Vedran Perkov - Disturbances

The initial verbal input when experiencing Vedran Perkov's exhibition is its name, Smetnje (Disturbances). This is actually the first visual contact of the exhibition articulation in the gallery area: a series of televisions that the artist has setup as one screen “presenting” static in the transmission of an envisaged programme, something that may be colloquially called “snow” or “white noise”. The TV screens and screening which observer supposedly witnesses the entropy of image and noise in the transfer of audio-visual information are actually heavy with content and metaphoric readings. The image and rhythm of change to its “parts” are coded in an exceptionally narrative stronghold.

What’s actually going on here? What’s hiding behind what seemingly appears to be visual entropy?
Perkov reaches for one of the most translated documents in the world, for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. According to the details on the official page of the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner document has been translated into a total of five hundred world languages or dialects (exactly 501 translations have been recorded). Perkov uses some of the digitalised versions, a total of 385 of them, as material that he transforms into a binary code system whose basic digits are “zero” and “one”, then he replaces these with black and white squares. The visual text display alternates quickly so that the visual analogy similar to TV static is achieved. The document that protects humans and affirms their rights, or more precisely its many translations, have been transformed into a visual register, that is, a type of dynamic image on the screen. However completely illegible! In this artist's procedure, it is important to warn that it is not about a current disintegration of an image, or glitch, or some kind of a picture manipulation, but rather a newly generated image according to clear parameters set by the artist and whose outcome is a historically important text.

Furthermore, Perkov takes this generated image and further uses it as a background to articulate the next “narrative” stronghold. Namely, instead of the black squares he introduces documentary material he finds by searching through news media on the Internet. These are photographic portraits he finds there. As a source he mostly uses the platform All You Can Read (http://www.allyoucanread.com/newspapers/), on which there are newspapers from all over the world. Perkov chose at least two newspapers from each country and through their careful selection arrived at 250,000 photographs. For his work he selected 10000. The artist processes the selected photographic portraits and with them he creates the composition “static”. Therefore, in the format of one work, Vedran Perkov also unifies the visual “rhythm” of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the image of humanity that can be construed through the media landscape and its protagonists: intentional or unintentional, known or unknown fates, perpetrators of good deeds or misdeeds. Namely, to the observer, insofar as he/she focuses their gaze, the physiognomy of the face become discernible; some faces are known, while the majority are completely unknown. Nonetheless, the overall question of the point of such visual information or excessive quantity of data being presented arose. Such progressive infection saturates the mental space and burdens the individual with heavy content; content that, as a rule, cannot even be processed. All these are potential passive aggressors who through various channels reach the recipient and attack his living space, contaminating it. Seemingly pluralism and democracy are promoted, however quite often various monocultures of an extremely oppressive character and exclusion effects can be found here. Sometimes they can be easily recognised, sometimes their mimicry is completely successful.

In a very interesting way Vedran Perkov has introduced the concept of disturbances into the orbit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and points to it being frequently violated, bypassed and completely ignored. Special focus is subsequently directed towards electronic media through which oppression and different types of "everyday fascism" are regularly instantiated and promoted, almost as a rule, under the false headline of "democracy".

Dalibor Prančević

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