The short video presents an environment of pulsating membranes in pitch-black surroundings. The Bubble is an unidentified, soft, and life-like diaphragm, an internal organ created with nothing but non-organic materials. The creature appears to be of an aquatic origin, possibly magnified from a minute scale. The monotonous melodic soundscape creates an atmosphere of sensual and intimate ambience. It raises a question of emotional connections to various non-human life forms. The artist’s aim was to create a simulation of biotic relations between these creatures. Therefore, she used this short video as a sample for video installation comprised of a short-range DIY television transmitter, sending the same image to TV sets of various sizes installed through the gallery space like glass jars or aquariums that house these unknown creatures. This reference comes to its full relevance in the later bio-art work by Robertina Šebjanič, who specializes in life systems of aquatic creatures.
From the text of Ida Hiršenfelder of E-Flux video rental in +MSUM Ljubljana
Bubble is actually a pet name for an uncommon creature appearing on the screen. Its presence is constantly unpredictable. It moves, pulses, appears and disappears in the same instability as is shown by the lives of creatures that we know from our experience on the earth.
When Bubble was presented to the public for the first time, the audience kept asking what was actually shown on film. What thing from the real world could take such bizarre forms and behave so unusually? Although the video shown at
the joint exhibition was a curatorial intervention of mine, I didn’t know the answer. I later asked the author about it, though I personally wasn’t really interested. Her answer explained little, but ultimately convinced me that the
material background had little relevance for the whole story. The Bubble video, although filmed by video camera, has no intention of presenting the real world. It uses the referential object only as a building block of a visual language, further transforming it through animation logic. There it lives on in a newly constructed world of its own. But it remains a world of reality that doesn’t take the viewer away to a land of nothing but fantasy. Bubble is actually a pet name of the unusual being that appears on screen. Its presence is always uncertain. It’s moving, pulsating, appearing and disappearing, always unstable, just like the lives of creatures that we are familiar with from earthly experience. Its body is firm and reminiscent more of the tissues of aquatic organisms than of a soap bubble. It manifests itself as a stranger, a gentle and peaceful stranger, although we know nothing of its intentions. It remains unknown. It tells us about the depths of either the ocean or the universe, never revealing much about itself. With its regular and relaxed movements it gently enters the viewer’s intimate emotional world and slowly, slowly, crawls under their skin. It might even be a virus or a body snatcher but it pulls you into its soft and infinite world.
So far, the video had always been shown as a simple projection. Utilising technology and the specific qualities of exhibition spaces where it appeared, it created a concrete relationship with the viewer and their body. In Alkatraz
gallery, Bubble crosses the boundaries of video projection. The author uses video and technology to experience and shape the exhibition space itself, transforming it like an ambient. The strange creatures from the depths populate
the space through projections of light while simultaneously hiding behind glass where they had been placed by the author. Old TV sets placed around the gallery can be interpreted as glass jars that house these creatures and in which
they appear or disappear at will. We can imagine they are our prisoners, kept in an aquarium or stored in formaldehyde. But on the other hand, the glass barriers can also be thought of as windows into an indeterminate space that we can observe but not disturb. The Bubbles appear and disappear, connect with others of their kind and thus put us in an uncertain position where we don’t really know who is the observer and who is the observed.
text by Vasja Nagy (first exhibition of Bubble in Gallery Alkatraz, Ljubljana)
Artist (audio, video, eletronic): Robertina Šebjanič
Curator and text: Vasja Nagy
Production of installation Bubble: Gallery Alkatraz, Ljubljana Slovenia
Year of production of installation Bubble, 2008
Year of production of video work Bubble, 2007
Special thx to:
Adam Hyde, Moderna Galerija, City of Women, Luka Frelih, Miha Cigler and Nika Autor.