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P74 Gallery

Staš Vrenko: Adoption Techniques

7 – 28 September 2017
P74 Gallery, Trg Prekomorskih brigad 1, Ljubljana

You are kindly invited to the opening of the exhibition by Staš Vrenko at P74 Gallery, on Thursday, 7 September 2017 at 7 p.m.

Curator: Nina Skumavc

In the project Adoption Techniques Staš Vrenko takes the essential, primary qualities of sound and media, which serve his reproduction and dissemination.

His interests lie in the attitude of the individual to the oversaturation of sounds in the urban environment and the ways in which we listen to music or sound. The project initially developed when he was confronted with the impossibility of managing the latter in his own environment. Instead of trying to isolate himself, he decided to accept the intrusive sounds; thus in his atelier, where he was listening to his own recordings, he opened the windows to the coincidental soundscape of the city.

Staš Vrenko occupies himself intensively with field recordings. That includes recording natural or human-made sounds outside of the recording studio. For this task he uses different recording devices, from a mobile phone to a tape recorder. He records in the middle of cities, where what mostly attracts his attention are the sounds specific to the urban environment: music from cars and bars as well as people talking. With the exception of the latter, it’s about what’s played on radio stations or other forms of playing back music, it’s about mediated sound, which represents an important segment of the general soundscape in the public space.

Recording itself is a performative act, in which while walking or taking a break Vrenko decides what to record and presses the start and stop buttons with a simple gesture. Despite carefully listening and determining the duration of the captured sound situation, a large part is played by coincidence and the technical characteristics of the recording medium itself, which flattens the entire live sound image to the same level on the sound recording. He often leaves the recordings untreated – just as they are. Sometimes he intervenes by replaying the recording while capturing sounds at another location. This involves mixing the sounds of different spaces, different times, and technically-conditioned noise (for example, the whirr of the engine driving the device, etc.).

These recordings and their playback represent the central part of the installation in Gallery P74. The installation consists of two loudspeakers and a player with a selection of sound situations, placed upon a lit stage. In the darkened part of the space, opposite the stage, various chairs have been set up for the gallery visitors. The room is a concert venue and more: it suggests a cultural environment, one of the few in which it is still possibly to actively listen to music. Staš Vrenko positions recordings of popular music on the same level as environmental background sounds. He asks the listener: what are these sounds and why these exactly? To the question, what are we listening to, it’s not easy to find an answer. Vrenko says that the only thing that he can mediate is the mere act of listening. What he offers to the visitor in the first row is the position of an attentive listener.

Staš Vrenko (1991, Ljubljana) earned his Bachelor’s degree from the Department of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, where he is currently finishing his Master’s degree in sculpture. He combines his interdisciplinary artistic practice with the processual discovery of the technological and media specificities of the material with which he works. He is devoted to researching various aspects of sound, sound design, field recording, kineticism and segments of performative arts. He often participates in the projects of other artists, creates sound for video and installations, and collaborates as a scenographer in theatre performances. With the solo exhibition project Veznik he presented his work as part of the Sonica Festival (2016). He has participated in the group exhibitions STIK/H, Days of Poetry and Wine, Fürst House, Ptuj (2013); U3| 7th Triennial of Contemporary Art in Slovenia, SCCA Ljubljana (2013), 4.4., Škuc Gallery (2013); and the international Lighting Guerrilla Festival: Movement, Gallery Vžigalica (2012). He has performed solo at the Festival Mlade rime (Young Rhymes) at AKC Metelkova City’s Menza pri koritu, live on the radio for Ljubljana’s Radio Študent, and in concert at Pritličje and at Tovarna Rog’s Modri kot and Rog Concert Hall (2015, 2016). In addition to his independent creations, he also collaborates in the poetry-sound group nevem nevem.