We started the Light Year at the beginning of January by switching on a neon sign on the façade of the WRO Art Center. This phrase, thrown as a joke, became the watchword for our activities in 2022. In the following events, we explored micro- and macrocosms, burned pixels, filled fibre optics with data, illuminated clues and brought our archives into the light.
As we enter 2023, we are not turning off the lights, but illuminating the gallery space with interactive installations and objects that will light our way towards the WRO 2023 Biennale.
In addition to original (Attention: Light! by Józef Robakowski) and premiere installations (Attention: Light! v. 3.0 by Paweł Janicki) and relics of the post-apocalypse (Post-Post-Apocalypsis by the Dæd Baitz collective), we went on an exploration of our archives and the WRO Collection in search not so much of complete works as remnants, spare parts or prototypes. The whole process took on a bit of a Mad-Max feel as we searched for treasures in media art junkyards. Each object is an arte-fact purged of its junk status and contextualised with archaeological precision. We were tracing our own footprints while reconstructing our own media art timeline. Because the next stage of our expedition was to assign the elements we found to video-documentations presenting the works from which our arte-facts came. All in line with the idea of data ecology and in opposition to overproduction. Instead of elaborate and carefully directed montages, we decided to show never-used photographs, raw material that by hundreds of gigabytes is lying on our servers.
From all of this, an interactive trash-lab was created, examining scraps of information out of context. The panorama of the exhibition is like a post-apocalyptic landscape from which we are trying to reconstruct some jagged piece of history. And since the Light Year has become our watchword – that is why the exhibition shines. It shines with the light reflected from the remnants of creative processes. In the spirit of upcycling – nothing is lost. Everything stays in orbit. We still do not have the right technology to deal with the residues. And if you can’t get rid of them, let alone ignore them, maybe you just have to look at them, not look past them, but make sense of them. Not throw them away, but use them. Because every such remnant is a vehicle for renewable content. Depending on its position in relation to the event horizon and what and whose light it is able to reflect at any given moment.
Part of the exhibition are Thursday meetings in the trash-lab, during which we will explore issues of arte-facts, data ecology and the light years ahead (or behind) us.
concept and development: Dagmara Domagała & Paweł Janicki