Print Green / Tiskaj zeleno
during the years 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15; ( mentor: Dušan Zidar, Full professor )
students: Maja Petek, Danica Korošec, Urška Skaza, Tina Zidanšek and with kind assistance of Simon Tržan
If we look at modern and contemporary art, we can see that artists through these periods often reflect on the issue of machines, intimate and social feelings associated with them, their consequences on man, society, and nature. Futurists, Russian constructivists, Picasso, Duchamp, Jean Tinguely, Alexander Calder, and a list of other artists point out that these human-machine relationships are very complex relationships that are not always romantic, idealistic. Luddism was a radical adverse reaction of the workers, who were pushed into even greater exploitation and survival by the owners of capital with the introduction of machines. On the other hand, I can say that it is precisely the development of machines and related technologies that may have opened the imagination of Jules Gabriel Verne to dream of a journey to the Moon. Not long ago, with the advent of digital content development, things kind of repeated themselves: the fear that digital technology would take over our intimacy and identity, on the one hand, and the promise that machines would free us from the alienation of a dull conveyor belt, on the other hand, bring us more freedom and free time. Today, I can conclude that there is no more free time, alienation is still present and has moved into precarious relationships. Interestingly, in the process of desktop printing, it is even more evident that various documents have to be printed and archived digitally, pointing to the paradoxes of modern technology. The intensive development of classical and digital technologies has recently conceived our planet as an endless source of raw materials and the environment in which such technologies have settled. However, with its responses to such one-sided actions, the earth demonstrates to us that doing so is unwise. Speculation as to whether our planet is warming due to an excessive amount of carbon dioxide or cooling due to other excessive substances in the atmosphere reveals our smallness to such large complex systems. And where and in what way to place the artistic design “Print Green” now? Students, Maja Petek, Danica Rženičnik, Urška Skaza, Tina Zidanšek, in analyzing the art and artists involved in the reflection of machines, realized that this kind of response is primarily related to their fetishization. They also discovered that they would be merely dealing with design-aesthetic solutions that would give the machine a unique image, a particular feature, kept the exact solutions as those analyzed by the artists above. So now the pertinent question arises, what and in what way would the machine serve, what should it print? The organizer of the 3D festival in New York, to which the group was invited, wrote in a presentation of this design: let them print even more because all printing is made of natural substances. ” This reversal is reminiscent of Žižek’s text on ecology, published in the journal Razpol, in which he concludes that only a spear heals a wound inflicted, or that an ecological solution is not found in return to nature, but in new, improved technological solutions. So this key content shift, the students realized in their appearance in a very simple and unique way, which also included a social context that allows users to create an interest in the community that encourages them to new ideas and useful. And it is precisely this “complex” simplicity that reveals whether work with its creative charge will transcend the boundaries of art or another one of many that will deal with itself.
Alternative Tourist Landmarks of the City of Maribor
Selected art interventions by Students of University of Maribor, Faculty of Education, Department of Fine Arts, Slovenia
during the years 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12; (selected projects, mentor: Dušan Zidar, Full professor)
“Transfroming Billboards”, students: Urh Kodre, Nataša Brecelj, Domen Rupnik, Hana Repše; 2007
2007 – Graz, Eu project Interreg III/a
I would move the idea for the project ‘Alternative Tourist Landmarks of the City of Maribor’ into the point of mutual collaboration of the Department for Visual Arts with MKC at the joint European project Interreg III/a, of several sub topics. The research has focused on the fields linked to youth culture in the urban spaces in the North-East Slovenia. At one of the sub topics we were following the students of anthropology at the Faculty of Arts, who were interviewing selected collaborators and collecting the data on youth culture in various urban environments. Our position in this relation focused on the visual aspect of the environment as well as the visualization of the collected data. The department also made a concept of the supposed Cultural incubator, in the role of a production house for student art projects. It would ease the students’ transition into distribution systems of art, while simultaneously serving as an alternative. Later on, it would, at the future Academy of Fine Arts, acquire the status of the Art Centre, focused on developmental projects.The experience that I had gained from the mentioned collaboration, partly ‘tinged’ by the anthropological aspect, has lead me to the recognition that urban environment is not ‘single-layered – one-dimensional’. Various layers ranging from painted traffic signs on the roads, billboards, various alter scenes….all together a dynamic organism that loses its intensity in the daily life, and it is beneficial to ‘revitalize’ it, question it with different aspects.The other ‘imperative’, arising from the mentioned Interreg III/a project refers to a more complex reflection about the inability of the distribution of art works in Slovenia, the numerous graduates of our Department (who wish to realize their artistic ambitions), representing the human creative capital, about the impact of cultural and artistic events on the urban nucleus.
