Exhibition curated by: Marco Mancuso and Claudia D'Alonzo for Digicult & Michal Brzezinski
Exhibition period: 16/04/2010 - 16/05/2010
Opening: Friday 16/04/2010
Milycon / En, Dorota Walentynowicz, Sašo Sedlaček, Jan Van Neuenen, Les Liens Invisibles, Marc Lee, Yorit Kluitman, Vít Klusák a Filip Remunda
On November 20, 2009, just few days before the COP 15 in Copenhagen, the credibility of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - the government body that monitors the UN climate change studies, suffered a severe blow. A group of Russian hackers had published a series of documents, e-mails and confidential data from Hadley Center, Research Center of East Anglia University, one of the major international institutions of climate studies, strongly affiliated with the IPCC itself. The action seems to expose efforts of scholars and researchers to falsify data on one of the hottest media topics of the millennium: anthropic global warming, the so-called AGW. The ‘Climategate’ has shaken the conscience of many: if international government bodies, research centers, environmental organizations and even ecologist organizations like Greenpeace and even eco-activists groups have been warning us for years that independent fundamental problems like global warming, the greenhouse effect, emission harmful gases, are based on solid scientific foundations, what should we think about the leak? That global warming is all a big media game, serving superior economic and political interests? It's a doubt that many are beginning to have.
In early days of January 2010, many international media revealed a striking news: the A(H1N1) flu seems to be a hoax orchestrated by the World Health Organization and the pharmaceutical companies. It was claimed not by some no-global critics, but the chairman of the Health Council of Europe, Wolfgang Wodarg, who forced the Council to approve a tough resolution demanding an international inquiry into the matter. After months of warnings and measures against the risk of infection involving the media and institutions around the world, one wonders when we can speak of trusted sources on a subject as important as health.
"Frankly, I believed beyond any doubt that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction" - said the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, on 29th of January 2010, in front of the Commission of Inquiry on Iraq at the Queen Elizabeth Center in London. Blair denied that the government had put the idea, in the intelligence dossier, that Baghdad could use weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes, admitting, however, to have said so in his speech to the Commons in September 2002, although "without too much emphasis”. The emphasis was placed by the press, raising the issue that Blair now denies. So, how many and what threats are real? How and why is 'global fear' started?
These 'cases' exposed the incredibility of news that for months, if not years, have filled the media all over the Western world. We talk about cases and not news, because in them is put into question the very meaning of news, of factual information.
The world that we live in, with its division into mediasphere and biosphere, have been defined in many ways, among which two ideas are best known and best describe the relation between man and medium. Coined over 50 years ago by Marshall McLuhan, these ideas seem not too precise, however prophetic. One of them is the ‘global village’ theory (as a result of media becoming the extension of our nerve system), the other is the division of media into ‘hot’ (the ones that send a lot of impulses to stimulate senses) and ‘cold’ (the ones that require imagination in creating the transfer). Paradoxically, it is frequent that the ‘cold’ media generate bigger emotions as they involve imagination and feelings attached to it. Hot media, on the other hand, often cause greater distance towards the experiences. All visual media are hot as the visual communication absorbs around 80 per cent of attention. However, when interactivity is involved, visual media become cold, as they require complacement from the recipient. Contemporary visual art, that use abstraction or the beauty of artistic matter, are losing the figurative forms. They are the means of ‘cooling’ the visual art and involving the imagination or knowledge in it. Viewer’s distance towards the classic forms of art, which created a certain beauty canon, started evolving in the beginning of the 19th century. Visual art tend to approach literature, so much as through developing the conceptual layer of the work. The apogee of the process is achieved in the art of new technologies. With this exhibition, we try to present different attitudes of artists towards global warming of the media in our global village.
In recent years, we are witnessing the disintegration of the belief that the Internet was, for its unique nature, a free, participatory medium, in contrast to the medium of television. Positivity of the early years of the Internet is giving way to a situation in which one cannot help but admit that the Interet, even with large areas of autonomy, is subject to the same dangerous political and economic dynamics of traditional media. It becomes crucial not just to understand what is the most democratic medium of the third millennium, but rather open our eyes to the dual nature of all media, to identify ways in which we learn to move strategically between truth and deception.
These methodologies are the focus of many works of new media art: art is in fact the territory within which lays the duality of the media, playing creatively between liabilities and autonomy of the viewer's interpretation of misconceptions and information. The art is able to expose the media automation because it puts the audience, and our role as spectators, in the center of the discourse on media.
Globalne Ocieplenie / The Mediagate exhibition aims at reflecting, through the new media artworks by international artists, our constant battle between questioning and faith towards the media, without suggesting solutions, but triggering questions and doubts about our role as users. Globalne Ocieplenie / The Mediagate wants to become explicit homage to the word Watergate, that has entered common parlance to describe an embarrassing and outrageous discovery, often used as a measure to test the seriousness of a sudden truth, considered to be big enough to be able to undermine any system.