Postcards from Wanderings

May 17th, 2011 § 1

We send out thoughts to beloved ones. We say “my thoughts are with you”. We send our love. We ask “are you thinking what I am thinking?”. We lose our minds. We need to collect our thoughts. And sometimes the thought occurs or springs to our mind…208367_10150224910230865_599740864_8715743_3061348_n

Forever scientists, artists and philosophers were fascinated with the act of thinking, reasoning and decision-making. Some of it is down to pure biology based on instinct; some is a phenomena which still today puzzles everyone even more. In one of the latest experiments carried in UCLA, the results seriously shook the materialist beliefs that the human body and mind with its thinking process is a result of complex chemical process. Participants of experiment were able to control images shown to them on the computer with nothing but power of their thinking – which meant that they were able to control neurons in their medial temporal lobes (headgear made out of implanted intracranial electrodes was obviously necessary to read the neurons activity and translate it into the computer screen)[1]. The question was raised again: What is in control – our brain or our mind? The study clearly manifested our ability to override the sensory input by a voluntary process.

What if our thoughts are really a quantified entity? What if we send our thoughts elsewhere – those thoughts have a real impact on that place? What if thoughts are freely floating around and our brains are like aerials tuned in to some, capturing them and transmitting them to our consciousness?

What if we are tired with the “voices” in our heads and want to send them away on holidays? What if it is possible?

With the installation “Postcards from Wanderings” it will be possible to board our thoughts onto the vessels anchored in the nearest seaport, and send them to travel in real time, whilst from time to time getting the updates from their “journeys” (through modern network technologies).

[1] Koch, C., Fried, I., Cerf,M.,Thiruvengadam, N., Mormann, F., Kraskov, A., Quiroga,R.Q., (2010) On-line, voluntary control of human temporal lobe neurons , Nature Magazine, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v467/n7319/full/nature09510.html – accessed online on 19.02.2011


“Postcards from Wandering”
Bannister Gallery
“Now and Then and When”
07.04.2011- 27.07.2011

RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE
600 Mount Pleasant Avenue
Providence
RI 02908-1991
Tel: 001(401) 456-8000

Are we living the self-fullfiling prophecy?

May 17th, 2011 § 0

Self-fullfiling prophecy?

I have just watched the “vision of the future”on BBC, episode called “The Intelligence Revolution”. Dr Michio Kaku – theoretical physicist and futurist attempts to summarise all cutting edge invention of last few years some of which we are used to, some of which are not yet in the main stream market(soon to be). He talks about pills with medial micro-laboratories which would monitor our bodies and send feeds straight to the medical centers; vehicles with no steers, gears, accelerators and breaks; entertainment systems and data streams inside the “sun-glasses” called here “eye-glasses”; robots cleaning our homes…All that sounds like from the science-fiction books from quite a few decades ago – reality which was then perceived as very futuristic in a time way ahead of us, or even possibly on the different planet. Arthur C.Clark, Fifth Element, Stanislaw Lem books, Blade Runner – the robotic, computerized future was featured in all of them. Together with the creatures from another planets, wars with aliens, and weird green people with big glasses, huge heads and small bodies…The computerized future is now and it is very much our reality.

If these stories where prophecy, does it mean that wars with aliens will happen to us as well? Or are we those aliens? Our future “selves” are weird creatures with small body with no muscles; big head for big brain, and huge eyes looking exactly like “eye-glasses” for the constant stream of information? Are we going to become cold, emotionless creatures, communicating via some tiny mobile phone digital output connected to our brain? Are we only going to entertain ourselves in the virtual world?

Are those wars depicted in all Si-fi movies are they between us and …. us? Past and the future rather than two different planets?

Web 2.0 – Art 2.0 ?

