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P74 Gallery

Franc Purg: Aestheticized Information

5 – 25 April 2019
P74 Gallery, Trg Prekomorskih brigad 1, Ljubljana

You are kindly invited to attend the opening of the exhibition of Franc Purg Aestheticized Information on April 5, 2019 at 7pm at the P74 Gallery in Ljubljana.

In his project Aestheticized Information, Franc Purg equally introduces nonhuman agents –plants – to expose the need for a rethinking about the condition that is radically affecting the Anthropocene era. In the forefront, Purg is interested in the meaning and understanding of information (data, facts).

In light of the latest research about the life of plants, their social support, “friendship”, etc., fascinating discoveries have been made about the cooperation between tree species and fungi, about their unique symbiotic models of connectivity. Here, fungi act as an extension of the underground root system and spread themselves along the wider area toward other trees. In this way, they create a net, through which they exchange nutrients as well as information about potential dangers. Peter Wohlleben has named fungi the forest Internet.

On the 51st Zagreb Salon of Visual Arts entitled Challenging Humanism, Franc Purg presented the early phase of his work in progress Aestheticized Information. The interactive project comprises a video projection, a table, a rug, a houseplant and a computer. The collaborators created a special algorithm which monitors changes in the waves that plants emit in reaction to the visitor’s proximity. Sensors on the leaves of the plants read the emotionally similar changes as the visitors come closer and move away (revealing how much the plant feels threatened), that data is transmitted to the same computer, creating changes in the pattern of an animated drawing. The algorithm also monitors the online global information about refugees and endangered plant and animal species. Thus, it creates a parallel to the typical sensationalistic media reporting about this type of news.

Franc Purg’s project critically investigates what is happening today with the documentation of information. How do we understand, use and present information, especially that which deals with disturbing, upsetting or difficult content? Further, Purg explicitly exposes the destructiveness of homo sapiens and places an equal sign between elements of racism and speciesism (prejudice and discrimination based on species).

Franc Purg (b. 1955, Ptuj) is an internationally recognized visual and intermedia artist, who has presented his work in many important venues in Slovenia and beyond, among them: Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM); the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast; the Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Kaliningrad; Exit Art, New York; Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart Berlin; Moderna galerija, Ljubljana; on the European Media Art Festival, Osnabruck and at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow. He has participated in a number of significant artist residencies around the world: Santa Fe Art Institute (US); Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris; Artist Research Residencies, Berlin; FlaxArt Studios Belfast; as well as travel-research residencies in Ukraine and Cairo and a Midbar residency, Negey (Israel). Among the awards he has received for his work, especially noteworthy are: UNESCO Digital Arts Award for the project Privileged Tactics II (together with Sara Heitlinger), the Rihard Jakopič Award, the International Award for Media Art and the 50 Best, Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe.

Thanks to: Event Registry, Ljubljana http: //eventregistry.org Global Generation, London Collaborators: Jurij Podgoršek (programming), Jakob Purg (robotics)

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