Marko Košnik

Interview mit Marko Košnik, 17.07.2018

Siehe auch: Piazzetta Ljubljana

Interviewer: Okay. All right. So, before we start – start to talk about the [#inaudible 00:00:23#] project per se. Let’s um, look at what happened beforehand. Can you tell us um, what you were doing ’92? What your professional position was – if there was any and how you-? Ja, we start with that.

Marko Košnik: Yeah. In the ‘80s in Slovenia, we were actually a group of artists who we started getting engaged in combined work so that would be interdisciplinary project. My interest was research in um, how different languages connect of architect, of design people, of photographers with musicians and performers. But that was pretty much a border activity because there was no funds, there was no definition for the arts in that – in cultural model of the time. Things get changed suddenly, not in political, economical sense but suddenly there was independent Slovenia in ’91. And [Kassel] 00:01:30-7# Documenta was ’92. The time in-between which started going like for the worse in cultural political science about ‘87 that was consolidation of Slovene politics and while Slovene ability to – yeah.

Yeah. So, I was somewhere at um, the situation in Slovenia is building up for so called independence after a very short war, is it called war of hostile activities from the side of US Army? That – that suddenly changed into independency and a new state had to be built up which included cultural institutions. Um, so, the idea of pushing multimedia and new media brought me to engage in broader activities but just to do the art works. And one of them included regular radio broadcast, mostly with guests from – coming from Ars Electronica when visiting Ars Electronica people coming to Slovenia.

And a lot of experimenting with radios, medium and new media that is connected to the sound art. And I guess from these connections, during stay in Hamburg in the time when Yugoslav War was heating up in the backgrounds, through the connections I got an artist with [#inaudible 00:03:56-7#] especially like Corina [unclear] or people around West Work later on. Um, I was appointed for a meeting with Mike Hentz with whom we really found artistic and was well friendly connection.

So, before the year was around it was clear we all had interest to develop program for [#inaudible 00:04:24-7#]. But, in these very messy conditions, so after two visits of Mike Hentz and Kathy, when National TV wasn’t actually interested to step in, um, the only way to somehow join to the program was to build up on the infrastructure of Radio Student and local alternative place with Frekvencija.

Interviewer: You said did radio work, was that [unclear] Radio or was it on Radio Student or where was it broadcasted?

Marko Košnik: Radio Student in Ljubljana is special phenomena in European radio broadcast media. In a way, we were defining the Radio Student as independent station. Officially it was student station and it will be about 50 years this year since it started transmitting. Um, but then more realistically is to look at Radio Student as a small school for media workers later on could start their careers in the state media or media of Republic of Slovenia under Yugoslavia.

But the tendencies of experimenting and as well at the same time having conditions like professional studios were available for people to play around in organisational sense and technical sense. So, Radio Student was having regular broadcast but was getting wilder through the day until reaching [#inaudible 00:06:17-7#] already in ‘90s. And it’s – yeah it’s still a phenomenon. So, it’s working happily with many connections around the world. For example, the advantage of this kind of radio was we were even teaching in the program I started mobile app link unit school. I called it um, Pirates from Austria on how to do it better just before ’94 when European broadcasting laws were finally changed in favour of what I really would be open source not open source, that’s called public access radio or citizen radio yeah.

Interviewer: Ja. Okay. And so you had a regular show there or you did just random shows?

Marko Košnik: I had regular show every 14 days on Thursdays from ‘91 late autumn until ’96. But that for me was as I say rather an activity to create backstage or background conditions regarding the art I was doing in that time, and to serve for the connections. And also trying out ideals like – a bit like Influx in Berlin like [unclear] Academy in that sense like open-source academy. So, many visitors of Ljubljana who came to other institutions as well we could find a slot after midnight to invite them after lecturing space they would be lecturing then at the radio. Yeah. And later on it went through mobile app link unit to another experiment that [#inaudible 00:08:17-0#] ministry for experiment inside the radio which was about the first artistic streams around Europe. I can say that you can find in an alley of Ars Electronica that we were creating actually the first artistic stream between Berlin, Ljubljana and


over three service around in ‘97 from Ljubljana, from a gallery with technical possibilities for Radio Student.

