Petra Mrša: Games and stitches

GMK’s final program for 2021. is presentation of the work ‘Games and stitches’ by Petra Mrša, winner of the competition for the production and exhibition of the new work Tvornica 2021.

Opening: 17.12. at 19:00
Exhibition duration: 18.-23.12. / 11.-28.01.
[Working hours: Tue-Fri 14-20 / Sat: 10-15]

In her new work, Petra Mrša takes on the role of an artist, producer, and facilitator who implements a game in the everyday environment of the future audience and the participants in the creative process. The project examines the potential of a game that enables the imagination of reality based on communication and sensory interaction. A chatbot, video games, and costumes become the main tools of emancipation of participants who take control of their own experience of the gamified everyday. By abandoning the anticipated roles, becoming aware of physical sensations, and observing the environment beyond the boundaries of the screen, collective knowledge is created, one that enables a creative and autonomous consumption of digital culture. Equally, reflecting upon the tactics of commercial platforms opens up opportunities for collaborative content generation.

The gallery presentation was preceded by a collaborative research process that, in three separate parts, annuls the visual spectacle of the digital and shifts the focus to a slowed-down, physical experience. The first part consists of an interactive platform whose content was created based on interviews with patients and employees of the day hospital for the treatment of Internet and video games addiction. Their experiences of losing and regaining control over their behavior form a chatbot that connects the digital experience with physical and emotional reactions. Unexpected questions and instructions aim to raise awareness of the relationship between one’s own body and the environment, the moments of rupture and the intrusion of everyday life, and the discomfort caused by immersion in digital content. The second part consists of costumes resulting from a collaboration with designer Mija Ventin and the Community Service Center Zagreb – Dugave. At a clothing design workshop, the teenage girls translated the clothes of fictional superheroes into their own costumes. These costumes are a combination of the assumed and desired characteristics of the heroines that the participants embody by live action role-playing (LARP). The third unit was envisioned in collaboration with programmer Dominik Štrok, who presents an experimental video game whose main stimulus is sound. Blind and visually impaired persons who tested the demo version of the game at GMK and determined its final format with their own suggestions became co-creators of the game.

The three units test the boundaries of normative society by questioning popular, widespread formats: their purpose and for whom they are intended. Although collaborative groups are often positioned on the margins of social events, their experiences offer a distortion of these formats. The artist as a facilitator opens the possibility of intervention in the topic and, through a horizontal exchange, creates a favorable ground for inclusion. Thus, the concept of solidarity is embodied as a means of cohesion of a heterogeneous, critical, virtual-somatic community.

Petra Mrša (1985, Rijeka) graduated in Photography at the Academy of Dramatic Arts, in Sociology at the Faculty of Humanities and in Social Sciences, and Psychology at the University Department of Croatian Studies. She was taking part in the postgraduate international art program WHW Akademija and was nominated for the Radoslav Putar award 2020. She took part in numerous residencies among which are MuseumsQuartier Wien, Cité internationale des arts, Bluecoat Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts. She works as an artist and educator. The primary field of her artistic work lies in researching the ways in which social norms shape the lives of individuals. Through direct experience and through representation, she questions the mechanisms of socialization in the physical and virtual environment. Her works are part of the collections of the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb, the Rigo Gallery, the Museum of the City of Zagreb and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka, and have been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions. For the last six years, she has been working as an assistant at the Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka.

Curators: Maja Pavlinić i Lovro Japundžić
Translation: Veronika Mesić
Design: Sara Pavleković Preis
Collaborators: Karla Aračić, Petar Baljak, Mihael Marković, Irena Rojnić Palavra, Dominik Štrok, Tino Trkulja, Mia Ventin, Centar za odgoj i obrazovanje Vinko Bek, Dnevna bolnica za liječenje ovisnosti o internetu i videoigrama, Grupa djevojaka Centra za pružanje usluga u zajednici Zagreb – Dugave, Udruga slijepih i slabovidnih Zagreb

Thanks: Srđan Laterza, Odsjek za izvedbene umjetnosti Akademije primijenjenih umjetnosti Rijeka

The project is supported by: Gradski ured za kulturu Grada Zagreba i Ministarstvo kulture i medija Republike Hrvatske.
GMK podržava/GMK is supported by: Zaklada Kultura nova i INA d.d.