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Tajda Stiplovšek Jug: Sel / The Messenger

 

8/3/2024 – 19/4/2024

The divide between nature and technology is deeply rooted in the traditional Western understanding of civilizational progress, even though this divide was rejected as early as in the European era of Romanticism. As awareness of climate change grows, discourses are becoming saturated with a polarising rejection of science and technology, and the increasingly cemented dualism of natural = good, artificial = bad, adds to the sense of helplessness and “techno-pessimism”, rejecting the notion that the same technology that has accelerated change in nature could also help us prevent the worst.

 

Society's views on technology change over time, depending on the location. Luddism and ecofuturism are just two examples of the extreme ideologies that have been established regarding progress, and in the current time and environment, it seems as if we are unwilling to fully acknowledge the extent of our dependence on the technologies that make society function. Wirelessness and battery life have become synonymous with autonomy (paradoxically still in connection to the devices that enable us to be constantly “plugged in”), while cables, wires, and conductors – whenever possible, stay hidden in walls and buried underground, given over to nature. In her creative practice, the artist is concerned with the value and the symbolic and aesthetic status of everyday objects and materials that surround us. Through the context of the displayed works, she explores how laid cables and associated infrastructure are to some extent a reflection of economic, aesthetic, and geographical circumstances. By combining technology and nature, the artist highlights the importance of function in relation to (aesthetic) form; by combining cables and tree parts on an associative level, she finds the meeting point of two different entities within their communicative function.

 

The works in Sel/The Messenger attempt to establish a communication that is increasingly lost in the noise of contemporary discourse on nature and technology. They look for parallels between natural evolutionary adaptations and technological ones, attempting to re-establish the conduit between the artificial and the organic by grafting cables and wires onto tree trunks and thus trying to open up channels of communication between man and nature A hidden, implicit parallel between the materials used by the artist and their symbolism is also implied in the destructiveness of the almost surgical transplants; just as unbridled technological progress is responsible for the displacement of animal and plant species, today's technology is itself a victim of rapid progress, as tomorrow it will be replaced by a new one, while the old one often remains abandoned in nature, left to establish, in the absence of maintenance, new interactions with nature, which more or less incorporates the artificial artifacts into itself. Like these pieces of technology with an unknown function, the works on display are discovered almost by chance and without any interface or “device” offered to the viewers to help them decipher what exactly is flowing through the established network. The communication channels offered must therefore be filled with function and content by the users themselves.

 

With a sculptural installation in the exhibition space, the artist abstracts the invisible intercontinental network of data cables, whose vascular system more or less seamlessly supplies the global social organism. In doing so, she extends the idea of a communication network in the natural environment to global dimensions and explores whether, in overcoming vast distances, nature is our ally or a threat to the fragile communication web that connects the contemporary world in a time of tectonic geopolitical shifts. As a communication medium, the exhibition reflects on the ways of coexistence in a hyper-technological world and raises the question of whether, in our need to evolve and progress, we can still hope to treat nature respectfully as an equal entity on which our existence depends.

 

Curator: Anja Seničar

Artist

Tajda Stiplovšek – Jug (1999) works in the field of visual and intermedia art. In 2022 she graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana – majoring in sculpture, where she is also completing her MA. She studied at the Universities of Linz and Leipzig as part of Erasmus exchanges. She has participated in several projects as well as both group and solo exhibitions organized by the Academy. She has also participated in group exhibitions at Alkatraz Gallery, DLUM Gallery, and in Tržič. In her spatial installations, she incorporates natural and technological materials and objects to focus on their function and the human relationship to the environment. In addition to working in the field of visual fine art, she is also a tattoo artist. 

Installation Views

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