August 2nd, 2010 § 2

Musing around the subject of the customisation/personalisation of content brought to us by the phenomena of web 2.0. If we as users and therefore viewers, spectators, readers and receivers are used to being independent and individual in crafting our online experience – which has became so ubiquitous that provides most of the information we look for – if that is the case, how that affect our experience of, lets say, visual piece of art? How that affects the artistic practice in general? Is there an art 2.0 paradigm? What are the artistic qualities of an artwork made in art 2.0 paradigm? I hope to be able to answer some of these questions in the paper which is in the pipeline and for which the research has started…
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Sander Veenhof’s and Kasia Molga’s paper “Investigating the Notion of Art 2.0″ will be presented at The CHArt (Computers and the History of Art) 2010 Conference Technology. The subject of this year CHArt conference is controversial ‘the death of Art History’ statement.

The two practitioners Kasia Molga and Sander Veenhof attempt to define the concept of Art 2.0 – exploring the influence of ubiquitous new media and communication technologies, web 2.0 and social media on the gaze of spectator and changing paradigm of art, artist and audience. In the era of users/viewers responsible for their own experience by contributing and customising the content, the distinction between artist and audience seems to disappear. The audience has changed from consumers to co-producers or become a conscious or accidental element of the artwork.

Kasia Molga’s pieces “Mirror of Infinity” and “Floresta” are visual interactive installation and are about giving a viewer a power of co-creation, making him responsible for his own experience while contributing to the content of the artwork and distributing that content among other viewers. These pieces deal with the act of communication as the reason for the artwork to exist on the meta-level, although on the surface the subjects of these pieces might communicate entirely something different.

In the interactive installations created by Sander Veenhof, an alternative way of involving an audience is often the key element of the work. His projects reflect on the changing dynamics between (interactive) artwork and audience. With spectators/users becoming more difficult to reach and engage because of the increase of individual creative activities, Veenhof realised projects in which the required effort to interact was reduced to an absolute minimum. His Publicity Plant grew on blog-postings, Tweets and Google searches’ results, and in the Worldwide Greenhouse viewers were left without the choice – participation was instant and unavoidable. His projects showcase innovative ways to react on trends and changes in the field of interactive media.

Both artists create using and/or appropriating new media digital web based platforms and technologies adding and altering to methods of expression and engagement. They investigate the concept of art 2.0 through their practice, reflections and critical dialogue raising a number of questions: Is there an emerging art 2.0 paradigm at all and, how that affects the artistic practice? What are the artistic qualities and aesthetics of an artwork 2.0? How our perception as “end users” is affected by ubiquitous possibilities and opportunities of being independent and individual in crafting our own art experience? How the emergence of social network platforms, over-flown with visual information from marketers and consumed by short attention span users influence the act of artistic creation and communication? If and how can a visual piece of art 2.0 become a commodity?

The CHArt (Computers and the History of Art) 2010 Conference
Technology and ‘the death of Art History’

Wednesday 10 – Thursday 11 November 2010, London, The British Computer Society

“Peregrinations” and some thoughts on exhibiting outside the usual art gallery spaces

March 22nd, 2010 § 9

Lewis Hyde in his book “The Gift” attempts to regain the position of art not as a commodity (as usually placed by institution of commercial art galleries or art fairs) but as a gift – as a free act of creation by the artist and then free act of experience by the viewer. Art is a gift because in its purest form as a result of an act of creation, is offered without any financial returns. To be able to freely express oneself and then circulate the result of this expression (assuming that the result is meaningful and good – however I leave the definition of these terms for some other occasion) among members of community can be probably more rewarding in the long term than creating an artwork and selling it to one art collector. The circulation of a free gift, according to Hyde, who brought in his book a numerous examples from various nations, customs and tribal habits, leads to increase in community connections, strength of the relationship, knowledge, mutual understanding and thus community empowerment.

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Following Lewis Hyde’s writing on the concept of the art as a gift, for a first time in my career as an artist I departed from the usual practice of exhibiting in the white cube of an art gallery or a museum and went on a quest to reach-out to the audience using a different type of the venue – a public library. Strongly believing in social function of art that is bringing people together, I have been looking for a right content and an appropriate form of expression as well as the most suitable platform and place*.

