A LITTLE GLOSSARY OF THE MOCHVARA GALLERY

Mochvara Gallery, a project of Culture Development Association (URK) initiated in 2001 as part of the Mochvara Club. It is conceived as a long-term love affair between the wild club programme and the contemporary art scene. It presents local and international artists in a club atmosphere spiced with concerts and parties. It collides particles of art and fun more intensely than the CERN accelerator. It transforms the gallery/club space again and again, introducing new art works through a creative fusion of the club and kunst. Since 2008 it has been listed as a recognized exhibition space by HZSU (Croatian Freelance Artists’ Association). The curator in charge until 2010 was Marijana Stanić and the exhibitions were organized in collaboration with organization “90-60-90”. In 2011 the project enters a new phase: the curatorial team KONTEJNER will reveal to the audience the sexiness of new media art with a special focus on sound art and the use of progressive technology. The gallery cabinet of wonders will serve as a platform where the audio-visual meets the urban, is not afraid of the deviant, flirts with the alternative, and hangs out with the street…

KONTEJNER | bureau of contemporary art praxis(Zagreb, 2002.), a curatorial collective; a non-governmental organization dealing with art and theory, particularly turned on by matters of science, technology and the body in contemporary society. Organizes and produces series of festivals, exhibitions and conferences. Dedicated to bringing down social taboos.

Abstract film , a subgenre of experimental film; historically, it appears at the same time as visual music; a visual-auditory experience accompanied by an unusual story; it is made out of the unique properties of the film medium: it relies on movement, rhythm and light in creating the narratives and emotions that form its specific dreamlike world.

Ambisonics, a full-sphere surround sound technique: in addition to the horizontal plane, it covers sound sources above and below the listener. Unlike other multichannel surround formats, its transmission channels allow a considerable degree of flexibility as to the layout and number of speakers used for playback. Ambisonics was developed in the UK in the 1970s.

Automation, the use of various control systems in operating equipment such as machinery, factory processes, and telecommunication networks, with minimal or reduced human intervention. The term was first used in 1947, when General Motors established an automation department. The Paradox of Automation says that the more efficient the automated system, the more crucial the human contribution of the operators: humans are less involved, but their involvement becomes more critical.

Ballad, a type of song deriving from the medieval French chanson balladée or ballade, originally performed as “dancing songs”. Ballads were particularly characteristic of the popular poetry and songs of the British Isles during the late medieval period. By the end of the 19th century, the term began to denote a slow, popular love song and is nowadays often used for any sentimental love song, particularly within the pop or rock genres.

Bioart, a contemporary art praxis in which the artists use live organisms and/or biological structures as a medium whilst applying scientific work methods like cloning, biomedicine and genetic engineering. The controversy with bioart stems from the ethical implications of working with organic matter and the debate whether matter can be considered to be alive or living. The term BioArt (1997.) is ascribed to the author of the famous genetically altered fluorescent rabbit, the artist Eduardo Kac.

Biophysics, interdisciplinary science that deals with live matter (organisms), studying it through the disciplines of physics and mathematics and using the methodological approach of the natural sciences - in short, a scientific discipline that applies the laws of physics to the biological processes and phenomenons. A science that is at the basis of one of the youngest branches of medicine (biophysical medical science), responsible for the development of nanotechnology, neuro-scientific discoveries, bio-engineering, and also some of the most interesting investigative contemporary artistic practices.

DC motor, abbreviation for direct current motor; an electronical device which directly translates the electric energy into mechanical energy. For this purpose it most often uses a magnetic force and producer rotary motions.

Diagram, a means of symbolic visualisation of information and data which defines the way a certain phenomenon functions; a visualisation explaining the relations between segments of a particular whole or unit (i.e. sound + image+ mechanism as parts constitute a whole – ambient); a diagram explains the interior, abstract mechanisms and operations, enables their understanding and helps explain the way a certain unit functions.

DIY (Do it Yourself), (1) the process of individual designing, executing and solving of a problem or task, creating an item or modifying its function; it connotes the ability to find creative solutions without expert or professional help; (2) culture wise, a synonym for a movement which rethinks and uses technology freely, creatively and independently from mainstream patterns and conventions.

Drum machine, an electronic musical instrument designed to imitate the sound of drums and other percussion instruments, and often basslines. It is most commonly associated with electronic music genres such as house music, but is nowadays used in many other genres. Modern drum machines can produce unique sounds and timbres, allowing the musician to create playback samples and compose music with great freedom of expression.

