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BLACK CLINIC: Symbiotechnosis



Centralna aktivnost BLACK CLINIC festivala je novomedijska umjetnička izložba djela mladih umjetnika (na ovogodišnju temu Simbiotehnoze) produciranih u sklopu BLACK CLINIC Art inkubatora.

Za sudjelovanje na ovogodišnjem Black Clinic art inkubator i festivalu, odabrana su dva mlada umjetnika – Ana Salluzzo (HR) i Miha Godec (SI) koji su svojim umjetničkim idejama pogodili srž ovogodišnje teme festivala (simbiotehnoza).

U sklopu festivala producirana su i prikazana njihova četiri djela.


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Cilj umjetničke instalacije – projekta Simorfizam je prenjeti publici poruku simbiotehnološkog procesa uzajamnog djelovanja tehnologije na čovjeka i čovjeka na tehnologiju.

Proces kreiranja bilo kojeg artefakta nikada nemože biti jednosmjeran. Dok mi kreiramo bilo koje djelo, proces kreiranja utječe na nas.

U tom procesu mi, kao adaptivni organizmi, sami smo plastični materijal koji se može oblikovat.

Dok mi kreiramo to djelo, javlja se kibernetički proces (feedback odnos) koji kreira nas same.

Sami naziv opisuje djelo – simorfizam (sim- + -morfizam) = biološko podudaranje oblika tijela životinje s oblicima u okolišu. U ovom slučaju simorfizam se odnosi na psihološko ali i fizičko (neurobiološko) odlikovanje mozga čovjeka u procesu kreacionizma djela.


(multimedijski performans)

Cilj djela je prenjeti publici neuobičajenu perspektivu definicije čovjeka. U svakodnevnici ne razmišljamo o sebi kao strojevima koji sebe sami programiraju, svjesno ili nesvjesno. Proces samoprogramiranja čovjeka rijetko je unutarnji. Ne može se odviti odvojen od fizičkog okoliša.

Za samoprogramiranje svjesno ili nesvjesno koristimo objekte u okolini kao sredstva za taj čin. Okolina nas kontinuirano oblikuje.

U ovom djelu autor koristi svjetlo i zvuk kao jaki alat za samoprogramiranje. Bazične boje i zvukovi (elektromagnetni i radio valovi) različitih valnih duljina jedni su od ključnih reaktora na naše emotivne receptore. Uz njihove promjene gotovo je nemoguće ostati monoton.

Djelo nam prikazuje upravo taj proces naših adaptacija na te promjene.

Cilj performansa je na multimedijalan način pokazati relativno jednostavne tehnologije koje na snažan način upravljaju našim bićem.

U ovom slučaju, taj proces je samoizazvan i kontroliran, ali u prirodi se javlja u nekontroliranim uvjetima, i dijeluje na nas bez da smo toga svjesni. Podizanjem osvještenosti na ova djelovanja, dobivamo veću slobodu i mogučnost kontroliranja nad samim sobom, te omogućujemo nadilaženje uma nad automatizmom tijela.


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(multimedijalna instalacija/kinetička skulptura)


Palingenesis of Fluvial dialects in Anthropocene is an kinetic sound and visual installation, using water as its main medium to create a meditative place where a viewer can listen to a sound of water being purified. Palingenesis is a concept of rebirth or recreation, used in various contexts in philosophy, theology, politics and biology. Its meaning origins from the Greek palin, meaning again, and genesis, meaning birth. Dirty water being rebirth into a fresh drinkable water. The installation is using sound to convey the story of waters rebirth and its purification. Maybe in the future this will be the sound of water streaming through the DIY water filters in our homes.

This liquid substance is one of the most important elements for life. Water (H2O) forms the world’s streams, lakes, oceans and rain. It is vital for living organisms, and the major constituent of their fluids. Water has a long history and influence on human society in a biological and cultural way. Whenever we have water we have life. Water is also claimed to be not only the mother, but also the matrix of life. Life on Earth has been hosted primarily in water for 3.8 billion years, and only 540 million years ago life moved to terrestrial milieu. Water is one of the building blocks of life and without it life cannot be sustained. It’s one of the basic ingredients that NASA is searching for when looking for life. Human body cannot survive without it for more than 3 days. From all the water on Earth only 2,5% is freshwater and only 0,007% of water is safe to drink. First human settlements were near the water and throughout the history, civilizations have flourished around rivers, seas and other major waterways. Clean water supply was the key ingredient in success of a Roman empire. Water can also be seen as a flexible, transparent border and a cultural interface. It used to separate the lands of different tribes the same way it separates many countries today. Yet, water unites territories as much as it divides them by offering a channel for transportation and exchange.

Miha Godec extendedly researches the problems surrounding water in developed and in third world countries. Some of them he also visited and is looking for a technical DIY solutions while being inspired by the beauty of water. Laren Polic Zdravic took that inspiration. He designed a soundscape from water movement. A sound designed composition represents an artistic approach of significant features of the kinetic installation. Redesigned sounds of water  movements and transformations, communicate with the notion of water purification throughout the installation. They convey different expressive qualities of sounds, including some fragments of african Kora, Ngoni and Bolon. The instrumentation symbolises certain aspects of the specific environment and specific environmental issues. The multi-layered sound composition demonstrates sounds as “sound sculptures” that blend into new sound stories, folding together into a new hybrid environment. Unique tones and sound features of the ”new” environment attempt to tune the audience’s brain into state of relaxation and serenity.



