Panel: Compumorphic Art: The Computer as Muse
The presentation shows two art projects by Darko Fritz that make use of digital computer as form of creative inspiration, cultural commentary or aesthetic reference point: Migrant navigator and Internet Error Messages. How many people live in their place of birth? Darko Fritz posed that question in his project Migrant Navigator, dealing precisely with migrations, repositioning, identity, nostalgia and a conception and significance of home as a relict of familial and national community in a period of all-pervasive atomisation of society. Migrant Navigator is a work-in-progress, the multi(hybrid) -media -and public art (implicating Web as a public space) project that started with a “mis.?informing” Web page, decorated with a frieze of Home icons (of a renowned internet provider) introducing you to its content. The second phase of the project was off-line: in the public area next to the railway station in Linz , was planted a horticultural installation entitled The Future of Nostalgia. From the grassy area a piece, 9×9 meters in size, “was taken “, and a pictogram of a house was made by carefully arranged flowers, or more precisely the same Home icon of the Web browser was translated in to the floral arrangement. The railway station was thoughtfully chosen location for planting -as a place of transits and a check-in post for emigrants, the point of a warping and a distortion of space, where passengers can eat, sleep, make transactions, shop, pray… Such spaces Augé denominates as non-places (non-lieux), with no identities and relations. Even the installation itself goes through transitions climatic, organic, changes of local municipal authorities what might result in a stopping of weeding and watering of beds of flowers (or the seasonal replacement of flowers), and it is even exposed to a possible anonymous act of vandalism …The third phase of Migrant Navigator was realised as a poster measuring 2×2 meter in size, made in silk-screen technique with a replica of Home icon. Bright-silver background was placed on central part of existing advertising screens (of a standard, aggressive, billboard format) on both sides of Croato-Slovenian border (and later at Slovene-Italian border). The poster does not contain any further informations except the pictorial one, inducing a series of associations in those ones crossing the border and at very best it could inspire them on rethinking the identity -a national one (as a socio-cultural construct) and a personal one (as its biological substratum). In the age of civilisation of communicating, the Web reduced the globe on to an attainable size, while, at the same time, in the real world border formalities drastically decelerate our movement, even calling it into question.. The posters with Home icons have spread out “virulently” to Zagreb, posted on the advertisement pillars of the Ban Jelacic Square and next to the Main railway station, on the billboard in Savska street, intended for the view of pedestrians and commuters. In a relation between the visible object and the visual medium (billboard – strategic place of advertising campaigns), Darko Fritz in a conciliatory way handle with a functioning mechanisms of consumerist society, inspiring beholders to a “wishful thinking “; the appropriation of marketing strategies is evident also through the concept of an exhibition as a product -namely, it has its own sign and “logo”. The digital networks, of which the internet is now the most comprehensive example, are similarly migratory spaces of dislocation. Information travels in a non-space encoded in a digital code that has no analogy to its origin – it refers back only to itself. All that is visible within this non-space are temporary and fleeting appearances, hyperreal symbols, floating signifiers. Apparently stable appearances are mere simulacra of the purest sort. Meaning is constructed here in action, in dynamic exchange, through short feedback loops. The referent does not adhere as much as that it floats by. Thus, sense and meaning is produced in and through movement. Meaning in that sense is nomadic, it floats with the migrant / user, producing a highly useful space for tactical operation, but a very complicated space for strategic investment, yet also a space of control ‘in flight’.
- Darko Fritz is artist and independent curator and researcher. He was born in 1966, in Croatia, and currently he lives and works in Amsterdam, Zagreb and Korcula. He studied architecture at the University of Zagreb [1986 – 1989] and fine art at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam (1990-1992). His work fills the gap between contemporary art practices and media art culture. He has worked with video since 1988 and created his first computer-generated environment in 1988. He is using the Internet as artistic medium since 1994. Recently he has been developing horticultural units in public spaces, transgressing the contents from the digital domain. His research on histories of international computer-generated art resulted in several publications and exhibitions that went public since 2000, when he curated the world’s first historic retrospective exhibition of the field: I am Still Alive (early computer-generated art and recent low-tech and internet art), Zagreb, 2000. As well he curated CLUB.?NL – contemporary art and art networks from the Netherlands, Dubrovnik, 2000; Bit International – Computers and Visual Research, [New] Tendencies, Zagreb 1961 – 1973, Neue Galerie, Graz, 2007 and ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2008; Reconstruction: private=public=private=public=, Belgrade, 2009 and Angles and Intersections (co-curated with Christiane Paul, Nina Czegledy, Ellena Rosi and Peter Dobrila), Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka, 2009. As editor for media art at net portal Culturenet he edited related database and published A Brief Overview of Media Art in Croatia in 2002. In 2010 he start the research on the beginning of computer-generated art in the Netherlands. Fritz is founder and programmer of the grey) (area – space of contemporary and media art since 2006.