Energy, (1) the ability of a body or mass to perform an activity, the power which starts the activity of a system (physics); (2) the ability to act; determination or resolution; (3) the strength of expression and showing feelings and power. In the universe of bodies and systems, the ones who do not possess energy do not exist. Energy cannot be destroyed – it can only change from one form to another and go from one body to the next.

E-textile, electronic textile or smart fabric, a textile material comprising of treads coated with conductive silver: the threads conduct current due to their chemical composition: It is used in project for wearable technology and allows for the creation of „soft“ circuits where the emphasis is on the invisibility of the connection between the textile and electronic elements. It can conduct enough electricity for the functioning of digital components – from simple sensors to microcontrollers.

Frequency, symbolized by the letter f or n in physics to measure the rate at which something occurs, the number of oscillations of a system or wave per second; the measuring unit is hertz (Hz). Colloquially, it refers to repetition, how periodical a phenomenon or a process is, the rate of events occurring in time. Metaphorically, the expression 'to be on the same wavelength' implies that people understand each other, communicate and get along well.

IEEE Elevate, a series of events for young engineers, students, expert professionals and scientists. Attractive lectures regarding innovations and up-coming technological trends help participants with the development of their own ideas, inspiring them to pursue their own careers and creating and strengthening the network structure of the young scientific community. IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is the largest global professional organization dedicated to the improvement of the technological innovations and excellence. It gathers more than 400.000 engineers, produces over 30% of all world publications from the field of electrical engineering, electronics and computer sciences, while in Croatia it consists of approximately 800 members. IEEE Elevate is organized as a part of GOLD (Graduates Of the Last Decade) - assembly that acts as an integrative part of IEEE and gathers members during their first 10 years of professional careers. 
http://www.ieee.hr/ieeesection/gold 

Electronic sensor, an electronic device which converts a measured physical instance (such as temperature or sound volume) into an electric signal. The signal can thus be read by various instruments: computers, other sensors, optical devices, audio-visual devices, even the human body.

Gastronomy, (1) art of choosing, preparing and serving food and the art of enjoying food; (2) a specific culinary tradition or signature culinary style; (3) a cultural discipline which explores and studies food in a wider social context. In all three cases rarely linked to contemporary art, and almost never to experimental sound art practices.

Hydrothermal chemistry, part of chemistry focused on researching crystallizing substances synthesized from high-temperature aqueous solutions at high vapor pressures. The term "hydrothermal" is of geologic origin: for example, hydrothermal vents are specific rupture in the ocean crust, while hydrothermal energy is the process of obtaining heat or energy from a large body of water.

High-tech, an adjective describing extremely advanced and highly specialized technologies typical of the fields of robotics, bio/nanotechnology, and programming. High-tech always ends up as low-tech: dated technologies usually discarded by the majority, while some creative individuals re-use it, most commonly in atypical, liberal and unbiased ways.

Hybrid, adjective coming from biology which literally describes an offspring coming from a mixture of two different species. In colloquial language it is used also for describing things and phenomena created through combination of different elements, while in art it signifies a large amount of artistic practices - from new media ones to contemporary dance.

Illectricity festival, a festival of audiovisual arts organised by the association Confusion. A festival with an extremely multimedia character which, through thematic workshops, panel programmes, presentations of audiovisual achievements and experiences, and performing arts programme in public spaces and culture and club spaces across Zagreb, promote different art fields and practices.

Improvisation (in music), a creative act of making a musical composition in the very moment, immediately, without a previous preparation and notes. It may occur as a combination of musical performances or a reaction to another performance. Sometimes it is a result of spontaneous acts, and sometimes it derives from a certain chord or a part of a musical piece. But some musicians claim that all music is improvised  ̶  since it can never be interpreted in the same way by the artist.

Interactive installation, an installation within a given space which relies on an active/reactive relationship with it's audience; an artwork which demands a certain level of activity by the visitor within the space defined by the installation.

LilyPad, an Arduino microcontroller board with a series of digital inputs and outputs designed by Leah Buechley, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. This electronic device was designed for wearable technology and is used in combination with conductive materials (conductive thread, textile). It is programmable, like all other Arduino microcontroller boards, for use with light and temperature sensors which incite reaction via LED diodes, vibration sensors or sound. This microcontroller is specific in the respect that it is washable.

Luminoacoustics, a performance method comprised of light and sound elements, which defines the technique and modalities of composition and live performances based on these elements. An experimental field of contemporary sound art developed by the duo Lightune.G and which centers around the translation, synchronicity and conversion between two art mediums: the acoustic and the luminous.

Membrane, a term used for designating a selective, semi-permeable barrier that can be made of organic or synthetic material; in biology, it stands for a cellular or nuclear membrane and tissue, while in musical instruments the term is used for the drumhead – the material that is stretched over the open needs of the drum. 