»The semantics« of meaning, and uncanny
Fo the project of Alternative Tourist Point of the City Maribor, we had, in the beginning, used the expression the »Degraded« Topics of Maribor City. Using this designation we wished to speak about the imbalances of city topics, changing in time, are brought to a standstill, waiting for changes in proprietorship, or are in the procedure of urban planning. The imbalance was our outset for reflection about how to undertake an »aesthetic« strategy, an intervention bringing a counterpart to it, while at the same time enabling the establishment of a reflection on urban relations and people’s lives in the imaginary field. A sample case: American city, Detroit, at the end of the 90s (and Maribor holding quite a few images like that), the downfall of heavy industry, unable to follow the fast mutation and flexibility of capital. The collapse leaves massive – almost minimalist – sculptural architectural concepts, transforming certain city parts into a ghost town. The absence – in American cities – of historical buildings, that European cities boast, about, and American inventiveness are those who transform these buildings into a first-class tourist attraction. In this way, they have established an identification with the modernist industry who becomes a historical as well as a cultural artefact. These are countless examples of such kinds all over the world, and they prove that each society and its production create one’s own space. The shift of the one into the other can represent an outset of the new one. We witness some »steady« dynamics of the transformation of states. The uneasiness at the term used and made the argumentation of rejection of our project when we submitted it to the city open-call, astonished me at the first, and made me recollect the experience of Marjetica Potrč when she was preparing her art concept for Kassel Documenta. She intended to use an old house in the city to show the »personification« of an urban structure in the sense that the decaying houses are like silence between the words, the exhale in the body, something that will enable the house, or the urban structure new vitalization. However, the proprietors failed to understand it in this sense, but contrary, understood it as if they were negligent maintainers, leaving the building neglected. On the other hand, this rejection sponsored our decision to accept the challenge and conceptualize it. We connected the challenge to the American case. More than the awareness of the dynamics transformation of states, and creation of new quality of spaces, I was interested in the way, how the mentioned space becomes a tourist attraction. Taking into account the many definitions, trying to define the idea of tourism, then I can conclude, that they all somehow speak about a multitude of relations and phenomena that appear due to the migration and sojourn of the people whose primary goal is not permanent residence and full-time employment. However, such definitions, in their generalization, to end blur »drive« of tourism, that is defined into a rental spectacular relation, and hiding within these mutual interrelations: a certain attraction has to visible, it has to repeatedly expose itself for observation, it has to be noticed; for us to watch and observe say that the Americans in the above case replaced the absence of the European historical artefacts by the system of peeping show sensations, where symbolic value does not represent any key importance.
Concept and Reflection of Alternativeness
The formal conceptin of the work that seemed important to me, was based on the following assumptions: The formation of strategy and intervention concept, including commentaries, appropriation of ideas and concepts, and their return back to the cocreators; The realization of the strategy assumed the approaches, nowadays embodied by social alternatives towards the economic crisis: occupy/participate. It is about the choise of topic city location, its analysis, the preparation of the strategy and afterwards its realization, that several occaisons, disregarded the valid regulations.
