Audio Space of Flows
The work that you are introducing at this exhibition is an interactive ambience called Place of Living. Can you describe the content and the way this installation functions?
The central point of the system is a computer equipped with program for communication with sensors which, stimulated by the presence of a person in a defined space, block laser beams, thus activating particular sound sequences.
I used only recognizable ‘figurative’ sound artefacts used by the system to keep subjects functioning regularly but also to maintain its own function. Those sounds are part of urban environment, that can be heard in our home, office, shops, streets, roads, airports, etc. (such as: alarm clock, ringing of the phone, fax, cash desks, Windows operating system, different automatic administrative operators, tram or subway sounds, cars, planes, police sirens, etc.)
Basic configuration of the system is based on laser sources of concentrated bundle of red colour and on optical sensors. Laser beams net the installation space in a horizontal plane parallel to the floor, making a light surface. They are set at a height reaching a level from human heart to throat so that the movement through space could create physically uncomfortable feeling, resembling the one of restricted or forbidden movement.
Your installation is actually a static ambience which is realized and activated only when it interacts with the visitor, so that the correlation between the individual and the system becomes dominant in interpretation of the work. Why did you name it Place of Living and what would you determine as its basic content?
The Place of Living is inspired by the system of networked society's interactions, developed from computer intervention and communication. It refers to Manuel Castell's ‘space of flows’, whose basic idea is that people adjust their activities to global networks and not vice versa. In such conditions individual's behaviour is much less based on long-term acquired set of values and beliefs, so he/she reacts to a group of predetermined instructions, codes and numbers programmed for aimed activities like supermarket shopping, using ATMs, driving the highway, the check-in at the airport...
That way individual's operational life turns into aimless wandering trough urban spaces from morning till evening, marked by minimal social contact and maximal consuming of the latest products. Monotony based on consumerist values and capital mobility is stimulated, thereby the duality of collectivism and solitude creates specific tension that endures in urban environment.
This work wants to turn space into a living organism that can react in constellation of elements: human body – light – sensor – sound. Title of the work therefore refers to the place we reside every day, i.e. literally the place we live.
Can you compare this work to your previous ones? You have created several light installations so far, but it seems that you were primarily interested in form. How do form and content relate in Place of Living?
In my previous light installations I was primarily interested in relation between body and space, and while social context wasn't neglected, it wasn't the main focus of attention either. In this work, the focus is exactly that, i.e. the operating space of networked society.
The form derives from and is completely defined and limited by the content, because in its construction I used same ways and means (sound, sensors and lasers) as the system uses to control subjects in urban space. The only difference is the fact that I have concentrated experience of receiving information and made lasers visible in order to enable controlled interaction with the visitor and to intensify physical experience of contact with the system.
Where have you exhibited the installation so far and how did the audience react, i.e. were the established interactions between the ambience and the visitors successful?
I have exhibited it at AMBER'07 Body Process Art Festival, Istanbul in 2007. It was very well received by the organizers and the audience as well. It was interesting to see their spontaneous and different reactions, probably resembling our reactions to the system in real life; some of them started to play with it while others adjusted to it passing below rays (thinking it had to be that way) and there were those who were thrilled and frightened by it at the same time.
Is this your first interactive work and is it the first one based on the use of software technology? You recently graduated from Zagreb Academy of fine arts, known for its rather conventional program, so how did you develop interest in this type of art?
Yes, this is my first work of that type. We live in a somewhat different society than the one taught at the academy (society in last century's fifties), therefore I found it crucial to start using today's language, so I could say or express something about contemporary society and the software technology is at the moment implemented in almost every aspect of our life.