Gold und Liebe XI. – Bublina

Ráhel Anna Molnár

Bublina is an online magazine created by students from different studios of Brno’s art university FaVU VUT. Within this multimedial platform they explore the possibilities of digital publishing as a space for presentation, dialogue and collaboration. In the third issue with the theme Brave Space, they decided to sign the codex of the feminist art institution, which defines the principles of their work ethics. The main aim of the crew is to support their colleague students and also to create a self-made institution with a progresive approach of communication not only with the general public, but also within the collective itself.

What is the meaning of the word “bublina” and what does it mean specifically in the context of the magazine, how does it relate to your work?

“Bublina” means bubble in Czech. In the beginning, we were thinking about the magazine as a medium and what the medium does. When the name came up, we realized that the magazine would be created for a certain social bubble. We wanted to play with the potential of the magazine to create connections between these bubbles. One of the reasons we started Bublina in the first place was because we wanted to get to know the work of our schoolmates better. We acknowledge that we are in a certain bubble by studying art. Over time, we try to break down the boundaries of social bubbles by including topics and people available to the general public.

We are interested in different approaches to distribution which can help us reach a wider reader base. You can think about the bubble as a container that captures some momentary essence in certain space and time. It’s flexible and it grows with inner pressure. We want to find out how to inflate properly, survive and not burst. We realize that bubbles are fragile. We don’t want to be cool for just one moment.

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Tell me about the crew behind the magazine. How do you work together as an editorial board?

We are a collective of nine students from different  studios on FaVU: Bára Bažantová, Dominika Dobiášova, Jiři Gruber, Jakub Mynař, Lukáš Prokop, Tadeáš Polák, Kristýna Sidlárová, Tamara Spalajkovic, Weru Špundová. Our personal interests, experiences and backgrounds are diverse. Each of us has different and multiple roles (some roles are smaller and more fluid but not less important) – graphic design, visual, writing, social media, programming, editorship, keeping an eye on deadlines, consultations, and creating new ideas. We choose the tasks by personal interest, motivation, capacity. We are interested in the work ethics of magazine production, and since the beginning we have been trying to organize the process as fairly as possible. This includes equality, economy, time, pressure, responsibility, communication, support and care.

Since we can make our own rules, self-reflection and communication are really important as well as giving enough space to each of us to express oneself. We have regular meetings. The work and results are mostly dependent on personal responsibility. We see the magazine as a space for experimentation, we try to ensure this space to the contributors, as well as to the team. It is very empowering to see that something we imagined together can take its final form. It is inspiring to be a part of such a functional collective which can balance friendship with work. 

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How do you come up with the themes of the mag? Your current theme is Brave Space. What does that refer to and how do you personally relate to it?

It depends, as we try to work horizontally, the topics are usually coming from different people from the collective. This issue, dedicated to education forms on art universities, was somehow a reaction to the on-going debate in czech art scene, which was re-opened by the podcast Na čom makáš (What are you working on?) by Peter Kolárčik, an UMPRUM student who is questioning the system of  art universities and evaluation of artworks. We will probably dedicate the next one to a barrier-free web content as we also plan to adapt our magazin to be approachable to people with different kinds of disabilities.

Generally, we would say we are following some progressive critical thinking and considering emancipation and empowerment of marginalized groups of people. When we come up with a theme, it also inspires our approach. We try to create a brave space where everyone knows they can express thoughts without being rejected. Brave Space is a term used in radical education and refers to a better space for communication of difficult, hurtful and taboo themes. It tries to balance out the privileged and oppressed in a classroom by creating an expanded safe space, which enables changes through communication.

When you say marginalized groups do you refer to certain groups of people within the academic structure? Since what you do is so rooted in the university, I’m guessing that first of all you are critical to that, so how do you see this system in Brno?

We are thinking about how to include groups which are being represented but at the same time excluded from the institutional art world. In the last issue we included an artist who is active in the art brut scene.

Now we are preparing some articles dedicated directly to art schools’ education, ethical approach of some institutions or considering some academic ground, but there will be also quite a lot of contributions dealing with LGBTQ topics, sexual violence, etc.  

We would like Bublina to be inclusive for both its public and the contributors. To achieve this, we are considering the accessibility of our web, and currently we are developing a web which will be more accessible for blind people and people with visual impairment.

To be honest, we do not feel the need to be overly critical directly to FaVU school system, as our dean – Filip Cenek – is extremely supportive to the students and their needs or wishes and the school management in general is quite progressive in many ways. 

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Bublina very much adopts to the digital space. It features videos, sound, gifs and other multimedia content parallel, and connected to written text. I see it more as an extension of the classic frames of a magazine – to the point that it gets somewhere to the intersection of an online exhibition and a magazine. What’s the actual difference between the two (if there’s any)?

Might be that the difference seems subtle and maybe it really is. We would intuitively say that the difference is that the “editorial staff” also actively creates some of the content and art works, not just curatorial texts, and also apart from curatorial work there is the editor’s work, grammar corrections for the submitted texts and so on. But in general, the difference is not what we are looking for. We are interested in overlaps of web magazine, printed magazine and online exhibition forms. Their combination provides a unique set of limits that are understandable both for us and for external contributors. Being limited by such form brings these limits closer to the authors who can deal with them creatively while creating the content in contrast to being limited by other external conditions such as print costs. The result is a specific space that is able to accommodate (art)works with approaches otherwise not fitting in a classic gallery or in a regular article oriented online magazine. We also feel like we define our common identity by the content and the ethics of our work, not by the status of a magazine/gallery. It doesn't really matter in the end. 

