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P74 Gallery

Voranc Kumar: Landscapes and maps

8 – 28 November 2018
P74 Gallery, Trg Prekomorskih brigad 1, Ljubljana

You are kindly invited to attend the opening of the exhibition of Voranc Kumar Landscapes and maps on November 8, 2018 at 8 p.m. at the P74 Gallery in Ljubljana.

The theme of the exhibition Landscapes and Maps by Voranc Kumar is the relationship between human and computer vision, which in the recent decades has become increasingly intertwined due to advances in technology. The project focuses on the processes that in the widest sense we can call reconstructionist: those that reconstruct a three-dimensional space from flattened two-dimensional images (photographs or visual recordings. The technique is used in the film industry, advertising spots, computer games, etc. It represents a technical procedure that takes the place of a 3D scanner and while based on the geometric abstraction of human vision, it functions differently. The application needs a certain path of the camera or photographic equipment upon which it can reconstruct a space, which was originally flattened from three into two dimensions. However, unlike human vision, which can recognize a space immediately when it focuses its attention on it, the computer algorithm first needs a path, thus an adjustment of the perspective and only then on the basis of the difference between the various perspectives can it recognize a space and the objects within it. The central task of the computer program is to return a space to the user that the user can recognize as the object of one’s own vision, before it has been distanced by the camera. And precisely that feedback loop is what interests the artist.
Voranc Kumar used his camera to film landscapes while riding on trains, something that he does regularly. At the exhibition, he will show these rides to the spectator in the medium of video, as a walk through a computerized landscape just before he returns it to the human view – thus processed till that point where we recognize it as a known esthetic object. The video will be accompanied by sound, on the walls of the gallery will be the image of a map, a two-dimensional representation of the reconstruction of the space. In this case, the map has several meanings, since it adopts the appearance of a map, that is, something that is intended for a person’s orientation in the space, yet at the same time, contains flattened information otherwise from the spatial tracing of the computerized reconstruction of the space.
Thus, the project is not only about the general relationship between human and computer, but also the specific relationship between the author-user and the specific program-algorithmic tool. He himself approaches as a user with a certain esthetic expectation for the possibilities that a program offers, just as the program itself is a certain programming tool, intended for fulfilling the users’ expectations. Already at this point, the dance of coming closer to the other happens on both sides: the user must learn to be a user; with each new version, the program becomes more adapted to the user’s expectations.
What is interesting is the shift, the skip, which takes place when the user changes one’s otherwise professional approach to the tools and becomes a traveler on a train, an almost romantic observer of the landscape that moves past him beyond his control. The relationship between the user and the program thus shifts, since they are inappropriate for one another. The landscape is simply not an object for which the program was created, thus the space, that it latter reconstructs, is curiously distanced to the esthetic experience of the traveler gazing out the window of the train. For this reason, the user or the spectator encounters problems when discerning the landscape. Perhaps certain elements seem familiar to him or her, however, the whole does not make sense. The artist shows us the interpretation of landscapes, which the program offers him, with that he is not fetishizing technology, but rather mainly exposing its unfamiliarity, despite the human attempt of recreating it.

Voranc Kumar (1990, Koper), who holds a master’s degree in sculpture and is a PhD student of philosophy at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, strives to combine his interest for these two fields in his works. He defines himself as an intermedia artist and is also active professionally as a scenographer and digital media artist. In recent years he has shown his work at several group exhibitions in Slovenia and abroad. In 2018, his work was the focus of the final exhibition of participants of the World of Art School for Curatorial Practices and Critical Writing in Škuc Gallery.

The programme of the P74 Gallery is supported by the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Slovenia and by the Municipality of Ljubljana, Department for Culture.