„Untitled, 2022./2023.“ by Tomo Savić-Gecan at MMSU
The project “Untitled, 2022/2023” by artist Tomo Savić Gecan is based on the project “Untitled (Croatian Pavillion), 2022”, which was selected by curator Elena Filipović to represent Croatia at the 59th Venice Biennale of Art. Apart from the performers, his project “Untitled, 2022/2023” is unlike his previous projects due to arbitrary links established between physically remote components. These links are no longer created solely by the artist. They are products of orchestrated collaborations (AI programmers, the choreographer, female and male performers and the AI team), leaving the last word to the decisions taken by AI.
Every day for the duration of seven months of the Venice Biennale five female and male dancers out of a trained troupe of twenty-five performers waited to receive instructions on their smartphones at 8 a.m. Wirelessly transmitted AI guidelines were anchored in the newsfeeds, i.e. daily analyzed textual data from the lead stories of randomly selected global news outlets such as Arab News, Corriere della Sera, El Tiempo, Le Monde, Bangkok Post, The Namibian or New York Times. AI was trained to recognize and classify a predetermined set of topics by predictive algorithms, including climate change, human rights violations, technological development and military activities. As a result, each and every day the performers would receive specific algorithmically-derived instructions that would take a different turn in accordance with the relevant top stories, and determine the venue where they were supposed to appear, the movements they were supposed to perform, as well as the particularities to focus on during their performances.
The disturbing question raised by the artist in this project regarding the invisible and prominent AI presence in our everyday life will be revisited once again, but this time against the backdrop of the exhibition spaces at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. The visitors will be able to find the information about the venue, exact time and daily news to be enacted by the performers in person while the project is running on the website https://croatianpavilion2022.com/mmsu2023/ created for the Rijeka project edition.
Curatorial development of Untitled (Croatian Pavilion), 2022: Elena Filipović
Choreographic production lead: Irma Omerzo
Technical production lead: Tomislav Pokrajčić
Technical production team: Jan Šnajder, Ana Barić i Sara Bakić (AI tim – TakeLab, Fakultet elektrotehnike i računarstva, Sveučilište u Zagrebu)
Data annotators for the AI development: Anamarija Brusić, Bruno de Zan, Ela Đimoti, Barbara Geld, Kristijan Grgurić, Gordana Kolanović Roško, Marija Košutić, Vladimira Milić, Jan Osmanović, Darija Oštrić, Tomislav Smrekar, Dorotea Supančić, Mišo Vojnović, Sofija Žagar
Performers: Koraljka Begović, Ema Kani, Kristina Lisica, Ana Novković, Mia Štark
Visual identity: Igor Kuduz
Multimedia development: Mihael Giba
Producer: Tena Starčević
Special Thanks: KONTEJNER – bureau of contemporary art praxis
“Once more we can recall the absurd tactics of artistic disobedience of Tomo Savić-Gecan, which the audience was able to witness during the Retrospective 2020 at the Museum of Contemporary Art: a plethora of invisible and intangible Untitled works, the creation of bizarre interdependencies between the exhibition space and the places such as the shopping mall’s escalators, the public swimming pool, the airport – places that are sometimes miles away, in the territories of other countries. Or the ironic approach to the concept of boundaries that included fixing boundaries in completely illogical places. On this occasion the work Untitled (Croatian Pavilion), 2022 is an implied, but much more sharply focused metaphor revealing the invisible but ubiquitous bond between human and machine. It uncovers the covert and purposeful way in which intelligent computer systems penetrate and manipulate our microcosms. Judging by their looks and movements at first glance, the dancers, who use an encrypted language while performing in accordance with the computer-based instructions to convey the top daily news, are quite alike other visitors. However, their presence creates a specific atmosphere and disrupts the ordinary. This interplay is confusing and surprising. It provides a wide interpretative field, and fosters, inter alia, a reflection on the fate of contemporary dance. Tomislav Medak touched upon this in the Biennale Catalogue, in his deliberation on dance spanning from the expression of liberation and resistance to social coercion, to the ideological expression of capitalist modernity, where the movements made by the freely moving subjects are in fact coordinated and coerced by abstract rules.” (From the piece by R. I. Janković, Radio Show “The Triptych”, Third Program of the Croatian Radio, May 31, 2022).