WRO on Tour 2017_ENG

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MEDIA ART BIENNALE WRO 2017 DRAFT SYSTEMS All the 2017 DRAFT SYSTEMS WRO Biennale exhibitions and presentations explorerd the collapse of existing systems, from politics to aesthetics, showing the tensions between submission, participation and forms of resistance put up or experienced within the system. The International WRO Media Art Biennale is Poland’s main leading forum for new media art and one of Europe’s major arts events, showcasing the recent works by artists from all over the world. The 2017 exhibitions, shows, meetings, performances and concerts were staged under the motto of DRAFT SYSTEMS. The phrase represents the mutability of the world’s regulatory systems, highlights their complexity and instability, underscores their volatile, control-defying

Opening of the OS (Systems’ Objects) exhibition in the National Museum in Wrocław

nature and foregrounds on-going reorganisations of reality.

WRO 2017

The program of the 17th WRO Media Art Biennale featured works of over 100 artists from all over


the world, including installations, objects, appli-

A selection of 18 video works of the WRO Biennale program, picked

cations, networked projects, performances and

out by its artistic director Piotr Krajewski, to be displayed in various

videos, held at 17 venues across Wroclaw. The

configurations depending on the venue and character of the show.

exhibitions and events were accompanied by

Other works and documentations of the WRO Biennale events can

meetings with artists, expert discussions and

be added to this core set, if suitable to the context.

opinion-sharing opportunities. The Biennale’s active art mediation program included a series of guided tours of exhibitions and the Little WRO activities dedicated to children and families.

Contact us for infromation about the dates and conditions of the screenings: Paulina Ostrowska / paulina@wrocenter.pl +48 (71) 343 32 40 wro2017.wrocenter.pl/en/ontour | fb/wrobiennale | #wrobiennale2017

Mega-Lo-Polis, exhibition view, WRO Art Center Soft Power, Elena Artemenko (RU) – right Heroic Makers vs Heroic Land, Isabelle Arvers (FR) – in the middle

SOFT POWER Elena Artemenko (RU) video, 2016, 10:04

The work serves as a perverse metaphor of power and visualises two types of movements: the “soft” gestures of those in power and the ingratiating, but precise gestures of those subordinated. The props in the video – the weapons, the flag and the arm – are made of silicon, which well imitates human flesh. Bathed in the mechanical sound of the alto, the perfectly choreographed and deliberately repetitive actions of the characters produce an impression of a creepy parade, a demonstration of force that gradually turns into chaos.

HEROIC MAKERS VS HEROIC LAND Isabelle Arvers (FR) machinima 2016, 10:56

A machinima documentary made in the “Jungle” of Calais, France, raises the most pressing issues of living in refugee camps. The eponymous Heroic Makers, i.e. nongovernmental organizations and refugee representatives, have taken matters into their own hands and jointly developed and launched an efficient socio-political model for the Calais camp. The “Jungle” is actually a “city within a city,” boasting its own network of shops, restaurants, schools, places of worship and cultural spaces. Ironically, the mayor of Calais has just approved the plan of building an amusement park called the Heroic Land in the city. Worth an estimated EUR 275 million, the investment is the ultimate expression of contempt for the true heroes who have worked hard to find solutions to the problems of migration.

REDUNDANCY Om Bori (HU) video, 2015, 2:56

The artist employs two algorithmic operations – stereoscopic street imaging and automated motion-to-sound generation – to trace her everyday commute between her home, school and grandmother’s place in the city of Budapest. Her route is quantified in some 2,100 stitched images, which add up to an animated and rhythmicised simulation. The resulting reality oscillates between high-resolution graphics and fragmented, sketchy shapes.

WHEN A CIRCLE MEETS THE SKY Carla Chan (HK) video, 2016, 4:20

Shot in the Mojave Desert, USA (2012), and Melchsee-Frutt, Switzerland (2016), the video is created by a custom-made weather vane and a camera capturing reflections of a mirror determined by wind speed and direction at the location. Conventional cinema is a unidirectional medium where only things in front of the camera will be captured. In this artwork, the camera looks both forward and backward simultaneously. Instead of a cameraperson selecting the frame and the perspective, the artist allows the wind to choose our views. The natural power, shooting with no human presence, intensifies the isolation of the remote wilderness. At the same time, it alters our expected relationships among humans, nature and technology in the process of artistic creation.

