sequencing gradually oriented toward constructing the uninhabitable – a space not created for habitation, at least not our own.

A number of factors affected the shortening of the objective understanding of time and the influence on its subjective understanding, or more precisely: it happened through technological achievements that emerged in the last 200 years or so, from the steam engine in the 18th century and the advancement of electronic telecommunication in the early 19th century, to the Industrial Revolution and conveyor belt, that is, the segmentation of the work process and the optimization of human movement. The steam engine increased the speed of motion and the amount of activities carried out, and thus shortened the time it took to reach a certain location and increased the number of completed actions in a shorter time span.




Telecommunication abolished distance and enabled telepresence. Suddenly, a message, and later voice, could be teleported over great distances almost instantaneously.




The conveyor belt sequenced operations into smaller elements, optimized movement, reduced it to the most efficient instance, a binary value, a relation between move and rest. It sequenced movement into segments, ‘mini’-movements, smaller units of shorter duration. In that system, a person no longer has an overview of the manufacturing process, rather they only perform a single specific segment that doesn’t require any knowledge of the rest of the manufacturing chain, and the segment being reduced to a short interval of repetition.




Eadweard Muybridge and Étienne-Jules Marey were contemporaries in chrono-photography, known for their studies of movement of people and animals, trailblazing in the new discipline of scientific and industrial photography. Their photographs represented a previously unseen view of the world, in micro-instances of nature and everyday life. Their studies perfectly illustrate the 19th century interest in abolishing time and space under the influence of great technological turning points.



Motion capture is a technology that records movement of objects or persons and is applied in the sports, medicine, military, and film industries… It is used to digitize and quantify the movement of the performer and is the direct extension of Muybridge and Marey, with the added difference that no longer are the hidden worlds of micro-durations analyzed, but new worlds that supplant the existing one constructed. Here, the body serves as the basis, or a skeleton, for the construction of the ‘unseen’, as opposed to Muybridge and Marey, who revealed the hidden.


Optical cables transfer information at the speed of light and supercomputers perform trillions of operations in picoseconds. In such a space, human action is simply impossible, it is beyond our scale.


Blink of an eye
300-400 milliseconds




Modern systems guide themselves and communicate among themselves, with no human interaction. In case of an error, it is noticed only when all is said and done. The ‘accident’ had already begun, lasted, and ended, while within human time only a fraction of a second has passed from the beginning of the failure to the end of the catastrophe, a blink of an eye – 300-400 milliseconds.

In such a way, in 2013 the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation lost 45 billion dollars in just 45 milliseconds, that is, a billion dollars per millisecond, in a set of circumstances still not entirely resolved. It is believed that there was a blockage in the flow of transactions between the supercomputers buying and selling stocks, so all the computers suddenly started to dump the company's stocks. To be clear, a millisecond is a thousandth of a second. If by some chance this catastrophe had lasted one whole second, the loss would have been one sextillion dollars. A case like this is no rarity and is called a flash crash – a sudden and completely unexpected drop in shares causing enormous losses and potentially bringing down corporations and economies.

For these systems numbers and subjects are irrelevant, it could be billions of paper clips, cars or humans, it makes no difference. And if we increasingly rely on such systems for our livelihood, what kind of errors and glitches can we expect in our daily lives? When time condenses in one dot and everything starts happening at once, where are we in it? How fast will we have to live to catch up?


Who are we building
this space for?
Who will reside in it?




7000 fireworks go off at once


First version of the text is from 2016, edited in 2020



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On Nodes


This essay is one part autopoetic introduction to Hrvoje Hiršl's sound installation Nodes, and one part critique of a system that exploits artists' work.




Nodes are by definition devices or data points on a larger network. In computer science they are physical objects like servers, cell phones, printers… in network science they are abstract entities representing connection points, redistribution points or communication endpoints - meaning something that is merging, branching or intersecting.


From On Distributed Communications by Paul Baran, 1964 – This draft represents three types of networks: the star (centralized), the tree (decentralized) and the mesh (distributed) network. This was the basis for ARPANET developed in 1969 that later served as technological foundation for the Internet.

