The latest works (since 2018) explore distinct scenarios informed by a nostalgia for lost visions of the future. Where are the cultural escape routes from the polished world of consumerism and the digital corporate realm? In order to develop a sense for past escapist ideas, the ideas focus on utopic moments; radical/utopic architectural visions from the 70s alongside the optimistic instants and influential technologies of the 90s. What remains of these sub-/countercultural, revolutionary movements, is captured within damaged, entropic, low-resolution digital images and videos of that time. These references serve as the basis for the meta-collages, which are infiltrated with typographies, logos and contemporary visual symbols representative of the uncertain, increasingly dystopian techno-present. Bringing forth inherent links between Xerox photocopying and the punk subculture; DIY desktop publishing, offset print, CTP-technology, 3D animation and early techno culture. As an archaeological method, the works seek to explore the layers of past scenarios, to excavate underlying technological and cultural contexts. Simply put: to create "a chance meeting of geology and futurism on the dissecting table of techno culture".
Mark Fridvalszki graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna in 2011 and was a post-graduate 'Meisterschüler' student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig (HGB, 2014 - 2017). Fridvalszki is the co-initiator and graphic editor of the publishing project and cross-discipinary movement Technologie und das Unheimliche (or T+U, since 2014).
My ongoing body of work entitled 'An Out of this World Event' looks at "the last utopic moment" from the perspective of today's dystopic, uncertain present, characterized by digital alienation. In my own memories, the last utopic, global moment can be traced back to the early 90s, by scanning through its layers of alternative culture, namely the presence and effects of techno and electronic music. My works react to these attitudes by playing with nostalgia, combining the tools provided by digital and analog technology, material objects e.g. print, wallpaper, collage.
Domestic desktop computers become widely available in the 90s, a development that is closely connected to the visual language of rave culture. This was accompanied by new technologies in offset printing, which facilitated the heterogeneous visual identity of club flyers or posters. As punk relied on Xerox, the same relationship can be said about techno subcultures and early graphic editing software (Macromedia Freehand, Coreldraw, a.o.), personal computers and the developing offset printing industry.
The project proposed for Leopold Bloom Awards also builds on the important events of techno culture in order to expose the nostalgia for lost visions for the future, the need to escape from the polished world of consumerism as well as to reveal its media-archaeological implications. The exhibition's core is constituted by digital (meta)images archived from the internet, which appear as printed matter in space. They serve as channels to clarify the term "inwards escapisms". The images, similarly to a Warburgian Mnemosyne Atlas, introduce the subculture and technology of an era and their transformative powers.
The installation merges different media, digital A3 prints blending into wallpaper assemblages, multi-channel videos played on exhibition monitors (e.g. Sony Cube or Hantarex), large scale flags hanging from the ceiling, and acrylic transfer canvases. As an additional juxtaposition, the utopic architectural visions of the 60s appear alongside the optimist moments of the early 90s. Each visual element is an enlarged image (found footage), zoomed-in, highlighting geology, stratification, and the act of 'digging' through media. Similar to the effect of the slow vertical movement of a microscope, we see a disintegrated (entropic) pixel landscape with the image becoming more and more focused on a detail as it narrows.
"A chance meeting of geology and futurism on the dissecting table of techno culture. This is how we could, with a little borrowing from Andre Breton’s, describe an oeuvre of Mark Fridvalszki (1981). (…) The images of recent past indulged in looking forward into an utopian future as we see them flickering on the monitor screen of Another Out of This World Event video piece, find themselves in a strange proximity to a deep, geological time from the perspective of which an existence of human culture appears to be a rather marginal event." (Jan Zálešák, 2018)