OBJECT / PREDMET
16th International Media Art Festival
Nova Gorica (Slovenia), Gorizia (Italy)
27 November – 4 December 2015
para-curator: Igor Štromajer
Participating artists (A–Z):
003, Ajda Tomazin, Ana Čigon, Annie Abrahams + Martina Ruhsam, Aram Bartholl, Arven Šakti Kralj Szomi, Borut Savski, Cat Leonard, Ciro Múseres, Curt Cloninger, Cym, ČIPke: Sara Šabjan + Monika Pocrnjić, Domenico Barra, Društvo za domače Raziskave / Domestic Research Society, Francis Hunger, Guido Segni, Helene Thümmel, Ienke Kastelein, Jaka Železnikar, Jimpunk, Jos Diegel, Katarina Kogoj, Kim Asendorf, Lenka Klimešová, Maja Smrekar, Majda Gregorič, Marko Batista, Martine Neddam, Mihaela Kavdanska, Nataša Berk, Nina Bric, Nina Kočar, Oliwia Bławat, Paul Hertz, Rajat Sharma, Rene Rusjan, Sally Noall & BridA/Tom Kerševan, Jurij Pavlica, Sendi Mango, Sandra Jovanovska, Snežana Golubović, Špela Petrič, Špela Volčič, Tanja Lažetić, Tatjana Tanja Vujinović Kušej, Teo Spiller, Thor Magnusson, Tina Zadnik, Una Rebić, Uršula Berlot, Volker Hartmann-Langenfelder, Vuk Ćosić
↓ para-/pseudo-curatorial introduction by Igor Štromajer ↓
About the process
Media, post-media, digital, post-digital, internet, post-internet, performers and post-performers, analog and post-analog artists from Slovenia and abroad were invited to name, delegate, select the object to represent them artistically at the Pixxelpoint 2015 festival. I did not ask the artist why they chose a particular object, I did not negotiate with them on whether or not an object was appropriate or in line with the concept of this year’s festival, I simply accepted their choice and designation. The objects they named were then sought in the close vicinity or far away from the town of Nova Gorica. Some were found around the corner, practically at home, and were easy to find. Others came from far away, and we had to make great efforts to bring them to the festival. Some of the objects we found were very close to the artists’ wishes, some were prepared in collaboration with them, others had to be assembled, manufactured or borrowed, and in some cases we were never able to come close to the original order, but we came as close as possible under the circumstances. The result of this painstaking, taxing, intense but inspirational process are the objects featured in the festival and festival events. These objects now represent the contributing artists of this year’s festival as their artistic contributions bearing their name, even though most of the artists did not create their objects themselves, they have never seen them, nor will they ever see or touch them before the beginning of the festival. When they see and touch it at the festival opening and exhibition, it will already be too late. Those artists who are unable to attend the festival will never see their artistic work.
About the objects
These objects, these things, may or may not be art – I do not think about that as the para-curator of this year’s 16th edition of the media art festival, nor do I care. If they are, they’re welcome. If not, I don’t care. The only thing I learned from them while preparing for the festival, all they told me, was: Make your own art. Do not expect us to do it for you. Just as we cannot and should not judge people by the color of their skin, nationality, appearance, bank account balance and sexual orientation, so, too, should we not categorize objects according to the criterion of whether or not they are art. Who cares! Who has the right to judge? I see them as autonomous objects, I recognize all of their object rights, I unconditionally respect them, love them endlessly and unconditionally, and I do not interfere with their existence. I do not ask myself about what they mean, or what story they are trying to tell us. They just are. I can only observe them, but this does not affect them in any way. I don’t ask them, the objects, anything, either. I have no expectations from them, I don’t want anything from them. I do not judge them or interpret them. I recognize that – once they are made – they exist autonomously, independently from man, or even mankind, and that they are probably the most perfect when they do not interact with people. I cannot know for certain, but this year’s festival and exhibition probably work best when there are no visitors, no us, no people, perhaps at night, when we close down the festival venues, when nobody’s watching, when we, the people, hibernate and finally cease to care.
Things are not subordinated to people, artists, they are more than just a device of expression or a tool, once we understand them beyond their basic function, they become a “surface for semantic projection”, to quote the theoretician Martina Ruhsam, who points out that if objects, non-human entities in the traditional forms of art, were once subordinated to the artist’s expression, they can exist entirely autonomously in a non-anthropocentric conception of the world. The fact that agency is not a human privilege is also suggested by object-oriented ontology, new materialism and speculative realism, even though we regard them strictly from a critical standpoint. Or in the words of French writer and philosopher Tristan Garcia, people, compared to objects and things, are not an exception. A thing is everything, now matter how big or small, how true or wrong, how human or nonhuman it may be. As the thing is always in something other than itself, it can never be itself, argues Martina Ruhsam, quoting Garcia: “… the self is precisely what we must abandon here, so that there is something and a world. Nothing is in itself. Everything is outside itself. No-matter-what is something, is in something other than itself. A difference is maintained between that which is in the thing and that in which the thing is.”
About the festival
This year’s festival continues the collaboration with the School of Art of the University of Nova Gorica and the Gorizia-based Lucida. With 57 contributing artists, we invite you to an exhibition taking place in three venues – Nova Gorica City Gallery, Nova Gorica School of Art and the Gorizia Trgovski dom. You are invited to attend lectures, round-table discussions, discussions with artists, online and gallery performances, workshops and public events. Alongside each other equally, we present both established artists with impressive international references and art students bravely entering the world of art, and the most fascinating artistic initiatives looking for their place under the sun in the contemporary world.
The festival has undergone a metamorphosis over the sixteen years of its existence. Initially an electronic music festival, it became a digital arts festival, then an interactive arts festival, followed by new-media festival, then going back to being a media festival, to even being a festival of non-art last year. This year’s edition hints at its possible future, to become simply an arts festival, which is my humble wish. A festival of contemporary, provocative, alternative art.
After two years of para-curating the festival, I am leaving the festival with a sense of pleasure and achievement, yet hoping that future curators will take an even more radical cut into the flesh of contemporary art, and shake the boundaries of the festival and of the art it hosts and represents. This is particularly important at a time like today’s, a time of hostility towards art and its role in contemporary society. The festival has the support of the exceptional team of the Nova Gorica Cultural Center and its City Gallery. It has strong ties to the local and trans-border environment and even now has impressive international references.
At this festival, we show you the objects forensically: observe them, be respectful towards them, and never trust them. You are entering the autonomous world of things, so, as you are aware, abandon all hope.
Kulturni dom Nova Gorica, Bevkov trg 4, SI-5000 Nova Gorica, Slovenia
Project manager: Pavla Jarc
Project coordinator: Mateja Poljšak Furlan
Techical director: Tadej Hrovat
Visual identity: BridA / Tom Kerševan, Jurij Pavlica, Sendi Mango
Photographer: Matej Vidmar