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Exhibition: ‘Machines Are Not Alone’ at Kontejner

Text by CLOT Magazine

Kontejner is a non-profit NGO founded in 2002 in Zagreb (Croatia). Since its inception, Kontejner has engaged in the organisation of art festivals and curational work to explore the ‘role and meaning of science, technology, and the body in our society, focusing on the relevant and current phenomena, especially within provocative, fascinating and intriguing subjects and topics, as well as those perceived by the society as taboos’, they told.

Their main programmes include, among others, the organisation of international triennial festivals like the thematic festival Touch Me dedicated to relations between technology, science and art, Device_art exploring how machines and devices are used as artistic media, and Extravagant bodies directed towards questioning of the politics of normality in relation to the human body and mind. Kontejner is one of the EMAP – European Media Art Platform members.

Machines Are Not Alone is this year’s theme of the Device_art festival. Device_art is the international festival dealing with technological devices, machines and robotics in contemporary art that investigates the technological device through the intersection of art, technology, and science and is presented in a triennial interdisciplinary festival format. In the 21st century, our relationship with technology has changed; how we relate to gadgets, screens, computers, smartphones, and other devices is shaping our behaviour. Now more than ever, our devices are a sort of extension of our fingers.

Machines Are Not Alone presents 25 international artists and 21 works that map the modern machinery and human interaction with them: swarm, robotics, kinetics,  and topics such as artificial intelligence, interfaces, and cybernetics. This year’s edition includes artists interviewed by CLOT Magazine, Saša Spačal and Luiz Zanotello.

Saša Spačal is presenting two works: the kinetic responsive  Sonoseismic Earth, in collaboration with Ida Hiršenfelder that “tries to condense the effect of the fossil fuel industry into an experience of carbon war waged against all life forms on the planet”, and the biotechnological installation Meta_bolus (2017) in collaboration with Mirjan Švagelj. They explain that Meta_bolus “exposes the metabolic process as an exchange of certain boluses or doses that define relationships as either beneficial or adverse”.

On his side, Luiz Zanotello is presenting the kinetic installation The Aerographer (2016-17), a work on critical media that “explores the spatial anxieties deriving from the perception of differences and the establishment of relative boundaries at times of ubiquitous technological mediation and accentuated societal uncertainties.

It addresses the question: what is it like to live in airlike times, when everything is transparent, and no ground lingers?” Machines Are Not Alone is on display until February 3, 2019, at the Museum of contemporary art in Zagreb (Croatia).

(Photos courtesy of Saša Spača from Meta_bolus)
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