TOPICAL TACTICS, Media-Scape 2012, Biennial for Time Based Art

The abbreviation of “Media-Scape Biennal Zagreb,” MSBZ, is reminiscent of MBZ (Muzicki Biennale Zagreb / Music Bienniale Zagreb). This similarity is not accidental but conceptually fits the idea of continuously building bridges between different disciplines of art and knowledge and science as well as between traditions of avant-garde and the latest tendencies in media art.

“All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer sight to almost everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things.” (Aristotle)

Taken as a motto of the exhibition, this quote of Aristotle’s written so much before the advent of “new” media technologies, can serve as a key to understanding how the media and technological environment has changed – not only the production of knowledge but also the landscape of art. Even the “traditional” media and the traditional making of art is informed and transformed under their influence.

Let us simply say that there is no more land, there is the mind. The media and technologies transcend the space that we can ordinarily perceive, shift the visual experience from morphological to conceptual. The meaning of knowledge is no longer a function of the gaze alone. The new geography can be conceived of as a mind map, where the nodes in the system of coordinates are tactical topics. Paraphrasing Lawrence Weiner, dealing with the space, staging, whether you want to or not, “like you can say, I am not terribly interested in oxygen but you are breathing it,” we find regarding new technologies and media spaces that whether someone shows direct interest in them is of little importance, because the new experience of space has become like the air we breathe. As a result, the object of art is no longer a question simply of contemplation. The unidirectional perspective of a classical subject/object relation comes to vanish, shifting our perception as aesthetic sensations and artistic medium, communication media and intelligent (technological) systems open up a space for fluxes of abstract structures.

Just like Aristotle in his time understood knowledge as permeating through all our senses and not only through vision and perspective, in a cognitive techno-socio-economic system what is visible and what is invisible are mutually complementary processes. This is a system of soft surfaces, sensitive like skin, which presuppose tactility, going beyond the field of vision or rather flirting with the visible. What emerges on the surface of the skin visualizes seductive desires, while the forming processes remain invisible under the surface. Let us call this phenomenon the aesthetic of hyper-textuality, a circulating semiotic structure to which encoding systems contribute by changing linear progress through textuality as a new metaphor of art. As a result the state of art is reorganized in a new form of social value based on the promise of art again becoming part of everyday life, as the art object dissolves in conceptualization and dematerialization. “The continued evolution of both communications and control technology bodes a new type of aesthetic relationship,” (Jack Burnham) in which art embodies a new mode of knowledge production, unpredictable aesthetic sensations and experience of the invisible.

Under the title “Topical Tactics” the exhibition will put on display works of media art as mixed media techniques with video, computer art, sound installations, photography, media objects, graphics and concerts/performances.

Conceived as a survey exhibition, the Media Scape Biennal presents positions from contemporary artistic production and focuses on the potential of artistic practice to inhabit the invisible liminal zones in the “media world,” making them visible in order to call them into question through interference and disruption. It highlights the processes of transformation and of establishing new or imaginary linkages.

Topical Tactics brings together a wide range of artistic positions from different countries, enabling the exhibition to draw lines of connection and continuation to current approaches to the aesthetics of media art. Works by pioneering figures have paved the way since the sixties and developed a discourse by producing conceptual breakthroughs or analytical deconstruction and reorganization – semantic structures that link them with the artistic positions of the younger generation.” (Text by Heiko Daxl, October 2011)


One of the founders and main curator of Media-Scape Zagreb, Heiko Daxl, is unfortunately no longer with us. He passed away this year in the prime of his life and work. We will continue in the future to follow his idea of Media-Scape and try to be consistent with his aims and directions. Without being able to rely on his great talent and intellectual acumen, Media-Scape will certainly be different, but no less intensive, creative and devoted to showing the best of media art in the future.

This year’s Media-Scape will be a combination of media art works previously conceived by Heiko Daxl and works of artists inspired by them – works that correspond to his ideas as well as to our sorrow of losing him.


