The WRO Biennale and 50 Years of Electronic Art

The WRO International Media Art Biennale is the major forum for new media art in Poland, and one of the leading international contemporary art events in Europe. Since its inception in 1989, WRO has been presenting art forms created using new media for artistic expression and communication. The array of exhibitions and presentations that make up every WRO Biennale feature a wide variety of genres and forms, including video art, installations, multimedia concerts and performances, interactive works, net and social-media projects.

WRO’s grand prize is 30 thousand zlotys. A Critics’ and Art Magazine Editors’ Prize is also awarded, along with a Public’s Choice Award.

WRO 2013: Pioneering Values – the 15th WRO Biennale – is taking place during the 50th anniversary of electronic art, and it focusses on the artistic and cultural values that new media art has given rise to. The Biennale presents works created during the last two years by renowned artists as well as by newcomers to the Polish and international media art scenes.

In addition to presentations of works selected from over 1500 submissions from around the world as well as by specially invited artists, the WRO 2013 Biennale will also feature retrospectives of the work of outstanding media art pioneers who have shaped the evolution of artistic expression using new technologies. Five screenings will be devoted to works by Steina & Woody Vasulka, the renowned pioneers in experimental sound, light and image, and founders of the famous New York gallery The Kitchen. Another retrospective will feature a selection of VALIE EXPORT‘s experimental films and videos put together specially for WRO and the new arrangement of the Robert Cahen’s Chopinpiano instalaltion.

Among the highlights of the WRO 2013 Biennale will be the European premiere of Breaking the Frame, a film by Canadian director and screenwriter Marielle Nitoslawska about Carolee Schneemann, a pioneer of performance art and body art who redefined the way we view art related to gender, the body and sexuality.

Another of the restrospectives features Tune in Screening: Psychedelic Moving Images from Socialist Yugoslavia 1966-1976, a program prepared by Branko Franceschi,  curator of the Croatian pavilion at the 2007 and 2013 Venice Biennales, along with films and videos from the famous Arteast 2000+ collection, prepared by the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Among the other screenings  to be held at the DCF Lower Silesian Film Center are  Cinema for the Ear, a project by the American group ((audience)) and a new program prepared specially for WRO by the sixpackfilm (Vienna), featuring international experimental films and video works that have been awarded prizes at festivals around the world in the last two years.

The award-winning German group incite/ is preparing a new audiovisual performance, Fragmented Media, specially for WRO 2013. Among the other works that will be premiering at the Biennale are:

~ Hermes, a robot opera by Karl Heinz Jeron (Germany), whose libretto is based on fragments of phone conversations overheard on public transportation

~ Pendulum Choir, an unique performance by the Swiss group Cod.Act, in which a  choral concert is performed on a moving pneumatic platform

~ Vinyl Rally, an installation by Lucas Abela (Australia) with go-carts racing on phonograph records

~performance by audiovisual artist, working with installations and video, Cécile Babiole (Paris)

~ Touchy, aa interactive performance in which electronic devices substitute for vision to enable the artist Eric Siu (HK/Japan) to interact with the audience.

Neil Harbisson (ES) also deals with issues of perception: His device eyeborg , prepared by Adam Montadon, generates sounds that correspond to colors, allowing achromats – people who don’t see colors – to perceive them aurally. Harbisson, who is an achromat himself, has a chip implanted in his brain that emits sounds corresponding to colors, making him an officially recognized cyborg.

Among the films in the WRO 2013 program is Rabih Mroué‘s celebrated work The Pixelated Revolution, which includes material filmed on mobile phones by Syrian civilians during the ongoing civil war in that country.  By training their cameras on snipers and uploading the material to the Internet, these guerilla journalists have made us all witnesses to what’s taking place.

Among the more striking Polish works that will be presented at WRO 2013 are Kama Sokolnicka‘s site-specific installation Mirage [Miraż] and Karolina Freino‘s project entitled Chansons de geste.

An exhibition of Mirosław Bałka‘s new works, prepared specially for the WRO Art Center, will be another highlight of the Biennale.

Kids will be invited to take part in the Little WRO program of exhibits, workshops and screenings.

WRO 2013 Talks and Discussion Forums

As usual, the WRO 2013 Biennale will host a series of lectures, panel discussions and talks. Among the illustrious guests at the main Pioneering Values conference will be Kristine Stiles, Michał Paweł Markowski, Skip Blumberg and Michael Scroggins.  Another presentation will be a final summation of the EU-funded Artist Talk project jointly carried out by WRO, the Museum of Transitory Art in Ljubljana and the CIANT International Center for Art and New Technologies in Prague. And as part of  the EU project Digitising Contemporary Art, WRO together with the Wroclaw Academy of Fine Arts and Design will host a panel discussion with international specialists  involved with the DCA project.

As always, the Biennale’s most exciting works and events will be documented in a new installment in the WRO on Tour series, which will be shown in various venues both in Poland and abroad.

Artistic Director: Piotr Krajewski
Main organizers: The WRO Media Art Center Foundation

WRO Art Center MKiDN Wrocław  
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