About WRO 2021
REVERSO is a call to look at what is happening now in art from the underside which, until recently just peeking through, is now becoming increasingly visible, from the reverse of a suddenly upended side, as well as being a device that saves the lives of climbers in case they suddenly fall off the rock, helping them convert an inevitable crash into a controlled rappel.
If the discovery of cyberspace as a social territory in the 20th century is compared to great geographical discoveries, the dissemination, development, and utilization of the internet of the 21st century follow the colonial logic, with its patterns of imposed locality, which is accepted on condition that it yields to imperial globality. It takes processes analogous to those initiated by postcolonial theory to forge new relationships capable of altering their trajectories and changing attitudes to subjectivity, agency, the production of valuable knowledge, unfettered creativity, and the fair space of freedom.
As the Media Art Biennale, dating back to the transformation of the dichotomous world picture in 1989, we cannot but consider it imperative to take part in and represent the currently ongoing shift. We withdraw from the notion of building relevance through incessant growth – of the funding we raise, of the audience attendance figures, of the quantity of works on display, of the number of participating artists, of the range of exhibition venues, of the environmental footprint. In search of a quality path and a redefinition of development: we call for REVERSO.
Technological changes have already become entrenched, and the fields of conquest have not only been outlined but also already seized. There is no going back, unless as a result of a breakdown; change will not be effected by negating technology, yet insistence on change is vital. Advancing of technology must not entail continuing to knock down our globe, yet at the same time new ecology cannot be expected to emerge from “back-to-nature” appeals alone. Similarly, there is no going back to the origins of media art, but it is time to examine current matters and adopted solutions. To combine change with transformations in culture requires the same thoughtful exploration. Hence our call for REVERSO. The shift requires to revise the status quo, to see what lies underneath, study things inside out, be inquisitive, and display sensitivity. This is the function of media art; its chance to operate with the values that are specific to art, and through its capability of fostering unobvious relations while looking not for one method – but for a multiplicity of visions, concepts, and practices.