From 1970 to 1989, Haus der Statistik operated as the Central Administrative Headquarters for Statistics in the German Democratic Republic: an institution for the cybernetic regulation of society and everyday life.
Working from the site-specific history of Haus der Statistik, Calculating Control explores the impact of cybernetics on artistic and social practices, networks, and technology. Connecting Haus der Statistik with other locations and histories of cybernetic ideals, Calculating Control draws a trajectory from this building to contemporary algorithmic practices and their socio-political effects, many of which mark a crucial point of reference for netart.
As an artistic practice of network society, netart traces systems of cybernetic administration and renders their forms visible and subject to revision. Over the duration of six months, Calculating Control will unravel cybernetic thinking in the space of two separate exhibitions, a symposium, an unconference, as well as an online journal.
“Slovenian artist Igor Štromajer, an early practitioner of internet art, remembers pushing back against an older generation of sceptics so he is keen to remain open minded. So far, however, he finds NFTs disappointing. ‘We’ve had digital and interactive computer-based art for decades. In the ’90s, at the beginning of the net art era, we developed interactive structures that were based on multiple servers around the world. They weren’t just complex technically but also in terms of their content, those go hand in hand.’ Each work could take several months to programme and selling them was difficult because Stromajer had limited control over the dispersed servers and the preservation of the work. When one of his pieces was acquired by the Pompidou Centre in Paris in 2002, Stromajer was asked to sign an agreement not to sell the work to someone else in lieu of being able to provide an ‘original’.
‘Now we’ve gone back to single file artworks, jpegs and gifs, which cuts the connection with net art as it was,’ Štromajer says. He sees this as part of a wider trend, started by the constraints and censorships of social media, which he calls the meme-ification of post-internet art. ‘If the market demands it then the art will be offered, that’s normal, but if you simplify it to sell it then at the end you get a single gif.’”
Workshops are part of KIBLA’s educational program, co-financed by Ministry of Culture of Republic of Slovenia and Municipality of Maribor.
Festival KIBLIX 2020–2021 is part of project RUK (2019–2022). RUK is a network of art and culture research centers on the crossroads of art, science, and technology. The project is co-financed by the Republic of Slovenia and the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund.
“Zelo mi je všeč delo Igorja Štromajerja, ki je naš net artist in upodobi svoj avtoportret s podobo, ki bi jo, glede na njeno formo, sicer zasledili na internetu, je pa narejena oz. upodobljena kot goblen. Gre torej za zanimiv kontrast med visoko tehnologijo in zelo starim medijem, pri katerem uporabljamo svoje roke. Gre za zanimivo tenzijo.”
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