In April 2016, thirteen groups from Poland and England began a long-distance cooperation, confronting insights and experiences in the area of young art and contemporary art within an international project Connect. The project was created by the curators, Oxana Smirnova and Paweł Mendrek, within the framework of cooperation between London’s Chelsea College of Art and the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice.
A pair of artists, Mariusz Maślanka and Paul Abbott, after their London presentation, in the next stage of the project at WRO Atelier, are trying to capture and bring forward the situation, in which the viewer is faced by the dilemma between the real world and the digital show.
Marc Augé, speaking of the multiplication of what we now call a “non-place”, also foresees expansion into virtual places of transits – like cable and wireless networks that mobilise extraterrestrial space for the purposes of a communication so peculiar that it often puts the individual in contact only with another image of him or herself. Double Indemnity, a title proposed by Paul Abbott (taken from the American film noir from over 70 years ago), turns out to be a metaphor for living in two spaces simultaneously: in the material one and the digital one. Both these planes secure one another, sharing a great deal of social representative, organizational and communication functions.
Mariusz Maślanka says: “Travel as a metaphor of both the computer and internet use is the main reason for my reflection on the digital space that surrounds us. By attributing the non-place features to it, I find the virtual as the sign of our times, where here and now cannot be specified”.
Partners: Art Council England/British Council, Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre, Culture.pl, Katowice City, Municipality of Wroclaw
The “Connect” project by Oxana Smirnova and Paweł Mendrek was created in the framework of cooperation between London’s Chelsea College of Art and the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice. The main premise of the project was a widely understood collaboration between artists from Great Britain and Poland. Through the open call procedure, there were 35 artists selected to work in pairs and/or groups.
In April 2016, thirteen Polish-English teams began a long-distance cooperation, confronting insights and experiences in the area of young art and contemporary art based on different study programs, and cultural and geopolitical differences. The collaboration created the possibility to discuss issues, such as: the artist, the space and the audience, allowing to look at the difficulties and benefits of the creative partnership.
The first exhibition of the project was held at the Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre in London. The exhibition summarizing the project will take place on 2 June 2017 in the Rondo Sztuki Gallery in Katowice.
Paul Abbott graduated from the Boston Massachusetts College of Art & Design and London’s Chelsea College of Arts. Mariusz Maślanka studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, where he moved from to the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wroclaw. They both move within the field of multimedia art. Their works often refer to modern individuals immersed in the habitat.
Maślanka and Abbott have started their collaboration when exchanging e-mails and sharing videos that has outlined the common thematic and formal area of their interest. Fascinated by the concept of the “non-space”, they explored numerous real and digital spaces, trying to capture and bring forward the situation in which the viewer is confronted with the dilemma unfolding between the real world and its digital representations.
The “Double Indemnity” exhibition is another opportunity to look at the anthropological “here” in the digital context. The new spaces of human existence and the transit generated by the widespread supermodernity is becoming an incredibly interesting area for artistic activities. In this way, the art of post-internet provides many valuable insights and comments on the existence of the man of the west of “here” and “now”.
One day, the need for space makes itself felt… It comes to us without warning. And never goes away. The irresistible wish for a space of our own. A mobile space which can take us anywhere. A space where everything is to hand and nothing is lacking… You’ve never been so firmly on the ground as you are in (the E)space.
Marc Augé in the Introduction to an “Anthropology of Supermodernity” describes the modernity as a denial of what has so far been called a place.
(…) a space which cannot be defined as relational, or historical, or concerned with identity will be a non-place. Supermodernity is defined as what is no longer modern, a lost boundary between yesterday and today, excess of events, information, space. But the space of super modernity is inhabited by this contradiction: it deals only with individuals (…), but they are identified (…) only on entering or leaving. These ways in and out are gates between what’s real and what’s unreal, logging in and logging out.
A world where people are born in the clinic and die in hospital, where transit points and temporary abodes are proliferating under luxurious or inhuman conditions (…); where a dense network of means of transport which are also inhabited spaces is developing; where the habitue of supermarkets, slot machines and credit cards communicates wordlessly, through gestures, with an abstract, unmediated commerce; a world thus surrendered to solitary individuality, to the fleeting, the temporary and ephemeral (…).
“Double Indemnity” – the title proposed by Paul Abbott – was taken from the American film noir about an insurance agent and an unhappy wife who plan her husband’s murder that can has a dual advantage: the agent will get money from the policy and the woman will be freed from her husband.
Placing the title of this film from 1940s in the context of the modern society seems quite naive (though not outdated), but separating it partially from the previously outlined history gives us the opportunity to consider the digital, the mobile internet, and the social media in a completely different point of view. Marc Augé, speaking of the multiplication of what we now call a “non-place”, also foresees expansion into virtual places of transits – like cable and wireless networks that mobilise extraterrestrial space for the purposes of a communication so peculiar that it often puts the individual in contact only with another image of him or herself. Double indemnity turns out to be a metaphor for living in two spaces simultaneously: in the material one and the digital one. Both these planes secure one another, sharing a great deal of social representative, organizational and communication functions.
At this moment it is difficult a to talk about the possibility of existence in only one of these spaces as the boundaries between them are becoming increasingly blurred. Just as there is no clear boundary between the place and the “non-place”.
Thus in the Akan civilisations (of present-day Ghana and the Ivory Coast) the psyche of each individual is defined by the two “entities”; the material character of a their existence is indicated directly by the fact that one of them is assimilated to the shadow cast by the body, and indirectly by the fact that weakness of the body is attributed to the weakness or departure of one of them. Health is defined by their perfect coincidence. On the other hand, a person may be killed if awakened suddenly, as one of these ‘entities’, the double that wanders by night, may not have time to reoccupy the body at the moment of waking.
In the work of Marc Augé, there dominates the motif of the place – the landscape – and the lonely traveler. Staying on the journey allows you to unleash this extraordinary feeling of lightness, a certain aestheticization, the exchange of worlds. Travel as the metaphor of the computer and internet use is the main reason for my reflection on the digital space that surrounds us. By attributing the non-place features to it, I find the virtual as an exceptional sign of our times, where here and now cannot be specified.
(…) there are spaces in which the individual feels himself to be a spectator without paying much attention to the spectacle. As if the position of spectator were the essence of the spectacle, as if basically the spectator in the position of a spectator were his own spectacle.