student: Matej Jarc, 2009/10
students: Marko Šerbinek, Kaja Cvetko; 2009/10
Puppy from the Suburbs of Maribor
students: Ines Bratovenski, Metka Manfreda, Nina Palir, Patricija Žnidar; 2009/10
students: Maruša Novak, Monika Pocrnjić, Špela Kobal; 2010/11
In the second year of our attentions to the topics, we met up with an artist Angelo Vermeulen, who was artist in residence on Kiblix and International Computer Festival Maribor (MFRU) where he set up the Biomodd structure / installation. This encounter happened to me almost like echo to my approach and work with students. It seemed only logical to me that the two methods should merge with each other. The consequence of the merging was that a group of students tried to assume Angelo’s metod and developed their own type of Biomodd. When Maruša Novak in the interview on her diploma thesis mentioned a special impression of that one of the participants working biomodd in Belgium, she pointed to the experience of empty place, non-systematization, non-structuration. I could say that the situation could be similar to controlled anarchy/chaos/self-organisation.
students: Nina Ružič Koželj, Darja Hudin; 2010/11
student: Manuel Lepir, 2010/11
Maribor - European Capital of Culture 2012
The city of Maribor, in this context, represents, with its numerous transformations in the 90s, an appropriate environment for our “research.” The collapsed heavy industry, the appearance of a shopping mall, which has taken over its commercial activity in the city center, the construction of new infrastructures… When we entered the transition of the political system, many questions arose: with the sale of “state property / public space”; and what kind of relationship between the private and public will exist. Also, how has the transition transformed the agents of public space have come to the fore. In what way the private includes the public within itself? Is the term “public space” still a relevant notion, and whether can we still speak about it today? Even though this kind of problematics may seem sung out, it has to be actualized again and again, as “the actors” themselves keep moving to modify their positions and powers. So we are faced with a complete sequence of relevant questions, with the first rejective respond of the city itself. Therefore we have changed the title of the project into “Alternative Tourist Points of the City of Maribor” and tried not only to “light up” the urban part of the appearance of Maribor, which most cities avoid exposing, but also establish them esthetic values. The chosen urban city points between their appearance and disappearance resemble tourist nomads who disclose themselves either in their interesting unfunctuality, or in exaggerated planning, or time crossing. The students have created a group of varied and autonomous projects, which with them sensitivity opening out to dead locations new vitality. They open them through new interpretations; in a certain way, they offer them “visions,” which can enrich such places and show us the hidden and unexploited wealth. In this light, I find an exciting statement of an artist Olaf Nicolai, who says that “the urban spaces reflecting in glass surfaces seem a kind of an extension of the living room and the contemporary media devices.” As if a fusion of numerous areas and locations in which we manifest our daily lives had taken place, they would transform into a new platform of our existence. The students have, to the locations in the city, that they believed had come to a standstill in their activities and service for numerous reasons, with an artistic reinterpretation (today this syntagm is shyly translated as a syntagm of creative industry) established inventive structures: the ranging from interactive floors, the introduction of solidary socialization, biological revitalization, subcultural aestheticization… In this way, they have, with their interventions, constructed the identification with the past and also prepared a constructive path to the future. For a short moment, we have transformed some chosen urban points into artefacts and offered them to the city of Maribor for viewing and consideration. The selective display of the present students’ art interventions into a public space was the fruit of three generations of the 4th class year of the Department of Fine Arts, the Faculty of Education, the University of Maribor, at the subject: Sculpture IV and Intermedia Arts.
students: Andreja Kuhar, Suzana Jović, Biljana Mujović, with kind assistance of Matjaž Lenhart; 2012
students: Klavdija Celec, Melita Lazar, Valerija Ahmeti with kind assistance of Matjaž Lenhart; 2012
students: Tadeja Ozmec, Anita Škrlec, Sara Ferčič; 2012 / video: workshop with members of Kralji ulice
In these tree years, we have created a lot of interesting solutions, as many original strategies emerged. Unfortunately, not all of them come true. If I made a summary through thee projects we set the creative potential that can be starting point in the following projects to consider to place it in benefit to city of Maribor.