Title: zvrst.3 / audio trash – collected
Unknown number of files (at least 2 HTML and 1 MP3 or WAV file): Unknown size
Created: 1999 (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Could not be deleted (artwork disappeared in 2001).
Author: Igor Štromajer
Produced by Intima Virtual Base – www.intima.org
– Original intima.org URL (1999–2011): http://www.intima.org/zvrst3
Audio net art work only. – No screenshots available.
Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what your country can do for you!
Text by Rossitza Daskalova
(1967–2003; Bulgarian and Canadian art historian, journalist and writer, my beloved friend)
Published in CIAC Electronic Art Magazine (January 2001 / N.12; Montreal, Canada)
A true seeker of the emotional, intimate and personal aspects of the Internet and a militant striving to infuse this space with human warmth, Igor Stromajer is known as the author of a virtual base, called intima.org, which is welcoming and alluring, and yet non-lavish and non-seductive in its appearance. One of the most versatile artists on the Net, and the first cantor of HTML (Oppera Internettikka), Stromajer surprises us once again with the low-tech, minimalist trash-sound project, zvrst.3, awarded 1st prize at Trash ART, Moscow, Russia, 1999.
In this work the artist continues to make room for the individual and to render complex ideas with simplicity. As many other net.artists, especially from the former Eastern Block, Stromajer is a non-believer in seamless expression. He exploits the aspect of transparency of the Internet medium to the maximum in order to convey a healing message and sow a liberating seed. Therefore, the trick and the manipulation in the work are made so obvious: the sentence, “Don’t ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!” which John F. Kennedy pronounced forty years ago (January 20, 1961) on his inauguration as President, has been edited and reversed to – Don’t ask what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for you!”
In an interview with by Tilman Baumgaertel, published in Telepolis (Germany, April 1999), Igor Stromajer says: “Being faced with the computer is like going to the very deep process of the most intensive self-communication. It is a kind of art that puts you as a user/participant into the co-creators position: you have to be active to survive in this kind of digital environment.” In these respects, zvrst3 is a manifestation of the syntax of “self-communication” enabling the individual to turn a powerful, imperative sentence into a question or even more precisely into many question marks. This is how an empty space is created in which human identity can dwell and being can unfold. As the artist says, “this is space democracy.” In zvrst.3 (zvrst means species in Slovenian) he encrypts the beginnings of the democratic experience in our civilization as Aristotle’s sentence “Man is a political animal” and Socrates’ “Know thyself” carved into the Delphi oracle come to mind and blend into each other.
The artist transforms the computer box into a dwelling of the human inner voice. He goes further than simply reversing the sentence by multiplying it and giving the opportunity to the viewer to replay them in different order. The statement goes out of control. From very small series of gestures performed both by the artist and the viewer, the deconstruction grows into monumental (better yet poly-mental) proportions. The voice of a leader breaks into many voices and his words splinter into many sounds. Then, comes the silence… The multiple silent cells on the screen constitute the magnified greed of the microphone conspicuously handed to the person in front of the computer. It is our turn to speak. The multiplicity of echoes and other sound effects, that the listner co-creates, reverberate and penetrate the viewer on a subliminal, almost organic level. The message instills an inner revolution, becomes healing, empowering life.
From a post-communist point of view, the artist, who belongs to a generation that has lived the traumatic effects of totalitarian thought and practice shows that imperatives could easily be taken to the absolute and turn into dogmas. Perhaps with zvrst.3, Igor Stromajer has the grand task of preparing the individual for a life in a community capable of reaching a higher level of democracy, yet unknown, and co-creating a 3rd millennium democracy. Or is it simply the distant voices of a species of a third kind that the Net has accidentally caught and brought down to us?