Multimedia installation, a three dimensional work of art employing by definition more than one medium, most commonly visual art in combination with sound art, moving images and other media. Often site-specific as it is designed to exist in a certain place, redefining the perception of the space it is designed for.

Musical score, vertically aligned musical notation composed for multiple musical lines, enables one to see simultaneously all the notes that are played at the same time. Colored graphical vocal and instrumental musical scores are used for musical compositions played on Schachtophone (Schachtophonies by artist D.B. Indoš). Playing upon graphics of nuclear danger warnings, these paper scrolls have a graphic content in red, yellow, green and blue, and refer to the differences in volume intensities of the springs and human voice.

Mycelium, is the thickly branched vegetative part of a fungus , most commonly white in colour, which structurally resembles cotton or spider webs and is rooted into the surface which the fungus inhabitates. Most people refer to the fungus' reproductive organ (as is the flower in plants) as the fungus itself - mycelium is in fact "the real fungus" and is hidden under the surface and in some cases can grow to the size of several hectares.

Noise, in standard use "an unwanted sound", may be acoustically or electronically generated, usualy related to notions such as cacophony, irregularity and improvisation; used as a medium in art and music since the early 20th century; a major musical resource for (post)industrial music and certain genres of electronic music.

Orchestra, in ancient Greece the part of the theatre located between the stage and auditorium, in contemporary culture a group of musicians performing music under the direction of a conductor. Usually includes several different kinds of musical instruments, while the most common types of orchestras are chamber orchestra, symphony orchestra and string orchestra. And of course, a sewing orchestra.

Pain, a feedback reaction of the organism coming from the brain through nerves and synapses and manifesting itself as an unpleasant feeling caused by threatening, dangerous stimuli. Its intensity depends on physical and psychological factors, and the measure of tolerance to pain is an individual feature.  

Philoscifi (sci-phi, philofiction), science-fiction philosophy and/or philosophical science-fiction, a literary-theoretical genre dealing with philosophical questions as the primary subject matter in a science-fiction context – despite philosophy being consequentially ever present in sci-fi. Subjects and discussions in discursive philosophy are transposed into the SF genre: role of the society, meaning of life, ethics, role of art, power of reason, empirical design of man. A powerful theoretical tool to analyze ideas in relation to a space and time dimension.

Piezoelectric microphone (piezo), a device which converts sound waves into electrical current with the help of a crystal or ceramic medium. Electric charge is created by bending, pressing, moving or similar exposure of the medium to mechanical force; the property allowing for the creation of electric charge under the exposure to mechanical force is called piezoelectricity. Often used as a contact microphone which enhances the sound of acoustic instruments, drums, sounds in atypical surroundings – from underwater and high-pressured environments to human insides. This is why noise and experimental sound artists are particularly fond of it.

Photovoltaic effect, the occurrence by which solar energy within a solar cell is directly transformed into electric current on an atomic level. Electric current is created after the cell absorbs the photons which then break the electrons out to the negative field: electric current is thus created between the positive and negative layer of the cell. Albert Einstein described the basics of photovoltaic technology in 1905, and 16 years later received a Nobel prize for Physics precisely for this finding.

Rhythm, a sequence defined by the regulated repetition of different elements in a particular time period: sounds and silences, dancing steps, words, and rhythmical figures in poetry. In music, rhythm is an important form of expression and interpretation of an idea, and it stands for a sequence of notes and pauses of various duration in a musical composition.

Sampler, electronic musical instrument which uses recordings in order to generate sound. Recordings are uploaded to the sampler by the user who then plays the sampler by triggering the program via certain mechanism (sequencer, keyboard)  ̶  much like the artists creates a collage painting or installation. The instrument is in the commercial use since the middle 1970’s.

Schachtophone, musical instrument by artist Damir Bartol Indoš; the instrument’s secret lays in a collective assemblage of horizontal and vertical springs of various lengths and widths connected to the interior of the construction made for transmission of vibrations of hands and springs. Interactive audio-visual sculpture Schachtophone for extreme chamber playing by two, four, six and eight hands is made out of memories of a prepared upright piano which is animated from a static state by hands touching springs, pulling, twitching and vibrating the springs or by moving the instrument which then produces a silent schachtophony.

SFeraKon, the first science-fiction convention ever held in the wider geographical area of Croatia, developed from the Science-fiction Fair in 1983, and which has ever since been consecutively held and run by the Society for science-fiction SFera, Zagreb. The 36th Days of science-fiction – SferaKon 2014, will take place from the 16th-18th of May, 2014, at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Zagreb, and will be dedicated to parallel universes and alternative histories.

