press release

The thought of gathering all of the world’s knowledge in one place dates back to the ancient library of Alexandria. Today, Wikipedia seeks to create a summary of all human knowledge, in the form of an online encyclopedia, with each topic of knowledge covered encyclopedically in a single article.

When one visits the Wikipedia article for “Maya Script”, the first line after the title reads: “Not to be confused with Maya Embedded Language, a scripting language for the Autodesk Maya software”. How could one confuse the writing system of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization of Mesoamerica with the Embedded Language of Maya 3D software, which was released in February of 1998 as Maya 1.0? Joseph Camp, in his book, Confusion: A Study in the Theory of Knowledge, writes, that to confuse is to make a paradigmatic mis-take. Cynically, to mistake these two entries means, either the digitization of physical material or the metamorphosis of bits of data into matter. Although both scripts are different they can be equalized as text, the one survived through the centuries as elaborated sets of glyphs painted on ceramics, carved in wood or stone or molded in stucco and the other existing in the electrically charged space of computer memory. The possibility to confuse the two just by the similarity of their name resides in the higher values of the probable outcomes. Maya script, once the writing system of communication of one of the richest and most original cultures in the history of humanity and Maya script, the embedded language of one of the most extensively used 3D graphics software today. Which of the two Wikipedia entries is more relevant today?

The Internet does not prevent historical and contemporary phenomena to exist parallel to each other at the same time and at the same place. Also, the semantic gap between the two concepts might not be as wide as it seems to be, despite the chronological time span, which sets them apart from one another.

“Not to be confused with” is a phrasal template used in Wikipedia to distinguish between entries. Although the phrase is inserted when an entry passes the permeable threshold of resemblance with another entry in the massive encyclopedia, the difference between the two terms might be minor or major depending on the perspective of the observer.

In general, the state of confusion includes disorganized thought, which in the case of cultural production can be exploited to blur, muddle, and perplex heterogeneous realms, concepts and possibilities. One can trace individual artistic practices today orbiting around confusions, in order to use them as grounds for cultural exchange and negotiation but in the end effectively deny them. Certain art practices imply that there is no confusion either because the focus is channeled to the speculative space where things overlap and have identical qualities, or pointed to a phenomenal difference between things, leaving out any possibility of confusion. Similarly, certain art practices masterfully utilize tools of digital technology in order to reconcile the territories of similarities or broaden the interstices of differences.

Not to be confused with… presents several positions situated within these vital and productive artistic practices.

Not to be confused with...

Künstler: Anne de Vries, Aleksandra Domanovic, Spiros Hadjidjanos, AIDS-3D  (Daniel Keller & Nik Kosmas), Wojciech Kosma, Oliver Laric, Mike Ruiz, Timur Si-Qin