Interviewer: All right. So, back to um, that must be ‘91 then, there was the plan to participate in [#inaudible 00:09:01-5#] and you said Mike came here two times. When was that?

Marko Košnik: When Mike Hentz was on his tour to Mediterranean part that was including I think Hungary and Italy, when he passed Ljubljana and that got to be very early in the spring before Documenta took off.

Interviewer: So, there wasn’t a lot of time to prepare in any case?

Marko Košnik: Well, I’m not sure what – what were the ideas on you know a regular technical institution preparation because the whole network was – had to be brought up in a fast way because we know the situation in Kassel itself was unsecure and the project appeared, the special project of Documenta which is really like squatting Documenta, but – so yeah, it was fast evolving but on basis of the networks already shaping along this Central Europe part.

Interviewer: And I mean most of the peer setters had more regular slots. They would broadcast once a month – once a week or twice a week. What was your initial idea to have that on a regular basis or?

Marko Košnik: The initial idea was to – to make um, an agreement with national television, which as well was an important strategy for the start because satellite dishes were just not yet out around Slovenia and the rest of Yugoslavia which at that time was reaching the peak war moment. Um, but it was not so easy to negotiate. Basically we got the top of TV meetings with both Mike and Heidi [#inaudible 00:11:04-9#] that she came maybe two months later. But I guess they were not really sure on what – what they would be going into. So, our idea was to have parts broadcast it in the night for the Slovenia that wasn’t freely attached to the satellite. And more importantly took, to have a good connection, to hack to Kassel or maybe or [EBU lines] and then to create program in a manner like [peer takers]. But as we know, for my knowledge, no European national house jumped in maybe ORF a bit but the radio part.

Interviewer: Is strict Slovakia.

Marko Košnik: True and then this Russian special Russian case. But yeah, we didn’t have such a centre and we didn’t have the connection. So, here comes the story of the picture phone which after all had failed in a sense of getting national TV to jump in left to improvise, there was still very good view to get something from Ljubljana and back at made it down to the picture phone transmission.

Interviewer: Hmm. Can you – you know for the sake of people who don’t know what this picture phone was like, what kind of machine was that?

Marko Košnik: Picture phone had to be one of the most miraculous communicative devices at the time, developed by Panasonic. And it was a miracle by the fact that connecting to an ISGN network one could see about 300 or 240 lines of analogue on analogue display but from the other side like a phone. So, that was actually a working picture phone real time. Of course it was dependent on ISGN connections. In the case ISGN would be there then analogue phone connection would be so costly on transmission rate that the time to display image by image would be about 10 seconds to draw the image in that kind of animation. And I’m afraid the voice wouldn’t work in parallel in the case someone would push images through [unclear]. But that was an important win for France in Kassel to actually get these Panasonic devices that were not yet on the market and I think now they reached the market after all.

Interviewer: Kathy brought them in from United States. So, how did you get your-?

Marko Košnik: Well, yeah. So, that was how I was introduced to Panasonic magical device, something that was a prototype and that was in hold of people in Hamburg. Now to operate in a fast way, it was possible to temporarily import devices at that time. But the time was too short to go through all the papers. So, what I did, I got the picture phone sent from Kassel to [Gratz] post telegram or how do you say? And I took train to Gratz and of course I had to smuggle the phone on the border which was not such a hard thing to do because it was relatively small. And I had a very nice plastic bag you know with my shirt over. And then of course I was sending it by regular post back to Kassel.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm, so you did return it?

Marko Košnik: Yes. I thought it’s a good idea maybe not to steal it because anyway I would have nobody in the world to connect to. So, but it was better for international relations and for my artistic prosperity in the future to send it back.