Singer (machine), a popular sewing machine first produced by the brand Singer in 1851 in the American state of Tennessee. Today it is synonymous with the modernization of hand sewing, textile home crafts, industrialization, and in extreme cases also very efficiently employed in contemporary sound art.

Site-specific, adjective describing an artwork created for a particular physical location. While planning and creating the artwork, the artist making site-specific art takes into account features of the location - and emphasizes them or transforms them completely. The term was first used in the 1970s by young american sculptors.

Sodium metasilicate (Na2SiO3, Na2SiO3·9H2O), chemical compound created by fusing sodium carbonate with silica sand at about 1400 degrees celsius. This produces a clear, white or grayish-white crystal solution. Sodium is a base, and therefore has a high pH level. When interacting with acid, sodium metasilicate will often neutralize that acid. Sodium metasilicates are the workhorse ingredients in detergents and cleaning products.

Sound Art Incubator, production platform of the Mochvara gallery directed primarily (but not exclusively) towards young and insufficiently recognized authors and artists that deal with the sound in different creative ways; envisioned in order to stimulate the production of sound projects among young local artists, giving them concrete financial, infrastructural, collaborational, educational and presentation support. Initiated in 2012 through a public open call and presented for the first time in March 2013 in the form of a workshop/performance/exhibition manifestation during which six young and perspective local sound artists successfully merged the practices of interactive DIY, field recording, circuit bending and biohacking.
 
Surround sound, a technique for enriching the sound reproduction quality with additional audio channels from speakers that surround the listener, providing sound from a 360° radius in the horizontal plane (2D). Surround sound enhances the perception of sound spatialization and exploits the listener's ability to identify the location or origin of a sound in direction and distance. Therefore in surround sound there is always a sweet spot where the audio effects work best.

Surveillance art, usage of surveillance technology in art in order to comment on the widespread process of surveillance as well as the technologies used to surveil. A critical artistic response to surveillance - the act of carefully watching someone or something especially in order to control, to prevent unwanted behavior, activities and to influence, manage, direct or protect the watched individuals

Synesthesia in art (Greek syn, together, and aesthesis, perception), simultaneous experience of two or more stimuli; art that activates all the senses; curious combinations of sounds translated into colors, and colors into sounds; refers to a number of artistic experiments dealing with interaction of the senses; is associated with the genres of visual music, audiovisual art and abstract film.

Teethphones, a device transforming the mouth into a hearing organ, and the skull into a vibrating loudspeaker; enables sound listening in an airless environment, a vacuum. In order for an individual to experience sound on the Moon (in the manner they experience it here on Earth), sound needs to cause skull vibrations. Teethphones allow precisely that: by biting into the teethphones, small vibration transducers similar to lollipops, the device allows for the transmission of sound vibrations through teeth and skull all the way to the inner ear. Sound thus appears closer than ever - so close that it exists exclusively in one’s head, as the sound vibration of the skull.

TR-808, one of the first programmable electronic drum machines. "TR" stands for Transistor Rhythm and the machine was introduced to the market by the Roland Corporation in the early 1980s. It was originally manufactured as a tool for studio musicians to create demos. Drum machines in general provide a cheap and simple way of producing drum sound. TR-808's specific appeal resides in its ability to produce extremely low-frequency sounds and various unique artificial percussion sounds. TR-808 would eventually be used on more hit records than any other drum machine and has thus attained an iconic status within the music industry.

Tuning, a process in which parametrs of an instrument or a device are changed in order to achieve an improvement of its work or usage. In music, the tuning of an instrument precedes playing or composing that starts from getting a correct, clean tone, which then in turn defines the others.

Vacuum, the notion of space which is void of any matter or substance, in any aggregate state. A completely empty space free of particles and which is impossible to achieve in reality. Practically, one can discuss only a relative vacuum - a space of a higher or lower density of emptiness in which the density of particles defines the “level of vacuum”.

VVVV, a hybrid visual/textual live-programming environment for easy prototyping and development. It is designed to facilitate the handling of large media environments with physical interfaces, real-time motion graphics, audio and video that can interact with many users simultaneously.

Zeitgeist, spirit of the time or spirit of the age, a historical era, period; conjured up of ideas, beliefs, intellectual strivings which define the dominant mood and main characteristic of a certain period in human history. Despite the term being often ascribed to Hegel, the German philosopher never actually used the word. Intellectual, cultural and moral climate marking a certain society at a certain time.

Glossary for Mochvara Gallery