Media and Body Politics (1998)

In this essay, Marina Grzinic discusses some of her recent multi-media projects, produced in collaboration with Aina Smid, and her views on the effects of mass communications upon life in both Japan and Slovenia, once part of the Yugoslav republic, but since 1991, a new European state.


In November 1997 Aina Smid and I, both from Ljubljana,Slovenia presented an interactive video installation with the title Luna Park at the Intercommunication Center (ICC) in Tokyo, as part of the first ICC Media Biennial exhibition. The installation focused both visually and theoretically on the ICC Biennial organiser’s proposed topic of communication/

Luna Park was a video interactive project which played almost literally on the effect that digitial and numbered cards play in the processes of communication/miscommunication. To live properly today we have to have and use such digital/numbered cards, to go to the bank, for example, or to enter a
hotel room. The visitors of Luna Park, instead of a modern plastic digital card, were given a piece of paper with a personal number printed in red. The red colour and the old technology, a slow printed device which delivered the number,were used to underline the artists’ socialist background.

After receiving their personal number, the visitor or user had to insert the number in a computer installed in a huge red box or room. As a result of entering the numbers, a multi-screen projection began. This was a unique, personal story composed from images about the war in ex-Yugoslavia history, love, sex etc.which were assembled randomly from extracts of our other video and film works, selected and edited by a computer.

To each number given to the visitor, there belonged a unique narrative approximately two minutes in length. When the same number was entered into the computer, the same two minute narrative was replayed. In this way the visitor or user could replay, re-memorize and repeat his or her personal narrative indefinitely. As only one visitor at a time was allowed to enter the red room, it was not possible for anyone else to see the projection of another person’s narrative from outside or inside the red room…

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