Slobodan Trajković, artist and scholar. One: On Media.

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Introducing Slobodan Trajković, artist and scholar, who had began his career in the late 1970s and has an extensive practice to this day. He exhibits internationally, and works and lives in London and Belgrade.

Here we offer some excerpts from his book Embodiment*, and will feature three chapters from his book that are most relevant to our topic — moving image.

 

Slobodan Trajković, Workshop of Senses. (Courtesy of the artist) Copyright © 2017 by Slobodan Trajković

On Media.

Man’s consciousness is a medium into which natural flows constantly pour. With the knowledge of language, that natural flow and its unification in our consciousness is stopped, enabling the intellect to separate from “broader reality” and focus on linking and building upon the notions that it deals with. Without that possibility, in the opinion of Henri Bergson, we would be unable to separate from what we are watching. Thus Marshall McLuhan presented the opinion of language as “human technology”, as our extension wherein the intellect develops. “Language does for intelligence what the wheel does for the feet and the body.”[1]

The way in which thought comes into being and how it represents notional cognition looks different depending on the human activity in question, but to Hegel, in its nature it represents only itself, a thought.[2] Regardless of its applicability and determination, our statement comes from the same origin, which also represents the beginning of that thought. Therefore, we say that what has been done is a product of thought, which is why we abide by it when reviewing the subjects that we are dealing with. Hegel presented logical thinking as a process that “produces” thought, showing its development, but also confirming that each “subsequent” thought, as much as it exists in itself, is always as much at one with the previous thought. As opposed to this, Heidegger later presented that “production” of thought as a separate process that is independent of the preceding one. He presented thought as a process of lending our consciousness to that which is to be thought about.

However, irrespective of how a phenomenon is announced, its “essence must appear”, [3] and media are spaces where what exists is best presented. Transmitting a message through “the process of getting at one thing through another”[4] will depend on our need, but in keeping with the means that we use and the distribution at our disposal. Furthermore, through their functionality media have a stimulative character, developing our need for communication not only through the images that we carry inside ourselves, but also through those in the newspapers, on film and television, on the radio and the Internet, wherever a quick, meaningful, insightful and simple expression is possible.

And when, in the existing form of investigation, expression becomes more difficult or impossible, we shall strive to find a more adequate method through new models, a medium wherein we shall develop an “alternative” expression. Bearing in mind that it is not only important what we say but also how we say it, in the beginning a medium is functional and entirely adjusted to the time in which it came into being, but a good “taste” and style of speech will, over time, considerably slow that medium down, creating a model of behaviour out of it. That is why we conclude that each medium carries within itself the “splitting and dividing [of] all things as a means of control”,[5] and also that by coming into being it proceeds from its “passive” into “active” starting point in relation to other media. Still, due to its fragmentary nature, the existence of media requires a re-examination of the harmful influences on human behaviour. Television serves as a good example of such a change, when instead of serving the common good it only serves interest groups.

Thus we come to the conclusion that “new culture” is linear, historically consequent, and that media are means created as the “technology of explicitness”.  The culture of communication is transforming one kind of knowledge into another form, thus shaping our social nature into “specialised shapes”. The skill of that transformation and transferring applied knowledge indicates that each medium has its specific nature and area of exerting influence, wherein it unifies “one kind of knowledge into another mode”. [6] That is why we are restrained in the proclamation of the universality of an expression. Through their immediacy, media will not only reflect the models of class society wherein the characters of human relations are developed, but will also present the technological aspect in which they appear. In that sense, to understand a medium is also to understand the development of economic relations and the manner of producing art in society. Attaining a new position, the working class transfers experience of its struggle, creating its vision of social order and new communication models among people. And understanding media is not the same as knowledge of a new language, because each language has its own mechanisms and meanings that will find their purpose in new matter, whereas media only have in themselves the potential of acknowledging, reading and codifying the new life experience of the individual and the society in which it came into being.

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*Slobodan Trajković, Embodiment, 2005-2015 Works and Events, Cicero Belgrade, 2017.Copyright © 2017 by Slobodan Trajković

This book can be purchased privately by enquiring at s.trajkovic@btinternet.com

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[1] Maršal Makluan [Marshall McLuhan], “Govor i reč [The Spoken Word]”, Poznavanje opštila – čovekovih produžetaka [Understanding Media – The Extensions of Man], Prosveta, Belgrade, 1971, p. 121.

[2] Hegel, Nauka logike [The Science of Logic], Prosveta, Belgrade, 1973, p. 64.

[3] Ibid., p. 240.

[4] Makluan [McLuhan], “Opštila kao pretvarači [Media as Translators]”, p. 101.

[5] Ibid., “Opštilo je poruka [The Medium Is the Message]”, p. 41.

[6] Ibid., “Opštila kao pretvarači [Media as Translators]”, p. 96.

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