Domenico Quaranta on Mon, 25 Aug 2014 16:26:36 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime-ann> ETERNAL SEPTEMBER - The rise of amateur culture. Exhibition in Ljubljana

Aksioma â Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, Åkuc Gallery and
LINK, presents:

The rise of amateur culture
Group exhibition and side

Curator: Valentina Tanni

Åkuc Gallery
Stari trg 21, Ljubljana2 â 26 September 2014
Opening hours: TUE-SUN  12 pm â 8 pm

Opening programme on Tuesday, 2 September 2014:
6 pm at Aksioma Project Space (Komenskega 18, Ljubljana)
Screening and artist's presentation, Matthias Fritsch: The Story of Technoviking
8 pm at Åkuc Gallery
Exhibition opening and curator-guided tour

Eternal September is a group exhibition that aims to explore the
relationship between professional art making and the rising tide of
amateur cultural movements throughout the Web, a historical event that
has triggered a huge, fascinating shift in every field of culture,
especially the visual one. The exhibition includes works by 15 authors
and artistic groups (professionals and amateurs alike) and a series of
special projects and accompanying events that will take place both
offline and online.

Featuring: Anonymous (The Game Pro), Tymek Borowski & Pawel Sysiak,
Mauro Ceolin, Paolo Cirio, Paul Destieu, Electroboutique, Matthias
Fritsch, Colin Guillemet, David Horvitz, Maskull Lasserre, Aled Lewis,
Dennis Logan (Spatula007), Valeria Mancinelli & Roberto Fassone, Mark
McEvoy, Casey Pugh et al., Steve Roggenbuck, Smetnjak Collective,
Helmut Smits, Phil Thompson,
Wendy Vainity (madcatlady) (*)

Side programme:

- Screening, Casey Pugh et al.: Star Wars Uncut, 20 â 29 August 2014
(venue: Aksioma Project Space)
- Street project, Paolo Cirio: Street Ghosts, 30 â 31 August 2014
- Online project, Valeria Mancinelli, Roberto Fassone: The Importance
of Being Context, 2 â 26 September 2014 (
- Online project, Various Authors (edited by Valentina Tanni): The
Great Wall of Memes (
- Talk, Smetnjak Collective: We started a meme, which started the
whole world crying, 9 September 2014 at 6 pm (venue: Åkuc Gallery)
- Exhibiton tour guided by Vladimir Vidmar, 17 September 2014 at 6 pm
(venue: Åkuc Gallery)

âEternal Septemberâ is a slang expression that was coined by David
Fischer in a comment sent to the Usenet group alt.folklore.computers
in 1994 (âSeptember 1993 will go down in net.history as the September
that never ended.â). The sentence refers to September 1993, the year
in which the major providers began offering access to all their
customers. Up to that time, the network population was composed mostly
of university members, a group that would get a little bit bigger
every year in September when a number of freshmen would enter college
and have their first net access. Every time a fresh influx of
ânewbiesâ joined a network, its community had to confront their ânet
illiteracyâ and general lack of netiquette; their behaviour was, in
fact, considered annoying and potentially dangerous for the quality of
content and discussion.
After 1993, this influx of new users became permanent, and this
âEternal Septemberâ is still happening today at exponential speed.
Internet access, which is now global, is constantly growing, despite
the well-known âdigital divideâ issues. This phenomenon, which
transformed from a tidal wave into an unstoppable tsunami, gave birth
to an enormous cultural shift.

This âaccessâ topic needs to be addressed in a very broad sense: the
opportunity to access information, as well as that to use production
tools and distribution channels. Every system previously used to
managing and controlling cultural production is now experiencing a
deep crisis, which is also causing the inevitable collapse of all the
related business models.
The ultimate consequence of this scenario is also the most radical
one: the questioning of âprofessionalismâ, an event that has been
foreseen by many observers ever since the 1970s. Gene Youngblood, for
instance, wrote about it in the 1982 Siggraph catalogue: âA tool is
âmatureâ insofar as itâs easy to use, accessible to everyone, offering
high quality at low cost and characterized by a pluralistic rather
than singular practice, serving a multitude of values. Professionalism
is an archaic model thatâs fading in the twilight of the Industrial

The Eternal September exhibition also aims at highlighting another
fundamental feature of the emerging cultural scenario: the speed that
characterizes the production and distribution of creative content.
This hectic and unstoppable circulation of ideas and digital artifacts
has led many critics and journalists to use words and adjectives
borrowed from biology jargon: viral contents, mind viruses, contagious
media. Some also refer to a controversial scientific theory that was
born in the 1970s in the context of the genetic research boom: the
so-called âmemeticsâ. This theory postulates the existence of âmemesâ,
units of human cultural transmission analogous to genes, arguing that
replication also happens in culture. In a fast and liquid environment
such as the Internet, in which any content â images, sounds, texts â
can be edited in real-time and fed back into the communication
circuit, the metamorphic nature of any cultural product rises
In an era like the present one, in which image production is so
advanced and refined that it can be easily considered scientific
matter, the amateur âlook and feelâ of many contemporary cultural
products also seems to function as proof of authenticity, passion and
enthusiasm. This attitude reminds us of what happened in the early
twentieth century, when the simplicity and spontaneity of archaic and
exotic artifacts was seen as an antidote to the weariness of Western
culture, considered decadent and artificial. Today, the new
âprimitivismâ coincides with the âamateurâ.