More about the works in the show:

- “Are you breathing?” by Ana Elizabet - The title is a message

- “De Fibrillation” by Barbara Caveng (defibrillation is a common treatment for life-threatening cardiac dysrhythmias, ventricular fibrillation, and pulseless ventricular tachycardia – Wikipedia); the threads of a robe are extracted, turning the material into a transparent shadow, symbolizing the frailty of our existence

- “Doppelgänger” - from the German “double walker”: in walker”: in fiction and folklore, a paranormal double of a living person, typically representing evil or misfortune –(Wikipedia)

- “60 Seconds,” installation by Ignacio Uriarte showing 60 wristwatches, representing the unavoidable circle and limited time of our life

- “Exit-Wall” by Cécile Colle}{Ralf Nuhn, a modular installation “comprising hundreds of illuminant exit signs assembled by means of permanent magnets. Usually the signs are used in public spaces to indicate, in case of emergency, an escape route to the outside. By contrast, we are employing the exit signs like bricks of a wall to build a barrier within a space. For us, the paradoxical nature of this assemblage – originating from the contradiction between the linguistic meaning of its constituting parts (the exit signs) and the physical obstacle it poses in reality – evokes the inherent ambiguities of different limits in “real life”: architectural, political, cultural, psychological, technological…” (Cécile Colle}{Ralf Nuhn)

- “disc. 2009” by Andreas .muk. Haider, combining the technology of a multiplayer music instrument with eight CD players and corresponding speakers arranged in a circular spatial installation; sequentially switched light spots in combination with graphical cutouts in the CDs create noise patterns based on the principle of optical sound.

- Pablo Alonso’s graphites on paper, although abstract in content and giving the impression of heavy metal material, provide the viewer with the illusion of a movement between lightness and darkness, heaviness and easiness of forms. Thinking of symbolism in images, it can be translated as complexities of our experiences in life.

- “The Eye of God” by Paul Magee’s computer program played off the wide-screen monitor is one of the Media-Scape projects having other references: “Left to itself for a very long but finite period, the screen would generate every possible image at increasingly better resolution. Photographs from every dream and nightmare, from all pasts and futures – actual, possible and inconceivable.” In many of his artistic works Heiko Daxl has used color as a symbol for the RGB video image as well as pixels. Paul Magee continues in the description of his work: “The whole screen starts as one ‘pixel’. The program goes through all possible combinations of RGB for this single pixel. That is to say, every combination of the 256 reds, 256 greens and 256 blues that can make up a pixel. It then splits the screen horizontally and vertically, and combines each ‘pixel’ with every other ‘pixel’ on the screen in all possible configurations – and in all of each pixel’s own possible RGB combinations. The program keeps splitting the screen until it reaches the size of an actual pixel.

- “Five Suitcases” is an installation by Duje Juri? that sends messages on old-fashioned suitcases as a symbol for travel, instability of the home, passages in time and space till his last travel to infinity.

- “Time Bridge” by Rivka Rinn is the photography of her travel as a permanent motive in her photographic works. In her images, travel is a symbol of speed and transformation of space in time.

- “Cubus Niger – incarnation cRdxXPV9GNQ” and “Avatar” by Michael Saup is a project that shows the photos of a lignite coal cube with a side length of 3 meters created by the electrical power consumption of one million views of the “Avatar” movie trailer on YouTube. A lignite coal pyramid with a base side of 1,422 meters and a height of 905 meters created by the electrical power consumption of the Internet in 2009, totaling 1,000,000,000,000 kWh’s. The lignite briquettes would create a line 1.5 times as big as the distance between Earth and Sun.

- “The irrelevance of getting to the point of things” by Riikka Tauriainen is a mind map cross-linking words, found images and appropriated text. She seeks out discrepancies based on language and its translations and the ways meaning is betrayed and dissolves between text and image and their respective meta-levels. Playing with the inherent dichotomy of language and bipolarity of positivity and negativity, she fragments and estranges paragraphs from their sources. She thus reflects on the process of memory and thinking, of retrieving information, and the dictionary structure, and self-reflexively on the art of research.

Having dedicated Media-Scape 2012 as a whole to Heiko Daxl, we also selected several projects in his honor, among them “Directing Wagner” by Peter Kees, who shows himself directing without sound an empty space in different surroundings;

“Project for unsuccessful gathering” by Igor Eškinja, empty chairs half painted in different colors as if they were waiting for someone to come

A portrait of punk singer “Sequel of Nina Hagen” by Ilse Ruppert, showing her in the best time of the Berlin underground scene of the eighties, the time when Heiko first came to the city he would later choose as the city to live in.

Sibylle Hoessler’s photo showing Heiko Daxl from the back going to HDLU with his famous red suitcase, constitutes all at the same time his coming to us and leaving us in his latest farewell.