Having a content and a form ready, I came across the Idea Store while searching the World Wide Web for the ideal place in Tower Hamlets – suddenly remembering a tip given to me by a fellow artist Anita McKeown. Idea Store is a new conceptualized concept of the local library, which acts as a heart of community and is a hub of local knowledge and culture experience, inviting residents to not only borrow books, but to participate and contribute in many other educational events. A response that I have received from management of Idea Store has been amazingly enthusiastic and encouraging, affirming me that it was a good choice.

Art and art galleries are still considered by many as a luxury for rich and privileged – however cliché it sounds, sadly it is true. Not many residents of Whitechapel council estate would even dare to step inside the Whitechapel Art Gallery. The art gallery can be considered as a holly temple of art. Although in my opinion there is nothing wrong with that, that is obviously depending on the quality of work exhibited (to be debated elsewhere and at some other time), it can be intimidating and un-inviting. White walls, not disturbed by any unnecessary items, perfect lighting, the aura of the art gallery – all that makes anything looks important and meaningful…It is definitely great for an artwork to be in such a place, so that the experience of it is almost religious, not interrupted and absolutely immerse.

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Through out my career during private views of various shows I never witness/experienced a “regular” passer-by from the street to come and talk to the artist. The artist very often is quite unapproachable – not necessary because s/he wants to but because of a certain social conventions of how to behave during events like that. Very rarely it happened that people who look at the same artwork and were part of the same experience talked to each other and share their opinions. Unless one is with the group of acquaintances or friends, the experience of an artwork remains very anonymous. Personally as an artist I very often find it nerve-wracking – never knowing what viewers really think about my work.

So finally, courtesy of Idea Store, Arts Council and Tower Hamlets I could experience exactly what I keep preaching about – exhibit and reach out to communities outside the usual crowd attracted by art festivals, museums and commercial galleries.

The 12 unframed drawings created with charcoals, pastels and some acrylic paint were hanged on the one long wall of the “ dedicated exhibition space” in the Idea Store Whitechapel. Surrounded by stands with DVDs, some tables and armchairs for reading and studying, illuminated with the general library light, that “exhibition area” is so different from the gallery space I am used to. The way my work was presented there made me question the quality of it…And it made me question the concept of artistic quality in general. Perhaps good art stands out and makes an impact despite the surrounding? Maybe it shouldn’t need the clinical emptiness of the gallery to defend itself? Perhaps it should be strong, wherever it is?

I didn’t know what to expect from the audience – Idea Store’s goers. Invitations to all my mailing lists were sent and I expected some friends to come with support. The refreshments were organized and opening announced to generate attention of everyone who was in the 4-storey building. The posters announcing exhibition were distributed earlier.

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While putting my work up during the evening before and the afternoon prior to the opening, many people of different ages, gender, and ethnicity have engaged in conversation with me. Absolutely everyone had a passionate opinion on my work and they all were very eager and willing to share it and discuss. More people joined for the refreshments and the opening. Everybody wanted to talk and in a way I felt that it was them absorbing me to the community, rather than me “reaching out”…Some people who could hardly speak English felt like expressing their feelings. During all 3 hours of the opening I was engaged in few dozens conversations with local residents from Pakistani students to elderly Indian women on arts, philosophy and feelings. Not everyone liked my drawings but everyone was very opinionated and passionate. One person had tears in her eyes and confided in me that “Peregrinations” looked like the landscape she was used to in her childhood – small fishing villages on Greek islands. It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind while creating, but it was one of the most beautiful reactions I could wish for…

I left my drawings to be there for another 2 weeks. A bit anxious that my un-framed work can be damaged and vandalized I came back few days later. Everything was intact and I was welcomed like an old friend by few of the Idea Stores regulars…In the guest book which I left next to the “exhibition wall” there were few more opinionated entries…

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It was a wonderful experience to see how art can affect people – even those who wouldn’t be normally expect/suspect to be the usual type of art lovers. I can’t believe that I haven’t done it earlier. It is sad that art students are not encourage to go outside the realm of the “usual art world”…It is really sad to observe that myself and many of my fellow artists (not all of them of course) are very hermetic and whether we want it or not – very elitist.

