No, I Don’t Cry on the Outside Anymore

Šum#12 Launch Event, Ljubljana

8 November 2019

Talk/performative reading on the underwater sound of recent Pop and the drowning of Pop consciousness.

“Underwater, metabolising the oxygen of your last breath, using up the 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 capitalist environment. You find yourself, even if this self is a bit drowsy, oxygen-deprived, your new Ambien-self.”

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

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

Excerpt:

“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

25th Internationl 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 byAgustina Andreoletti. Concert by drone emoji.

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.

Excerpt: 

“Strangely enough, the world of Xtina’s Dirty 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.”

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.

Continue reading “Fever Theory”

Jon Derganc, Brezna (2010/2011) – oris

Jon Derganc: Brezna
11 črno belih srebro-želatinskih fotografij, 2010 – 2011

Dergančeve fotografije v črno-beli izvedbi dramatizirajo to, kar je očitno, ne implicitno. Tako se vsaj sprva zdi. Oblikujejo tri tipe gledalca. Proces, ki sovpade s tremi shemami pogleda in teoretičnimi okvirji, ki jim ti pripadajo. V skladu s tem se nadalje oblikujejo trije tipi branja in sicer okoli strukture, ki se jo da razdeliti na ospredje, ozadje ter njun prehod.

Continue reading “Jon Derganc, Brezna (2010/2011) – oris”

Surface Chipping II. — The Patch

A short reflection (the second in the series) that focuses on the dynamics of the surface in contemporary art, specifically the recent tendency to patch that, which is in no need of patching, and the specific contemporary anxiety that accompanies it.

The world is in need of healing, it is often said. From over-the-counter food supplements that help combat burnout to the anxiety-re-ridden teenagers re-actualising the subject of depression via the prominent rise of sad rappers such as XXXTentacion, in a preachy way Logic, and others (not the most exhaustive list, but burnout draws out even these very fingers doing the typing), we are hurt, hurting, and don’t know where the bottom of this pit of hurt lies.

Continue reading “Surface Chipping II. — The Patch”

Surface Chipping I.

The short reflection focuses on plaster as a materialisation of the paradox of abstraction within the formation of contemporary artistic positions.

Plaster, used both for protective and decorative purposes in walls and ceilings, meets contemporary art on the intersection of the aesthetic and pragmatic, mostly due to its soft white aesthetic characteristic and fragile kinetic effects. In this short reflection, I will take a look at two artistic practices that both use the mentioned building material in order to explore various layers of destructive, even self-destructive, principles and phenomena of contemporary society. From death drive to the autonomisation of capital, the practices brush over multiple sides of what it means to fail at being ‘human’.  

The practices at hand are namely that of Lenka’s Đorojević and Matej’s Stupica, I will focus particularly on the works ‘Neur-o-matic’ (2014) and ‘Mon-o-matic’ (2015), and that of Evelyn’s Loschy, concretely, the kinetic sculptures (2012-2016). 

Continue reading “Surface Chipping I.”