Utopia = Reality!



We are living in an era when machines are becoming more like man, whilst man is becoming dehumanised (“Man as machine, machine as man”). This has taken place following the industrial revolution of the 19th century, which chained workers to the assembly lines and initiated a symbiotic implementation of man and machine.

The purpose of this inaugural Industrial Art Biennial lies in creating a critical distance from the industrialisation of Art and Culture and the degradation of the artist into a mere operator – a cog in the wheel the so-called creative industries. This event is closely connected to the industrial locale of Labin’s former coalmine – this is the “ore”, which the Labin Art Express XXI art collective is trying to absolve of its dystopian past, cultivating its heritage after it was depraved of the “grammar of usefulness“ of coal exploitation. It transmutes it through artistic reevaluation into an aesthetic fact and a platform for the fulfillment of the utopian idea of an Underground city for the 21st century in the former coal mines beneath Labin And Raša.

 View the official IAB01 video here.

The title of this Biennale – “Utopia = Reality!” – underlines the notion that for art there are no impossible ideas or missions. Evolution, for instance, is something that once existed solely within the realm of ideas; as the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein put it: “Today’s illogical thinking will become a cognitive paradigm of a future reality“. Furthermore, through the antinomy of man as machine and vice versa, this Biennial questions the authenticity and uniqueness of a human act – a concept which has been celebrated throughout artistic creation – and the possession of intellectual and emotional circuitry as intrinsically human characteristics, which cybernetic machines had finally brought into question long ago, through their “thinking” operations and possibilities of memory. Today we even have experiments in which we attempt to implement emotions into machines/androids, so that in the future they would express the essence of being a human more effectively and consistently.

To conclude, the precondition of the notion of industry is generic production, multiplication of a certain useful object/product. Since artists today “brand” themselves, and this multiplication of one’s own aesthetic and personal code is becoming the unwritten law imposed by the structure of art presentation (galleries, museums, critics…), which insist on the recognisability and “purity” of idioms, this Biennale will try to explore mutual influences, interactions, growing aporias, even collisions of artistic and industrial discourses.

Labin Art Express XXI will attempt to use this tripartite contextualisation of the Industrial Art Biennial, which will hopefully grow into a permanent manifestation with firm financial backing, to establish an “underground” Agora as an “event horizon on the rim of a black hole” of the former ore, 150 meters under the ground, in the eighth horizon of the future Underground City of Culture, which has been awaiting its inauguration since 1991.