Networks represent interconnection between things and a study of those networks is called network science and examines telecommunication networks, computer networks, biological networks, cognitive and semantic networks, and social networks in search for different patterns and behaviors. It has been present since the 18th century but the field has exploded since the 90s when important discoveries were made on how many things in nature and society function according to different principles and those principles enable to predict, construct and run (cybernetics) different systems, or at least give an illusion of doing so…

In Second order Cybernetics it is stated that the observer is always a part of the system and therefore unable to understand it. The viewer is always influenced and is influencing the system. The system is not something separate from us, we are always a part of it. We don’t have a possibility of stepping outside of it to study it from the distance. There is no objective truth, no right point of view.

This becomes perfectly clear in case of www, a system we are intrinsic part of. We get daily crowd sourced, data mined, quantified, analyzed. We input data and interact with humans and machines, we teach algorithms how to perform better, we are feeding them so they could develop and grow, and we are very rarely aware of it, and what this really means, or where it is leading.


Concept

The work Nodes from 2015 represents a modular system, a set of devices transferring intangible information onto a physical space. Nods project invisible structures and networks and materialize them in the form of impulses. Those impulses represent stream of data that otherwise would be only perceivable as an abstract idea but not really experientially tangible. The goal is to connect the intangible data with action, to understand the relation of numbers, not only as symbolical value but also as objects. The Nods are converters. They translate the stream of data into a physical form and project it onto the space of the reality.

There is a division, a wrong perception of the relation between the physical and the virtual even though they are intrinsically linked, they are a part of the same system. The virtual is the abstraction of the real, an abstract representation that is not limited by the restrictions of the physical and can be freely manipulated with. All the information that are distributed, traded, mined and processed have a tendency in a basis of the physical world. They float in the cloud until they land and convert into action. In the world of ubiquitous computing that entered in every pore of our society we can’t pretend that if we ignore it, it will not apply to us.


Production

The first incarnation of the work Nodes was constructed during a residency in Dordtyart centrum, a converted former Biesboschhal shipping yard located in Dordrecht, a small city in the province of South Holland. The residency extended over a period of three months, an appropriate amount of time for developing a new and complex work. The work transferred the fluctuations of the financial market of top ten biggest shipyards, all of them in Asia, onto the structural steel columns of the Dordtyart building. The aim was to symbolically connect the past, the previous function of the Dordtyard building (the shipyard), and the present, the influence of the financial market onto the physical space and the distribution of labor.

The characteristic steel construction of the early 20th century industrial space and the historical context of the building immediately resonated acoustically and conceptually as the main theme of the project. The space, because of its huge size, mostly hosts works of larger scale that are commissioned by the organization annually. My budget, as a resident, was drastically smaller then the one from the commissioned artists and that imposed a serious consideration for a strategy that would enable me to do a work that would maximally engage the space and its history and at the same time would work inside the budget constraints.

Another important factor was transportation. I had an ambition of constructing a big size work, which would to be scalable. The scalability of the Nodes is another connection with the Network science. In 1999 Albert-Laszlo Barabási discovered the low of scale free networks, which says that the structure of the network is the same at all the possible scales. This applies to Web, economic exchange networks, social networks, ecosystems… It was only logical to apply the same rules of the network in the work about those networks.

In this venture I had an extensive contribution of labor and knowledge from a fellow artist Luis Rodil-Fernández, who, besides being an excellent artist and a thinker, is also a software expert and knows his way around electronics. Our conversations during the past two year of our friendship stimulated me greatly. One of the reasons for choosing a residency in Netherlands was to have an opportunity to continue our conversations and finally lay the foundation for our collaborative project algoresearch.systems, a platform dealing precisely with the same subjects that Nodes represent.


The Labor-Paradox

In the world after ready made, conceptual art and so many “posts” and “post-posts”, it is simply impossible to list them all, not to mention more than 60 years of computer science and network-science, it is ridiculous to think about the work in the sense of a stable form or a final piece. The abstraction of physical is so present in our daily lives that we even find our being extremely limited and annoying. The fact that we can’t be copied, easily repaired or duplicated is an object of frustration announcing our obsolescence. The soul has been replaced by consciousness and our consciousness wants to be free, it is envious of our digital selves.

