OPENING: Thursday, 28th January 2021, at 20:00
NMG@PRAKTIKA, Club KOCKA
Youth Center Split, Ulica slobode 28
Exhibition is opened untill Friday, February 5th, you can see it by calling 0955627223
ABOUT THE WORK:
Ivana Tkalčić’s four video recordings comprise a large quantity of content in the form of found material, so that new layers of meaning are unveiled upon each viewing. It is, however, possible to impart meaning and structure to the collection of randomly selected videos to a certain extent, if only thanks to the meticulous exactness the artist applied to the process of synchronizing the video material. The individual videos communicate with one another. They are programmed in such a way as to allow them to make decisions, such as choosing whether to ignore or respond to a shared piece of information, and to do so independently of the observer. In this instance, the observer becomes a kind of intruder even, for whom accurate information and truth remain elusive. The notion of reality, along with any sense of assuredness in the accuracy of one’s interpretations, is entirely invalidated. Each particular video occasionally bleeds into the next, thereby establishing a sort of communication or else imposing a certain kind of understanding. Despite the apparent connectedness of the videos, they do not offer up any explanations, they say nothing of the artist nor of the users involved. At the level of content, they do not constitute the elements of any sort of greater, more fully developed whole. Rather, they strike one as embodying an agreed-upon kind of chaos, giving rise to many more questions than answers. What do we see when we observe? What is real? (1)
A few days after Ivana and I discussed the exhibit via an online app, and after I had done some research on the key concepts related to Ivana’s work (2), a news item popped up in my Facebook News Feed, borne there by the algorithm for me to find in the midst of other suggested articles. The title read The Guy Who Built The World Wide Web Is Building A ‘New Internet’, Where You Control Your Data (3). It caught my eye immediately and got me thinking about just how much things have truly gone wrong, if even the father of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee, is expressing his disapproval of the prevailing methods of data collection and announcing the advent of a new, wild and free Internet, which he himself would presumably oversee. Is this New Internet the solution we require to restore control over our data and what we are able to see?
What we see, hear, and experience can be shaped and reshaped in accordance with the availability of data and technology. In effect, this brings about a new iteration of the human condition, our consciousness and perception. Is there such a thing as our shared reality, or does each of us live in our own individual bubble, myopic in our bubble vision, assured of our comfortable illusions? Exempting ourselves from reality, we make our foray into the world of virtual reality where we take center stage, orbited by any number of locations and pieces of information offered up to us as for our own good or in our own interest. Our sense of self in such a world is unreal, we become isolated as we continue to behold a constructed and programmed landscape, all the while assuming that what we survey is a coherent system that, moreover, corresponds to some true reality. The issue with this kind of view is that it leaves us in intellectual isolation, in a so-called parallel information universe, which nurtures and sustains itself. Consequently, we sequester ourselves in our own cultural and/or ideological bubbles. The information and imagery that surround us become ingrained in our perception of the world, they define our point of view and understanding of reality – the foundation of all thought and action. Large-scale digital platforms employ, in their personalized addresses to their userbase, a set of carefully curated expressions: control, experience, action, interest, enjoyment, enablement, interaction, popularity, choice, connection. This type of vocabulary draws a veil over issues of tracking permissions, data storage and degree of control over select content. We live in a world of ostensible control over the content afforded us, yet the extent of our influence over the imagery and information we are able to see is minimal, as the boundary between online and offline life fades. Is the individual’s purpose in this new digital age reducible to mere statistics and data points? As I finish writing up this accompaniment to the exhibit, the algorithm which underlies my Facebook News Feed once again churns out a rather appropriate article that it concluded I “might also like”: After You Die, Microsoft Wants to Resurrect You as a Chatbot. (4) What kind of new version of myself would such a thing engender? And would I event want to exist in that manner? I have decided this recommendation must have been meant for someone else. If you find yourself unsure what to make of all this and concerned about the potential mishandling of your personal data, at least there is the FAQ service to provide reassurance: Why are you seeing this post? Because starting today you’ll have even more information and control over your experience (…) to help you better understand and more easily control what you see. (5)
(1) Mitchell, W.J.T. (2005) What Do Pictures Want?, University Of Chicago Press, Chicago:
Images have always been with us, including the image of the world. At different times and in different places there are different images of the world. The images can change reality to the extent
that reverses the logical, blurring the difference between real and reproduction. We naturally believe in their reality,
but they only apparently resemble things, events, persons.
(2) This project is produced in collaboration with the European Commission’s Joint Research Center. The concept was developed based on scientific research by Ian Vollbracht who writes on the subject of “social media targeting and filter bubble”, the work of Nicole Dewandre who explores “how it is to be human in a hyperconnected era”, and Stephane Chaudrou’s research into “identities in the digital age”.
- (3) https://www.thearizonatelegraph.com/the-guy-who-built-the-world-wide-web-is-building-a-new-internet-where-you-control-your-data/
- (4) https://firstname.lastname@example.org/a35165370/microsoft-resurrects-the-dead-chatbots
(5) News Feed is always personalized to you — and starting today you’ll have even more information and control over your experience. We’re introducing “Why am I seeing this post?” to help you better understand and more easily control what you see from friends, Pages and Groups in your News Feed. (Facebook)
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Ivana Tkalčić (born in 1987) is a contemporary multimedia artist. She obtained her master’s degree in 2012 from the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Zagreb and later went on to study at the Academy of Fine Arts Zagreb (ALU), where she achieved the title of Bachelor of Arts. She continued her education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Germany, before proceeding to complete her master’s degree at Zagreb’s ALU in 2016. She has exhibited independently a number of times in Croatia and Europe, as well as taken part in group exhibitions abroad.
She has received numerous awards: Erste Fragments 12 (Austria), The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence (Zagreb), RCAA – young European art award (Austria), and the HPB Grand Prix award at the 35th Youth Salon (Zagreb). She has participated in multiple residencies in Zagreb, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Norway, Austria, and Greece. Why am I seeing this post? is a piece that resulted from art research conducted in collaboration with the Joint Research Center of the European Commission headquartered in Ispra, Italy.
AUTOR: Ivana Tkalčić
CURATOR: Tina Vukasović Đaković
NMG PROGRAMME CURATORS: Natasha Kadin, Tina Vukasović Đaković, Vedran Perkov
DESIGN: Nikola Križanac
EXHIBITION LAYOUT AND DOCUMENTATION: Tihana Mandušić
DONORS: Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media, the City of Split
MAVENA SUPPORTED BY: The National Foundation for Civil Society Development, the Kultura Nova foundation
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: KUM, PDM, MKC