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The exhibition "Feedback 1.2" is a natural sequence of an artistic research of Vitar Drinković’s communication and perception. His artwork borders between science and art, however it is also a direct continuation of the Feedback exhibition held in 2018. in Split and Jelsa. The 1.2 version is a culmination of author’s foregoing preoccupation of means and forms of communication, the circumstances and prerequisites that redefine it. Drinković’s research does not begin in 2018., but during his college days. He took upon the role of an initiator for the first time and set up conditions that would cause a certain reaction: in his artwork Conditions, Circumstances, he moved away from sculpture, his former media of art, with the intention to find new ways of observation and theme engagement. This allowed the occurrence of mould on tomato paste and packed humid bread, among other things. The experiment prompted the artist to rethink his own “packing” and turned his attention towards the initiator and activator of conditions in his own life. During the following years his experiments became complex technological solutions. He would place them in front of a viewer as installations: Plant Blindness [Biljno sljepilo], Conductivity of Perception [Konduktivnost percepcije] and the Emoji Scanner [Emoji skener].

The 1.2 designation necessarily marks only one terminal, that is, one form of prototype within the research process that the author currently considers completed. Drinković’s experimental process begins with the discovery of a simple stethoscope DIY aesthetic. It ends with software programming for a device that sends a direct feedback which affects the observer, both emotionally and stimulatively. It initializes thoughts apropos the invisible biological processes in a person. This happens primarily in our bodies and is then followed by our daily communication with our environment.

Whilst entering the gallery, the visitor accesses the artist’s temporary laboratory filled with his communication inventions. Every invention, in its own unique way, creates a self-inherent feedback. Every installation contains a separate collection of arranged conditions imposed to us by the author. The presence of a human is one condition, as his/her reaction becomes an inherent part of the artwork. As a starting method in detecting bodily processes, the artist uses a simple polygraph that records physical changes via colours. The installation Conductivity of Perception is just like that as it reminds us of our own existence: the device operates in accordance with its non-verbal interlocutor’s breath. Thus we become completely aware of every inhale and exhale as they create a whole spectrum of colours in front of our eyes, and with it the physical presence of chest, lungs, heart and every organ that enables our existence here and now. Similarly, Plant Blindness makes us aware of whom we share our surroundings with. Reflecting upon the sensitivity of plants towards stimulation, the artist decides to test it. He used a technique similar to the 1960’s method of CIA’s interrogation specialist Cleve Backster. By displaying the changes with transitioning coloured light on reflectors that surround the ficus elastica, he attempts to eliminate the so called “plant blindness” (Wandersee, Schussler) in the eye of the beholder. He draws attention to the environment and all its elements, not as passive and decorative, but as active. Every occurrence in the showroom is actively monitored by the eye sensor of the Emoji scanner, signalling the continuation of the research. It accumulates statistical data that can be influenced by the visitor’s volition. This makes them defective perhaps; or possibly ideal for the continuation of author’s examination of the environment, conditions, communication, and finally, creating a dialogue.

All of his devices within the installations create by-products: the communication between people in a room is the first one. They help us awaken our consciousness about biological reactions in general – from facial expressions, towards breathing, all the way to biological reactions that are not ours but are taking place around us. By converting unseen processes into strong visual impulses, they rip us from our daily automatism and confront us with ephemeral reality.

Klara Petrović

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