Maska Journal, vol. XXXV, iss. 200bb (fall 2020) / Actualities

pp. 102–112.

„On its way to the roof of the mouth, her tongue veers off its path and takes the daring trail past the alveolar ridge and teeth, landing on the lips — it is no longer Britney, but ”tongueney”. This is no subjecitiviy; it is a schizoid sound system that is already penetrating us: full of high-pitched notes, ear wormes, conspiratorial intonations of sound imaginaries, screams of disintergrating subjectivities, and developing simulacra.”

Na moji koži strašno straši

Ko panelistka ameriške medijske hiše MSNBC ob razpravi o demokratskih kandidatih nagovori stališča vermontskega senatorja z opazko “Bernie Sanders makes my skin crawl,” nesluteno zadane ob nenavadno materialiteto, v kateri se nakazuje možnost razrešitve zagat, ki se v času splošnega razmaha “fake news”, “deep fakes”, itd. porajajo okoli vprašanja resnice in dejstvenosti.

Naježeno kožo pokaže kot eno tistih zastarelih orodij, ki se v času kriz, utegnejo izkazati za ključna. Kot bajalica, ki nas bo sredi informacijskih vojn pripeljala do pravega vira. Odprte pore, naježene kocine, prisluhnejo spektralnim glasovom informacijskega mrmranja, tako da ob ključnem trenutku, ko nam nevarnost resno preti, ta zažene svoje imaginarne mehanizme, nevidne vajeti, ki skoznjo spuščajo vrsto teles: toksinov, hranil — spektralnih gostov, informirajočih afektivno valovanje centralnega živčnega sistema, naše razpoloženje, inhibicije, težnje in naposled prepričanja.

Zdi se, da govor več ne zadošča. Ko panelistka poseže po telesu, naleti na kožo kot razprostrto hišo strahov.

Continue reading “Na moji koži strašno straši”

No, I Don’t Cry on the Outside Anymore

Talk on the underwater sound of contemporary pop.

“Underwater, metabolising the oxygen of your last breath, using up the last traces of your past terrestrial life, shutting down the consciousness, giving in, you finally get out of your head and become part of the flow. Your thoughts become sonar pulses, searching for the other that you already know is not there and this completes you, infuses you with a calming melancholy that normalises the pressures of your new aquatic capitalist environment. You find yourself, even if this self is a bit drowsy, oxygen-deprived, your new-Ambien self.”

Originally prepared for the launch event for Šum#12 Threshold Ecologies (8. November 2019, Fotopub project space, Ljubljana); repeated at PhaseBook – Art Book and Zine Fair, Prague (1. December 2019).

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You Make It Hard to Have a Good Time


Texts by: Bogna M Konior, Lukáš Likavčan, n1x, Domen Ograjenšek, Germán Sierra
Edited by: Marko Bauer, Tjaša Pogačar

Link to pdf:

You Make It Hard to Have a Good Time

The article tackles our anxieties and compulsions, Ariana Grande’s ponytail, transmaterial ethics, and the moody foundations of contemporary art. #lizardbrain


“I once heard that Ariana Grande’s ponytail changes colour, depending on its emotions. And it probably does. It must. No mere extension could bring so many people joy. And joy it brings. Our lizard brain is perhaps protected by its skeletal enclosure, but that does not detach it from the surroundings into which it invests its neural energy.
Just like the toxic bodies of our polluted streams permeate our own bodies, defining their flesh with viscous porosity and making them expansive membranes rather than well-rounded self-sufficing entities, so do our affects leave our lizard brain, or better yet, extend it beyond its primary limbic setting. Our emotions and compulsions are not merely a matter of the heart, but are also a matter of dirt and sometimes glitter […]

So the next time you see Grande’s ponytail, do wish it a pleasant day, emote with it, and perhaps it will emote with you as well. Because absurdity aside, the intersubjective field is drastically changing, and change it must. The planetary ecological crisis brings along a strange temporality where what already is, what must be, what is not, yet what will be, coincides, which creates grounds for a whole new form of sociality and with it an ethics that could actively include nature and matter, given their role in shaping the conditions of our contemporary existence.”

*Special issue ŠUM#12 is published in conjunction with the exhibition Adaptation to the Future curated by Aleksandra Vajd and Edith Jerabkova.

You Can’t Teach Heart

Short lecture on the figure of the pop star, our affective ties with it, and the world-building of Pop imagery. The lecture deals with the contingent and somewhat pragmatic uses (that may be considered as a re-codification) of the figure of the Pop star and the imagery associated with it, especially when it comes to the needs and pressures that various subjectivities are faced with within contemporary capitalism.

