Updated: Apr 9, 2019
Media artist Marcel Schwittlick traveled to Iran in late 2018 to exhibit at the 8th edition of the Tehran Annual Digital Art Exhibition (TADAEX). "Iran is an exceptional place and Tehran, in particular, has a lively art scene."
TADAEX is quite international as well as local in regards to experimental electronic art. The event hosted a mixture of Iranian and European, mostly German and Austrian based artists. "The exchange and interaction were intense, and I perceived the Iranian audience as extremely interested and talkative. The network and dialogue with the local artists and everybody else involved in the festival was enriching."
The art and technology worlds are forever intertwined and connected. They are not disconnected entities that influence each other via long-distance calls. They are one. Scientists and engineers are developing tools which they create mostly for financial reasons. Artists and the art world are following these developments, play with them, contextualize the value of these tools for social and cultural means. They play with these media and materials, put them into context and tell stories. This construct will most likely remain, not looking at the few technical developments that are envisioned by independent artists and end up as a commodity.
As a programmer and artist, Schwittlick thinks that the technological world is within the art world, or at least part of it. "I like to think everything is art. I follow Jonathan Meese in this regard."
The new media art world is full of collaborations and commissions between artists and engineers. These connections can be very fruitful when fueled by the same motivation though they can quickly settle in a production context where it lacks credibility. "I want to see artists touching all aspects of their work, the nature of the media applied with the freedom of the artistic mind. This challenging moment is when interesting creation is happening — Serendipity and chaos in the realm of rules and order."
"I want to develop an accessible world, talk about common ground. I like flat hierarchies and exchange, inclusion and openness"
Art with a connection to technology has the responsibility to create semiotic-ally meaningful work, especially in the current times of globalization, cultural exchange and the psychological influence of the changing internet.
"I see and like the development of some hybrid professions. Like artists and engineers, artists and scientists in one person. The majority of people working intellectually are focusing on one particular topic and specialty, offering these skills to other domains. This is a beautiful situation, when it's a fruitful exchange fueled by the same motivation. What I like to see though, are things which are concrete and free of compromise."
Schwittlick is one of the few artists who is actually a coder, writing algorithms, software, and concepts. Not many artists working with technology are programming and developing their works themselves.
"I want to develop an accessible world, talk about common ground. I like flat hierarchies and exchange, inclusion and openness. Some properties that I would like to bring from the internet to the real world."
Regarding privacy, Schwittlick thinks it is a right of a digital, global democracy. By contributing your identity and conscious actions online, you shape the world. Moreover, feeding the big-data, AI and machine learning systems of the big corporates of the world, you establish your identity within it. We are all scared of AI that is dumb and makes mistakes, that's why it's even more critical to provide information as much as possible, and private as possible to develop these systems and contribute to your identity.
Based in Berlin, Schwittlick recently left the collective and collaborative space of Lacuna Lab, which he founded in 2015 with other multidisciplinary artists and designers. These days he moved to Schöneweide, one of the art-wise quiet potent outskirts in the east part of Berlin.
"The environment where you work every day is essential for any artist working professionally"
"For me, it was time for a place which gives more space for more profound thought and intense concentrated and focused creation. I am still sharing this space with other artists for certain occasions. It is a big contrast to working from home. The disconnection of dedicated space is much more empowering and constructive."
Schwittlick recently did a project creating a series of unique drawings, shipping them to collectors around the world.
"I merely wanted to make a personal exhibition"; The series produced 50 unique drawings in A3 size, that included a packaging, a personal note, and the story behind each work.
"This endeavor is very personal, still quite large, this made it quite tricky and exciting. It was worth to take the effort because I was able to make a direct interpersonal connection, contact with 50 people. Even in a large exhibition one usually is not able to make contact or continue the communication with more than 50 people. Realizing this project was an attempt to open this up, give the opportunity for direct exchange. Speaking in retrospect, it was a very fruitful and successful project that spark new projects and ideas. It was expensive as well, and I am very grateful for the financial support of Artqol that made this project possible."
Schwittlick is working on a new series soon to be exposed in Erratum Gallery in Berlin Kreuzberg.