Urtica Art and Media Research Group (Eduard Balaz / Violeta Vojvodic)
VEHICLES FOR THE MIND
The project Vehicles for the Mind, developed during their stay at Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen, explores how information patterns spread and the conditions that contribute to our globally-shared inner world. Memetics, the theoretical and empirical science that studies the replication, spread and evolution of “memes” (cultural information units), served as a point of departure. Vehicles for the Mind was constituted as a database of textual and visual entities (e.g. well-known expressions and flags) that enable inter-subjective communication; together they form an ambiguous system that balances between individual selfishness and collective responsibility.
Vehicles for the Mind was started in 2004 as an internet-based artwork. Originally conceived as a re-search project on the dissemination of cultural information, the project later developed into a complex, multi-cultural, interdisciplinary work. Social Engine, as it is called, documents and generates cultural pluralism through active artistic creation and dialogue. Social Engine was published in a total of five different versions and eventually merged with the HoopUp Collaborative Platform (hoopup.net).
Social Engine was extensively discussed and documented in Social Engine—The Hybrid Source Book, the first publication in the Büchs’n’Books—Art and Knowledge Production in Context series.
URTICA Art and Media Research Group (Eduard Balaž, *1972 and Violeta Vojvodić-Balaž, *1971) was founded in 1999 and is based in Belgrade and Novi Sad, Serbia. The Group develops multidisciplinary projects where art, science, and social engagement merge. URTICA’s production ranges from internetbased artworks and media actions to art objects and installations. Special focus is put on educational projects such as workshops and web applications.
URTICA was a participant in the 2003 Ars Electronica exhibition Code—The Language Of Our Time and awarded the Unesco Digital Arts Award 2003. They have contributed to numerous international festivals and exhibitions including FILE (São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), the Ogaki Biennial (IAMAS, Ogaki, Japan), Hilchot Shchenim—The Israeli Center for Digital Art (Holon, Israel), Kunstraum der Leuphana Universität Lüneburg (Germany), among others.