“Strangely enough, the world of Xtina’s “Dirrty” covers a different altitude. The heights of the abandoned skyscrapers are substituted for underground basements that maze in a disorienting manner, leaving behind the once dedicated functions of the spaces they occupy. If the sauna-like furnishing of Britney’s environment still upholds the functionalist framework, it is only to accommodate the already existing micro-climate conditions — to help make sense of them; to make the rooms seem unbearable by design and thus frame the constant and unavoidable heat and moisture as a luxury or even decadence. Yet Xtina’s basement-dwelling, dark, damp and flooded with the rising seawater, leaves behind even these last remnants of making sense. It is radically anarchic and representative of a different post-apocalyptic class experience.”

Prepared for: 25th International Festival of Computer Arts, Maribor / ŠUMx discussions, 12 & 13 October 2019

Talks by Louis Armand, Marko Bauer, Vít Bohal, Dustin Breitling, Peli Grietzer, Max Hampshire, Mark Horvath, Adam Lovasz, Andrej Tomažin, Bogna M. Konior, Primož Krašovec, Lukáš Likavčan, Domen Ograjenšek, Paul Seidler, Maks Valenčič, Tadej Vindiš. Lecture performance by Agustina Andreoletti. Concert by drone emoji.

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Fever Theory

Šum#10.1 (Nov 2018)

Originally published in Slovene

ABSTRACT: In the early 2000s, motifs in popular music began to shift from the sweet addictiveness, introduced and made prevalent by the “Teen Pop” genre of the 1990s, to the unbearable agonic invasion into the teen-pop subjectivity („Overprotected” (Spears), “Can’t Get You Out of My Head“ (Minogue), breakups, and breakdowns). The artcle considers the sonority of the pop scene in its complex integration into the mechanisms of control, which the soundscapes not only support but also inadvertently produce.

Translated excerpt:

By the end of the millennium, record labels were already establishing a globalised market, selling a record amount of albums (with ever lower costs of production mostly due to the emergence of new recording technology, namely the CD), and thus gaining momentum at driving emotional and attentional investments of their consumers with a handful of intricately formulated strategies of sonic construction. The challenges of the internet and the emergence of digitally compressed audio files (MP3) coupled with new internet technologies of dissemination of such files (such as Napster, Gnutella, Freenet etc.) may have somewhat hindered the growth of the industry, but not without also considerably expanding the dissemination of its products (and with it their influence and reach).

It is in this climate, specifically in 2001, that the Australian pop sensation Kylie Minogue released her 8th studio album and with it the single “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” that ended up defining the pop scene of the decade. The album and the single could have been met by a similar destiny as that of the 8th studio album by Mariah Carey — the success of which was hindered by its unfortunate release on September 11th 2001 —, if it were not for its gradual international release (on September 8th 2001 in Australia, on September 17th in Great Britain and only on February 18th 2002 in the USA).

Domen Ograjenšek, Untitled, 2018, photo: Luigi Cazzaniga.

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Confronting Vegetal Otherness – Art and Its Role in Inter-species Confrontations

A short analysis of performances by Špela Petrič. The article touches on the difficulties of confronting plant life, the pros and cons of figurative means of expression, and the stubborn vestiges of anthropocentrism.

In the era of ecological devastation and shifts giving rise to looming designations such as the Anthropocene, the vegetative reinstates its ascribed monstrous character, its role as the dark precursor on the illuminated pathways of our humanistic heritage. Amidst the post-modern nomos of the endless surface emerges a depth of vast magnitude, easily utilisable by the romantic enthusiasts as a possible return to the various origin-seeking endeavours and explorations of mysterious potentials of affectivity, although thereby yet again cultivating the expressive productivity of this ‘dark precursor’ by mistaking it for the sublimity of human affection.

To approach this alterity would, therefore, mean to accept its threat in full scope. Approach it without sidetracking too deep into the comforting paths of human experience. But what if our starting position for such an endeavour is that of art? What can or cannot art do for such an approach? Can art do without its inherent anthropocentric core? And what would become of art if it were reinvented in light of the conditions of these newly explored terrains?

Continue reading “Confronting Vegetal Otherness – Art and Its Role in Inter-species Confrontations”

The Grammar of the Method

Image courtesy of Nicole Prutsch

Working with seemingly different methods of the present and past, including the ‘scientific method’ and methods of art practice, Nicole Prutsch follows their subtle commonalities that surround their otherwise disparate constitutions. She utilises the luring effects of unexpected juxtaposition, resembling the distant surrealist play with the unconscious, to create a visual genealogy of the method, the methodological and the role of the gaze in the latter. Continue reading “The Grammar of the Method”