Drawing portrait of Heiko by Branka Uzur is a final interpretation of his facial expression, showing concentration and at the same time the playfulness of his character.

A concert/performance at the opening of the Media-Scape exhibition, played and improvised by Mia Zabelka on her electric guitar, will be the musical accomplishment of the long travel of Heiko Daxl. We will follow you all the way through, dear Heiko.

(Text: Ingeborg Fülepp, in collaboration with Dimitrina Sevova, September 2012)


Participants in the exhibition: Pablo Alonso and Ignacio Uriarte from Spain, Barbara Caveng from Switzerland, Cécile Colle}{Ralf Nuhn from France, Ana Elizabet, Igor Eškinja and Duje Juri? from Croatia, Andreas .muk. Haider and Mia Zabelka from Austria, Paul Magee from the UK, Martina Menegon and Stefano D’Alessio from Italy, I??n Önol from Turkey and Austria, Rivka Rinn from Israel and Germany, Heiko Daxl, Sibylle Hoessler, Peter Kees, Ilse Ruppert, Michael Saup from Germany, Dimitrina Sevova from Bulgaria and Switzerland, Riikka Tauriainen from Finland and Switzerland, Branka Uzur from Australia and Croatia.

As in previous years, we have received the support of different national and international institutions and embassies:
Croatia:Ministarstvo kulture Republike Hrvatske; Gradski ured za obrazovanje, kulturu i sport Zagreb, MSU- Muzej suvremene umjetnosti Zagreb; International: Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (IFA) Stuttgart, Pro Helvetia, Switzerland, Middlesex University, Great Britain, Spain Embassy in Zagreb; EUNIC, European Union National Institutes for Culture: British Council Zagreb; Goethe Institute Zagreb, Institut Français Zagreb, Instituto Italiano di Cultura Zagreb, Österreichisches Kulturforum Zagreb


Media-Scape 1993 - 2010

Media-Scape is as a set of exhibitions, performances, concerts, actions, film/video programs and symposia bringing together international and Coatian artists in the context of media art. Media-Scape is open to a dialogue between public, artists, curators and theoreticians.

It has always been the driving spindle and elixir of avant-garde art to condense intellectual trends, social developments and technical innovations into an up-to-date interpretation of reality. Media-Scape focuses critically on these developments, their pre-history and their future perspectives. The concept of current trends, historical passage and future visions are presented through exhibitions, performances, concerts, lectures, film and video screenings.

Media-Scape marks the necessity of a human-shaped media-landscape to present concepts, ideas and artistic reflections in the discipline of media art. Other than curators who are first writing concepts and than looking for the artists fitting into their ideas, Media-Scape looks first for the works of art and personalities who are searching for the new expressions of the media art language. In its exhibitions, Media-Scape aims to have a point of view on the arts, where the space and objects have a dialogue within itself. Media-Scape stays on the traditional paths of video installations as sculptures, as objects or as part of environment, of video-stage, performance act or concert of new music.

Held in reference to the historically pivotal Croatian important art movements such as EXAT 51 in the fifties, NT (Nove tendencije) in the sixties and symposia "Dialogue with the Machine" (Zagreb 1969) and  "Television Today" (Zagreb 1972) and Music Bienale in Zagreb (since 1959) and  in coalescence with the important contributory role Zagreb has made to the avant-garde of visual arts music.

Media-Scape was founded in Zagreb in May 1991 during the international CAD forum (symposium for architecture and design) by Heiko Daxl, Ingeborg Fülepp, Bojan Baletic and Malcolm LeGrice.

Media-artists and theoreticians came together for the first time to discuss the role of new media in their artistic work and the need for a continuing dialogue. Out of this came the idea of what is today called Media-Scape.

“During the 1990s, years of war and transition, the Croatian artistic production stagnated, with the exception of the continual tradition of video art. Given the right-wing (retrograde and traditionally bound) official cultural policy, the presentations of foreign media art became rare and the scarce work of Croatian media art was the product of individual enthusiasm without the support of institutions; it was mostly done abroad. The only people who continually exhibited media art were Media in Motion (Heiko Daxl and Ingeborg Fulepp), who have since 1991 been organizing Media-Scape - the annual exhibition and symposium on media art.” (Darko Fritz “A brief overview of media art in Croatia “

Due to the war situation in Croatia, it took a year to organize the first Media-Scape. From 1993 to 1999 Media-Scape was held regularly every year in Zagreb but often on different locations.

