16.11.2012. - 21.12.2012.

Eastern Surf: Kernel Panic Control*

Having met during their studies in Edinburgh, four artists from Croatia, Italy and Scotland initiated the project and work methodology entitled Eastern Surf. The collaboration began with an exhibition proposal, after which one more participant joined Eastern Surf, and the collaboration itself eventually proved to be very fruitful. Eastern Surf emphasize that the number of participants is irrelevant and is, like their work, subject to constant change and expansion. At the moment, the project extends through organized events including performances, photoshoots, mass collated video work, online TV and gallery based installations, and an example of the former can be seen now in the Gallery Galženica in Velika Gorica.

Upon entering the gallery, our attention is captured by the metamodel, set in the centre of the space, the backbone of this exhibition, but also of the work of Eastern Surf. The metamodel signifies interactivity in the shared virtual space that grew during their physical separation. At its centre are the gallery and studios Rhubaba in Edinburgh, where the group’s first public presentation took place. On the walls there are fragments of references and parts of conversations that the artists had shared via Facebook, searching for a territory/space/platform for a common dialogue. The work of Eastern Surf is cyclical, just like the “memory” of this service in which data quickly evaporates, but it returns unexpectedly, prompted by a wave.

At the beginning of their collaboration with the new artist, the participants of Eastern Surf exchanged 3D models of their own homes and virtually intervened into the other’s space, which the other would then accept and realize, and via live streaming a five channel video was thus created. Through experiments with tools such as the Google Sketchup software, Skype, Bambuser, Dropbox and Google documents, noise occurs in the communication channel along with minor differences between real and virtual words. As Easter Surf say about themselves, they occupy the position of a lost generation, floating between the states of digital immigrants and digital natives, they are old enough to remember the analog age, but also young enough to be fascinated by the new and to adapt to it.

In one of the stages of working together, they move from private to semi public space by observing the immediate surroundings and the meaning of the semi public, but, in reality, privately controlled, space. They identified the places that are undergoing the process of gentrification in their surroundings and studied the digital representation of this new architecture and lifestyle, their identity and contrast, or rather, clash with the recession that is taking place in the real world. In mimicry of these digital representations, they have recreated the render ghosts of these places, using real people in space in order to create an artificial reality. The outcome of this are public photoshoots – performances and, later, video works which, among other things, test the “publicness” of the space which is designated as such. The accidental and unaware collaborator, a passer-by caught on camera, just like in the practice of certain conceptual artists in the past, is a key figure in this work, an equal in the Eastern Surf method. Of course, a parallel can be drawn with the loss of freedom in the digital space which all of us are witness to. Like all intensive users of new technologies and the freedoms provided by those technologies, Eastern Surf deal with the ethics of open source and collecting data, posing the question how to act in the space, virtual and real, in which the field of freedom is rapidly decreasing.

An interest in the levels of privacy, the purpose of collecting data and thereby the fragile, but also infinite, digital reality and online archives – all of this reflects on the metamodel, which we cyclically come back to. The metamodel, in the centre of the gallery, represents these events at once, as a whole. That model will potentially grow into infinity and all of us are included in it, even by mere presence at the exhibition. Like history, the Eastern Surf chronology is not linear, and here are presented only the fragments of different linear realities whose real dimension can only be glimpsed. These fragments have a tendency toward reclaiming space as we experience it now; fragmented, connected, controlled, online, offline, and the border between the private and the public slowly dissolving. 

*A kernel panic is an action taken by an operating system upon detecting an internal fatal error from which it cannot safely recover

Eastern Surf: Ana Kuzmanić, Shona Macnaughton, Martin Mrzljak, Francesca Nobilucci and Ewan Sinclair