Media Art Collection

Moderna galerija Ljubljana – Media Art Collection
opening of the exhibition
Tuesday, 23 December 2008, at 7pm (Sao Paulo Time) – 10pm (Paris Time)
in Noema Digital Art Gallery, Second Life


b.ALT.ica in Second Life

Curator: Igor Španjol
Programming and design: Vera Bighetti, Brazil
SL hosting: Agencía Clik, Meta Midia Digital
Production: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana
Coproduction: Meta Midia Digital, Noema Digital Arts in the frame of the action “Hosting Moderna Galerija!”

Featured Artists:
Zemira Alajbegović & Neven Korda, Borghesia, Vuk Ćosić, Nuša & Srečo Dragan, Marina Gržinić & Aina Šmid,  Ema Kugler, Franc Purg, Igor Štromajer, Apolonija Šušteršič, Miha Vipotnik.


b.ALT.ica in Second Life

net art project by Igor Štromajer (from 1998)
– Courtesy of Moderna galerija Ljubljana – Slovene Museum of Contemporary Arts, Slovenia
– mirror / residency – b.ALT.ica (at Ars Electronica Future Lab)

Hosting Moderna galerija

Years of (non)policies have proved an existential threat to the basic infrastructure and intellectual and creative work in the field of  visual art. The city and the country are downgrading the visual arts relative to other fields of artistic production. Contemporary visual art has long exhibited the characteristics of total art, and for several decades now the discourse of visual art has extended well beyond the notions of classic techniques, tools and means of expression. Contemporary art includes performative, non-gallery, conceptual, contextual and traditional art practices and dimensions, and does not differentiate between ‘new’ or ‘old’ media. The effects of malnourishment, which threatens to drastically decline activities or even result in close-downs, can be seen in all spheres – production, interpretation, presentation, education, theory, documentation, archives, research, counselling or promotion. The major international contemporary visual arts events, such as documenta, the Venice Biennale, Manifesta and others are closely connected with the Moderna galerija, public institutes, galleries, freelance artists and NGOs, all of which represent a solid basis, with well-developed international networks.

To express support for the Moderna galerija and its endeavours to secure better working conditions during renovation, we have been organising activities which aim to mitigate the negative effects that the suspension of the gallery’s activities have on modern and contemporary art. Our activities are also an appeal to institutions and individuals working in the field of contemporary art to establish a networking platform to facilitate easier communication and collaboration.





b.ALT.ica by Igor Štromajer (1998)

About Moderna galerija

Moderna galerija (Museum of Modern Art) is the Slovene national institution for modern and contemporary art. As a museum of Slovene modern art it explores and presents the 20th-century Slovene art tradition, while as a museum of contemporary art and exhibition venue it presents new art practices and their context. It is also a documentary, study, research and education centre, a place for discussions and reflection and for presenting art to a wider audience. Moderna galerija positioned itself as the first institution in Europe to start systematically collecting works by Eastern European artists and rewriting the history of postwar art.

About the media art collection

Moderna galerija began to assemble its media art collection in the late nineties, a time following major local and political changes. Until than its purchases of video and installation works were infrequent and unsistematic. The purpose of the collection is manifold: constituting works mainly by Slovene video artists, it means that the Museum of Modern Art has created a new dimension to its activities, i.e. it wishes to present media art, which has been overlooked until than, to establish a dialogue between traditional and media artists and in this way create a new, different view on the development of art in the second half of the twentieth century.
Although the collection is small, it do has many examples of both video and installation art, and it shows this type of work regulary. They have included net art in several group exhibitions oriented toward contemporary trends. The collection already comprises representative works that are good examples of the development of media art in Slovenia and present, despite their relatively small number, a varied picture in terms of generation, expression and technological approach. New media department is concentrated on solving the problems related to the conservation and presentation of media art. A comprehensive approach is essential in planing a realistic policy for purchasing works of this type.

How to access Noema’s Gallery on Second Life:

If you don’t have an account on Second Life:

– Access;
– Click on join and create an account;
– Download and install a software available after finishing your registration;
– Login on the software and choose an avatar to represent yourself on Second Life;
– Click on search and write Noema;
– Choose Noema and click on Teleport;

If you have an account on Second Life:

Supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana.

text by by Sylvie Parent
published by La Biennale de Montreal 2000 – Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Sep. 28 – Oct. 29., 2000

b.ALT.ica takes the visitor into an imaginary realm, offering the possibility of encountering the end of time, and to move about in a place of no return. In the artist’s words, “b.ALT.ica is about a virtual state or country, on the other side. It is about the line between the living and the dead world.”[1]. By means of a series of metaphors alluding to concepts of the last instants of life and accounts of near-death experiences,[2] the work establishes a correspondence between the passage from life to death (the “death rattle” when the dying person sees his life in flashback) and the entry into cyberspace.

