Michael Bielicky. Perpetuum mobile
ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe
Karlsruhe | Germany
In his work, the Czech-German artist Michael Bielicky (born in 1954) creates idiosyncratic hybrids that belong simultaneously to both a digital and an analogue world. Technological innovation enters into dialogue with the depths of media history, reaching all the way back to the magical mathematical practices of medieval Kabbalists. Experiences with the avant-garde film and media culture of the 1960s in Prague, where Bielicky grew up, converge with Jewish spirituality in the artist’s reflections on media.
Bielicky’s work deals with the transformation of media technology and its societal, philosophical and political implications; he facilitates critical engagement with the nature of technology, with its material and immaterial meanings, and with their influence on our perceptions and actions. The artist’s studies in the 1980s at the Düsseldorf art academy, where the influence of the Fluxus movement lingered and Nam June Paik and Joseph Beuys were key figures, had a formative influence on his critical and at times ironic stance toward our media present. Along with the influence of his mentor, Nam June Paik, Bielicky’s encounters and lifelong friendships with other media philosophers and artists such as Vilém Flusser, Peter Weibel, Woody Vasulka, Mel Alexenberg, Peter Sloterdijk, Siegfried Zielinski and Norman M. Klein have played a seminal role in his artistic work.
Michael Bielicky has been working together with the artist Kamila B. Richter (born in 1976) since 2004. The duo coined the term “data-driven narratives” to describe the multi-dimensional works of Internet art that they develop, which deal with the new, non-linear narrative principles of the digital information age. Using dynamic pictograms and integrating real-time data, they create large-format projections that powerfully and experientially treat the ubiquity of data and icons in our algorithmically driven everyday lives. The works provoke both attraction and unease, prompting us to question our own existence in the context of our present-day media ecology.
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