ROSCOFF – seeing the unseen (BioArt instalacija)

“It’s surely our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home
not just for us, but for all life on Earth.”

Sir David Attenborough

Roscoff project; seeing the unseen, is a BioArt installation which uses simple tools, cheap lens from a laser light and a smartphone camera, to get a better view, understanding and awareness of an unknown but a very special delicate sea worm, who is coexisting with an algae. This fascinating little creature is actually an plantanimal. In juvenile stage worms eat the algae and creates a simbiosis. It can also regenerate its head and have a primitive eyes. Roscoff worm can teach us a lot about climate change and also about self sustainability and coexistence with nature and its importance. The project developed from a BIOBOX wokshop (Roscoff worm educational kit – initiation into marine biology), mentored by Robertina Sebjanic. The art instalation is setup in a way that the viewer walks in front of the projector thus projecting its own shadow on the worms projection and in a way blends himself with instalation. The project tries to encourage the viewer to view things from a new or different perspective in order to broaden our horizons.

Roscoffs worms like many marine animals are not well prepared for the climatic changes to come in the Anthropocene era. The acidification of our oacens because of CO2 absorption is a major concern since its effects are still not fully understood. This plant-animal is doomed to be extinct in the near future. Scientists use Roscoff worms in laboratories to understand climate change and the delicate process of symbiosis. And so they try to predict the future of our coral reefs. Roscoff worms and Corals expulses its algae partner due to the stress caused by changes in temperature and acidity of the water which result is the death of the host. Symsagittifera roscoffensis, formerly called Convoluta Roscoffensis, is a free-living acoelomorph worm which is special because of it symbiosis with algae which happens in juvenile stage. S. roscoffensis is a small, about 15 mm long, flat worm. It assimilates the algae, Tetraselmis convolutae into its parenchymal cells, giving it a green colour. For this reason, its common name in the Channel Islands is the “Mint sauce worm”. In its adult stage, the worm lives off the excesses of its symbiotic algae, although the mouth is still present it doesn’t serve its function anymore. The worm provides shelter and some nutritional benefits in return. The worm can be found in shallow water on sheltered sand beaches along most of the Atlantic Coast (including the coasts of Wales, Brittany, the north of Spain and Portugal). If right conditions are met they can live up to 6 months in laboratories. They also have sensory structures such as a pair of pigment cup eyes and a statocyste are connected to the worm’s primitive nerve system and facilitate 3-dimensional and light-dark orientation. They also have regeneration abilities. Roscoff worms can regenerate its head which is interesting for scientist to study and understand. The question then arises, is it still the same worm after its head is regrown?

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BLACK CLINIC: Symbiotechnosis

Uz navedene premijere svježe produciranih djela, u sklopu festivala prikazali smo i cameo izložbu prominentnih međunarodno nagrađivanih umjetničkih djela, koje na svoj način također odražavaju duh simbiotehnoze.

Osim fascinantnih ideja koje djela prenose, bitno je spomenuti da su ona izrađena najsuvremenijim tehnobiološkim umjetničkim tehnikama, o kakvima je William Gibson  sanjao u svom kultnom cyberpunk/biopunk znanstveno fantastičnom romanu Neurorormacer.
Zbog svega navedenog selektirana su za našu GUEST STAR kategoriju.

Naše gostujuće zvijezde oduševljavaju međunarodnu struku i publiku svojim djelima koja nas navode da duboko preispitujemo život, nas same i naš odnos prema svijetu, kroz umjetničku sintezu tehnologije, biologije, ekologije, psihologije i antropologije.

Riječ je o međunarodno nagrađivanim djelima dvaju dama – Maje Smrekar (SLO) i Robertine  Šebjanič (SLO).


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(conceptual art installation, 2015)  

photo by Borut Peterin

The fast growth of invasive species – a natural phenomenon triggered by the Homo Sapiens species – can be understood as an (un)intentional experiment enabling us to objectively or subjectively directly observe the dramatic sixth extinction of species on Earth.

Continuing our opus of the exploration of the typology of invasive species, through intersections of geopolitical parameters on one side and local-sociological paradigms on the other, we picked some of the signifiers of the national cultural heritage and transformed them into the Survival Kit for the Anthropocene (after which the present geological epoch is named).

This kind of intervention into design, design being based on national treasure and therefore imbued with a strong aura of collective emotional experience, which makes it impossible to avoid national and transnational interests, encourages reflection on the dynamics of market globalization. The latter corporately cannibalizes local economic dynamics and (re)directs them to the common signifier (uniformity) – the franchise.

The use of the tactical medium in the project comments on the imperatives of the positions of power and ideology, to which Ecology connected at the very beginning. With the subverted franchise Survival Kit for the Anthropocene – Trailer, which serves as discursive agent, we can, after all, ask ourselves about existential dynamics in the near future reality in which the survival of the species will depend much more on the knowledge of the local environment than on univocal adoption of global ecological ideas on the basis of the common ideological denominator.



