The Laboratory of Art and Form (L.O.A.F.) is a collective of curators of Contemporary Art based in Kyoto (286-13 Komeyacho Kamigyo-ku) and active in Japan and Europe, mainly in Germany, United Kingdom and Italy. The L.O.A.F. mission is to present contemporary artists, also in a disruptive and non-schematic way, introducing new perspectives and reflections on social, technological, economic and environmental themes.
Paintings and sculptures, shows, images, Internet and conceptual art, design and architecture, printing and photography. Without any foreclosure: a sort of Petri dish for contemporary culture where curiosity, debate and involvement, educate and simultaneously grow both the public and the artist.
The exhibition by !Mediengroup Bitnik, a close-knit duo of visionary artists, the Swiss Carmen Weisskopf (1976, Zurich) and the Croatian Domagoj Smoljo (1979, Island of Vis), goes in this direction and sets these objectives.
Their work starts from digital and from internet in order to influence physical realities, applying, intentionally, a loss of control (for example case for chaos) for the sole purpose of challenging, and flaking, tangible structures and mechanisms that everyone believes are now consolidated.
In recent years they have made themselves known for having made some unique explosive impact artistic initiatives, as in 2013, with “Delivery for Mr. Assange”, when they sent a parcel to Julian Assange (the founder of Wikileaks) at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he had taken refuge to escape the risk of a probable extradition to the United States of America. The parcel contained a GPS transmitter and a camera, turned on and functioning, which transmitted the journey of itself through the postal system, all live on Internet. As the artists call it, a “SYSTEM_TEST and Live Mail Art Piece”.
Or, again in 2014, with “Random Darknet Shopper”, when they created and sent online a BOT, “customer and consumer ro-Bot” (Bot means an autonomous program that, in social networks, makes other users believe to communicate with a human person) who, going around the deep-web for three months, without a goal like a crazy top, was accepted in various Darknets and bought random items (also Ecstasy and, even, a Hungarian passport), then having them shipped directly to the physical address of the Gallery in Switzerland.
The exhibition, under the title of “Mediengruppe Bitnik: New Work” and created with the patronage and support of the Swiss Embassy in Japan, will be inaugurated on April 11, 2020 and will continue until May 9.
The theme will focus on the various and complex realities of the current global digital scene, directing the viewer’s reflection on delicate and sensitive topics whose scope and importance is too often underestimated; in short, discuss concepts such as the possible and oppressive surveillance of the government, address the issue of computer security and dissect the meaning and consequences of a failure, or at least insufficient, social awareness of an all too easy renunciation of privacy and one’s intimacy.
This is an ideal continuation of the speech started with “Are You Online Now?” (London, 2017) presented at the Annka Kultys Gallery, where the !Mediengruppe Bitnik raised stimulating questions on the current relationship between man and machine, on the nature of Internet (exquisitely intimate, obviously public… or what?), on the evident blur of the perception of the idea of “virtual use” (which however becomes physical and sometimes destructive) of digital platforms. Almost as in an involuntary misrepresentation of terms, a non-acceptance of a fact deriving from an unwittingly self-denied introspection. All for a voluntary desire of abandonment and “dream”.
For a better understanding of thoughts and to make the abstraction represented more “real”, as well as a round table with both artists, Kensuke Kishi (previous director of NHK) and Yoshitaka Mori (professor at the Tokyo University Graduate School of Global Arts), from February 22 to April 6, the L.O.A.F. will host the projections of the previous works of the artists: the already mentioned “Random Darknet Shopper” (2014-2016) and “Delivery For Mr. Assange” (2013), but also “Surveillance Chess” (2012), “CCTV – A Trail Of Images” (2008) and “Opera Calling” (2007).
About !Mediengroup Bitnik: wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.bitnik.org
About Laboratory of Art and Form (L.O.A.F.): www.loaf-jp.com
Ritratto del duo !Mediengroup Bitnik (a sx D.Smoljo, a dx C.Weisskopf), courtesy Maria Ostapkevich/L.O.A.F.
!Mediengroup Bitnik, Ashley Madison Angels, 51-channel installation, EPEL ArtLab Lausanne, 2017, courtesy Maria Ostapkevich/L.O.A.F.
!Mediengruppe Bitnik, New Work, courtesy Maria Ostapkevich/L.O.A.F.
The passion for art convinced him to become an entrepreneur in the art market. Gallerist and Art Promoter, he worked in Italy and Turkey, curating, among other things, the organization of over 100 exhibitions. From 2016 he moved to Tokyo.