34th Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts: ISKRA DELTA10. 09. 2021 - 21. 11. 2021
The tentacle of the future patiently pounds on the glass. Dense hyperpop vapour rises from the heated planet. Reality forks in the glimmers of other possible worlds. If you thought that the Slovenian/Yugoslavian computer company, which many saw as having the potential to become a global technological power, went dark after 1989, you are mistaken.
In the more than sixty years of its existence, the Ljubljana Biennale that was founded in 1955 in the midst of the Cold War, has tirelessly responded to the ever-changing sociopolitical context while rearticulating its own identity and strategies. From the very beginning, it sought to transcend geopolitical polarities, reflecting Yugoslavia's determination to choose its own path. The Biennale continues to draw from its history and context, taking a specific local case of technological development and its unrealised potentials as the impetus for its 34th edition.
Iskra Delta was a name of a computer company from Slovenia and one of the largest computer manufacturers in Yugoslavia, which had the potential to become a major player in the global market before the breakup of the country. It was part of a broader computer industry that began to flourish after the Second World War as part of the modernisation project in the socialist republic. The story of the rise and fall of Iskra Delta is rather shrouded in mystery and as such prone to various projections, sometimes even bordering on conspiracy theories. Nonetheless, the "itch" that any story about a "could have been" provides, fuels the imagination.
In a time haunted by the specters of "lost futures" the biennale harnesses the desire to inhabit a reality different from the one we inherited. Against a backdrop of social and environmental unrest, deep in the pandemic that has fixed our bodies in place and our eyes on screens, Iskra Delta returns from the future to provide a spark for imagining and constructing alternative presents.
Collaborators, co-conspirators and other agents whose practices use the power of fiction, speculative design, larping, video games, the internet, pop and emerging technologies, will help her piece together the glimmering splinters of other possible worlds that are already emerging in our midst.