The work, dedicated to the artist’s recently-deceased father, queries what remains of life when an individual leaves it. The symbolization of death is mainly concerned with life that persists, represented as an afterlife, attenuated or magnified, in all the notions of the hereafter: “(…) it is another life, a Life No.2, an ulterior life that takes over from the first one beyond the void of death”.[3] What does this supposed life after death look like, and how does it resemble or differ from real life, life before death?

How is it possible to convey life and the end of life simultaneously? In the environment of the Web, we feel that we continue to live in cyberspace, to move and make choices, that pieces of our lives can exist in it even if we are absent from the life that surrounds us, having torn ourselves away from the continuity of life to adopt a simulated life. In b.ALT.ica, we are told that we have arrived at the end and can “play the end,” knowing full well that our lives are not in danger. The procedure is more of a test, a try-out run.

Reaching the limit and going past the finish-line, we experience a breaking-off and are given the opportunity to simulate our own disappearance. Does the flickering mean that the system will shut down? The passage from light to darkness and vice-versa (but which side is the light actually on?) becomes an empty zone in which concealed paths can be taken. Like doors opening, icons lead into territories which correspond to fundamental aspects of life. What happens to love, language, individuality, communication, sexuality, politics, and art when earthly existence is over? Once these paths have been followed, however, there is nowhere else to go: each one leads to a dead end. Thus, after travelling through the archipelago of b.ALT.ica, we halt our journey because there is nothing left. Then we are faced with nothingness-infinite, inexpressible emptyness and silence.

[1] Igor Stromajer interviewed by Josephine Bosma, in nettime,, 2000.
[2] See Raymond Moody, La vie apres la vie, enquete a propos d’un phenomene: la survie de la conscience apres la mort du corps, Laffont, 1977.
[3] Vladimir Jankelevitch, La mort, Paris, Flammarion, 1977, p.385.

an interview with Igor Stromajer
by Tilman Baumgaertel
published by Telepolis (Germany, April 1999)

TB: Can you comment a little bit on “b.ALT.ica”, which is to my knowledge your latest work…

IS: The latest pieces are “Oppera Teorettikka Internettikka – Stromajer is singing the theory of Internet” (also available on in RealAudio format) which is a performance on stage and “zvrst3” which is a collected for the festival in Russia. It’s very hard for me to comment b.ALT.ica. The project is dedicated to my father because b.ALT.ica is the place where he lives now. It is the land at the end of time. Beyond. And it is emotional. It is about the relationship between communication and communism. About “Was ist Kunst? and “Was ist nicht Kunst?”. About uncensored sky view, no-time zone, definition of, viruses and the last mind game. About not hurting me because every time you say goodbye I die a little. And about where have all the flowers gone? That’s b.ALT.ica and that’s what’s on my mind all the time.

“Interview with Igor Stromajer”

an interview with Igor Stromajer
by Josephine Bosma
published at Nettime and Rhizome (August, 2000) and Archee Magazine (November 2000, Montreal, Canada)

JB: What is the background of ‘b.ALT.ica’?

IS: b.ALT.ica is about a virtual state or country, on the other side. It is something about the line between the living and dead world. It is about what happens after death.

JB: But why call it ‘b.ALT.ica’ then?

IS: There is no logical explanation.

JB: Do you see the Baltics as a place of death?

IS: I have been there once after I did the project. It is not meant as a real geographical place, but the word Baltica sounds for me like something that is not of this world. I did it in 1997, when my father died. I needed a place to put him, somewhere. So that I could imagine: where is he now? There. I chose Baltica because it sounded emotional to me, far away. I later discovered a beer is called ‘Baltica’ in Moscow –laughs–, I bought it. They have a light version and a normal version.

“Netzkunst und der Netzkünstler: Igor Stromajer”
text by Sonja Schaub
Februar 2001, Netzwissenschaft, Germany

Das b.ALT.ica entstand 1998. Es entstand im selben Jahr, in dem Igor Stromajers Vater Franjo Stromajer verstarb.

