March 8–31, 2013
KiBela, Space for Art
During our work on the New Media Cross Border project, a part of which is the Parallel Signals exhibition, the concept of independence emerged as one of the most prominent underlying themes. The idea of independence occupies an almost sacred role in the realm of alternative, or nongovernmental, spaces for artistic and cultural production. Most often it occurs in relation to times past – when one thinks of how things were at a period, when project reports did not exist, when funding was less scarce and somehow less necessary. Such thoughts are most often tightly intertwined with a retrospect view through a filter of nostalgia. Cultural production is inevitably influenced by the material reality of a particular era; the conditions of production define, at least to a point, the aesthetics of a work and its subject matter. The Slovenian 1980s have acquired the status of a period marked by a very high degree of artistic independence – of a time when punk was very much alive, a time of cultural upheaval, a very active civil society and profound political change. On the other hand it was a time of deep economic crisis, high unemployment and an ever-increasing foreign debt; during the transition from socialism to capitalism the economic conditions in the country worsened and then slowly became more stable resulting in a period of growth, which finally ended in another crisis that is, to some degree, parallel to the one in the 1980s.
When one compares the development of art to the history of economic changes, it becomes evident that artistic breakthroughs often coincided with periods of economic decline and social friction. A crisis always encourages a search for alternatives, for more efficient and innovative ways of communicating ideas. It seems that the increasing use of video in contemporary artistic production is one of such adaptations. Video, propelled by the increasing availability of ever more portable and advanced technologies, gradually became one of the most democratic art media. It supports the production of complex and visually polished works and of spontaneous, guerilla products, both of which can achieve the desired expressive power. Videos represent a very effective medium for communicating artistic ideas – video capture has become increasingly simple and at the same time its quality greatly increased, parallel to this various online services, which enable quick dissemination to a wide audiences, developed. In a way video has taken on a similar role to the one, which the photocopier had in the past decades – the ability to provide a means of simple communication with a great aesthetic potential for those who know how to exploit it.
The clever, often humorous and ironic use of new technologies is one of the seminal strategies that allow art to adapt to changing social and political conditions and to invent new forms of artistic expression. The exhibited works do not belong to the line of new media art characterized by a strong fascination with technology – works of art that use technology as the primary carrier of the artistic message. The exhibited works have a rather subversive relationship with the existing technological apparatus – they pick up what is available, take possession of it and use it to communicate their ideas – be it a provocative poster action, an activist clip, a documentary video or a flatiron computer interface.
Participating artists: Abbildungen Variete, Nataša Berk, Peter Tomaž Dobrila, Kruno Jošt & Simon Poldauf & Maja Kohek, Lačni Franz, Te čudovite MARGINE, Marko Ornik, Ana Pečar, Mirjana Rukavina, son:DA, Dejan Štampar, Vita Žgur.
About the exhibition
We would like to thank all artists, groups and others for their permission to use their work and for all the help given.
The exhibition Parallel Signals is part of the two-year project New Media Cross Border, which is carried out by Autonomni centar – ACT from Čakovec, Kulturno izobraževalno društvo KIBLA from Maribor, ONEJ – Društvo prekmurske pobude from Murska Sobota and Udruga mladih V.U.K. from Varaždin. New Media Cross Border is co-financed by IPA Operational Programme Slovenia-Croatia 2007-2013.