Why then the art should limit itself to the 19th century way of thinking and acting!?


From the very start the terms and criteria of the residency were vague and at the service of the host. Finally the questionable competence of the organizers culminated on the final day when the artist is supposed to get an appropriate fee for its work. After three months of research, testing and building the system and after the hosts made it clear that they were satisfied with the site specific work that I had developed for them, I was informed that I would get just a fraction of the possible fee because I hadn’t worked enough with my hands. Apparently I didn’t portray enough of an artist stereotype: being dirty, smeared with paint, always cutting, welding or chiseling something…

This is the facebook post that I published on the 29th of September 2015 after being informed of this unpredicted and unfortunate development of events:

Another residency is finished and unfortunately a bitter taste has spoiled the final exhibition and the end of the residency that was already marked with constant struggle with the unsupportive institution. It was obvious from the start that something was wrong when they said that I would receive an artist fee depending on my “engagement”, assessed by no people from the media art field. I must admit I was blinded by the gorgeous exhibition space and great artists that have shown their work there, but I was just thinking I was paranoid.

Today, two days after the opening and on the final day of my residency they told me that they would pay me the minimum amount of €500 and not the maximum of €1500 for the artist fee of the residency because I worked a lot on my computer and not enough with my hands, according to their judgment. At the same time, ironically, they wanted to keep my work there until the end of the exhibition term because, as they said, they liked it. I am really sick of these exploitatory institutions that use artists for their promotion and public image without properly compensating artist’s work and masking it in some vague terms that enable them to do what ever they want.

Another huge irony is that my installation for the DordtYart institution is site specific and deals with the changes of labor and financial markets in the last fifty years. It is ridiculous that the digital work dealing with the physicality of the digital can be undervalued for being digital. Furthermore, DordtYart invited me and if they had looked at my application they could have known what kind of artistic practice I am engaged in, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise for them.

Dear colleagues and friends please let’s discuss this topic a bit more and please share your opinions and experiences related to the subject. I am sure we all have something to say because it affects us all! Edward A. Shanken,Josephine Bosma, Jon Cates, Wendy Coones, Jonas Lund, Natalia Fuchs,Wineke Gartz, Gabey Tjon, Luis Rodil-Fernández, Martijn van Boven,Domenico Quaranta, Robin Peckham, Venus Lau, Neural Revue, Peter Flemming, Swintak Swintak, TeZ Maurizio Martinucci, Marnix de Nijs, Paul Prudence, Manuel Beltrán, Guilherme Kujawski, Kelani Nichole, Jan Robert Leegte...

Of course I took my existing installation down. I would like to make another “site specific” work for the institution of DordtYart, a collaborative one, in the form of this post and share it publicly so these things don’t happen that often, artists are too often scared of these situations because they believe they will not be invited by other institutions if they complain.

In Galerija Nova, integrated in the exhibition Heroic Exhaustion (11.12.2015.-30.1.2016.), Nods took on a role of documentation and illustrated the gap in understanding of labor. I was presenting a work inside of a work. Along with the documentation of the development process of the Nods installation I presented a sub project (www.butttton.com) reflecting on the different aspects of the economy of labor and the physicality of the digital.

I find it paradoxical and worrying how narrow the knowledge of the general public is about something that all of us are so much a part of.

Project butttton.com uses mechanical turk workers, working for micro wage to get clicks that manifest themselves in the space of the gallery as physical hits. As the workers are concerned, the butttton could be just a button doing nothing, or collecting clicks, random number generator, a sociological experiment, an homage to Sisyphus, or maybe a morbid tele-murdering machine comparable to the drone attacks or an automated machine gun somewhere randomly killing people, or just a joke, or Santiago Sierra may have started doing net art…


Publisher
kulturpunkt.hr

Date
23.03.2016



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Digital Romance


Digital romance is a longing for the irretrievable past, a way of treating a new paradigm of media through the prism of old ones, new systems through old systems, the inability to distance oneself from old ideas.