Der Netzkünstler erklärte zu diesem Kunstwerk, dass es einen fernen Ort, einen virtuellen Staat, ein virtuelles Land darstellt, in dem sich sein Vater nun befinde: Das Jenseits. Er war nach dem Tod seines Vaters auf der Suche nach einem Platz, an dem er sich den Verstorbenen vorstellen konnte. Einen Platz, wo er ihn positionieren konnte. Es geht in diesem Werk um die Grenze zwischen der Welt der Lebenden und der Welt der Verstorbenen. Es geht Igor Stromajer darum, was nach dem Tod passiert. Baltica soll keinen real existierenden Ort bezeichnen: der Künstler wählte den Namen, weil er sich für ihn emotional anhörte, als wäre er weit weg32. Eine Anspielung auf einen virtuellen Ort laesst sich indes erkennen: auf das French-Baltic-Nordic Video and New Media Festival, für das b.ALT.ica produziert wurde.

Darüber hinaus geht es aber auch – wie man an den vielen darauf deutenden Symbolen im Werk erkennen kann – um Kommunikation und Kommunismus, es geht darum, was Kunst ist und was keine Kunst ist. In seinen eigenen Worten: Es geht um den “unzensierten Himmelsblick, um Unzeit – Zonen, die Definition von, Viren und das letzte Gehirnspiel. Darum nicht zu leiden, denn jedesmal, wenn Du gehst, sterbe ich ein bischen. Und darum, wohin all die Blumen sind. (…) Das ist “b.ALT.ica”, und das ist auch, worüber ich die ganze Zeit nachdenke”33.

Diese sehr spirituelle Dimension erschließt sich bei der Betrachtung des Netzkunstwerkes aber erst nach und nach. Dem User kann auf dem Weg durch dieses sehr persönliche nochmals deutlich werden, für was die Bezeichnung “INTIMA” steht.

Wer sich im Internet auf den Weg nach “b.ALT.ica” macht, wird von einer schwarzen Startseite begrüßt. Mit ein bischen Glück findet man den Link, der sich in der Mitte der schwarzen Seite verbirgt und nur durch die optische Veränderung des Cursors zu erkennen ist. Öffnet man die nächste Seite durch einen Klick, so erscheinen – wiederum auf schwarzem Hintergrund – die Widmung, das Editorial sowie, etwas oberhalb der Mitte, sechs weiß-graue Kästchen (2×3 Kästchen).

Von hier aus öffnet sich die Welt “b.ALT.ica”.

Begrüßt wird der Betrachter von einem Gewirr ständig wechselnder Zahlen, die in vier länglichen, rechteckigen und an den Ecken des Bildschirms orientierten Feldern aufgereiht sind.

Klickt man nun beispielsweise das linke obere Feld voller laufender Zahlen an, so erscheint nur noch die oberste Reihe Zahlen, die unteren verschwinden. Zurück bleibt eine dünne senkrechte, gestrichelte Linie. Bei einem erneuten Klick auf dasselbe Feld erkennt man in einer flackernden Abwechslung Zahlenreihen und Worte. Wiederholt man den Klick mit der Maus im selben Bereich, erscheint in der oberen Hälfte das Bild einer jungen Frau, zerlegt in vier Einzelbilder, die jeweils nur solange sichtbar sind, wie man sie mit dem Cursor berührt.

Diesen Vorgang kann man bei allen vier weiter oben beschriebenen Zahlenfeldern durchführen. Bei allen kommt man schließlich zu demselben Frauenbild. Von hier an unterscheiden sich die Abfolgen jedoch. So erscheint dem Betrachter beim Weiterklicken zum Beispiel in einem Feld eine Landkarte des virtuellen Baltica, oder man wird in einem anderen darüber informiert, dass man nun in Baltica angekommen sei, die Reise hiermit ein Ende hat und man für immer hier bleiben muß.

Zur Erleichterung des Betrachters hat dieser, als Mitglied der Welt der Lebenden, die Möglichkeit “b.ALT.ica” jederzeit zu verlassen.

Man sollte dies jedoch nicht zu früh tun, denn dieses schlichte und fast durchgehend schwarz-weiß gestaltete Land34 zwischen den Welten übt eine wunderbare Anziehung aus, die einen dazu verleiten möchte, immer weiter in diese virtuelle und spirituelle Welt einzutauchen.



a=tF² • └⦿✚⦿┘

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