Alkatraz Gallery, Ljubljana: Wear XIII

Tomaž Furlan

30 March – 19 April

This time the Alkatraz Gallery represents recently completed artwork Wear XIII of a local Metelkova City artist Tomaž Furlan. Wear XIII is a part of Wear cycle, in progress since 2005. The Roman cypher thirteen tells us that it is the thirteenth in line. The cycle Wear continues from one work to another in predominantly unified form, upgraded to different periods by a new contribution.

The Wear cycle consists of devices, video installations and video performances, where the main role is played by Tomaž Furlan. In his videos the devices Wear are used as scenography in the form of “garments” for a simple function of doing something. This is where the name Wear stems from, indicating that his objects are something that we can put on while at the same time they are in function of useful objects made for an act of production or a ritual. At the first glance the objects seem to be some sort of torture devices for a newly invented kind of horror fitness. Once used, they become extended limbs of the body, trapped in the exercising of forced processes. If we refer to phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty according to which our body is a general medium for possession of the world as positioning of objects of the world happens through bodily activity, therefore the space is not objective or separated from bodily activities, but represents a part of bodily structure – then we can ask ourselves what is the world like for Furlan or anyone using these garments, and whether the author wants to tell us that the world in which we have found ourselves in is a dreadful realm of non-freedom where all our deeds are imposed, leading nowhere else but into an ever greater fatigue and self-torture.

The Wear devices caricature and question the sensibleness of contemporary life in a nomadic cockpit , that already dr. Janez Strehovec has spoken about. The problematic concatenation of the spirit – interface – body is currently becoming the focal point in the new-media art and its theories, dealing also with techno-modelling perception where the data, obtained by natural perception are intertwined with the data, supplied by technical devices. Even their mixing, hybridization and amalgamations occur, the interfacial data reality as the essential part includes itself in the individual’s actual experience.

Nowadays it is an individual who steps into the centre of interest of theory, art, new technologies, politics, popular culture and media – with technical interfaces and devices equipped bodily being – performing various important functions – enabled by connectedness into the internet – for him or her in the real time.

The interactive objects, devices or interfaces of Tomaž Furlan are not interactive in a contemporary way. They do not include computer software, flash animations, and are no high-tech devices of shiny polished surface and flashing lights like cell phones or play stations; to an individual, they do not offer the capability of orientation in the world with the help of smart technologies, to perceive with their help, or to function according to the data so obtained. The main tendency at the creation of the works entitled Wear is simplicity and obviousness. The interpretation of the contents is, according to the author, entirely at the viewer’s discretion. And, even though the contents is conveyed in an evidently humorous manner we cannot avoid the toilsome and uncanny undertones of his works stimulating critical reflection on contemporary western society and its infatuation and saturation with the latest state-of-the-art technology. The technology that has, besides its practicality that has simplified and made many things familiar to us, also enslaved us.

The author’s intention is to create and use these ridiculous garments as an attempt to experiment with a simple need to create a personal activity for no pragmatic reasons whatsoever. This is a kind of activity that we have, with a constant use of mobile technology of interfaces, ceased to use. “The Wear project is an attempt to fight/struggle against banality with stupidity. It is, of course, unsuccessful, but at the same time absolutely necessary for us to remain as human as we can,” says the author.

This time, the machine itself will be available to the visitors. Its use is simple; however, the instructions for its usage are going to be projected also onto the gallery wall. The latest Furlan’s work that only needs the visitor’s bodily gesture is playing with the logic of “a kick” as the only way of a comfortable moving round the place. Through its usage, Wear not only affirms activities of no apparent practicality and usefulness, the kind of activities serving only aimless relaxation and entertainment – proves once more that even nowadays some physical energy is still needed to get somewhere.

Ana Grobler

The project is supported by: the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia, and City Council Ljubljana, Department for Culture.

KUD Mreža/Galerija Alkatraz is a member of Asociacija, the association of non-government organisations and independent creators in the field of culture and art in Slovenia and a partner of Artyč project.

Opening hours:
Monday – Thursday 11 am – 3 pm and 4 – 8 pm
Friday 3 – 11 pm

Masarykova 24, 1000 LJUBLJANA


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