Andrej Škufca: Black Market19. 05. 2020 - 16. 08. 2020
"When the object of design is not an object form or a master plan, but a set of instructions for an interplay between variables, design acquires some of the power and currency of software. This spatial software is not a thing but a means to craft a multitude of interdependent relationships and sequences – an updating platform for inflecting a stream of objects."
The spiralling arms of Black Market parallel self-assembling parts that aim towards total automation. Their algorithmic evenness derives from the high-end design platforms used for contemporary production and their material manifestation. They are the virtual visions and renderings that design our environment. The gleaming black tubes recall their tellurian origins, oil pipelines, oceanic fibre optics cables, conger eels, exoskeletons and the earliest forms of tubular multi-celled micro-organisms. These objects flatten time into a future-primitive that denies human exceptionalism.
Black Market is a trade ground outside of legal frameworks. The most well-known online example, Silk Road, moves physical objects across the earth through its tentacular web of virtual communications and exchange networks. It is anarchist in principle – molecular and rhizomatic – it can scatter and convene in infinite formations, passing constantly between the ephemeral and the physical. It is what Keller Easterling calls an active form, an organ without a body that exists in our society almost as an invisible parallel world – its modular, organic and biotechnical corpus shows the ghost behind institutions and political ethics.
Based on the tenets of science-fiction such as J.G. Ballard or Stanislaw Lem, imagining the future is always a way to critique our own times. Today, the untapped potential of creating automated societies of radical equality exists, but the current corporatist structure aims to finish extracting as much material and human energy in a rampant anti-technological model focused more on increasing consumption than on a great leap forward. Using scientific visions of biotech, architecture and urban engineering – Black Market is a proposal for potential futures that embrace technology’s emancipatory potential and a rethinking of humanity’s role and position within planetary entanglement.
Andrej Škufca's solo exhibition at the International Centre of Graphic Arts offers a selection of modular iterations from his latest series. These exist as part of an ever-growing whole that can be divided, merged or transformed. While they were presented in parts at the 9th U3 Triennial of Contemporary Art in Ljubljana, at Futura’s Karlín Studios in Prague and at the Miroslav Kraljević Gallery in Zagreb, they have been united here for the first time and also presented in the collection of theoretical texts by various publicists and theoreticians, collected at ŠUM magazine. ŠUM magazine for the criticism and theory of contemporary art, which is edited by Andrej Škufca, was presented at the Slovenian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, and consistently combines visual art with groundbreaking technology and theory, as well as verbal and visual modes of working. The theory and the sculpture, presented together, merge into a practice for a daunting but open future.