WRO online thematic path
Apr 20-26, 2020


WRO online thematic path
Apr 20-26, 2020



As a domain of the chosen few who possessed relevant knowledge and boasted the mastery of new tools, modern technology, which in its earlier developmental phases was neither widely accessible nor popularly comprehensible, was for quite a while bathed in an aura of the arcane, with artists who skillfully used new technologies perceived as shamans – the initiated ones. Artists themselves, some in earnest and some rather in jest, often externalized their technological prowess by relying on the shamanic attributes, ethnic aesthetics, and tribal paraphernalia of remote cultures of the world, whereby they indulged in practices associated with rituals, rites, trance states, and loops of repetitions. In searching for new interconnections in the audiovisual realm, they drew on the shamanistic narratives of the shared origin of all things.

in 2009, Ge-Suk Yeo staged a ritual devoted to time. Although the passing moments have been codified by the harness of hours, minutes, and seconds, each and every one of us experiences time in their own, unique way, resulting from multiple crosscutting psycho-physical processes. The simple repetitive sounds used in the performance produce a narrative continuum which the artists chooses to rupture, yanking the audience out of the eternal present. Time Sculptures employs a wide range of bodily behavior – singing, dancing, image generation – which enhances the mysticism and augments the affective layer of the event.

Yuto Hasebe’s The Trees, Our Blood Vessel explores the structures, forkings, and visual similarities of humans, animals, and plants. He constructed an instrument which produced sounds by string vibrations and at the same time generated visualizations of expanding venous rhizomes – images intersecting morpho-graphic projections of human body structures and configurations of tree branches. In Hasebe’s performance, music discovers that which lies beneath our tissues and where life resides; this brings to the fore a vision of the world as built of similar structures, with the only difference to be found in the materials which go into the actualization of their intrinsic potentiality.

Cine-film has an edge over the human eyeball. Specifically, it has no blind spot, i.e., the place on the optic disc of the retina which lacks photoreceptor cells. For this reason, cine-film could more accurately register the 20th century, at the same time acquiring a series of improvements in the recording and presentation of images. The French collective Burstscratch came to the 2017 WRO Biennale with an experiment proposal. The group put up a special screening which experimented with sound and image by combining a number of footages, rewinding tapes, and/or using various techniques to transform the image surface. The collective sought to remind that film is the matter of light, light motions, and image manipulations, and that, as such, it is essentially a distortion of our vision.

Getting at the world is not always a procedure that easily lends itself to rational analyses. In RAM Microsystems, Johannes Kreidler tried to break into and hack the computer’s mind, i.e., its cache memory. Kreidler manipulated and twisted samples in the computer RAM, like a surgeon performing a skull trepanation, with a joystick instead of a drill in his hand. As sequelae of complicated brain surgeries may involve the loss of memory and/or vision, similar procedures, in this case involving copper wiring rather than protein structures, became an intricate artistic intervention.

Seeing the world overlaps with comprehending the world, with things located beyond the horizon of our gaze relegated into inconsequentiality. However, as the operations of the world take place even at the molecular level, a multitude of histories remain unperceived and untold. These oh-so-human tendencies were addressed by Sara Kolster and Derek Holzer at the WRO Biennale in 2005. In their ResonanCITY, they put together a visual collage composed of images of images. As photosensitive tapes showed reflections of images of various place, the tapes themselves also combined into an image of their own as material carriers. As a result, images of various ontic status could be blended, which sensitized the audience to alternative ways of perceiving the reality.

The state of trance, obsessive repetition, and the shamanistic orgiastic feat of light were launched in Le Vrey Remede d’Amour, a performance by Joachim Montessuis. Penetrating the space of the Polski Theatre’s Swiebodzki Stage in Wocław, the drone-like music enhanced this spiritual seance. The rotating dream machines (flickering tubes designed by Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs to induce novel states of consciousness) with the audience seated around became a site of passage, of a literal illumination which at the same time dazzled the spectators into blindness, as intensely bright, multi-shaped light beams relentlessly attacked their eyes. Montessuis tried to engender an extraordinary state of perception – a hypnotic one triggered by a surfeit of audio-photic stimuli.

This week’s last and at the same time oldest documentation shows Mark Trayle as he endeavors to steal a glimpse behind the façade of our world and tear the curtain put up by Western metaphysics. At the legendary Ars Electronica festival in 1994, his instrument – a VR glove – reached out for different animist objects and produced sounds of varying intensity, depending on its specific location in a room which was invisible to the audience. In the recorded documentation, Trayle also demonstrates his original techno-shamanic implements – electronics, desiccated insects, and remnants of dead animals. (CW)

Ge-Suk Yeo (KR/DE)
Time Sculptures
documentation of the performance
Wroclaw Puppet Theatre – Chamber Hall
13th Media Art Biennale WRO 09 Expanded City

Yuto Hasebe (JP)
Tree Guitar. The Trees, Our Blood Vessels
documentation of the performance
Jerzy Grotowski Institute
15th Media Art Biennale WRO 2013 Pioneering Values

Burstscratch (FR)
Le Point Aveugle
documentation of the performance
courtyard of the National Museum in Wroclaw
12th Media Art Biennale WRO 07

Johannes Kreidler (DE)
RAM Microsystems
documentation of the performance
courtyard of the National Museum in Wroclaw
12th Media Art Biennale WRO 07

Sara Kolster (NL) + Derek Holzer (US)
documentation of the performance
Wrocław Contomporary Theatre
scene at the attics
11th Media Art Biennale WRO 05

Joachim Montessuis (FR)
Le Vray Remède d’Amour
documentation of the performance
Teatr Polski, Świebodzki Stage
16th Media Art Biennale WRO 2015 Test Exposure

Mark Trayle (US)
Gates – Seven and Haunted
documentation of the performance and an artist talk
Ars Electronica 1994 / Intelligent Environment