Dopolavoro – Behind the Scenes presents stories about the origin and development of selected art projects and artworks created within Dopolavoro flagship of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project.

Read on to find out more about Terra Effluviens, an intriguing project by Nikola Bojić, which will be presented in a form of exhibition this summer.


2019 / 2020


Terra Effluviens is a project evolved from and around the rare archival material the 1971 study Systematization of the Human Environmentby the architect Branko Petrović. Published in Yugoslavia, in the midst of the Cold War tensions, rising environmental concerns and competing technofuturological predictions, this study presents a unique case. It was a complex elaboration of the planetary future articulated as a stack of ecosystemic models, visualized in a series of spectacular diagrams that provide a deep dive into entanglements of human, technological and natural systems. The study is a visual tour de force, a sophisticated “discursive device” that transgresses the logic of cybernetic feedback loops, challenges the linearity of time, flexibility of spatial scales and the agency of a subject in the era of irreversible environmental crisis.

Author and project curator Nikola Bojić: lecture about the study and diagrams,, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2019

Almost fifty years later, the project Terra Effluviens brings back the diagrams to life and to the specific site – the city of Rijeka. This is not a coincidence. Due to the sea/river ecologies, meshed with the thick stratigraphy of industrial/ logistical infrastructures, the study analysed Rijeka as an ecosystem to rethink the possible environmental future. In Croatian, word “rijeka” translates to “river”, but it could be also understood as a stream of interdependent human and natural systems that give life to the city.

Terra EffluviensTerra Effluviens – teritory of flows


The project is organised in two main segments – discursive program and exhibition.

The discursive segment took place in Filodrammatica, Rijeka, from 19th to 21st November 2019. It was organised around three interrelated thematic lines – SYSTEMS (predictions of the future, cybernetics and ecosystem theory); FLOWS (Rijeka as ambient for discussion about the flows of social, industrial and algorithmic landscapes) and SPECIES (new forms of collaboration between people and other species).


Terra Effluviens seminar in Rijeka, November 2019. Photos: Petra Šporčić / Drugo more (Flickr gallery)

Participants of the three-day long program of field research, design speculations and theoretical discussions include Gediminas Urbonas (MIT, Cambridge), Damir UgljenArmina Pilav (University of Sheffield), Martin Guinard (ZKM, Karlsruhe), Miro Roman (ETH, Zurich), Merve Bedir (Hong Kong University), Ivica Mitrović (University of Split), Donato Ricci (SciencesPo, Paris), Louise Carver (Lancaster University), Gary Zhexi ZhangJamie Allen (FHNW, Basel), Idis Turato (University of Zagreb), Ida Križaj Leko (Delta Lab, Rijeka), Damir Prizmić (Radiona Makerspace, Zagreb), Damir Gamulin (000, Zagreb), Boštjan Surina (Natural History Museum, Rijeka).

In the second phase of the project, the discourse developed during the three-day program has been transcribed into a stream of textual data, fed into the machine learning model along with the original archival sources. On the one hand, this model follows the curatorial logic of the author’s communication/presentation during the event (2019), at the same time organically building upon diagrams published in the original Petrović’s study (1971). The result is a new form of Artificial Intelligence (AI), an “alive” hybrid entity that can be communicated with in a real-time. This new entity becomes one of the main protagonists of the exhibition.

Terra Effluviens

Designing the AI system model by connecting the three models in a string: structure of psycho-medium (Petrović, 1971), discursive machine-learning model (Bojić, 2020), structure of techno-medium (Petrović, 1971).

 Terra EffluviensVisualisation of the analysis of textual data, generated by particular authors-lecturers within Terra Effluviens seminar in Filodrammatica, November, 2019. Author: Miro Roman


The second segment of the exhibition is a soundscape created from the data-sonification and site-specific sound samples recorded in Rijeka. The selection of these locations is based on the overlapping of several original diagrams from 1971 study with contemporary spatial data, which resulted in the new sonic topography of the city explored through a tangible, multichannel installation.

Terra EffluviensSound samples were created by probing certain locations and through sonification of the space-specific data flows in real time 


Terra Effluviens

Interactive installation allows visitors to explore the body of a hybrid entity – Homo Effluviens – and thus dive into a sound topography of Rijeka in real time 


Author & project curator: Nikola Bojić

Diagram design & archival materials: Branko Petrović (1922-1975)

Exhibition design & graphic design: Damir Gamulin, Damir Prizmić 

Field research & audio recordings: Ivo Vičić 

Sound design, hardware & data sonification: Miodrag Galović

AI design & programming: Miro Roman

Researchers / authors of presentations: Gediminas Urbonas, Damir Ugljen, Armina Pilav, Martin Guinard, Miro Roman, Merve Bedir, Ivica Mitrović, Donato Ricci, Louise Carver, Gary Zhexi Zhang, Jamie Allen, Idis Turato, Ida Križaj Leko, Boštjan Surina


Terra Effluviens is part of Dopolavoro flagship of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project.



Nikola Bojić is a designer and art historian. He was a visiting lecturer at the Art, Culture, and Technology program at MIT (SA+P), where co-taught an advanced studio on the production of space which dealt with the problem of models and modelling. Bojić published an artist book The Excavations and was a guest editor of the 96th issue of The Life of Art magazine focused on the relations between cartographic and territorial realms. Currently, he is a research affiliate at ACT/MIT and a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Art History in Zagreb. His public art projects have been realized in Algeria, Croatia, and China and his design research has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, La Triennale di Milano and Venice Biennale of Architecture. Nikola holds a master degree in Art history and Information sciences from the University of Zagreb and a postgraduate master degree in Design Studies from Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Nikola Bojić, foto Petra Šporčić

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