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Exhibition "Evolution of Perception 1.3" is a result of multiannual continuous research in the field of perception, communication and creation of circumstances by the author Vitar Drinković. Using interactivity as a medium, the author employs his fantastic devices to create conditions for communication through participation of the public. It is not a coincidence that I use the term device instead of installation, which is more common in art history.

Although all artworks are basically vehicles of communication, Drinković’s installations do go a step further; they are machines serving as mediators in search of sincere human non-verbal communication. The artist-innovator uses the exhibition as a polygon for his experiments. His works create a controlled environment for participation, a key element for Drinković. It is the factor that sets his machines into motion. Only by connecting the mechanic and the artificial with participants’ biological component, a total work of art can be made.

One of the works that best illustrate this principle is the Vibration of the Body. It is an interactive installation that can be operated by four people simultaneously, using stethoscope to project the sound of their own heartbeats into space. Complete opening of the organ that ‘sincerely’ reacts to stimuli and accurately shows one’s current psychophysical state makes participants feel ‘naked’, exposed and vulnerable. Listening to one’s own heart rate alongside with other people always gives away true reaction. Therefore, communication with machines becomes a bridge for communication with people, regardless whether they are complete strangers or old acquaintances. In the same way we can observe Sculpture for Communication 4, where four people can participate simultaneously by placing hands into holes at the each side of the concrete cube. Contact takes place within. Contrast between rigid external form and organically shaped interior reflects contrast between touch of cold concrete and human hand. The artist’s formal training in sculpture is revealed in the only non-interactive sculpture at the exhibition entitled Still Life.

Created some time before the rest of the displayed works, this symbolically powerful work occupies central position in the exhibition display. Concrete cast in shape of a decapitated bull’s head, symbol of power and sacrifice, is “crowned” with aureole made of metal spoons. Spoon Spiral excellently complements Still Life. Plastic spoons, ultimate symbols of consumerist society, tools designed for consummation and, ultimately, disposal, create a spiral – mystic form filled with millennial symbolism. Still Life and Spoon Spiral can be regarded as organic unity in which appropriated ancient motifs are today sacrificed for the glory of capitalism. Similarly to philosophical thought experiment involving tree falling down in the forest, the question if the artwork can exist without the audience is still relevant. For Drinković, the question of audience’s role is completely redundant. His works are intended not only to be perceived,

but to influence the concept of passive observers, making them a crucial part of his art.

One of Drinković’s works that use human as a starting point is Breathing Time. User’s breathing is accompanied by a clock and a reflector’s light intensity. The author ‘forces’ users to consciously start taking account of and control their breath. Diaphragmatic breathing, a proper way of breathing practised by children that increases oxygen capacity, is one of the basics of meditation technique. Turning attention towards the act of breathing, the author brings user back to the current moment and helps him become aware of his own body in space and time. Drinković’s works frequently comprise meditative moments that demand focus on one’s own body, successfully familiarising users with the act of introspection. Introspection through self-reflection is the aim of the work entitled Focus. Pyramidal “mask” made of four mirrors equipped with sound increasing device distorts the space around the user. Looking through the sculpture, person tries to move around the space. By multiplying the image, the author deconstructs and plays with perception, simultaneously making a strong statement about the influence of subjectivity on the perception of the surroundings. So far, Drinković’s sculptures/installations have served as mediators or, according to the author, ‘filters in communication between people’, facilitating contact between users.

Hugging Sculpture is different from other works in a sense that it does not perform a role of mediator anymore but becomes a surrogate to living creature. Although at first it looks like a device used for boxing sparring or some robot from Pixar’s animated film, Hugging Sculpture seems like a live being. Pressing the button makes the machine hug back and slowly vibrate. The need for contact and hugging is self-explanatory form of communication in all societies. Author is interested in this pure, basic, general kind of communication that often faces obstacles. Trying to avoid clichéd postulates about the alienation of contemporary human in society, Jean Tinguely’s oeuvre comes to mind. Back in the middle of the 20 century, he started dealing with the relationship between man and machine, doing so until the ‘90s. Interaction with machines and technology and our relationship with the material and its importance in the society are the subjects that have occupied artists for a long time. Connectedness is inevitable result of interaction and communication and is crucial to all social animals, including humans. It is our neurobiological prerequisite and the reason why we are here. Art, a creative act and process of making something new is the strongest act of opening oneself and one’s thoughts towards the world as well as displaying one’s vulnerability, which is not a synonym for weakness – exactly the opposite. Drinković does this continuously, enabling us to become authors, source of his work and integral element of his art. Therefore, if you would be so kind, let’s participate.        

 

 

Lana Beović

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