[ISEA2011] Panel: Darko Fritz – Em­bod­ied Dig­i­tal In­ter­faces

Panel Statement

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 Korcula. 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.