Are memes resisting the digital revolution by creating endless permutations of the appropriated content? By transforming historical styles to the level of absurdity they become deprived of any meaning, they become only the shells of the previous ideology – a lone ideology to which any other can ‘attach’ itself.

Memes as a strategy of cultural resistance, punk postmodernism, time without great narratives, nihilism of 4chan, the birth of Anon, Alt-right as a rebellion against Left Conservatism - all these are ‘meta-rebels’ lost in constant mutations. New right-wingers, libertarians, transhumanists, anarcho-capitalists, mimetic social orders… Our reality begins to look like Southland Tales, 99% of all information is irrelevant – bait and smoke screen – a binary diversion.

In the binary system, everything is constructed of two values, 1 or 0, YES or NO. Digital (binary) is in principle contrary to the romantic (emotional, impulsive ...), although in the age of Tinder, YES or NO are the only option, and that's a lot of YESES and a lot of NOS. Tinder is a practical example of implementing statistics in love relationships through the law of large numbers. Connecting two polarities into one results in neurosis, a struggle between ‘rationality’ and ‘emotionality’, between mind and impulse, between natural laws and the subjectivity of consciousness.

With the emergence of distributed networks, rapid infrastructures and enormous (and growing) numbers of users, millennia of cultural appropriation and gradual mutations accelerated exponentially, reducing the duration of the process of complete mutation from a century to a few hours. Metanarratives of pop culture, mixed with historical narrative, result in a rapidly developing pathogen, which spreads through digital networks faster than the Spanish flu.

A good example of neurotic subjectivity in history is Romanticism, including the ideas that developed under the influence of Romanticism in the later centuries. Romanticism is the European artistic and intellectual movement of the late 18th century, which focused on emotions, individualism, nature, history, and appropriated elements of different historical periods as a resistance to what is now called the Industrial Revolution. It is closely related to nationalism and is considered an introduction to the fascist ideology of the first half of the 20th century. After all, the artistic style of Nazi Germany was a combination of Greek and Roman art and architecture with elements of romanticism and heroism. The aesthetic notion of the millennial kingdom Third Reich, combining Christian with Ancient Roman and Napoleonic references, is the epitome of romanticism. The replication of certain periods for the purpose of false impression, always necessarily using simulation of materials and style and lacking authenticity, is also the definition of kitsch.

From the visual landscape of the margins of the internet, on forums (Reddit), blogs, imageboards (4chan) and social networks, we can see how in the rapids of the digital stream ideologies are defined, communities, hybrids of social systems and synchronicity are created, and social changes are triggered. In these nooks the monarchy connects with Silicon Valley (new feudalism), anarchism with capitalism (anarcho-capitalism) ... What is marginal today, might become dominant tomorrow (Alt-right - The Dark Enlightenment), but it might also not.

Not so long ago, the term ‘post-Internet art’ came in sway, a vague term supposedly gathering a wide range of practices and works under a single denominator. In principle, post-Internet art deals with the transition of the digital into the domain of the real, uses quotes of visual by-products of digital processes and transposes them into material form, material reality. Unfortunately, most of these so-called ground-breaking works refer exclusively to the sphere of the visual and rarely transcend formalism. As a consequence, these works are lost on the periphery of the system, instead of dealing with the system itself.

Let’s examine the pathogens, not their shells – systems, not forms – expose the structures that create visual parasites. Give us your trash, your visual saliva! Let's rip the pixels, accelerate the mutation! Let the visual reach its final denominator!


Publisher
metamedia.hr

Date
07.08.2017



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Entropia, prototopia, polytopia


Multiplicity of an idea

Throughout history utopia seemed so close and yet so far away, like a mirage that you see but is still not quite there. We had visions of utopia from the previous century that failed disastrously, where decisions made by the few ruled over many. Its biggest problem is how to harmonize structure with individual freedom. Any system needs order to operate but forced order limits the development of a system. It is just a question of time when it will self-regulate and overthrow the imposed structure. This phenomenon of adapting the structure to personal needs is called desire path[1]in urban planning. It is associated with the erosion caused by people, animals or vehicles in a spontaneous attempt to find the shortest route between two points instead of following the constructed path by urban planners.

