Thursday, December 9, 2021, 5 pm
Attention, Attention – Non guided tour

!Mediengruppe Bitnik, Attention, Attention – Non guided tour, 2021, screenshot. Courtesy: the artists
An online piece by !Mediengruppe Bitnik, based on Tomas Schmit’s Sanitas – 200 Theater Pieces #79 (#3), 1962

!Mediengruppe Bitnik is an artist duo that works both on the Internet and with it as a medium, raising topical questions about surveillance, artificial intelligence, and networking. In doing so, their practice usually works from the digital into the physical space, revealing the mechanisms of algorithms, bots, and tracking software. Influenced by mail art from the 1960s and 1970s as well as net art from the 1990s, !Mediengruppe Bitnik creates situations of deliberate loss of control in order to question established structures.

On the occasion of the exhibition
Tomas Schmit. Pieces, Actions, Documents 1962–1970 at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.), the artist duo !Mediengruppe Bitnik presents Attention, Attention – Non guided tour (2021). This digital interpretation of Schmit’s Sanitas #79 (1962) playfully addresses the role of the audience as well as the dimension of time, while responding to phenomena of today’s hypermediatized world. In his controversial performance piece, Schmit asks the audience to board a bus, only to be abandoned at a random location after a 100 km journey. !Mediengruppe Bitnik takes up this experience of losing one’s sense of orientation at a physical location by transposing the Fluxus work into an interactive online game. The players of Non guided tour are placed on a virtual map at a random point, exactly 100 km away from Neuer Berliner Kunstverein. They are challenged to find their way back to n.b.k. using rudimentary clues – such as blurry road signs, scenic features, and architectural landmarks. Making clear reference to the structure of online games such as MapCrunch and GeoGuessr, while deliberately operating counter to their logic based on scores and speed, Non guided tour invites participants to take a stroll through digital space. !Mediengruppe Bitnik used the infrastructure of the website Mapillary – a free geospatial platform based on street photographs taken by private users. With the help of partially blurred images taken at different times of the year and day, users can navigate along busy roads or hidden trails. Non guided tour operates beyond clearly defined vectors of space and time, and the homogenous surveillance aesthetics of digital street views as provided by the Maps service of the tech company Google. With this work, !Mediengruppe Bitnik addresses the idea explored by Fluxus artists of interweaving art and everyday life – by exploring the possibilities to do so in an increasingly privatized and panoptic digital space.

Click here for the online piece:

!Mediengruppe Bitnik is an artist duo consisting of Domagoj Smoljo (*1979 in Vis / Croatia) and Carmen Weisskopf (*1976 in Basel / Switzerland), who live and work in Berlin. In 2015 they were awarded the Migros New Media Jubilee Award, Zurich, and in 2014 the Swiss Art Award, Basel. Their work has been presented internationally in solo and group exhibitions, including at: Open Berlin (solo, 2021); Aksioma Institute for Contemporary Art Ljubljana (solo, 2021); Laboratory of Art and Form, Kyoto (solo, 2020); KINDL – Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Berlin (2019); House of Electronic Arts, Basel (solo, 2019); Nam June Paik Art Center, Yongin / South Korea (2017); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2017); ZKM, Karlsruhe (2017); Kunsthalle St. Gallen (2014–2015).