Mi 29.04 2020 – So 31.05 2020

Damjanski - Humans Not Invited


Roehrs & Boetsch Gallery
Bachstrasse, 8038 Zurich


Mittwoch 29 April 2020 – Sonntag 31 Mai 2020

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The installation Humans Not Invited – IRL is a physical manifestation of the permanently available online performance, Humans Not Invited (http://www.humansnotinvited.com/), which is a reversed CAPTCHA that filters out humans and is only accessible to bots. They are the only ones who can read the blurred images of the artworks and thus pass through the entrance portal of the website. The installation consists of a cordless mouse and a mouse pad, placed outside the entrance of the gallery space. On the front window, a back-projection displays the software interface in an enlarged format. In order to gain access to the gallery, visitors have to solve the CAPTCHA. However, the software is designed so that it’s impossible to be solved by a human being, while instead decipherable by bots.

Health protection measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, adopted by governments on a global scale, have temporarily limited access to public spaces, confining human interactions on the web. With Humans Not Invited – IRL, Damjanski reconstructs the user’s online identification experience in the physical space, however depriving him of the possibility of success. Facing the rapid progress of artificial intelligence in respect to the human individual’s capabilities, the installation reveals the limits of human interactions even in the physical space, at a time when they themselves are being restricted by government-controlled mechanisms. In this way, the artist brings to light the normalization of both physical and virtual experience, carried out by a supervisory authority whose interior of the black box often remains, for most people, unknowable.

Damjanski is a Yugoslavian artist living in a browser. Concerned with themes of power, poetry and participation, he integrates field research into an exploration of illogical connections in everyday life.

„Someone came by and asked me why? I answered why not? The person looked at me confused which made me a little worried and I so also became confused.“ Born in Sarajevo (B&H), he grew up in Hamburg amongst everything topical and is now based in New York. Searching for decision spots of wonder and unlearning his conceptual work draws on the idea of the collective. „We kept staring at each other for quite a while. Then I thought of talking about my continuing investigation of black box approaches in our everyday lives.“ Damjanski is a co-founder and member of the artist collective Do Something Good, which focuses on realizing interactive experiences that arise at the cross section of art and technology. In 2018, Do Something Good launched the MoMAR art project, a gallery concept aimed at democratizing physical exhibition spaces, art institutions and curatorial processes within New York’s Museum of Modern Art. His interactive installations, browser-based art, and web-based applications deploy solutionism to unveil screen structures of the present. In July 2019, his latest piece “Bye Bye Camera”, a camera application for the post-human era which erases human motifs from everyday photography, was published. „Suddenly, I felt less confused. Yet, I was still staring.“

Geschrieben von Zero Zurich