This year’s graduation show of the Piet Zwart Institute’s Master of Media Design & Communication (Lens-Based & Networked) perhaps reflects a shift in popular culture. Whereas no self-respecting media self-help book or newspaper article published in the last decade missed using ’linked’ or ’stay connected’ in the text several times, a more recent rash of articles and runaway best-sellers feature words such as ’introvert’ or ’silence’. Have we reached a consensual moment where we might all agree it has become urgently necessary to critically look at how the words ’social’ and ’media’ might be used together? Is it becoming increasingly pressing to explore how contemporary media forms pervasive networks of both communication and mis-communication?

To look at how media can foster community yet also create isolation and foster loneliness?
The range of works in this show of the work of the 2014 graduating artists and designers of PZI MMDC at TENT are extremely diverse in terms of their formal approaches and aesthetic pre-occupations, yet there is a strand of such concerns running through the works: a persistent focus on displacement, erasure, and loss.

Each project reflects a unique research trajectory over two years: each artist has developed a unique media language through which they have researched particular topics and then – through a cycle of studio-based practice and critical reflection – have created the artworks and research projects you will find in this show: works about dislocation, disappearance & deprecation.

Text: Simon Pummell, Course Director
Curated by: Willie Stehouwer

Dislocations

Yoana Buzova’s (BG) Leaveamessage is a participatory project, a network of voice-mail boxes that allow members of the public to record, distribute and listen to audio messages in public space. The boxes are installed in different countries, cities, and contexts. Connected to each other, the boxes provide playful, performative moments for strangers to break from their routine and enter into a network of anonymous voices.

Marlon Harder’s (NL) Gallery Template is a visual representation of our current template culture: an installation that transposes the web template into the gallery space, and vice versa. We are living in an age of “insert your content here”, a concept that is discernible in every aspect of life: from the white walls of a museum to the #ffffff background of a microblog. These Template spaces are rigid in their requirements and yet infinitely displaced, they create spaces that a user must fit into but without any reciprocal ability to recognise the user’s individuality.

In her art practice Nan Wang (CN) experiments and search for the intersection between memories and technology. In her DUST series, she considers the dust she collected from her room as a self-portrait of her life and physical being. DUST is an instrument for sound, an elements for images, an object to sort, and a grammar for her works.

In Pretty Fly For A Wi-Fi Roel Roscam Abbing (NL) examines a contemporary movement that attempts a strategic disconnection from the Internet. It is a combination of pots and pans, dishes and cans through which people from around the world give shape to their collective dream of making an alternative Internet.

Disappearances

Nicole Hametner’s (AT/CH) installation, a large projection of a dark, almost unreadable, portrait dominates the gallery space. Opposite, the image’s essentially ungraspable nature is imaged in a video depicting a water tank filled with floating photographs. Both works observe a fragile moment, the threshold of an image’s existence that oscillates between presence and absence.

Menno Harder (NL) is fascinated by the city of Rotterdam and in particular the Middelland neighbourhood where he lives. On the 21st of November 2013 a local resident – a neighbour of Harder – was found to have been lying dead in her apartment for at least 10 year. How could this have happened in a bustling and social neighbourhood, where an eclectic mix of people live next to each other and the streets are busy day and night? His installation is a monument to all those that were and are forgotten: ’Monument for the Forgotten Person’

Niek Hilkmann (NL) operates as an art-historian, composer, teacher, conductor, designer, filmmaker and more, all at once… A true excess of a meta-modernist age! His research work as a media archeologist – Time and time again, a cabinet of curiously conditioned calamities – roams around the borders of the lost, defaced and unforeseen in the land of redundant contraptions.

Michaela Lakova (BG) takes a lost and found approach to media. Her field of research and practice involves catchy bits and bytes of errors: system malfunctions. The exhibited work [DEL? No, wait! REW] asks the question if it is possible to delete something digitally. Through a system that relies on feedback, interface and screens, the work aims to confront the visitor with the following dilemma: whether to COPY/TRANSMIT/SHARE or to DELETE/REMOVE/ERASE retrieved files.

& Deprecations

Lasse van den Bosch Christensen (DK) has undertaken research that engages with the phenomena of crowdsourcing and its consequences. Dear Google is a collection of fictive gifts addressed to Google by a group of volunteers who chose to create digital models for use within a system dictated by Google and inhabited by individuals who had to comply with Google’s rules remain in the community. The project explores what happened to that community when Google changed its rules.