Grassi 02-04, Selected Works
by Bojana Kunst,
Igor Spanjol, Ana Buigues, and Antonio
Aksioma, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2004
24 pp., illus. b/w. $No charge
Reviewed by Stefaan Van Ryssen
Jan Delvinlaan 115, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Davide Grassi is a Slovenian-Italian artist
based in cultural hotbed Ljubljana, where
he leads AksiomaInstitute
for Contemporary Arts, a non-profit cultural
institution which is interested in projects
that take advantage of the new technologies
in order to investigate and discuss the
structures of modern society. His artistic
work has a strong social connotation and
is characterized by an inter-media approach.
He is the author of numerous videos, performances,
installations, documentaries, and new
media works. In this catalogue, Aksioma
presents five recent works of Davide Grassi.
It is an excellent introduction by experts
who are close to the artist and have first-hand
knowledge of the context of his oeuvre.
"DemoKino", for example, is
an interactive voting movie exploring
the illusions of democracy and public
opinion. As stated:
"DemoKino is a virtual parliament
that through topical film parables provides
the voters (participants) with the opportunity
to decide on issues that are, paradoxically,
becoming the essence of modern politics:
the questions of life. The project questions
not only the utopia of contemporary virtual
forum that is supposed to open ways for
a more direct and influential participation
but also points out a much deeper problem
of modern democracy (virtual as well).
With its reduced narrativenessthe
story is built on the "pro and contra"
inner dialogues of the protagonist who
is led around his home in a parliamentary
kind of way by the "voters", based on
shows how these ethical dilemmas of modern
life suddenly become the core of our political
In a very interesting short essay Bojana
Kunst of the University of Ljubljana analyses
the semiotic and political layers of this
anti-entertainment streaming event.
"Ballettikka RealVideo Internettikka"
is a collaborative project with Igor Stromajer
and Brane Zorman in which the Chechen
terrorist act in the Dubrovka Theatre
in Moscow in October 2002 is combined
with images of an earlier project by Strojmajer
and Zorman where they performed an illegal
wireless ballet in the Bolshoi Theatre.
"Trst je Nostra!" (Trieste is ours!) is
a forty second video clip in which Grassi
reveals the codes of the city's multi-cultural
political reality. The rapidly-edited
view of the camera, oversaturated with
content, moves from architecture and cars
to provocative graffiti and menacing political
"Problemarket" is another collaboration
with Stromajer (see review at http://mitpress2.mit.edu/e-journals/Leonardo/reviews/apr2003/Proble_ryssen.html).
Ana Buigues, who wrote a doctoral dissertation
on Grassi's accomplice Stromajer, situates
the project in an anti-capitalist and
"MachinaZOIS" is the first Electromechanical
Patron that financially helps artists
to produce their work. It's a pinball
machine whose theme is "strategies
of fundraising for contemporary artistic
productions". The player doesn't
have to go through a real ordeal of applications,
administrative and bureaucratic procedures
and flirtations with members of the expert
committee, but uses arcade skills and
strategies to grab the prize: The player
who gets the highest score, wins the jackpot.
The machine is named after Ziga Zois,
a rich eighteenth century Slovenian patron.