Supporters and Sponsors 1993 - 2010


Croatian Cultural Institutions:

Academy of Drama Arts, Academy of Music, CAD Forum, Zagreb, CARNet - Croatian Academic Research Network, City of Zagreb, Croatian Society of Architects, Croatian Ministry of Culture, Croatian Ministry of Science, City of Novigrad / Cittanova, Regional Goverment of Istria, Turist Association Novigrad / Cittanova, Turist Association of Istria, Croatian Artists Society, Filmoteka 16, Zagreb, Multimedia Centre in Zagreb, Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Museum Mimara in Zagreb, Open Society, Zagreb, School of Architecture, Society of Turism, Soros Centre for Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Radio 101


Foreign Institutions:

 Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, Arts Council of Australia, Sydney, Art + Com Berlin, Germany, Austrian Cultural and Informative Centre in Zagreb, Croatia, Ministry for Education, Art and Sport, Vienna, Austria, Senat of the City of Berlin, Germany, British Council in Zagreb, Croatia, ZKM - Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany, CICV - Centre de Recherche Pierre Schaeffer Montbeliard Belfont, France, Cultural Ministry of Science and Culture Niedersachsen, Hannover, Germany, Royal Dutch Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia, European Media Art Festival Osnabrück, Germany, French Institute in Zagreb, Croatia, Ministry of Culture, Paris, France, Goethe Institute in Zagreb, Croatia, Goethe Institute in Munich, Germany, Soros Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland, ICC Tokyo, Japan, Japan Foundation, Tokyo, Infermental, International Video Magazine, Italian Cultural Centre in Zagreb, Croatia, media in motion Berlin, Germany, Mediamatic Amsterdam, Netherlands, Ministry of Foreign Affair, Bonn, Germany , National Gallery Budapest, Hungary, University of Westminster in London, Great Britain, VAMP - Video Art Magazine Production Berlin, Germany, Video Award Marl, Germany, Videokunst Multimedia, Video Positive Liverpool, Great Britain, Film+Arch, Graz, Austria, Metafort, Aubervilliers, France, Akademie der Künste Berlin, Germany, Academy for Film and Television, Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany, Canadian Embassy Zagreb



Alma Print, Zagreb; ANIMAR, Zagreb; Apple Center NOVEL, Zagreb; Badel D.D., Zagreb; "Coca Cola, Zagreb; Croatia Liber, Zagreb; Delta Airlines; "DAMI" d.o.o. Rijeka; Filex Macintosh, Zagreb; G Team, Graditeljstvo, Cakovec; Hotel Astoria, Zagreb; Hotel Dubrovnik, Zagreb; Kafeterija "Katarina", Zagreb; IKOM Zagreb; Kutjevacka vina, Kutjevo; MI Jakopec, Zagreb; Milton Inc., Zagreb; Poduzece za izradu svijeca - Mladen Siroka; Zagreb, Restoran Kvarner, Zagreb; Sitopapir, Zagreb; Ski Zicare Sljeme, Zagreb; Taverna, Zagreb; Turisticka zajednica Zagreb; ZET, Zagreb; 4th Domension, Zagreb


1993 Machiko Kusahara; 1994 Vjesnik 1995: Vijenac, Hrvatsko Slovo, Carnet 1996: Glas Istre, Nedjeljni vjesnik, Slobodna dalmacija, Novi list, Vecernji list, Vjesnik 30.Sept., Vjesnik 2 Okt.1997 Glas Slavonije, Nedjeljni vjesnik, Novi list, Primorsko-Goranski dnevnik, Slobodna Dalmacija, Vecrnji list 19.11.,Vecrnji list 20.11., Vecrnji list 25.11., Vjesnik1998: Novi list1999: Vijenac; Novigrad 2006 Glas Istre, Glas Slavonije, Novi List 1. Sept., Novi List 5. Sept. 2007: Glas Istre 1. Sept., Glas Istre 2. Sept., Glas Istre 3. Sep., Novi List2008: Glas Istre 1. Sept., Glas Istre 3. Sept., 2006: Glas Istre, Glas Slavonije, Novi List 1. Sept., Novi List 5. Sept.; 2007: Glas Istre 1. Sept., Glas Istre 2. Sept., Glas Istre 3. Sep., Novi List; 2008: Glas Istre 1. Sept., Glas Istre 3. Sept.