MY UMMAH, DAWN HAS APPEARED [FEAT. HATSUNE MIKU] Exchange of the Rat (JP) video, 2015, 4:29

“Vocaloid is halal. We are choir of Hatsune Miku, virtual idols for Vocaloid, voice synthesis software. Vocaloid is not instrument, it is voice. But our voices are not real voices, only very sophisticate computer emulation. We are female but we are not real – we are anime. No real women are singing. So it’s ok. Vocaloid is halal. We can recite nasheed a cappella (maximum 16 polyphony voices), just like Ajnad Foundation for Media Production which produce all beautiful nasheeds for ISIS. We like unofficial ISIS national anthem very very much. Of course, we cannot sing in Arabic (yet) – please request Yamaha consider Middle East market, and also develop from right to left sequencer! So we try English instead. Sorry for our bad pronunciation! We like too very much Ajnad’s motivation promotional videos. We really inspire from their high technology movie editing, so we copy and try learn ourselves. Ajnad, we recommend you try us for your next nasheed!”

PLASMA VISTA Harriet Fleuriot (GB) + Sarah Cockings (GB) video, 2016, 7:31

The artists explore themes of economy, production, creativity and collaboration. The work has been designed as a commercial of an online shop selling clothes, furniture and interior design items. The devices and objects have acquired a bodily dimension in the hyper-aesthetic show of magic tricks and chemical reactions. The accessories have become an extension of the body, expressing and controlling the emotions of consumers. However, the store has never been set up; only the film has remained, occu-


pying the ambiguous space between utility and art.

Susanna Flock (AT) video, 2016, 6:16

The work is a collection of experimental video sequences that deal with the complexity of haptic perception in the context of screen-based digital media. The moving images are associatively concerned with the contact with the interface and the resulting interference between the physical and the virtual, activeness and passiveness. In addition to the images, the 2D and 3D animations along with the YouTube footage of the Food Diaries channel are included. Formally, Fetish Finger is to be read as if scrolling down a webpage.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA Beate Hecher (AT) + Markus Keim (IT) video, 2016, 9:00

An experimental documentary in seven chapters about the escape route of the refugees over the Mediterranean Sea. Rough waves destroy the chance for a better life. What remains is a flotsam that reminds of the ones who drowned. Those who reach the other shore are faced by uncertainty about the future.

BROUILLARD #19 Alexandre Larose (CA) video, 2015, 10:00

A trajectory that extends from the artist’s family backyard into a lake, repeatedly performed and superimposed, in-camera, onto a single thousand-foot reel of 35 mm motion picture film.

ZABRISKIE POINT REVERSED Emily McFarland (IE) video, 2015, 5:44

The project reappropriates footage from the final scene of Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1970 film Zabriskie Point – a slow motion explosion transforming the artifacts of consumer capitalism into psychedelic colours and forms. Through the transgressive reversal, Zabriskie Point Reversed explores the linkages between radical revolutions in art, film and society.

FALL UP, FLOAT DOWN Ka-lun Leung (HK/PL) video, 2015, 7:36

It is widely agreed that human perception depends on particular points of reference. The most obvious example is our perception of time, which is processed in terms of sequences of activities. If, while falling down, we do not reach the ground over an extended period of time, we may slowly start losing our sense of floating and falling. By disturbing the sense of time, we can also blur the boundary between objects and subjects. In this work, Ka-lun explores the relationship between hyperreal representations and reality, between space and our space perceptions in the extreme present.

THE DAY JOB Christian Nicolay (CA) video, ongoing, 6:56

The project started in 2003, when the first excerpt from hundreds of hours of footage over the years was made. What started out as a day job has now become part of the artist’s routine: hiding art in hard-to-find places in order to turn the viewers’ attention to the part of reality that we usually ignore. To notice the unnoticeable, to look where no one does, like a quasi-archaeological expedition of absurdity and truth, quixotic adventures of surprise and play.

RECURSION Sascha Pohflepp (DE) custom-trained reccurent neural network, video, 2016, 2:00

The text is created by a custom artificial intelligence system that had been given a wide variety of texts on humanity to learn, ranging from encyclopaedic articles on our biology and sociality to works from psychology, philosophy and pop culture. The system was then asked to compose its own text, starting with the word “human.” In the resulting video, an individual (Erika Ostrander) reads the synthetic mind’s inferences, creating a feedback loop between the universal machines and the man and wondering whether – in the words of the theorist Benjamin H. Bratton – “the real uncanny valley” might be the one “in which we see ourselves through the eyes of an [artificial] other.”

