Critical Triggers

César Escudero Andaluz
César Escudero Andaluz
Critical Triggers

16 January – 15 February 2019

Aksioma | Project Space, Ljubljana

Traditionally, critical art practices developed artworks laying emphasis on uncovering problems hidden behind the user’s gaze. In 1936, Walter Benjamin argued that artists need to “enter into debate” with the apparatus instead of “thinking that they are in possession of an apparatus that in reality possesses them.”

The solo exhibition Critical Triggers by Linz-based Spanish artist César Escudero focuses on rethinking the relationship and perception of human-machine interaction (HCI) through speculative – and critical – art and design. It does so by exploring the multifaceted implications of interfaces, networked practices, new digital materiality and underlying algorithms, in order to understand and reflect the production of new aesthetics after, or in, the so-called digital revolution.

How do artefacts and interfaces affect our perceptions and change us? What are the social implications of invisible practices that cloud the way people and businesses are labelled and treated? How can we understand and describe the effects of interfaces and algorithms on society, economy and human relations? What kind of society will derive from this apparatus?

The exhibition’s selected artworks pose these relevant questions as they critique our current interfaces and their cultural, economical, political, social and environmental implications.

Interfight (2015) consists of a series of physical data polluters – displayed as bugs in bird cages – acting on the surface of a touch screen device clicking, scrolling and zooming in and out at will. In doing so, they pollute the data we provide to corporations and national agencies, helping us to resist online profiling and data surveillance. Two recent projects, done in collaboration with artist Martín Nadal, deal with the massive amount of time, electricity and computer power invested in mining a single Bitcoin and successfully registering it on the Blockchain.

BITTERCOIN  The worst miner ever (2016) is an old calculator machine hacked to be used as a miner validating the pending Bitcoin transactions on the Blockchain, thus increasing the time needed to produce a Bitcoin to almost an eternity. The operations are displayed on the calculator screen and printed, with the paper accumulating freely around the calculator.

Bitcoin of Things (BoT, 2017) features everyday objects – such as rubber stamps, maracas, hammers, salt shakers – transformed into mining devices equipped with a Wi-Fi microcontroller and different sensors in order to be able to generate a Bitcoin. For example, every time a visitor uses the rubber stamp, a number is sent to the Blockchain for validation, while the stamp returns an ironic message on a paper ticket. Thus, the process of generating Bitcoins is turned into a playful, and usually unsuccessful, lottery. Other works in the show also criticise interfaces, including prints of modified desktops (File_món, 2012); 3D-printed keys made from downloadable Open Source plans in order to liberate shopping trolleys from their commercial destiny (Shopping Trolleys Liberation Front – STLF, 2014); and a take on media archeology in which data extracted from personal profiles on social networks has been converted into audio documents and recorded on cassettes (Tapebook, 2014).


Workshop #1
César Escudero Andaluz
TUE, 15 January 2019, 10am – 1pm
 ALUO – Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana
Department for Painting / Video and New Media

Data Polluters is a workshop for students aiming at developing a critical stance towards new technologies, the pervasive presence of interfaces in our lives, the ongoing homogenization of design and Graphical User Interface standards, and the data tracking and online management to which users are subjected. Participants will be given basic knowledge of BEAM robotics (Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics and Mechanics) and guided through the realization of their own small data polluter, a small bug-like physical bot designed to complicate the relationship between interactive systems.#DeviceArt #CriticalEngineering #GraphicalUserInterface #Data #DataPollution #SpeculativeDesign #BEAMrobotics

Workshop #2
César Escudero Andaluz and Martín Nadal
WED, 16 January 2019, 10am – 1pm
ALUO – Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana
Department for Painting / Video and New Media

Bitcoin of Things (BoT) is a workshop for students who want to address issues related to media art, digital culture, critical economy, electronics and the Internet of Things (IoT). The theoretical introduction acquaints participants to concepts that help them to contextualize and better understand the Bitcoin and Blockchain world, while the practical part consists in working with a basic electronic circuit, welding and microcontrollers to build a playful bitcoin miner out of ordinary objects such as hammers, staplers or salt-shakers. Participants will build their own BitCoin of Things (BoT) miner combining a Wi-Fi microcontroller and different sensors.

#DeviceArt #CriticalEngineering #Bitcoin #Blockchain #SpeculativeDesign #WirelessInterface


Jure Goršič

César Escudero Andaluz is an artist and researcher focused on Human-Computer Interaction, interface criticism, digital culture and its social and political effects. His work spans image-making, sculpture, videogame, installation, networked culture, IoT, robotics, media archaeology. Since 2011, he is a researcher at the Kunstuniversität Linz in the Interface Culture LAB. His artworks have been shown at international electronic-art events, museums, galleries and conferences including the Ars Electronica Center (AT), ZKM (DE), ISMAR2015 (JP), WRO2015 (PL), Transnumeriques (FR), (ES), KIKK (BE), Rome Media Art Festival (IT) and ADAF (GR).

Martín Nadal is an artist/developer based in Linz and studying Interface Cultures at the Kunstuniversität Linz. In recent years, he has collaborated in a variety of projects dealing with cryptocurrencies, blockchain, IoT, etc., and taught several art- and technology-related workshops. His works have been shown at Visualizar 11, Medialab Prado in Madrid, the Ars Electronica festival and the Art Meets Radical Openness Festival in Linz, Settimana della Scienza in Genoa and at the  IAMAS – Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences in Ogaki-shi.


Authors: César Escudero Andaluz, Martín Nadal

Production of the exhibition:
Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2019

The workshops are organized in collaboration with:
The Academy of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Ljubljana
and Kunstuniversität Linz

Supported by: the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana, the Austrian Cultural Forum, and the Embassy of Spain in Ljubljana

Aksioma’s programme is additionally supported by the Ministry of Public Administration as part of the public call for co-financing projects for the development and professionalisation of NGOs and volunteerism and JSKD

To top