Coming together as a group in 1996, BridA is comprised of Jurij Pavlica, Sendi Mango and Tom Kersevan.
Petra Kaps is a curator based in Maribor, Slovenia.
Petra Kaps: In the last year and also in this year, you have participated in artists in residence programmes in the States, in Ireland and Germany. Scientific institutes are showing interest in your work which is taking an intense bent towards the dialogue between art and science. Why is the field of science so relevant, could it be because of the possibility to verify elements, origins, your own pragmatism? This question comes to mind particularly when considering that you work as a group. Are your decisions a result of consensus? This question also arises from the preconception that the artist has a very strong ego.
BridA: Research has always been a kind of a common field to science and art, confrontations and divisions have only been an expression of frustration and limited scope of certain lines of thought, in either of the fields. It is true, we try to introduce scientific methods of information analysis to our work, in part because of the dynamics of group creation, in order to have greater control.
Reversibility, however, as an actual component of research was never an element of our actions, though this might be inferred when talking of scientific approach which allows tracing the research evolution back and forth through time. The law of reversibility also applies to ego, e.g. when an action is attributed to the initial idea of an individual creator. Everything concerning the question of ego and the BridA group happens probably in the pre-production phase, or to put it in other words, it happens before the event is percepted outside the group. We believe that ego is only involved until consensus is reached, after that ego is abandoned and unnecessary because the product or event is now determined. Science is originally included in the Modux project as a real and comprehensible component which enables data manipulation and only servers as a tool for achieving sufficient dynamics for the production of an art act. However, when a process like this is being built, answers spring up to questions on verification, origins and pragmatism as well. It is a segment that is becoming more and more important in our work.
PK: What is the function of an art work in your opinion? What effects are you trying to achieve?
BridA: The work of art itself as a synthesis of an idea and a creative process, is often only interesting from the single viewpoint of its visual effect – this may be observed in all major art galleries around the world. It is quite rare for a work of art to establish a different, complex dialogue with the observer, one where visual effect becomes only a secondary matter of the artistic process and idea. In the awareness of the above-said and in an attempt to deepen certain artistic schemes, a multitude of conceptual descriptions of actions or products are springing up, apparently trying to explain what a particular action or product is supposed to present. It appears that we can not consume one without the other, or, the consumption is made impossible, if we discover there are very few points of contact. So, in view of all these considerations, it is difficult to talk about function. When is a certain art product functional? Under what condition is the function of art work triggered? Is this function a constant? Does it depend on the observer or the social milieu? We are trying to find answers to these question ourselves. It might be easier to talk about effects, consequences of artistic actions which are supposed to raise questions in the observer and give answers to authors.
Our artistic analysis is dedicated to issues that society has placed as the foundation of comprehension and evaluation in both scientific or social context. Our society is based on legal regulation which is also a sort of standardization offering a simplified view of the complex human being. It is a way of trying to control human relations and providing answers to daily questions, in most cases without reflection or interpretation – both essential features and prerequisites for creativeness in art. As artists, we are aware that creativity may draw from different fields or states, which are not necessarily defined as something positive or negative. Art is the only human activity which claims the right to free choice and unrestrictedness – it has been successful in doing so in the past. Surpassing all standards, legal and moral notions became the artist’s leading motto. But, once fulfilled it also became the cause of decadence and serious crisis in the field of artistic expression. It could be that art has also become a part of the standardized view of the world and represents today one of the statistical chapters in human society, which is evidenced by the massive production of artistic products globally. We (BridA) wonder what will happen with all these products and material at the moment of satiation.
PK: You use technology as a tool for creating your works. What is your attitude to technology?
BridA: We constantly include technological options and tools in the creative process. It would have no sense to reject the possibilities offered by technology, since these tools today present a fairly recognizable and readable language. Concrete use of technology and scientific systems in projects like Modux was aimed at gaining distance or avoiding our direct influence and interpretation in creating an art product. We use technology as a tool for simulating and producing our works. Technology is included in many of our ideas from the very start. Communication, transfer of information, idea recording … practically everything connected to society is wrapped up in technology. Increasing numbers of persons understand the language of technology, so it is our duty to use it.
PK: Information and data - elements you use to build a complete work - are also processed with, e.g., mathematical language allowing a large number of basic elements combinations to offer a seemingly limitless source of production and articulation in various media. What/where is your role within this system? What are you trying to achieve?
BridA: In projects like Do It Yourself, which in a way was a predecessor of Modux, we introduced the analysis and transformation of bare information into sound records to be transmitted to the audience – users in the form of instructions for creating their own work of art. Those were the first attempts of keeping a distance from the product. We created a kind of an intermediate product or half-product which is only used to manipulate information as opposed to the product which delivers information. We used mathematical systems to manipulate data and information and thus avoid our subjective interference in order to let the viewer process and interpret information on his own. In this way, the product is created outside direct control of the artist and allows the viewer his own interpretation. As a result, our product is a living system which evolves independently.
PK: Transforming the information gathered into encoded records or modules in search of new expression forms – can the reason for this practice be sought in your decision to work in a group and to research the group dynamics, i.e. the possibility to create at all as a group?
BridA: No, the motive lies elsewhere and we think that none of our projects is closely related to our modality of working in a group. The sense of such transformation is actually in the dynamics mentioned earlier, in the notional difference which is capable of creating an art product. Information as a standardized measurement is an objective component because of its recognizability and comprehensibility in society, however, in our work it is transformed or interpreted subjectively through the individual filter of us as artists or people involved.
PK: In the projects Do It Yourself and Modux, the engagement of the user is an important element – both as a participant in the creation of the work of art and as the one who completes your »open work«, grasps its meaning. How do you view the audience?
BridA: All of our projects to this point have been a sort of self-analysis which requires an external response or reaction – and that is only possible through an active approach of people. We do not present the audience with a finished product for evaluation, we try to involve the audience directly in the creative process . This provides for a much higher degree of interest, exchange of opinions and direct confrontation and all of that is the essence of an art project.
Real environment is where our daily life happens, it is our mirror. It is the only responding environment and the only one which does not depend solely on our imagination. Therefore it is the perfect ground for all of our actions and experiments. Of course, we use it in very different ways and adapt it to our needs.