The whole experience so far left me with mixed feelings. I still long to see my drawings exhibited in the “temple”, so that they are properly illuminated and there is nothing else to break the purity of the experience. I love art and yes – I do tend to bring up onto the pedestal. BUT – I want to share it with everyone – with the smallest particle of the universe and engage into the passionate discussion with grandmother from Nepal and Mandinka royalty. The reaction of Idea Store Whitechapel customers was fascinating and very rewarding. It make me once again think about the quote from Virginia Wolf:
“It is a constant idea of mine, that behind a cotton wool (of daily reality) is a hidden pattern; that we – I mean all human beings – are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of work of art.” (Virginia Woolf, 1941)

Idea Store Whitechapel management decided to extend the exhibition for a week longer.

Question of good art or rather a good artist?

February 12th, 2010 § 3

Interesting and a valid point of view on the matter: http://www.artshub.co.uk/uk/news-article/opinions/visual-arts/what-makes-a-good-painting-great-178821?sc=1

What is a meaning of red?

October 17th, 2009 § 5

I have been asked today – what is a meaning of red in “10 Seconds Of Silence”. I got puzzled. I don;t know. Am I a bad artist?

The result of my response to the Frieze Open Call was a number of discussions with art curators and other reviewers. It was very interesting and made me think about my (and not only work). I know that conscious choices of each element shows maturity of an artist. But what if I see something else than a curator? Do I really have to think why I choose to use red? It looked good, it was spontaneous….

But then I started thinking more about the whole of this work and all those things which come together in “10 Seconds of Silence”. Red – silence…Rachel noted that this work is not silent…Yes – there is a tension…sometimes silence is very tense….silence is not quiet, it can be morbid, it can scream from inside…silence doesn’t have to be peaceful.

It is very obvious thing about my work and I am glad that someone point me towards that.

There is loads of tensions – static, dynamic. Individual – collective. Flat – Sculptural. Small – Big. It is a work about a state in between those contrasts.

I still can’t figure out why red.

“Pondering” is my new favorite word

July 20th, 2009 § 3

While I am pondering on a concept of centralising all my websites and domains into one, so that my design, research and art are under one umbrella, I am browsing the net. I should really instead of wondering around the Cyberspace get on with the above mentioned design. It is tough because there is so many other things which needs to be done. But in the meanwhile I came across a very interesting paper by Boris Groys on “The Obligation to Self-Design”: http://www.e-flux.com/journal/view/6

Next time that part of the blog might be inside a new web 2.0 influenced online presence.

Beauty #1

July 6th, 2009 § 1

Beauty of this world (and not only this).

National Geographic

My gift to all places around this planet

June 2nd, 2009 § 3

If I am an artist and act as a translator between that what is transcendental and ideal and that what is here…if my art is a window to the beauty, to things people normally don’t notice or do not think about…If I am here to make things which inspire and educate, make them to look, observe, think and reflect…If that is my gift – I want to give it to all amazing places around this planet. In fact the canny idea of mine is to go to all places and make something there and leave it there…To get inspired by whatever I find in my travel and reflect on it and translate it, capturing a bit of mine and those whom I meet there zeitgeist…And if that sounds naive or not serious for some serious people, well…I might see you in Galapagos – or probably not, because you won’t be there as you will be running after another New York gallery. I will be seeing things which only brave and privileged can see and I want to see it all. And that is my birthday wish to myself.

Data visualisation

May 8th, 2009 § 0

An interesting article found on the net while researching various way of data visualisation for my latest project: http://www.viget.com/inspire/data-visualization-is-it-the-future-of-the-internet/