(2008 – 2010)
We are constantly using technological supplements to extend the abilities of our body: vehicles to move faster, airplanes to confront gravity, phones to communicate without physical presence and screens to see at the distance. To unite the virtual and physical aspects of my artistic aspirations I was experimenting with a technological extension to my body. The goal is to investigate the process of creativity. A machine can do anything better than a human, but being creative makes us humans.
Embodiment of Digital Art
In the digital age we often use the word “virtual”, which stands for something unreal or semi-real. Streams of data constantly change our perception of reality, challenging the importance of the truth. Even more doubtful than the current perception of reality is archiving the culture of digital ages for future generations. Another interesting issue is the meaning of the body in digital culture. Since my work is mainly about the chunks of code and their (re)presentation, there I convert code in holes and stripes on wooden boards.
Birth of Lalaboro: the Robot Assistant
It took me few years to build this machine. It helped me a lot, that I once studied machine engineering and that I worked in IT for several years. But the most important was, that at that time Internet was still open. All kind of enthusiasts shared their experiences and designs on their web pages and search engines found them at the first glance. Compared to that, is today Internet just a commercial bazaar, where it is important to serve search engines, not people.
Different Cyborg than Stelarc
Cyborg is a human, which extends his body with technological supplements. Contrary to Stelarc and some other artists, who used mechanical “prosthesis” in their performances, I created an extension to help me create “classical” art like painting and sculpturing.
Divided Mind and Body
In classical artistic activities like painting or sculpturing we simultaneously and ritualistic use body and mind, while in digital art this process becomes much different. We create algorithms and than let machines do the rest. There is no bodily real time interaction with the artwork anymore. This leads to the idea, that the physical body becomes obsolete and will be replaced by technologies. Stephen Hawkings is best known for making amazing work with help of technological extensions, which allowed him to talk and write despite his paralyzed body. With a robot like mine, he could theoretically “paint”: program the code and than let the robot do the physical job.
Original or a copy?
Walter Benjamin questioned the aura of an work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. By building a unique machine sole by myself, I distance myself from mass production. Despite that objects are made by machine, the whole process, from the concept to design and construction of the artistic project remain unique and mine.
The sound of War
One aspect of my robot are also sounds it produces. Together with Alan Sondheim, a poet, critic, musician, artist, and theorist of cyberspace from U.S., we investigated those sounds from a musical perspective. At the time of Putin’s invasion on Ukraine, my robot was in Ljubljana writing “Ukraine” in Ukrainian alphabet. At the same time, Alan was from Rhode Island, via Zoom, accompanying it on a traditional Indian instrument called sarangi. A human plays an analog instrument in the warm environment of his home, while the iron creature thousands miles away does what it’s programmed for. Similar to the contrast between the cold ruthless military, which is, controlled from safe bunkers far away, attacking people who defend their lives and homes.
As Alan pointed out: “The robot spells out “Ukraine”; the sound is iron, the iron of war. The sarangi comes in and out of focus, as a problematic accompaniment. What can we do, but produce, object, create? What does war do? I want to thank Teo for giving me the opportunity to accompany the original score. I think of score, scoria, thrown rock, debris, harbored and transformed into writing; writing transformed into cutting; cutting transformed into a commentary on other cuttings, other writing. The sarangi is part of that. I am safe in my room, playing sarangi; none of us are safe as long as some of us are not.”