Our reality revolves around certain natural laws. If you impose a structure that does not follow these laws eventually the system will fall apart. In nature nothing is permanent, everything is in constant flux. The possibility of change and adaptation enables the system to survive. Technology uses and exploits these laws but it cannot change them. It can only follow them. If it could change them, then it would be magic, not technology.

In this text I will try to outline potential problems (entropia), opportunities (polytopia) and recent historical sources of utopian ideas (prototopia) that came out of distributed networks, rapid technological advancement and collective authorship.

Francis Fukuyama said that we live at the end of history[2], in a time without alternatives. Lately we noticed that things have actually changed faster[3] than expected and we are on the verge of a new beginning. This new era that we are entering is not something that we willingly decided on, it was defined by a string of decisions and technological determinism. The only thing that we can do is to jump onto this technological wagon and catch the momentum that will propel us. They say that history repeats itself but this is a precedent and we have nothing to compare it with. This is a leap into the void where exponential growth will cause a rupture (technological singularity)[4] in the fabric of space and time and start a new history, the beginning of the posthuman[5] stage. Possibly it will not even be written by us but by machines. Maybe there is an opportunity in this big leap into the unknown to reconsider and revive an idea that seems impossible. The process of searching for it could yield some food for thought. We know that over the course of history things that seemed impossible at one point became possible at another. We know that there is no limit to human ambition and curiosity. Of course this comes with a risk, an existential one[6]. There is a term for it, a Great Filter[7], a hypothetical threshold in the advancement of a civilisation, with a high probability of self-destruction.

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Entropia (Entropy + Utopia)

Utopia is defined as a society of great personal liberty and wellbeing. Utopia sounds good on paper but in reality it was impossible to achieve. The idea served as inspiration for different political systems that always ended up as dystopian. The same often applies to modernist architecture. The city of Brasilia, the federal capital of Brazil, was a majestic vision that probably should have stayed on the drawing board. Built in the 60’s, the city was constructed outside of the human scale, as a city monument. A personal grandeur vision of the architects and politicians projected onto the inhabitants of the city. The city was built in a way that does not account for the fact that someone would live in it. The restrictive framework of the project is what caused the friction in the system. For a project to succeed there should be some possibility of adaptivity, an open framework, a set of parameters from which the city will emerge.

The search for utopia is similar to a search for a perpetual motion machine, the hypothetical machine that can run forever with the energy that it produces. With a perpetual motion machine you always lose more energy than you get from it, which is due to friction. In utopia there is too much friction between individual spheres and the collective one that holds them together. For it to really function, everyone should have their own custom-made “society”. That is why these projects had never lasted long before they failed. In recent discourse there has been an image of technological emergence that will cause complete automation[8] of all processes, a post-scarcity economy without labour.

The herald of this new economy is China[9]where more and more production is steered toward automation, where even the cheapest labour force is not cheap enough anymore. Webshops like Alibaba, Banggood or Dealextremesell cheap electrical goods with free postage. Even the infrastructure for such an operation is an engineering endeavour in and of itself. The profit is derived from the sheer number of transactions and money circulation. This is a real example of economic alchemy, how to make money where others cannot.

The other important factor for the revival and reconceptualization of the old idea is the unsustainability of the existing economic system that is coming to an end of its progress. Neoliberal capitalism is based on an ever-expanding competitive market. There is a limit to the growth[10], a breaking point when the constant striving for optimization and cost-cutting reaches a point where the whole process gets automated and substituted by machines. The race for ever-cheaper goods and labour will result in a lack of human jobs[11] and the old free market paradigm of money circulating in the economy will stop to function. Without consumers, the whole system fails. It is becoming obvious that we need to resolve a near future problem, how the lack of labour will influence the future economy and how to improve the human condition. What happens when the constant growth and progress stop, when work becomes unnecessary and scarcity is not an issue? We are entering a post-capitalist[12] era.


