Googling the term “device art” will produce results mostly related to either Japan or Croatia. This is because device art as a project was initiated independently and serendipitously in these two countries in 2004, sharing the name but differing in concept, goals, artistic, cultural and historical background.
Croatian Device_art is a triennial international exhibition initiated by the curatorial team KONTEJNER from Zagreb and organized in collaboration with Slovenian curator Sandra Sajovic. The term “device art” relates to art production grounded in the use and creative tooling of analog/digital, low/high technologies, including machines, gadgets, and devices. It's a research and comparative project with the initial aim of encouraging the regional art scene to explore the field, support new projects and to present and contextualize local projects within an international framework.
The first Device_art in 2004 sought to explore projects at the intersection of art, technology, and science in Croatia and Slovenia. The exhibition sought to position work not so much as a high-tech art form, as many other festivals do, but rather the result of those creative tendencies that by their very nature were located on the borders of art-design, gadget-hack, etc. From conceptual provocations and innovative interfaces to utilitarian products and toy-hacking, the wide range of projects seemed to help explain our relationship to technology and technology's relationship to art. The next festival in 2006 continued with presenting the regional scene (now with the addition of Serbian production), however, this time juxtaposed with the vigorous Californian machine/robotic and maker-art scene. The festival took place in Zagreb, Ljubljana, Belgrade and San Francisco. Device_art 3 in 2009 contrasted that of Croatian and Slovenian works with the Japanese Device Art scene along with projects by young artists studying at IAMAS.
This new version, Device_art 3. 010 includes a selection of projects by artists practicing in Croatia, Slovenia, and Japan, including many presented in previous Device_art festivals. The projects included often emphasize a more conceptual approach, rather than machine or design-oriented. The tendency of hacking and re-using technology is emphasized as well as the humorous, ironic and even absurd characteristics of the works on display.