I LOVE YOU! Jana Shostak (BY/PL) video, 2015, 2:26

Increasing consumerism and mass media culture bring about profound changes in social morality and meanings of words. This insight makes the artist explore declarations of love. Is love becoming a social product? Is affection just a socially scripted scenario? Are feelings, as a symbolic communication code, implicated in social control?

THE STREAM VI Hiroya Sakurai (JP) video, 2015, 6:52

The work is a ballet of algae and water. Sakurai used a waterproof camera to create for the viewer a simulated experience of walking through a rice paddy irrigation canal. In the man-made grid of waterways, water follows artificially established rules of nature. In this way, nature is made abstract and subordinated to economic purposes, giving rise to new forms of beauty distinct from those found in fully natural environments.

PENGUIN POOL Katharina Swoboda (AT) video, 2015, 3:20 sound: Sara Pinheiro

Designed by the Russian emgiré Berthold Lubetkin in 1934, the Penguin Pool at London Zoo is one of the most important modernist buildings in Britain. In 2004, the penguins were moved to a new place. Since then, the iconic architecture has been “empty,” animated only by water fountains. In the video, this emptiness is enhanced by masking out the surrounding area. Stripped of its zoo context the “penguin pool” becomes a utopian model again. Read backwards, the word “pool” becomes a “loop.” The idea of the loop is central to the editing concept. In one loop-circle every image is shown twice: first, the images are shown one by one; then, two frames are combined to form a new one.

Shota Yamauchi (JP), Tidal Wave

TIDAL WAVE Shota Yamauchi (JP) video, 2016, 8:15

The work was made for the Setouchi Triennale held on the Megijima island, a popular holiday destination in the Kagawa Prefecture. Megijima is believed to be a mythical island of ogres (Onigashima) defeated by Momotarō, a popular hero of Japanese folktales. As a result of tourism development on Megijima, the island has been littered with plastic objects and billboards featuring ogres. Although in the Momotarō tale the ogres appear as evil antagonists, the ones on Megijima are all smiling as if giving tourists a friendly welcome. Ogres usually serve as a metaphor for demons and evil spirits, but they are also associated with the notion of the Other. Even though the artist was a Japanese taking part in an art exhibition in Japan, he was an outsider to the local community. So he decided to come to the island as a stranger, much like the millions of tourists who flock there every year. Using 3D scans of himself, Megijima’s surroundings and the island’s smiling ogres, the artist creates a mythical world of ancient Japanese tales against the backdrop of nonchalantly digitized landcapes and settings. The artist’s avatar, equipped with the superpower of bilocation, struggles with two demons, being at the same time the narrator, the observer and the chased one.

GO BACK TO EUROPE Jacek Zachodny (PL) video, 2015, 7:20

In this work, Jacek Zachodny focuses on the global migration crisis Europe is currently experiencing. In many countries, the Other is painted as a threat, which fuels outbursts of national panic and hatred. The artist relies on a hoax in which roles are reversed: in an imagined world, Europeans are forced to escape to the Far East, fleeing a humanitarian crisis. Originally shown as part of an installation, the video has spread across the internet, provoking public discussion and raising an awkward question: How would we feel if we were refugees? As a result of the mounting pressure from the migrant crisis, assaults, anxieties and wars, many people have lost empathy and faith in the human community, become less willing to understand others, grown more withdrawn and developed anxiety. At the same time, the film tackles the power of deception in terms of media, emotions and religion. The video was made in the slums of Bombay, Benares and New Delhi. The sound in the video is original and was retained deliberately. The subtitles are not accurate translations of what the interviewees are saying. In doing this, Zachodny highlights the media’s capacity to deceive audiences and influence public opinion.


WRO Art Center is one of the leading European art institutions working at the intersection of contemporary art, media and communication. Our original exhibition, educational, research and publication programs are based on experimental arts and organization practices. Culminating in Polish and international projects, they showcase the creative potential of new technologies and explore the innovative relationships of image, sound and communication, along with perception and participation in the context of contemporary art and cultural reflection. WRO Art Center, largely financed from the Municipality of Wrocław and public resources, is an independent institution and a public benefit organization the annual program of which reaches out to a broad public interested in new languages of art.

WRO Art Center director: Viola Krajewska Widok 7, 50-052 Wrocław +48 71 343 32 40 wrocenter.pl/en facebook/instagram: wroartcenter

wro2017.wrocenter.pl/en © WRO Center for Media Art Foundation ISBN 978-83-944401-1-4

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