Inke Arns on Tue, 28 Sep 1999 10:07:51 +0200

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Syndicate: intim@ and the Great Teacher Astronaut [GTA]

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?Free your mind and the rest will follow": 
intim@ and the Great Teacher Astronaut

by Inke Arns <>

In 1994, Dragan Zivadinov, theater director of the NSK performance
department ?Cosmokinetic Cabinet Noordung" (1), announced a project which
would last for the next 50 years. The ?Noordung Prayer Machine" ? a machine
for the ?production of holiness" ? stretches out into the year 2045. By
signing a contract, actors and actresses have agreed to participate in a
production on the theme of ?Love and State? (Inhabited Sculpture One versus
One) which was premiered in Ljubljana on 20 April 1995. The production will
be repeated every ten years, until the year 2045. The first repetition will
take place on 20 April 2005 with the same actors and actresses, in the same
costumes, in the same scenery, on the same day and at the same time as ten
years before. If an actor or actress dies, s/he will be replaced by a
moveable ?robotic costume-symbol" combined with melody/rhythm.

The four following productions will be guided by the same principle. The
concept notes that the second repetition will take place in 2015, the third
one in 2025, the fourth in 2035, and the fifth in 2045. By the time of the
fifth repetition, all the actors will be dead and the stage will be full of
robotic costume-symbols, melodies and rhythms. The only survivor will be
Dragan Zivadinov, who, together with the actor substitutes, will be lauched
in a space craft from a Russian launching site into the ?Noordung" (2)
orbit of zero-gravity: By installing the actor substitutes in positions
close to information satellites around the planet Earth, Zivadinov will
abolish ?Retrogarda?(3) . He predicts: ?I, Dragan Zivadinov, will die on 1
May 2045." 

Consider this a typically avant-garde project if you wish. When I met
Dragan Zivadinov in Ljubljana in July 1998, it slowly occurred to me that
it was not ?merely? an artistic project. Zivadinov, very serious: ?Well, I
am going into space. I am going to be a cosmonaut." He told me in detail
about his medical check-ups, about his brilliant health condition
(according to the physicists from Kazakhstan) and about the 6-month
training program for cosmonauts, first in Belgium, then in Germany and in
Kazakhstan. And then, he would go into space. He will be the world?s first
civilian cosmonaut. For more than a decade he has been working on this
project. Now the pieces of the puzzle finally come together. 

Until the launching of the space craft, there?s still much to be done. For
example, developing the virtual identity of the future traveller. Igor
Stromajer aka intim@, one of the most prominent Slovenian web artists, has
created an interactive web art project entitled ?interno-inferno"
<> in October 1996, which is dedicated
to the "[G]reat [T]eacher and [A]stronaut [GTA]" Dragan Zivadinov.
?interno-inferno" offers the possibility to co-/re-create the virtual
psych/o[gram], physi/o[gram], art/o[gram], i.e. the virtual life and
fiction art work of the ?great teacher and astronaut?. The project will be
under construction until the end of GTA?s real life. After his death, ?a
CD-ROM (or any other digital data carrier available at that time) will be
given to him as a present from all the online people to take it with him
wherever he goes."

Well said. Over the last few years, Igor Stromajer (Ljubljana) has
developed several interactive web art projects. ?0.html"
<>, for example, operates with a well
known repertoire from computer games and the Internet: Upon entering, the
user is confronted with warning messages hinting at limited access ("Access
denied") and is asked to enter a password. If choosing the right one, s/he
is permitted access to the different levels of ?0.html": The Body
Observation Section, The Communication Area, The Plain of Provocative
Intelligence and The Archives of Conditions. All of these levels are linked
to sound files. Jozip Broz Tito speaks to the nation, the US President
explains the geopolitical role of the United States, Kraftwerk counts
reversely and suddenly there is Neil Armstrong?s voice from the year 1969,
telling about the great leap for humanity. ?0.html" is an archive of
historical techno imagination, world politics and a grain of melancholy. At
the end of the tour through this complex project, Stromajer confronts the
visitor with the following words: "Internet is the most primitive medium

While musing about this, bookmark 20 April 2005 for the ?Inhabited
Sculpture One versus One", first repetition, make a flight reservation for
Ljubljana, Slovenia, and watch out for news from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. But
beware: Igor Stromajer is also singing the theory of the Internet (?Oppera
Teorettikka Internettnikka", 38 min.).

Berlin, August 1999


Cosmocinetic Cabinet Noordung <>
NSK Electronic Embassy <>
Intim@ virtual base / Net art Lab
?interno-inferno" <>
?0.html" <>

1  ?Cosmokinetic Cabinet Noordung" is part of the Slovenian artists?
collective ?Neue Slowenische Kunst" (NSK). The collective was founded in
1984 in Ljubljana (former Yugoslavia; today Slovenia) and consists of the
music group 'Laibach' (* 1980), the painters collective 'Irwin' (* 1983),
and the performance group 'Gledalisce Sester Scipion Nasice' (* 1983),
later renamed ?Cosmocinetic Cabinet Noordung?, and other sub-groups. For
NSK, cf. Inke Arns, ?Mobile States / Shifting Borders / Moving Entities.
The Slovenian Artists? Collective Neue Slowenische Kunst?, in: Irwin, Three
projects: Transnacionala, Irwin Live, Icons, Centre for Contemporary Art
Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, 7 Dec 1998 - 24 Jan 1999, pp. 59-76
<> and the NSK Electronic
Embassy <>.  

2  In 1929, the Slovenian researcher Herman Potocnik Noordung published the
book The Problems of Space Travel.  

3  All the NSK groups are bound to the working method of 'retrogarde',
which through an "emphatic ecclecticism" uses all those texts (signs,
images, symbols and forms of rhethoric), that retrospectively have become
identification signs for certain artistic, political, religious or
technological 'salvation utopias' of the 20th century. These very different
'salvatory utopias' or 'ideologies' have been formulated aesthetically as
well, and it is exactly these aesthetic signs that - following NSK - are
associated with certain collective traumata still at work today. Rather
than through the invention of a new sign language, it is through a recourse
to existing traumatic texts that it is possible for NSK to return to, name,
point to and re-work those specific moments in history in which the
turning-point from genuinely utopian dispositions into traumatic
experiences has crystallized. For NSK one such turning-point is the
assimilation and consecutive abolition of the artistic avant-gardes into
totalitarian systems at the end of the 1920s.  

i n k e . a r n s __________________________ b e r l i n ___
49.(0)30.3136678 | |
mikro: | Syndicate:

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