The whole semestral experience was new to me, I had never before been in touch with Bioart or with pretty much any other media but painting. Within the course we attended two workshops that broadened our view on the possibilities of developing an art work or artistic project. We attended a workshop with Špela Petrič and another one with Wolfgang Spahn. Both had an influence on me. Most influence I believe had Špela’s approach to art, I found it very poetic, lyrical, simple but not austere. Changed my view on the possibility of interactivity in art.

Workshop with Špela Petrič

Within this workshop we got to play characters as if within a game. A game about some possible yet alternate and magical future, one in which humanity again gets in touch with nature. First, we headed to a park as our closest imitation of nature to play the game, just for that fact I found the game much more accurate. A performative sci-fi workshop in man made nature. Within this alternate future, we played archetypes of this almost utopian world. We got to play a very materialist archetypal character that measures the value of wood. Wood and trees as a primary resource for economy. So far it sounds similar to this world, or our reality, but the plot twist consisted in the measuring technique. We wore long sleeves crafted by Špela herself, and hugged the tree to measure the diameter. The whole time we all maintained a serious attitude and I must say most of my classmates stayed perfectly loyal to their roles. Once measured, the tree would receive a little sticker to mark that it had already been counted. The act of hugging the trees had an impact on me, at one point I thought to myself if at cutting a tree down if there was this type of interaction in real-life it would make a difference. If before getting rid of an ace instead of just making statistics there where an interaction, the realization of the scale of damage would be more accurate. It is the depersonalized handling of resources, which is to blame for many of the large-scale environmental dilemmas.

During the class we also got to change to other characters. We played archetypes obsessed with beauty, not any beauty but the one inspired by harmony in nature. In some way, this particular character seamed were shallow to me at first, naïve as well. I could not tell to wat point the character traits where a critique to an overly anesthetized beauty and patrons of order.

We where given decorative frames, like the ones you use to hang posters, pictures or painitng on your walls. On those frames drawn lines of the Golden Ratio. We had to look for beauty by this parameter. Maybe just my interpretation since the glance through the frame which was a classic frame, reminded me of landscape paintings. Inevitably I thought about the rococo period paintings of for example Watteau. Lovely gardens, lovely paintings yet completely detached from reality. Overly aestheticized ideals of harmony and order in nature. Another thing about the archetype that inevitably linked in my thoughts to Watteau´s paintings of nobles enjoying the outdoors was the vanity within the whole act. This was the least fun character to interpret.

The las archetype tailored by Špela for us was of some type of healer or soother of the trees. This character was the most spiritual for me. Most enjoyable to play, one cloud really lose oneself. From simple objects, Špela had constructed almost ridiculous looking object to stimuli the trees around us. Because of the connotation of to "caress", "stimuli" and "sooth" have, and because the trees are not only equal but also even higher beings, we needed their consent. We received little devices to inquire from the trees if they consented to our activities. In Czech we call it Kivadlo, I guess the word in English is pendulum as it is in Latin. My mother had one so this moment was nostalgic and quite serious to me. Even though made from a common object I somehow still believe in some extent the capability of this contraption. I have the idea that pendulums work in an actually much simpler level than as most esoteric believers present them, the pendulum tells me things I know but do not wish to admit to myself. Some form of communication with the unconscious, I personally belive. My upbringing took hold of me anyhow and the experience of being rejected by varies trees got to me. Well not in a bad way to be honest, but it puzzled me that the pendulum would never move as affirming. Over all the experience was very peaceful and soothing at least for me even though no tree wanted my touch.

Afterward we all could build our own archetypes within Špela´s world. We could play within her game and so we all did.

Špela Petrič's website

Workshop with Wolfgang Spahn

Within this workshop we worked with the Pop Neuron designed by Christian Faubel and Wolfgang Spahn. Basically an electronic analogue artificial network that once connected interact. We got the schematic and all the components, even the printed board to the Pop Neuron. We built two together and then connected to the others. Once all of our pieces where built we were able to make a concert, a very noisy one. The structure and pattern of the sound would be interfered by any movement on any of the components. They were reading and reacting to each other. At some points the repetitiveness of the sound was pleasant and then randomly high pitched noise would appear.

It was my very first time building such a thing. The experience was great. My very first time soldering. Visually it was interesting the mixture of materials and the little blinking of Leds.

Pop Neuron