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Gold und Liebe VI. – MŰTŐ

A MŰTŐ független, artist-run platform és művészeti kollektíva, amely 2016 óta mutat be változatos programokat, s fiatal, magyarországi és nemzetközi művészekkel együttműködésben dolgozik a képzőművészet határainak tágításán. A MŰTŐ közössége kritikus kurátori megközelítésen és DIY kultúrán alapuló, demokratikus struktúrákra épül. Ennek a közösségnek én is tagja voltam, valamint vagyok is az Alterum artist-run network projekten keresztül. Most Kókai Zsófiával, Pálhegyi Flórával és Romhány Veronikával beszélgettünk a MŰTŐ jelenéről és jövőjéről, változó struktúrákról és táguló horizontokról.

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Gold und Liebe V. – It’s about friendship and this sense of otherness

In the summer of 2020, we recorded a radio show with the participants of a regional cooperation project. We organised the cooperation together with the members of Budapest-based MŰTŐ group.

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Gold und Liebe I. – A conversation with Katie Zazenski on care, (virtual) identities, Stroboskop art space and Poland’s political reality

Located in a small garage in Warsaw’s Ochota district, Stroboskop Art Space is an alternative, exploratory platform that engages with both the Polish and international art community. Through a program of critical exhibitions and performances, lectures, screenings, and community meetings, Stroboskop is a space for experimentation. Stroboskop was founded in 2016 by Norbert Delman, Agnieszka Delman, Przemek Strozek, Franek Buchner, and Jacek Słoniewski. Katie Zazenski joined the team in January, 2018 and Martyna Stołpiec joined in June, 2019. Stroboskop is co-directed by Zazenski and Stołpiec.

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Gold und Liebe II. – There are No Boundaries

Hyperlink Athens is the project of two young Greek artists, Alexandra Koumantaki and Yannis Voulgaris. It’s an independent curatorial platform and elastic artistic collaboration. The collective has been re-shaping itself since 2017, through cooperations, off-site and in-situ works that break down and reinterpret the borders of artistic and curatorial work, real and virtual space and the medial frames of what an artwork can be.

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Gold und Liebe III. – Lessons from Mutants

The (new) Constellation, the T(n)C was founded in 2017 by Ágnes Várnai and Tina Kult. They live and work in Vienna and experiment with a wide range of media, including virtual reality, 3D, installation and fashion. By combining the different disciplines, they are researching immersive experiences to connect the digital and physical levels of realities. T(n)C believes in the power of joint efforts. Their aim is to expand the practices of collective storytelling with a collaborative approach.

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Gold und Liebe IV. – Plague

A Plague Krasnodarban, Oroszországban működő kurátori kollektíva. Három fiatal művész, Arthur Golyakov és Stas Lobachevskiy alapították 2018-ban. Kurátori és művészi munkájukat a posztgraffiti-esztétika, a kapitalizmus okkult gyökerei, a nonhumán és objektorientált elméletek határozzák meg.

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Gold und Liebe VII. – Utca & Karrier

Utca & Karrier (U&K) is an underground platform, focusing on politics, culture and arts. It aims to represent a critical, young creative scene and to build an institution in a counter-institutionalist manner by giving voice to new thought and perspectives. The magazine was founded in Budapest, in 2018 and has been operating ever since with a growing net of collaborating artists and writers. Following the previous issues (Application, Violence, Knifes, Flames and Golden Age) U&K is currently preparing its 6th publication, Phoenix.

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Gold und Liebe VIII. – Utopia is an existence of uselessness

Rhizome parking garage is a decentralized art project. Through art, music, writing, and the creation of decentralized networks it hopes to help create a desire to shift the structural asymmetries.

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Gold und Liebe IX – Šimon Sýkora

Šimon Sýkora (1990) Prágában és Bécsben él és dolgozik, 2019-ben végzett a prágai Képzőművészeti Akadémián (AVU). Részt vett az Unarte Bukarest (2016) és a TNUA Taipei (2018) tanulmányi programjain. Művészi attitűdjét a primitivizmus és érzékenység jellemzi – olyan témákkal dolgozik, mint az abszurditás, a szégyen, az irónia vagy az apátia. A festményein távoli karaktereket, olyan terek némán provokatív lakóit merevíti ki, amelyeknek szabályairól semmit sem tudunk; míg performanszain a politikai extrémizmus bizarr szféráiba merül.

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Gold und Liebe X – Hollow

Hollow embodies the shared hallucinations of choreographer Viktor Szeri, game designer Tamás Páll, and curator Gyula Muskovics. They have been working collectively since 2018, combining their visible and immaterial forces with sound and game mechanics to create immersive environments and cross-reality experiences. They merge the methodologies of choreography and contemporary dance with poetics, augmented reality, and live action role-playing to build world prototypes where the dominant systems of consensual reality can be questioned and modified. Hollow has provided access in various forms to the land of obscurity, investigating topics and contexts such as queer cruising, millennial cults, eco-anxiety, nature as a black box, and walking as a psychoactive substance. Hollow is constantly becoming, and most of their performances and installations are ongoing. Moving seamlessly across virtual terrains and the corporeal, they blur the line between fictional and consensual realms and distill personal domains into collective experiences. Hollow is a shapeshifter; they melt and mutate in the moment and the space they occupy. They are a crucible where identities and narratives dissolve and bleed into each other.