Radio and Broadcast:

Different information and culture programs of Croatian Broadcast HRT (Hrvatska RadioTelevizija)
"Deutschland Funk ", "Deutsche Welle" ; Radio 101 and many others


Media-Scape  - Paricipants Zagreb 1993-1999 and Novigrad 2005-2008

Ina Abuschenko-Matwejewa,  Anna Anders, Masami Akita, Zemira Alaibegovic, Miroslav Ambros-Kis, Friedrike Anders, Hanno Baethe, Bojan Baletic, Irit Batsry, Laszlo Beke, Maurice Benayoun, Eddie Berg, Ursula Berlot, Michael Bielicky, Simon Biggs, Iva-Matija Bitanga, Piet-Jan Blauw, David Blair, Simon Bogojevic-Narath, Martine Bour, Djanino Bozic, Tomislav Brajnovic, Noam Braslavsky, Thea Brejzek, Milan Bukovac, Egon Bunne, Peter Callas, Andy Cameron, Vlatko Ceric, Marko Ciciliani, Roberto Cimador, Gerard Couty, Martin Davorin-Jagodic, Heiko Daxl, Matija Debeljuh, Söke Dinkla, Stefan Dietrich, Peter Tomas Dobrila, Sanjin Dragojevic, Georg Eisenhut, Arthur Engelbert, Ivan Faktor, Dror Feiler, Alen Floricic, Branko Franceschi, Ivana Franke, Darko Fritz, Agnes Fuchs, Ingeborg Fülepp, Jaap de Jonge, Ladislav Galeta, Paul Garrin, Paul de Geetere, Niksa Gligo, Tomislav Gotovac, Sophie Greenfield, Malcolm Le Grice, Marina Griznic, Jean-Francois Guiton, Akiko Hada, Gusztav Hamos, Ross Harley, Kim Hi-Cheong, Christoph Hildebrand, Gavin Hodge, Joanna Hoffmann, Kurt Hofstetter, Wolfgang Höntzke, Kathy Rae Huffman, Erkki Huhtamo, Peter Hutter, Sanja Ivekovic, Hartmut Jahn, KP Ludwig John, Franz John, Klaus Jung, Stanko Juzbasic, Kain Karawahn, Lidia Karbowska, Susanne Kienbaum, Ivan Marusic Klif, Zeljko Kipke, Carol Ann Klonarides, Werner Klotz, Ryszard Kluszczynsky, Vladislav Knezevic, Judit Kopper, Neven Korda, Marko Kosnik, Richard Kriesche, Markus Krips, Sandra Krizic-Roban, Dubravko Kuhta, Andreja Kuluncic, Betina Kuntzsch, Machiko Kusahara, Rolf Külz-Mackenzie, Jawek Kwakman, Igor Kuduz, David Larcher, Kristina Leko, Walter Lenertz, Mladen Lucic, Natasa Lusetic, Antal Lux, Horst Markgraf, Correnti Magnetichi, Dalibor Martinis, Thomas Marquard, Davor Mezak, Seadetta Midzic, Mladen Milicevic, Robin Minard, Jonathan Moberly, Axel Möckel, Mona Mur, Dan Oki, Zakiah Omar, Vito Orazem, Ivan Pajic, Rotraut Pape, Irena Paulus, Jan Peacock, Magdalena Pederin, Davor Peros-Bonnot, Günther Petzold, Jochen Piepmeyer, Richard Philpott, Ivan Picelj, Ulrich Plank, Daniela Alina Plewe, Charlotte Pöchhacker, Nenad Prelog, Nenad Puhovski, Betram Quosdorf, Markus Ramershoven, Rivka Rinn, Don Ritter, Gilles Rollestone, Rob Rombout, Ilse Ruppert, Sabine Sanio, Michael Saup, Joachim Sauter, Bill Seaman, Keiko Sei, Jeffrey Shaw, Goran Skofic, Gunilla Sköld, Aina Smid, George Snow, Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag, Andras Solyom, Elisabeth Son, Stelarc, Dejan Stifanic, Iva Stipetic, Michaela Strumberger, Angelika Thiekötter, Tatjana Tikulin, Hvorje Turkovic, Branka Uzur, Maria Vedder, Veit-Lup, Mirjana Vodopija, Lili Vogt, Lawrence Wallen, Eku Wand, Jeremy Welsh, Darko Zovko, Angela Zumpe