LEGACY

UNIVERSAL OBJECTS: LEGACY 1&2
Tanja Vujinović  
Installation (Interactive digital environment or video installation; Legacy 1, single-channel HD video 1:33 min.; Legacy 2, single-channel HD video 6:20 min.)
Production: Ultramono, 2017

We are progressively handing over our cultural databases to agents of artificial intelligence. Otherwise abstract agents are here gaining avataric shapes in a simulated surrounding where they disinterestedly observe and analyse our cultural heritage. How will deep learning and other techniques for training artificial agents manage to distinguish between the ordinary and Klein's balloon, and any black square and a can from Malevich's and Manzoni's artwork? 

Universal Objects: Legacy 1&2 works created in computer game engines are a continuation of a series of virtual environments, also existing in the form of video works. Within the world of virtual environments and in relation to the latest computer technology, we could, paradoxically, run into the word “legacy”, often used for protocols and objects that are not even six months old but have already been surpassed by better performing and updated versions of themselves. Legacy 1&2 questions computer game engines as a medium for the production of contemporary art. Opening up questions of materiality of this particular type of media, its “non-material” digital nature, simplicity of reproduction, and simultaneously high possibilities for loss of data files also enables a view into works of three legendary artists from the history of 20th century art, all of whom were and still are opening up these very same and similar topics.

Piero Manzoni, Yves Klein, and Kazimir Malevich have, all in their own specific ways, dealt with the theory and questioning of art objects; within Legacy 1&2 we have a “guest appearance” of Manzoni’s cans of Artist’s Shit, Malevich’s paintings Black Circle and Black Square, and aerostatic sculpture balloons consisting of 1001 blue balloons by Yves Klein. Each of Manzoni’s 60 cans from May 1961 have supposedly been filled with 30 grams of the artist’s excrement. They have achieved the status of cult works of art whose preservation again stirred the international community in the mid-nineties of the twentieth century because one Danish museum’s negligence that caused leakage from one of the cans. Klein’s action of releasing of 1001 blue balloons was part of his opus with which he researched “zones of immaterial pictorial sensibility”, where, under the influence of Zen philosophy, he strived to enable the audience to simultaneously feel and understand the idea of the work. The action with balloons was reproduced 50 years later during the closing of his retrospective show. Malevich, the author of the manifest “From Cubism to Suprematism” and pioneer of geometric abstraction, has researched the spiritual within art throughout his entire opus, and from the series of his most reduced paintings, here, we have his legendary black circle and black square on the white canvas.

As in some previous works from Universal Objects, humanoid objects are simulating the consciousness of their surrounding, and now they are placed in a surrounding that has reproductions of the above-mentioned legendary works from the world of visual art, ones which simultaneously open up questions of ephemerality of artwork and its conflict with tradition, establishing new models of preservation and reproduction of artefacts and actions, just as nowadays new forms of interdisciplinary art may still be waiting for sustainable solutions to all of these questions.