Engaged art out of technological waste
Supertrash – which borrows the title from the first overview exhibition of Sedlaček’s work, made in Slovenia in 2011 – presents a selection of projects from the last decade. Starting in 2001, Sedlaček developed a rich body of work, generally defined by theories of disposal and the use and reuse of cheap technologies and waste materials. His practical and humorous works result from a subversive recycling of scientific, legal, or technological facts and employing DIY (do-it-yourself) and collaborative methods. As Petja Grafenauer wrote in the Supertrash catalogue,
This can be seen in early interventions such as Just Do It (2003) and Loop (2004), where printed propaganda by big shopping malls has been turned into paper bricks that in Loop have been used to build a mobile pavilion equipped for monitoring the city’s noise; as well as in his more recent work. The issue of technological waste, which relates to planned obsolescence, returns in many works on show, from Beggar Robot (2006), a robot for the materially deprived and is constructed entirely from old computer hardware; to The Big Switch Off (2011), an action in which Sedlaček invited people from a residential building to throw analogue television sets off their windows right after the introduction of digital signal in 2011, that suddenly shot dead old technology; and The Ex (2010), huge billboard prints conceived for the public space where pictures of third world dumpsters filled with technological waste are used to advertise computer companies such as Apple and Microsoft.
Also made from waste technology, iSmoke2 (2011) thematizes the increasingly socially frowned-upon act of smoking and its perpetrators – smokers – by turning an old laptop into a lighter; while Jobless Avatars (2014) focuses on software obsolescence, presenting online speaking characters, virtual representatives and alter egos introducing themselves and begging for a job.
Unemployment, poverty and its social consequences are changing the wealthy West and generating a new iconography of the post-industrial society, that Sedlaček ironically explores in Dolce far niente (2014), a series of edible sculptures made of chocolate featuring characters such as the protester, the beggar, the junkie. In this scenario, communication technologies do not disappear, but are rather perceived as a basic need even by people who do not know where to sleep. AcDcWc, potty with a dog (2010) responds to this situation, offering a cheap solution for recycling electric power, using the extra power generated by a chemical toilet to supply various devices.
Sašo Sedlaček (1974) is a Ljubljana-based artist whose primary interest seems to be things that people overlook and the ways in which they can be made useful once again. Sedlaček has participated in numerous solo and group shows, including at the Secession in Vienna, the Sixth Taipei Biennial, the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana, the Ludwig Museum in Budapest, Ars Electronica in Linz, Transmediale 2014 in Berlin. He won several awards has been an artist-in-residence at the ISCP in New York, IAMAS in Japan and The Israeli Center For Digital Art in Holon.
Sponsored by: European Commission program Creative Europe, National Foundation for Civil Society Development, Kultura nova Foundation, Ministry of culture of the Republic of Croatia, City of Rijeka – Department for culture.
Program is realized as part of Masters & Servers, a joint project by Aksioma (SI), Drugo more (HR), AND (UK), Link Art Centre (IT) i d-i-n/The Influencers (ES).