(hybrid media opus, 2014-2017)

What constitutes the human being in a biopolitical dimension of a post-panoptic world?

The need to reinvent ourselves with our nonhuman others is investigated in four parts of the K-9_topology project, which were carried out between 2014 and 2017. The wolf–human–dog parallel evolution research project, ECCE CANIS, focuses on the processes of metabolic pathways that trigger an emotional response that connects humans and dogs and allows them to successfully coexist. The serotonin hormone of Maja Smrekar and Byron, her dog companion, was transformed into an odor, symbolizing the mutual taming of the human and the canine species. The residency at JACANA Wildlife Studios in France focused on the ethology of the wolf. The synergy of interspecies collaboration resulted in a performance called I HUNT NATURE, AND CULTURE HUNTS ME. Its symbolical significance was articulated within the context of Smrekar´s emotional childhood memories juxtaposed with the works of Joseph Beuys and Oleg Kulik.

The project HYBRID FAMILY was related to the theory of becoming-animal by rethinking the social and ideological instrumentalization of a woman´s body and breastfeeding. Overcoming the classical distinction between private life and political existence, Smrekar felt she needed to perform with her own body and the bodies of her dogs to re-gain their position of power by staging a public performance with a puppy Ada. Her own economy of emotions became a molecular process: during a three-month period of seclusion with her dogs, she stimulated her pituitary glands with systematic breastpumping to release the hormone prolactin and followed a diet rich in galactogogues to promote lactation. A side effect was the increase in oxytocin hormone levels, which led to an increase in empathy and her personal resistance to the cynicism of the zeitgeist. By being pregnant with a meaning, and thus becoming (m)Other, Smrekar was further drawn to explore her “decolonial reproductive freedom in a dangerously troubled multispecies world“ (Haraway, 2016). The myth of humanity, based on its uniqueness, has always excluded some that don’t correspond to the ideal, for example animals with regard to parenthood and gender.

Addressing a new social ecology in the ARTE_mis project, Smrekar fused her molecular self with a dog – genetically the closest ancestor to the endangered wild wolf. In a biotechnological laboratory, the cell materials of the two carnivorous species were joined in an equal cohabitation relationship. Her denucleated reproductive cell, harvested in an egg retrieval procedure, was inserted with Ada’s somatic cell. Since the concept of IVF treatment paraphrases the institution of family as dispositive of all other forms of oppression, Smrekar juxtaposes ARTE_mis as a reference “to think beyond humanist limitations in order to embrace the risks that becoming-other-than human brings forth“ (Braidotti, 2013). Homer refers to Artemis, a Greek goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, and childbirth, who is usually depicted with dogs as her companions, as Potnia Theron, a pre-Greek “Mistress of Animals”. The hybrid cell is a potential dystopic life scenario that might have more chances of survival on a planet in capitalist ruins.

In the K-9_topology opus, Smrekar offers an opportunity to rethink the anthropological machine of representation that aims to adjust our sight and thus our perception: What does “compromising human dignity” mean to us, since not all of us can claim that we have always been human? Or that we are only that.


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Aurelia 1+Hz / proto viva generator
(interactive installation, 2014)

Project “Aurelia 1+Hz / proto viva generator” addresses the possibilities of coexistence of animals and machines.

In contrast to robots, which are driven by digital artificial intelligence, the project uses a live organism to process the “aliveness” of a simple machine.

The Aurelia 1+Hz project is divided in two parts; the performance proto viva sonification looks into a new critical redefinition of social values and new attitude towards cohabitation of interspecies while the installation proto viva generator deals with the biopolicy of prolonging life. Aurelia 1+Hz/proto viva generator (interactive installation 2014) addresses the possibilities of coexistence of humans, animals and machines. The project uses living organisms to process “aliveness” of a simple robotic machine. The installation addresses two entities – jellyfish and robot – separated, but ifthey merged into one, causing new biocybernetic organism to occour: Would “it” be able to live forever?

In the era of the Sixth Extinction of species, after pulsating through the world’s seas and oceans for over 500 million years without ever being endangered, the jellyfish are the perfect evolutional archive, showing us potential moves the future might make. The eternity of the jellyfish – some are even immortal as a species – has been fueling even the most ancient human thoughts on eternal life, on the mythical search for the fountain of youth and on immortality.
Improved living conditions in a technologically advanced world enable us to lead a significantly longer life than in the past. But how long is long enough?

The answer to this question appears to be in the hands of the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, which use the powers of biopolitics and capital to divide our society into those who are able to prolong their life, and into those who are merely trying to survive.
The historical tactics of civilizations trying to ensure their cultural immortality are today contrasted by the biotechnological possibilities of actually designing and controlling life, demanding a new, critical redefinition of social values.

Living organism
Jellyfish used in frames of the project are from the species of Aurelia Aurita or moon jellyfish. It is the most common jellyfish that is to be found in all seas and oceans and, at the same time, modular organism in the laboratories for jellyfish research.