Blick introduces Marcelina Wellmer, a multimedia artist from Poland, who expresses herself through the exchanges between technology, people and random situations. She explores our society through these relationships in different media, sound and architecture, altogether creating a complex interactive environment.
She inverts our society mantra that “everything has to be useful at all costs,” by giving new life to obsolete objects, creating new games to be played and forming new connections.
With a special colorful aesthetic and a surrealistic approach, Wellmer opens new perspectives and meaningful contexts. The space is intertwined with the object, the physical thing with the mental structures, trying to research the possibility of being.
The unpredictable plays a big role in her work. To some people, it’s seems like she tries to humanize the machine by applying errors, making the audience part of the discovery process.
Cecilia Caliari: Where do you find your inspiration and what is the best way for you to translate your ideas with your chosen media?
Marcelina Wellmer: I studied painting and video in Poland. During this time I also did a lot of VJing for Electronic and Techno DJs and became used to technical hardware: video mixers, projectors and so on.
In the working process I made a lot of mistakes because I was a self-educated person in this technological area. As an artist I started to experiment with the possibilities of this media and its limits.
Later on I thought about the possibilities of how I could mix my experience of video and painting because I loved them both, so I started to research the connections and disconnections between analog and digital media. In this process I found the ideas for the works by just using the very own characteristics of each of those media, for example the time aspect of video or the shear physical presence of oil pigments.
CC: There’s a big part of your work which connects technical elements and the generation of errors from random situations. How do you feel in this society where most of all technology, has to be useful and has to produce something?
MW: People have been producing useful technological devices for a long time, but they also use them for playful things. Today, technology also produces a lot of dreams. Often the dream leads only to the next gadget. To break this i’m searching more for the shadow in these products than for their actual purpose. Also as an artist, in the end I don’t want to be over productive, so to stay at the point where doing or making art will still be against being useful.
ERROR 404 502 410
CC: In your work, you put analog and digital together, the virtual world and physical one. What does this perception mean for you?
MW: For me perception is not only about what we can hear, see, smell and touch. First and foremost perception is formulated in our mind in form of expectations from reality. We have some programs in our head that try to predict things and at the end we can be really surprised by works of art because they’re doing something different than we expected. So for example, in my series “RGB” lots of people were very interested and also irritated about what the real object was; what was actually painted and what was projected. They couldn’t catch the fading colors so it was understandable that many people had questions about it. This clash of the media was a little break in their perception. The audience is surprised when they don’t know what the source is for the presented object. They have this normal process that they go through, for example what’s the source of what they are seeing now and what does it mean. By switching between media you can bring the perception to some new, refreshing and exciting sensuality. So for me, this playfulness in the artworks is important to force us out of that habit to predict things.
CC: How much of your works interpretation is built from the audience?
MW: This makes up a big part, but sometimes I wish it would be bigger. Some of the people can really play with the interpretation of my works, whereas most of the people don’t really feel good doing something interactive with a piece of art. They’re waiting for a clear answer and a straight message… but you know I like errors! For me, I wish for more errors from the audience. I like to surprise people and look at their reactions and see what they do. It is good when they get intrigued and want to know how it works. Interpretation, for me, is a question about how many open questions I can put into an artwork and how many answers the audience creates.
CC: Tell me more about your participation in Transmediale 2012 and what do you think about this year’s edition.
MW: I was a selected artist for the 2012 edition of Transmediale and of course I compared both of them. For me it was an important experience to be part of it. By working more as an insider I was able to understand some curatorial and critical aspects better. To me, this years exhibition at HKW was presented more with an educational attitude. For me it raised the question how much history of media art we can really consume as an audience and for who is the exhibition intended. I’m not talking about the artworks but more about the way in which the works were presented. I quite like plain exhibitions that are not too theatrical, but a little bit of appeal would have been not so bad. I think the curatorial idea was to make an anti-show as a contrast to the 2012 edition. In last years exhibition i saw more dialog between the artworks; there were small lines between them. But I enjoyed the Transmediale as a whole event, with the playful exhibition in Bethanien and other project spaces, connected to the new media scene in Berlin.
Blank_/ weisser elefant gallery, exhibition view / 2013 ( weisserelefant_web)
CC: Can you tell us a little about some of your future projects?
MW: On 13th of June I will show one of my works at ICI in Berlin (Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry). The exhibition is part of the conference “Resonant Bodies, Landscapes of Acoustic Tension” organized by Zeynep Bulut, Claudia Peppel and Brandon LaBelle. The conference will explore three landscapes of acoustic tension: sensory ecologies of hearing, materiality of voice, language and speech and affective states of sound. The other project I’m working on is a more complex work that mixes technological elements and nature. I wrote a paper for this and are currently exploring places to realize it.