“Children of the night finally making music in the day” or some thoughts on FEMALE LIQUIFIED VIOLENCE and BLOODRAYNE 2

The game is a decent sequel to the 2002 original. The plot continues where the original left off, following a female protagonist, Rayne, half-human half-vampire on her path of revenge. You feed on your enemies, raising your blood levels that are quantified by the game’s interface as health points and ammunition for your blood-based weaponry, while simultaneously accumulating rage and carnage points, that can be spent on various blood arts (macabre tactics of pure suppression of oncoming life force). 

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Experiential Kitsch

“You said that we 
Could possibly 
Spend eternity”   

How can experience be anything but kitsch? Unable to follow the times, that of deep time, barely grasping with the ”sublime hyperobject of climate change”1, with the inevitable extinction, it cannot but simmer in pathos. Its exclusion makes it superficial and meaningless, even though it desperately tries to hold on to the last vestiges of meaning – gather and preserve it for harsher times that are unmistakably coming its way – by way of affective attainment, diving deeper into its libidinal underpinnings and affective dispositions. Such futile attempt of stabilising its own uncentering, even if only to make the transition into nothingness less excruciating, makes it seem even more “pathetic”. Yet how far can the drive for self-preservation take it? At what point does it become theatrical and flamboyant: perhaps tacky, but not without also being deeply ironic? In other words, at what point does it become camp?

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Everyone lashes out, and everyone is hurt by the lashes, but with every strike the masochist attachment intensifies, up till the point when the Chat is in pure, colourful, Pepe-the-frog-filled ecstasy.

STREAMERS. They try to focus on the game while also talk and engage with their audience. This produces a strange free-flow of consciousness, that is often-times a bit monotone and boring, however, successful at deriving their core personality traits and quirks. When you spend some time in a streamer’s stream, which usually lasts between 4-8 hours per day, you find that the only content you end up consistently engaging with is not even the game, that is being played, or the streamer, that is playing it, but the peculiar intersubjectivity that emerges in the communication between the streamer and their audience. Communication is key in a streamer’s stream, so much so, that the chat window delivering the barrage of messages (lines upon lines of colourful text that move at such speeds that their readability is not something that is given but gained through time, through the training of the eye) becomes an autonomous entity, the Chat.

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Published as part of an online exhibition project entitled Plaza Protocol, curated by Tjaša Pogačar in collaboration with Šum Journal and Projekt Atol: https://www.plazaprotocol.si  

“My gut likes Taylor Swift more than I do. And it likes her on a microbial level. I’ve come to terms with that. As long as we can subsist in relative peace, I can go along with the quirks that come with the translation of these microbial processes into conscious expression. Its biofilm bonds are stronger than my will, but also, my will might not be much more than an echo-chamber for its conflicting “bioexpressions”. Now, could this be reason enough to reframe Felix Guattari’s question “What sort of machine or equipment produces stereotyped behaviour, relational and perceptual schemas?” so as to refer to microbial components and their role in the production of goods and different kinds of subjectivity? […]

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Maska Journal, vol. XXXV, iss. 200bb (fall 2020) / Actualities, pp. 102–112. Published in Slovene and English. More info at: https://maska.si/revija/aktualnosti/

“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.”

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Na moji koži strašno straši

*Pripravljeno za in predstavljeno v sklopu Topical Applications 2, samostojne razstave Žive Božičnik Rebec, Muzej sodobne umetnosti Metelkova (Prepih), 28 Jan 2020. Povezava

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.

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No, I Don’t Cry on the Outside Anymore

Talk on the underwater sound of recent contemporary pop. Originally prepared for the launch event of Šum#12 Threshold Ecologies (8. November 2019, Fotopub project space, Ljubljana), repeated at PhaseBook – Art Book and Zine Fair, Prague (1. December 2019), and later digitally published at Šum – Journal for contemporary art criticism and theory (sumrevija.si, 11. 3. 2020).

“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.”

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You Make It Hard to Have a Good Time

ŠUM#12: THRESHOLD ECOLOGIES (Nov 2019). Texts by: Bogna M Konior, Lukáš Likavčan, n1x, Domen Ograjenšek, Germán Sierra. Edited by: Marko Bauer, Tjaša Pogačar. Link to pdf: http://sumrevija.si/en/issues/sum-12/

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

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

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.”

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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.

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

The article was published in ŠUM | Journal for contemporary art criticism and theory. The issue is accessible by following the link.

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?

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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.
Her interdisciplinary work, encompassing photography, graphic medium, video, installation, and objects, is often based on historical archive material used to connect and confront various references from Western knowledge and culture tradition. She opens the systematically used material to coincidence by intervening into the measured and documented object; to automatisation by making apparent the implicit arbitrary remainders of measurements and gained information; all-in-all alluding to the non-sense rooted in the sense-centred tradition, however, by the end enclosing it into a discernible spacial patchwork that makes the intricate relationship between knowledge and power tangible, if not even utilisable.

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Čas ‘bičane podobe’ — čas in minljivost v performansih Tiborja Hajasa

*Prvotno objavljeno v tretji številki revije Šum, oktobra 2014.

Umetniška pot Tiborja Hajasa se je vila od pesnikovanja, do konceptualnih del in naposled do performansa, ki ga je kot takega na Madžarskem prvi dvignil na avtonomno raven, se pravi ga razločil id takrat že vpeljanega happeninga in akcionizma. Njegova performativna praksa je bila zaznamovana z nekakšno slo po samouničenju, ki jo je mogoče zaznati tako na ravni njegovega telesa (predajal ga je sponam vrvi, prevez za oči in injeciranega uspavala), na ravni vidnosti (performansi so se odvijali v čisti temi, povsem nedostopni gledalcem, dokler jih ni le za hip razsvetlila bliskavica fotoaparata, utripajoča žarnica ali pojenjajoča bakla) in na ravni njegovega življenja (dve leti za tem, ko je pričel s svojo performativno prakso, jo je prekinila prometna nesreča, v kateri je izgubil življenje). Zato ni nenavadno, da je smrt pri avtorjih, ki so doslej pisali o njem, pogosto obravnavana kot eden izmed osnovnih elementov njegovega dela (“Osnovni elementi njegovega sporočila so bili smrt, trpljenje in seksualnost /…/”2), pri čemer je večinoma mišljena le nasilna smrt. Le tista smrt, ki jo spremljajo injekcijske igle, ščipalke za perilo, obveze, kri in sterilne gaze3 — pogosti elementi njegovih performansov4, ki pričajo o mazohistični in samodestruktivni plati njegovih del. 

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