This exhibition comprises a mix of artworks by professional artists
and ânon-professionalâ ones, comparing images, aesthetics and
languages. A great number of contemporary artists, in fact, actively
and fearlessly confront this new scenario in which the boundaries
between professional art making and amateur products are increasingly
blurred and intertwined. The project also aims to show how some of the
aesthetic and stylistic strategies normally associated with
cutting-edge contemporary art have been assimilated by popular culture
that is born and happens online.
Our definition of art is once again changing radically, challenging
both artists and viewers, two categories that are getting more and
more unstable and interconnected. Eternal September is an attempt to
acknowledge the revolution that is subverting todayâs visual culture,
a colorful and messy catastrophe that is rapidly wiping away all our
landmarks in the artscape. This show does not offer any new certainty,
though. Instead, itâs an invitation to dive in together, and start
figuring things out.


On the occasion of the exhibition, Link Editions (the editorial branch
of the Link Art Center, Brescia) and Aksioma will co-publish a
catalogue of the show, featuring all the participating artists and
projects, along with contributions by Valentina Tanni, Smetnjak
Collective and Domenico Quaranta. Designed by Fabio Paris and edited
by Domenico Quaranta, the catalogue will be available for print on
demand and free download along the exhibition, which will be visually
documented in the book. More:


Valentina Tanni (1976, Rome, Italy) is a contemporary art critic and
curator. Her research is focused on the relationship between art and
new media, with particular attention to Internet culture. In 2002, she
graduated in Art History from La Sapienza University in Rome with a
masterâs thesis on net art (Net Art.1994â2001), and in the following
years she published a great number of articles, reviews and essays
about new media art, web culture and contemporary art in general. She
is the founder of Random Magazine, one of the first web columns
entirely dedicated to net art (that also gave birth to a book in 2011,
Random, Link Editions), and she is the co-founder of Exibart and
Artribune, two important Italian art magazines. She also directed the
online version of the magazine FMR (FMR Online).
She curated the Net section of the art show Media Connection (Rome and
Milan, 2001), the exhibitions Netizens (Rome, 2002), Lâoading.
Genetically Modified Videogames (Syracuse, 2003), Maps and Legends.
When Photography Met the Web (Rome, 2010), Datascapes (Rome, 2011),
Hit the Crowd. Photography in the Age of Crowdsourcing (Rome, 2012),
Nothing to See Here (Milan, 2013) and numerous solo shows. She also
collaborates with many digital arts festivals and sheâs been one of
the guest curators of FotoGrafia. International Photography Festival
in Rome from 2010 to 2012. She has written articles for Italian and
international magazines and she works as a teacher and lecturer for
universities and private institutions.

Production: Aksioma - Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2014
Coproduction: Åkuc Gallery, Ljubljana /
Partner: LINK Center for the Arts of the Information Age, Brescia /

Curator: Valentina Tanni
Artistic directors: Janez JanÅa (Aksioma Institute), Vladimir Vidmar
(Åkuc Gallery)
Advisor: Domenico Quaranta
Producers: Marcela OkretiÄ, JoÅko Pajer
Executive producer: Sonja Grdina
Assistant: Boris Beja
Technicians: Atila BoÅtjanÄiÄ, Valter UdoviÄiÄ
Public relations: Mojca ZupaniÄ
Documentation: Adriana AleksiÄ

Eternal September is realized in the framework of Masters & Servers, a
joint project by Aksioma (SI), Drugo more (HR), AND (UK), Link Art
Center (IT) and d-i-n-a / The Influencers (ES).

This project has been funded with support from the European
Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author,
and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be
made of the information contained therein.

Supported by: Creative Europe Culture, the Ministry of Culture of the
Republic of Slovenia, the Municipality of Ljubljana, Istituto Italiano
di Cultura in Slovenia and Institut franÃais de SlovÃnie

Thanks to: Ultrasonic audio technologies

* DISCLAIMER: Every effort has been made by the galleries and the
curator to get in contact with all the authors of the works in the
show. Nonetheless, due to the particular nature of the project, in
some cases, we have not been able to trace the source, or we attempted
to get in touch but got no response. We invite everyone who recognizes
his/her work and wants to be credited, to contact us at The nature of the project is non-commercial and
the works in the show are not for sale.

Marcela OkretiÄ, 041 250 830,
Aksioma | Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana
Neubergerjeva 25, SI-1000 Ljubljana,
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