press release

INTERKOSMOS 2004 Does life on Earth exist? Interkosmos was a name of an international space research program launched in the 60's by the Soviet Union. It's aim was to engage scientists from the entire socialist block in the exploration of space. In the 70's, within the framework of Interkosmos, astronauts from Czechoslovakia, Poland and other former socialist countries were sent into space. Naturally, the whole undertaking had primarily, a political and propagandistic importance - both on a global as well as on a local scale. The first flight into Space by a Pole was a major media event in 1978, and immediately, the astronaut Miroslaw Hermaszewski, became a hero of the ruling party and the nation.

Perhaps unlike any previous space program, Interkosmos had also a double function, in that it distracted the attention of the citizens of pseudo-democratic socialist countries from the actual events taking place on Earth. Today similarly, we witness the actions of The Bush administration which resorts to the same strategy, promoting a vision of manned flights to Mars, whilst American people struggle to reconcile with it's enormous military involvement in conflicts across the world.

The idea of the INTERKOSMOS 2004 exhibition, which includes participants from the countries of the former socialist block (Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary), is to sqew this perspective. We ask instead "Does life on Earth exist?". In doing so, we would like to divert all the energy, imagination, curiosity and creativity, which is now used to explore space, to focus back on Earth.

The project has a truly existential meaning, and draws from everyday experiences and states of mind such as; boredom (which is sometimes unearthly indeed), the feeling of absurd, the pleasure of fiction and the anxiety caused by our current state of affairs, as well as the deteriorating conditions of life and existence on Earth. Artists, have more and more frequently resorted to the role of the outsider or alien, in order to conduct experiments on reality that seem incomprehensible, blasphemous or devoid of sense to many. Contrary to that, the message of our exhibition is positive, and it's ambition futuristic. The essence of the project is in the revitalizing power of imagination and the art of looking at things from a different perspective, so as to perceive the attractive infiniteness of space. Let us treat the matter seriously and not let the politicians send us into outer space. We want to change the point of view, and look back at Earth as though it were an unknown planet. We should let ourselves be surprised by the impenetrable logic of local nature and civilization.

The exhibition is composed mainly of lens-based media, constructed objects and an installation by Erik Binder, created specially for the space at Raster. The photographic medium is employed by the artists precisely because the medium has transformed in the last century our understanding of the cosmos. The artists taking part in this exhibition construct machines which enable them to explore our planet, offering new perspectives and points of view (as in the work of Attila Csörgo´´, Tom Dale, Slawomir Elsner); examine the world from afar (Krenz & Niedzielko); search for unearthly sights (Kotzmannova); study the amazing effect of the progressive cyborgization of mankind (Baladrán, Struss) and re-use found objects from earth with which they fabricate whole new worlds (Binder, Kokesch, Krajewska). Or simply they are extraterrestrials themselves (Althamer). Translation: Krzysztof Kosciuczuk Pressetext

only in german

INTERKOSMOS 2004. Does life on Earth exist?
International Art Exhibition
mit Arbeiten von Pawel Althamer, Attila Csörgo, Tom Dale, Slawomir Elsner, Igor Krenz & Wojciech Niedzielko, Alena Kotzmannova, Zbynek Baladrán, Michal Struss, Erik Binder, Adam Kokesch, Elka Krajewska
Organisation: International Visegrad Fund, Bratislava
Kooperation: Galerie Display (Prag), Galéria Priestor (Bratislava), Trafó Galéria (Budapest), Fundacja Galerii Foksal (Warschau), neugerriemschneider (Berlin), Polsky´ Institut (Prag).