Within the framework of the Re-Imagine Europe project, we have realized a new educational programme dedicated to mentoring young and emerging Croatian artists. This residential training includes mentoring and guiding the artist during the artistic and production process, from the initial idea to concept elaboration and materialization. This year our artist in residence is Branimir Štivić, and residential mentors are KONTEJNER curators Davorka Begović, Ena Hodžić and Tereza Teklić, as well as Croatian multimedia artist Toni Meštrović. The programme has been realized from June to September 2021 on the island of Rab, in Zagreb and in Split.
“B E L L O W S” is an exploration of the mediality of air, the openness of respiratory bodies towards the atmosphere and breathing of all living and non-living beings/things. The fascination with air and the atmosphere stems from the notion that – immersed in air from the start of our existence, with lungs as the first organ after birth faced with the perception of space – we neglect the initial fact that, as a respiratory body, we form part of the atmosphere. In the first instance, breathing is not a relationship with objects but with the atmosphere, while skin is a fragile membrane that separates two spaces filled with air, the outside and the inside. A system of respiratory bodies/windbags and the activity of breathing may be perceived as the rhythm of paying of what we owe in oxygen in the constant economic game of the inflation of the body.
“B E L L O W S” is a modular air system based on exhalation, inflation and collision of air with the surrounding objects. The work consists of an air turbine, synthetic cloth, bioplastic, a giant reed (Arundo donax), custom-made electronics/mechanics/software and breathing bodies. Bags filled with air reproduce the rhythm of breathing by means of the measured local variation in the amount of exhaled carbon dioxide (CO2). The air that flows from the container activates the reed mouthpieces that reproduce sound. The giant reed (Arundo donax) is a Mediterranean plant that uses air chambers along with biomass as the means for fast growth. Precisely because of its porousness, reed has been used for making traditional instruments and instrument parts, such as bagpipes, or traditional Croatian woodwind instruments diple and sopile. It is the bellows that are the technological extensions of the lungs, employed in transferring action or the conversion of air into wind oscillators and sonorous objects. These are the instruments of the possible vocality of the skin, which tells its own story by expanding and deflating.
Production: KONTEJNER. The artwork has been produced as a part of the residential training within the framework of Re-Imagine Europe project.