Universal Objects (video installations)

UNIVERSAL OBJECTS: EXPLOSIONS
Tanja Vujinović
Single-channel HD video, 16 minutes, and four separate projections, installation
Production: Ultramono, 2015-2017 

Universal Objects: Explosions is a work containing four scenes of exploding objects. Only for a brief fragment of time are we able to see the delicate objects before and after they start exploding. These events are silently observed by a group of avatars. We are progressively handing over our cultural databases to agents of artificial intelligence. Otherwise abstract agents are here gaining avataric shapes in simulated surrounding where they disinterestedly observe and analyse our/their cultural heritage. 

UNIVERSAL OBJECTS: BFF 1&2
Tanja Vujinović
Two single-channel HD videos, 2:50 minutes each, installation
Production: Ultramono, 2017

Users' representational images (icons, thumbnails, avataric objects) in cyber space have a life of their own. Detached from their users, they represent imaginary fleeting moments and interactions staged for the mediated post-reality. Forced positivity, good mood, ecstatic behaviours and facial expressions have a backside of constant tracking and analysis of other users. Universal Objects: BFF 1&2 are two psycho-scape vignettes about the heaviness of online life, about the depths of shallow relationships and their implications on the cosmetic appearance of avatars.

UNIVERSAL OBJECTS: OBSERVERS 1&2 & UNIVERSAL (PLACEHOLDER) IMAGES
Tanja Vujinović 
Single-channel HD video, 1:44 minutes, digital prints
Production: Ultramono, 2015-2017

Avataric objects, representations of semi-abstract agents of artificial intelligence that are constantly crawling and regulating space around us, have the role of observing, analysing and classifying data.
In Universal Objects: Observers 1 & 2 avatars observe iterations of themselves displayed in a gallery environment. Placeholder Images are made for interactive works Park 1 & 2 as a stream of collisions and glitches of avatars' body rituals. Levitations is a series of seven digital prints of avatars caught amidst ritual levitations created for the interactive works Park 1 & 2.

UNIVERSAL OBJECTS: MINDFULNESS
Tanja Vujinović
Single-channel HD video, 10:14 minutes
Production: Ultramono, 2015

Mindfulness is a record of meditation in the otherwise noisy, crowded place of online social gaming environment Second Life. As principles of fashionable mindfulness dictate, the avatar is trying to be aware of its surroundings, to breathe-in the atmosphere and to remain in the moment of digital blissfulness.

UNIVERSAL OBJECTS: FORMATIONS 1-7
Tanja Vujinović

Polyptych HD video installation, 7 projections, (F1: 1,32 min., F2: 3,19 min., F3: 2,58 min., F4: 3,24 min., F5: 2,49 min., F6: 4 min., F7: 4 min.)
Production: Ultramono, 2017

Otherwise abstract agents of artificial intelligence are crawling and regulating space around us constantly. Here they are assuming avataric shapes and we become aware of their existence and their constant negotiation, tracking and sorting.

Universal Objects: Formations 17 is a series of seven videos showing rituals executed by humanoid virtual objects. These sets of behaviors seem like strict tasks being performed in choreographed rituals. The game these eight bots are always replaying is floating between autonomous and regulated behaviour. They coexist in a group while being constantly regulated by the looks of the other bots, which can be understood as the Look, the regulatory instrument that J.P. Sartre wrote of.
As in Noh theatre, slow rhythm, “masks” suggesting states of consciousness, emphasized gesticulation, movements that are inspired by movements of Zen monks, but also movements that have roots in martial arts are all creating an endless non-narrative that embodies repressive forces of technological surveillance and the transmission of consciousness to the digital domain.

UNIVERSAL OBJECTS: LEGACY 1&2
Tanja Vujinović 
Video installation (Legacy 1, single channel HD video 1:33 minutes; Legacy 2, single channel HD video 6:20 minutes) 
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 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 art work 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.

Tanja Vujinović (Tatjana Vujinović Kušej)
Intermedia Artist & Researcher
Ultramono Institute