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interfaces of control mechanisms
Basak Senova
artists: Nooshin Farhid, Hristina Ivanoska, Effie - Amir, Zhou Hongxiang, Ran Slavin, Anabala, Sala Manca, Ligna, Erhan Muratoglu, Michael Zinganel, Pragmatic Sanction, Vuk Cosic, Nicole Pruckermayr - IOhannes zmölnig Yane Calovski, FOS, and Igor Stromajer - Brane Zorman. artists of the loosing.ctrl screening programme: Yael Bartana, Erhan Muratoglu, Ruti Sela - Maayan Amir, Can Turkinan - Özlem Sulak, and Hatice Guleryuz.
venue: Forum Stadtpark
coordinates: Graz, 2006
websites: http://www.nomad-tv.net/under_ctrl
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The project series, under.ctrl, intends to define “the interfaces of control mechanisms” which systematically compose our lives. Interfaces themselves have become the locus of control by being more effective than their underlying mechanisms, yet more invisible and subtle in normalizing such mechanisms which they veil. They operate in various layers of our daily perception and realization through the re-designing of life styles; procedures of auto-control; re-perception of histories; generating modes for social psychology; constructing communication channels; and particularly through technological embodiment.

The significant influence of these interfaces, along with the direction and intensity of implicit and explicit acceptance and rejection modes, are being detected and questioned through subversive activities and reactions in different forms of expressions by artistic practices.

The project follows an empirical method through various researches carried out by different artistic practices focusing on various kinds of interfaces of control mechanisms operating in the social, political, economic, cultural, geo-political, and psychological layers of our daily lives.

The aim of the project series, under.ctrl is not to propose an objection or resistance models to these systems but to investigate art projects and art-based actions that raise the threshold of the awareness for comprehending and deciphering these mechanisms. In the same line of thought, this project is also an attempt to detect tactics and rejection mechanisms along with the "off the record" strategies of the art works and actions against the pressures and conditions of these mechanisms. But we also question whether such strategies paradoxically serve for these systems by absorbing any kind of resistance and normalizing reactions. In this respect, since 2004, under.ctrl as an on-going project manifests these questionings and thoughts through various formats. For Graz launch, the curatorial practice once again followed and mimicked these considerations.

under.ctrl was planned as an event in process with various performance formats, put forward observations on the various aspects of the mechanisms that control our lives, in connection with their designed interfaces. Throughout three days, Forum Stadtpark hosted sound performances, installations and screenings of works and documentaries (in a definite time frame with a controlled but composite schedule) along with a panel that will be publicized after the event. Therefore, it operated as a platform of discussion on how these interfaces are shaped and alter our lives in different local contexts. loosing.ctrl -as one of the sub channels of the series- was also be presented with a screening programme. under.ctrl graz launch brought a specific emphasis to the local context through the works of Austrian artists and a local activist group.

The design/layout/setting of the exhibition

All of the art works, extracts, documentations of art works and actions in the exhibition were presented by using the same interface and format. Yet, theer were two parts of the exhibition: (i) The installations of Nooshin Farhid, Nicole Puckemayr and Johannes Zmölnig were presented at the entrance of the exhibition hall; (ii) the video works along with the live performances share the same space (the exhibition gallery of the Forum StadtPark . It was a proposal which was working on the perceptual level.

The operation logic of the four screens proposed an unpredictable and playful process within limits of time and space. The order and placement of the works were directed by Erhan Muratoglu, as a live action. This action proceeded through the low-level interaction according to the reactions and responses of the audience. Yet, this probabilistic system was thoroughly open to any kind of error and accident. This was also valid for the streaming process via Internet. (the streaming was hosted by Ales Zemene (ice.mur.at).

The audience became active at the moment he or she had entered the space. The audience had to take decision where to position him/herself and his or her movements were in a way controlled by the changing order and the placement of the screenings. Furthermore, every night the sitting units were changed so the audience were forced to adapt another setting for watching the screenings.

Last but not least, different contingencies could be visualized through this operation logic. The order constantly suggested a new set of interrelations. These were not linear; yet emerged simultaneously through a network of themes, visual languages, geographical inputs and sound.

Time frame of the live performances along with the design of the space enabled the live performances to be seen outside of the gallery from the StadtPark.


Blind Spot
Nooshin Farhid

"Blind Spot is a two monitor installation work in which one monitor operates around a central theme whilst on the edge of our peripheral vision is the second monitor which shows the constant image of the aftermath of a violent event. The piece explores the contemporary subject of surveillance, all the symbols of power and control, authority and technology are in place yet gradually and overwhelmingly this situation is undermined, the stability of things gives way to a sense of anxiety and instability. The passivity of the rural landscape is replaced by the suggestion of a counter narrative., one in which the dominance of privileged authority is in the process of being dismantled. Interwoven throughout the piece is the constant shifting between the seriousness of a documentary style and the humorous banality in the image manipulation, this very deliberate structuring re-enforces the critical stance of Blind Spot".

text by Paul Eachus

what's behind (The Urban Prototypes Project)
Hristina Ivanoska

The animation is an attempt to frame the nomadic imprint of the contemporary refugee. Through many concerns orbiting around surviving, security, freedom, self-sufficiency and life-standards, projected scenes correlate with different modes of survival and existence under the present circumstances of globalization.

The Red Flag Flies
Zhou Hongxiang

Zhou Hongxiang summarizes his film "The Red Flag Flies" (Hongqi Piao) as "visual art without a story; an independent visual art with slogans as its dialogues; a conceptual visual art with human beings as its symbols; visual art without leading or minor roles; visual art without professional actors. "The Red Flag Flies" provides you with another reading method". The film treats 'image' as a distinct cultural strategy. It transforms symbolized and metaphoric images, national poems, slogans, and icons into critical episodes. The flow of the film is directed by the continuous rhythm of sound composed by these episodes.

you are beautiful
Ran Slavin

Its a collection of racist-hate curses spilled out at 1 frame per curse. [1fpc]

Nicole Pruckermayr - IOhannes zmölnig

As small as a handkerchief an area is defined and reutilized. The smallness seems to be diametrically opposed to the mightiness of what it analyses. The moving skin is controlled via the consumption of electricity in Graz. The individual areas of the city are mapped to regions on the skin via a complex system. The power consumption in the urban area determines the energy consumption on the visible surface. The city as a whole democratic complex determines and controls the behavior of the installation. (e.g. Whenever somebody is turning on their electric heater, this will have some influence on the installation. If more energy is consumed – because more people have turned on their radiators – the reaction of the installation will become stronger.) The "handkerchief“ transforms itself into a small "generating plant“ with a moving and modulating surface which seems to be kept in check.

On the other hand, the installation itself needs electricity and is retroactive on the observed city. It is an example for many control conditions in which the terms are not that black and white as they appear to be. It is not really clear if the area controls the consumption of electricity or contrariwise. By producing noises, the „generating plant“ almost sounds like the main place of electricity production, which in turn is (in a double sense) the motivation and driving power of this installation. The "handkerchief“ lies carelessly on the ground and works and works - futile but diligent and unresting: spinning straw to gold...

text by the artists