Prototopia (Proto + Utopia)

The new tools of this immaterial economy are smart contracts[13], decentralized currencies[14], and asset ownership in blockchain. DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization)[15] corporations are the future. We are all legal entities, individual companies, and corporations of one. We are traded on the market, based on our personal belongings, creditworthiness of our social profiles and the net worth of our data spheres.

In today's economy, speculating became the new production. This is the new capital and gossip is the new currency. Generating capital based on whim, a temporary trend, misinformation, social networking[16]... The capital is not generated by physical production anymore. Physical products are only the by-product of speculation. The real economy is based on belief, it is a construct, a personal projection made by participants. As long as you believe in it, it exists.

We generate content – the world of big data that is being mined, bought and sold, traded and protected. Most of the discourse of the last several years has been around privacy[17] and who is collecting what. At the same time our personal spheres have closed in one way (filter bubble)[18] and disappeared in another (social networks and data mining[19])[20]. Information is the ore of today. The more of it you have the richer you are. You just need to know how to use it. Anything can be valuable. It only depends on your abilities to interpret it. With this knowledge you can predict trends, see hidden patterns, natural laws that no one had noticed before, your personal “weather” forecast. These things are the World Wild West for the digital opportunists, for the ones that want to harvest as much of the e-gold as possible before others even notice it is gold.

It is becoming clear that in this post-work society there is no problem if there is no work. In speculative belief-based economy the flow of assets is the same as production. Businesses already rise and fall in milliseconds based on speculation or a technical glitch[21]. This is the paradigm of the future. The majority of money is made in speculation, not production. High frequency trading (HFT) established these rules some time ago. HFT uses supercomputers and algorithms to collect data and autonomously buy and sell stocks. Different companies compete with each other in speed and algorithm sophistication to gain advantage and make more money. These systems are completely autonomous.

Your browsing habits, your Facebook posts and your Instagram pictures influence the global economy, but the real enlightenment will come when we get rid of work altogether. In the near future all of us will be participants in this jobless economy. Just by existing you will be a market entity.


Can Utopia be collectively imagined and built

as a collaborative political project?[22]

As a by-product of this decentralization and new collectiveness, we have a number of theoretical and radical political think tanks that work on the edge of reason, anonymity and on the opposite poles of political discourse. Radical ideas of the post-scarcity economy like Fully Automated Luxury Communism[23]and Universal Basic Income[24](UBI) do not sound that far-fetched anymore.

  • Cybersin
One of the early examples of such a project was Project Cybersin[25], short for cybernetics synergy. Prominent cybernetician Stafford Beer worked for the government of Chile from 1971-1973 on the project of the first algorithmic city, the predecessor of big data, that was supposed to collect real-time data from factories around the country and display them in the operational control centre for coordination and production. It was imagined as a distributed decision system. The project never fully came to life and was destroyed after the military coup.

  • The Dark Enlightenment
The Dark Enlightenment[26]movement, an alt-right cluster of Internet-based political thinkers, calls for a new feudalism, a return to monarchy. They want to reverse the Enlightenment and go back to a pre-liberal democracy time, to the “good old days”.

  • Anarcho-capitalism
Anarcho-capitalism[27] advocates the elimination of the state and prioritizes the freedom of the individual, private property and the free market. Its proponents believe that without the state the system will self-regulate and achieve equilibrium. Because of the primacy of private property and of the “I”, this political construct is the highest realization of the self over the collective.

  • Transhumanists / Extropists
Transhumanists, or their older siblings, extropists, desire to prolong their lifespan to a near-immortal state and exist in a world where artificial intelligence and robotics have made work irrelevant. Their purpose in life is to increase the overall happiness of all creatures on Earth through cooperation.[28] In that sense it could be perceived as very utopian. The extropists are fighting entropy with technology, trying to defy death and project humans into the new realm of posthumanism, where we would be free from our bodily limitations as a species.


