Pochen Biennale 2022

The (New) Measuring of the World

POCHEN Biennale 29.09. - 09.10.22

Curatorial statement by Agnieszka Kubicka-Dzieduszycka about the POCHEN Biennale 2022

The exhibition, conceived for the current POCHEN Biennale, with works by 23 artists and agroups, brings together under the title The (New) Measuring of the World a series of themes and questions that most of us automatically associate with the concept of digitalization, without knowing exactly how to understand them. 

This automatism, which makes us - the ordinary users of devices, networks and technologically mediated services - comfortably believe that we are familiar with the digital present, is at the same time very often the reason why we do not necessarily penetrate to the essence of the processes that take place behind the optimized work surfaces and shiny screens.

The comprehensibility of the total digital transformation of reality, meanwhile, is far more complex than our intuitive ease of use of numerous devices and apps would suggest. This is revealed, for example, by the ease with which we agree to an app's terms of use with a single click, after quickly scrolling to reach the end of the long text of yet another license we will never read. But what are the implications of this small gesture for the daily practice of democracy, for the performance of our social roles, for our self-efficacy?

Do we really want to think of technology as a kind of magic, with only a few adepts able to conjure from lines of code for us, the rest of the unsuspecting users, the fundamentals and workings of an ever-faster functioning world? Do we remain on top of the huge data iceberg without wanting to know what is actually going on inside it, without questioning how much freedom we have lost for how much (supposed) self-efficacy?

The exhibition with striking works of the "old masters" and current works of younger artists, which were conceived especially for POCHEN, spans the arc from 1976 to the current year 2022. It invites to look at the topic from the point of view of the artists who work in the field of media art. They use technology at once as a subject, a tool, and a form for their investigations; they meticulously probe the reality of data, they create intriguing approaches, or quite brazenly and without asking anyone about it, they repurpose, hack, and playfully use technology and its devices.

This exhibition is meant to provoke, to ask questions. Because technology, like the art that embraces it, is anything but magic: there is a logic here and there, things can be explained, sometimes with a sober market analysis, sometimes with a mischievous artistic gesture or precise research. So look closely, observe, listen, move around the room, look behind the scenes and ask questions! Yes, ask more questions! Question both, the technology and the art! All too often, the two disciplines are considered too complicated and untouchable, too artificial and distant from life to be questioned. Measure the world anew. With the experience of art that has dedicated itself to technology and the new and ever newer media to create a field of experimentation that we as humans now urgently need to shape the direction and principles of digital change in a more just and fair way.