The first artistic CD ROM produced in the Balkans has been created in
the Republic of Macedonia, part of the former Yugoslavia, a country
located between the Southern border of the –remaining– rump Yugoslavia
and the Northern borders of Albania and Greece.

A combined effort of SCCA - Skopje, Macedonia and the participating
Macedonian artists and technicians, ICON ON SILVER (a CD ROM) premiered
at the 1996 annual SCCA exhibition, a juried show that was presented in
the SCCA Gallery *Duplo* in Skopje.

Co-Curator, Melentie Pandilovski explained that the project
"..represents the connection between two value concepts…united in the
CD ROM medium. The first concept refers to the communication
characteristics of the *icon*, and the second to the technological basis
that modulates and intermediates these characteristics [as an]
electronic artists' book." The resulting works are assembled as
chapters in an *artists' book* - an assortment of otherwise unrelated
independent interactive projects which reflect the current
*fine-artistic* approach towards multimedia technology.


The nine works included in ICON ON SILVER were chosen from specific
project proposals, and the final projects, which are summarized on the
SCCA website, are each identified by icons as chapters. Each project
utilizes the medium fully for sound, graphics, quicktime movies, and
hypertext structures. They are:

- Labyrinth by Iskra Dimitrova
- Exosquelette by Dominik Niceva
- Personality=Software by Nada Prlja
- Video Mind by Stefan Buzarovski
- Observations by Dubravko Naumov
- TV Day by Robert Jankuloski
- Mister O by Miroslav Stojanovic - Suki
- Traveler by the group Archimediala
- Development-Transformation by Denko Matevski

The jury awarded two equal prizes in the amount of $1000 for the
projects: TV Day from Robert Jankuloski and Mister O from Miroslav
Stojanovic - Suki.

My enthusiasm for the technical and creative properties of ICON ON
SILVER is perhaps influenced by the ambitious determination of the
artists, and the producers, to enter multimedia with no concern for the
*market* or to define a target *audience*, but rather for the pure
aesthetic experience. If any strategy was intended, it was perhaps the
understandable desire to demonstrate creative and technical capability,
and the passion to search for the potential of the form.

Disappointingly, the projects selected follow the common eastern
European artistic denial of political reference (until the recent
demonstrations in Belgrade, few artists have stood up on the political
front line). Therefore, topics explored on ICON ON SILVER sidestep any
reference to the war which was (then) in full force, in nearby Bosnia/
Herzegovina, or the unresolved issues with neighboring Greece - major
events that impacted the entire Balkan region.

Instead, they affirm the typical response that most artists from
(former) east bloc countries adopt; namely that art should transcend
everyday issues, and especially the political. To their credit, the
Macedonian artists expand the east's tradition for theoretical and
conceptual motivations with personal concerns about international issues
of communication, TV, and commercialism. Even so, there is relatively
little Macedonian culture evidenced in this work, and only a few hints
of the Cyrillic alphabet of the Macedonian language.

The CD ROMs production, programming, and authoring was conceived and
fully realized in the premises of the Soros Center for Contemporary Arts
- Skopje, and the Open Society Institute - Macedonia. The first edition
of 510 CD ROMs was pressed by Videoton, a Compact Disc Factory in
Szekesfehervar, Hungary. It is playable on both platforms, the Macintosh
and the PC. […]

The CD-ROM ICON ON SILVER can be obtained at:
TEL./FAX: 389.
EMAIL CONTACT: mpandil@soros.org.mk

PS: check out the new web project by Melentie, linked to the SCCA home
page, called Welcome Back to the Empire, an interactive online work
which will get in full motion early in 1997.