This bit of text was written last year, when new images of Russia’s aggression against a neighboring country emerged, showing the destruction of meanings, and the damage to the world and its vocabulary, signs, and alphabet.
In art expressed by means of communication technology, derived from the mediatization of tools, does there occur a qualitative moment that stabilizes communicable but damaged, movable (politically too mobile) meanings, freely used, transformed into a propaganda slogan words, and signs, that seem universal?
Here is V, here is Z, interceptions of which we do not understand, as formerly, in the 20th century, the transformation of the Sanskrit symbol of happiness.
If we manage to look at the transformation of meanings in the creative process directed at another person, at other people, which is not about subordination, but about co-creation, we’ll maybe discover the mechanism of the violent impulse resulting from the interchangeability of content.
The mechanism of communication and negotiation of contents and their fungibility are seemingly safe in art, as its security created only a non-exchangeable token for the artifact and the appearance of its value. By wandering around the periphery of the economy, highlighting the attractiveness of the exclusive, it is unable, however, to grasp the value of sharing and negotiating content – so meaningful in media art and proper to it.
The Biennale, in its 20th edition, will act as a mediator, presenting works selected in the process of WRO’s curatorial cooperation with many partners, including those created during artistic residencies, where the starting point for a creative act is always to establish grammar and lexis in a new situation.
This text was written a year later to introduce the premise of the Art Wires series, which prepares volunteers to work with audiences, and also provides material for a study of the translatability of media art into languages of accessibility.
Attunement is the process by which we create relationships. When we tune in to others, we allow our own inner state to shift and resonate with the inner world of them. To use a musical metaphor: when we tune in, we are looking for the right sound to harmonize with another, sometimes completely different, sound. It is usually a two-way process in which a mutual relationship builds on the exchange of individual perspectives, experiences, and needs.
A creation of an inclusive and accessible art exhibition is based on creating a space for attunement. This process may involve use of alternative methods of communication and presentation of works or multi-directional work with viewers that is sensitive to the presence of the other.
Attuning within the WRO 2023 Biennale Fungible Content / Fungible Content began with a series of meetings called Art Wires, preceding the Biennale. We prepared lectures, exercises, and workshops with expert speakers, during which our entire WRO Biennale preparation team, together with volunteers, gained knowledge and experience about the tools of inclusivity and working with viewers of different ages, including those with sensory or motor disabilities, neurodiverse people perceiving the world from a variety of perspectives.
The complexity of the exchange, reaction, and diffusion of symbolic content, of social constructs based on exchangeability, impermanence, and dependence, but also development, is conveyed in the visual layer of the event, in the graphic messages, and the design of the whole through Alan Turing’s model of reaction-diffusion used in organic design. An idea from the last century, which, now making a comeback in science, seems to be a valuable tool for exploring and describing complexity relations. For some balance, but also consistency, we used the font nieuk – described by its author Maciej Połczyński as modular, experimental, and unsettling. The commodity typeface contains three character variations which, through typesetting functions, give the impression of randomness. The typeface does not have an unambiguous baseline, its shapes jump up and down depending on one’s own will. The fluidity of the characters, combined ambiguously, gives the impression that the typeface contains a script different from Latin.
For the first time, on the occasion of the 20th edition of the WRO Media Art Biennale, we are also making the preparation of the exhibitions themselves the subject of presentation, the openings of which, from 10 to 14 May 2023, will be preceded by joint work by artists and the public, in the improvised social-club space of WRO.
This time, we are building a program based on our own choices, as well as on the competencies of the international curatorial group, established during the work of the European Media Art Platform (EMAP), to identify, from among several hundred submissions, the most interesting, recent projects, currently being realized during artistic residencies in over a dozen places in Europe. Some of these will have their premiere at WRO. Others are recent works that have come to our attention during art events that have a similar optic to ours of sharing attentiveness to the hard-to-grasp and rapid processes of communication and the mutability of its social meanings.
Part of the Biennale is made of works by artists who received an extended invitation – the Fungible Invitation from artists present in this year’s program by curatorial choice. They have passed our exchangeable invitation on, influencing the development of the program content.
The launch of the Biennale in April, in a series of open lectures, screenings, and workshops, is preceded in May by a pop-up stage at the WRO Art Center, as a meeting place for the authors of works, invited artists, activists, curators, mediators, and spectators during joint work, DJ sets, and the preparation of exhibitions at several exhibition venues in Wrocław. Their vernissages are accompanied by performances and concerts; the exhibitions themselves, in turn, will run until the end of May 2023.
The main exhibitions and events do not so much complement the Attunement Programme, as they create an interchangeable with others (viewers, participants), created through participation and mutual contact, the total form of the Biennale.