In the second half of 2004 I began exchanging emails with a pair of artists called MANIK (Marija Vauda & NIKola Pipilovic). We had met on the New-York-based Rhizome mailing list. I live in Peterborough in England. Manik live in Belgrade in Serbia (formerly Yugoslavia). The Internet dissolved that distance, allowing us to discuss art, aesthetics, and occasionally old television comedy programs.
Early in 2005 MANIK suggested that I have a show of my work in Belgrade, and began working to find a suitable gallery. The gallery that eventually agreed to show my work, O3one, specialises in new media art, and had exactly the kind of space and technology that I needed. With the show confirmed for the end of July, The British Council agreed to pay for me to travel to Belgrade.
In Belgrade I stayed with MANIK (who were the perfect hosts) for a week to set up the show, attend the private view and give a talk. Setting up the show went quickly and smoothly, although I had to do some last minute hacking to ensure the software part of the show would run well unattended.
The work I showed was:
draw-something – http://rob-art.sourceforge.net/
paintr – http://paintr.robmyers.wpengine.com/
At the private view people liked the work and some had interesting questions. The talk two days later – about my work, free software and free culture – also went well. I chatted to a couple of other artists before and after.
One thing I wasn’t prepared for was giving interviews to radio and television (a music TV channel called Metropolis, and a national TV arts program). That and the heat of Belgrade’s summer were the only two real surprises I had.
Whilst in Belgrade I had enough time to see MANIK’s work and talk art with them in real life, to see some of the city, to visit some of MANIK’s artist friends, and to look around some of the city’s galleries and museums. Like Jack White I had to see the Nikola Tesla Museum.
This experience has confirmed my belief in the potential of collaboration over the internet, and driven home the importance of real world, international, collaboration between artists.
My web site – https://robmyers.wpengine.com/
MANIK’s weblog – http://tiija.blogspot.com/
O3one – http://www.o3.co.yu/
Rhizome – http://www.rhizome.org/
British Council http://www.britishcouncil.org/
Remix Reading – http://www.remixreading.org/
Creative Commons – http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/5509