Polytopia (Poly + Utopia)
Maybe the realization of a personal utopia will appear soonest in the form of Virtual Reality. Virtual reality is not limited by the laws of physics and can be customized to individual preference. It is the perfect polygon for the realization of a personal utopia. The word utopia comes from the Greek οὐ("not") and τόπος("place") and means "no-place". What is more of a non-place than VR, better yet, a UR - (U)topian Reality / (You)topian Reality, a space of absolute personal freedom, without any limitations or concerns for others, a space of You, an ultimate realization of the Ego.


Extropy vs. Entropy

Extropy is the opposite of entropy. Extropy is life, entropy is decay. Life is organization, collectiveness. Society organizes individual spheres in a collective machine through a set of rules organized in a system. An individual is a part of the collective, but not above it. A fixed set of rules in a world of exponential change is not sustainable. Pure utopia could only exist if there were complete freedom for all individuals of the collective. When one of the cells in our body starts to follow its own path and starts to multiply, we call it cancer. The paradox with utopia is that it is only possible through a system. But in order to really become polytopian it has to be divided into autonomous individual cells. The friction of the personal spheres decomposes it and transforms it into entropy. It has to decompose to realize itself fully, and yet, to decompose means to die.

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desire_path
[2] Francis Fukuyama - The End of History, 1989
[3] The Acceleration of Acceleration: How The Future Is Arriving Far Faster Than Expected http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenkotler/2015/02/06/the-acceleration-of-acceleration-how-the-future-is-arriving-far-faster-than-expected/#6c8e54da6920
[4] Ray Kurzweil - http://www.kurzweilai.net/the-law-of-accelerating-returns (accessed 8.8.2016.)
[5] Hayles, N. Katherine - How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. University Of Chicago Press. (1999).
[6] Nick Bostrom - Existential Risks - Analyzing Human Extinction Scenarios and Related Hazards, http://www.nickbostrom.com/existential/risks.html
[7]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Filter
[8] Why Everyone Must Get Ready For The 4th Industrial Revolution http://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2016/04/05/why-everyone-must-get-ready-for-4th-industrial-revolution/#198a6b4979c9
[9] China's Manufacturers Are Shifting Towards Zero-Labor Factories
http://io9.gizmodo.com/chinas-manufacturers-are-shifting-towards-zero-labor-fa-1702000971
[10] Club of Rome - Limits to Growth, 1972
[11] Self-Driving Trucks May Hit the Road Before Google’s Cars https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601476/self-driving-trucks-may-hit-the-road-before-googles-cars/
[12] The end of capitalism has begun
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/17/postcapitalism-end-of-capitalism-begun
[13] https://www.ethereum.org/
[14] https://bitcoin.org/en/
[15] The Tao of “The DAO” or: How the autonomous corporation is already here
https://techcrunch.com/2016/05/16/the-tao-of-the-dao-or-how-the-autonomous-corporation-is-already-here/
[16] How Does One Fake Tweet Cause a Stock Market Crash?
http://business.time.com/2013/04/24/how-does-one-fake-tweet-cause-a-stock-market-crash/
[17] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Data_Center
[18] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filter_bubble
[19]Top 10 data mining algorithms in plain R
https://rayli.net/blog/data/top-10-data-mining-algorithms-in-plain-r/#.VZf2lJJ127k.twitter
[20] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media_mining
[21] Error by Knight Capital rips through stock market http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-nyse-tradinghalts-idUSBRE8701BN20120801
$617 Billion in Japan Stock Orders Scrapped After Error http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-10-01/oops-possible-617-billion-trading-error-in-japan
[22] Stephen Duncombe - Thomas More Open Utopia, Minor Compositions, 2012
[23]  Fully automated luxury communism (https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/mar/18/fully-automated-luxury-communism-robots-employment?CMP=share_btn_tw)
[24] After Robots Take Our Jobs, This Is What the Economy Will Look Like https://mic.com/articles/119896/after-robots-take-our-jobs-basic-income-is-the-best-solution#.f4UohNbhE
[25] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Cybersyn
[26] http://www.thedarkenlightenment.com/the-dark-enlightenment-by-nick-land/
[27] http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Anarcho-capitalism
[28] Nick Bostrom - A History of Transhumanist Thought, 2005


Publisher
Utopian collective
London design biennale 2016

Full catalogue
dizajn.hr



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