Interviewer: Okay. So, now you have this magical device and um, – but that must have been in September already so near the end of Documenta. Is that right?

Marko Košnik: Yes.

Interviewer: And now it was up to you to drum up something to do in front of this device.

Marko Košnik: Well, alternative approach was something we were very scared of from ‘80s to play with. And normally would include a bigger institutions even if doing very border like stuff. So, to improvise the situation still, we needed official TV in order for Slovenians to see what’s going on in Kassel. And Channel 8 was just being established as the first private TV station in Ljubljana that had a range to cover Ljubljana itself. And that was our way to see at all what’s going in Kassel first – first of all. So, that was one part of the deal, to establish this.

But at Radio Student, we were, some of us we were very connected and already working there. So, that part was to get signal from a local performance place, sent us a remote radio signal out of public airing into the studio in Ljubljana for Radio Student. And having a person who was conducting the phone calls of several intellectuals which was the part of the concept I created that was all put into a simple question. Is there something intellectuals from ex-Yugoslavia had to tell about war in Yugoslavia that is not covered by official media?

Interviewer: Hmm.

Marko Košnik: Okay. So, that was of course a collective effort very soon to contact individuals to find some of intellectuals who were in a refugee position or immigrant position from ex-Yugoslavia. And that would be sounding names in order to you know have them exposed at least for Slovenian side or Slovenian part as saying something meaningful, something meaningful else but what the official media was reporting about Yugoslavia war.

Interviewer: Before we go into the details of that yet, maybe we have to remember also -, remind ourselves of the political situation at that time. Slovenia was an independent state by that time but how about the rest of Yugoslavia and how was the communication situation especially with the other Yugoslav states?

Marko Košnik: The war started in Slovenia and in 10 days it was clear Yugoslav Army won’t be able to proceed much more. So, the hard part of negotiations to get Slovenia on the map of newly established states were going on through all of the autumn at the time of Documenta, Slovenia was already recognized by the most of European states and was running this in all the political sense to build up a country. So, while in Croatia, the war was going on in [Firsway] especially in the part which later on became the main operation from Croatian Army to push towards Bosnia. And the war in Yugoslavia was getting into peak from ‘92 till ‘94. So, in a way, that’s hard to say in simple but Slovenia had to propagate the independency and the ability to fully function while the neighbouring Croatia-,

Interviewer: Sorry. Start again with the Slovenia.

Marko Košnik: Yeah. So, Slovenia had to of course propagate its ability to function as independent prosperous space while Croatia was heavily in war and the rest of the countries, now the countries before the republics in Federal Yugoslavia, there was a clear cut going on technically speaking as well as there was no ability to phone to Serbia which was calling itself Yugoslavia at that time. Um, and that was part of the idea on how to create let’s say a difference of regional momentum in what was going on in Kassel which was interacting television – television of the future while the future is showing here around was rather a big hope for civilians and [foreign language 00:21:01-8#]

Interviewer: We’re going to subtitle that later. Now, but could you again explain why-?

Marko Košnik: I’m not able to talk the state affairs at all because who am I? So, you know the situation in Yugoslavia nobody even agrees about.

Interviewer: Ja, ja.

Marko Košnik: The situation.

Interviewer: But just explain you know because I actually find that incredible that what used to be a country all of a sudden that you couldn’t even call anymore? Why did they cut the lines? I mean-,

Marko Košnik: I have no idea. But I mean I’m even more, okay let’s try to go to this question maybe if you can do something out of it.

Interviewer: You know you see it you cannot call as a favour anymore, that’s your punishment?

Marko Košnik: Yeah. The perspective of observing how the common technologies used for communication in everyday life, in everyday European life, one side which has been upgraded to the possibility of new media that would build up – interactivity that would build up a response through the media as it used to be very, very centralised bylaws and all the rest in Europe after the Second World War before, was pretty a claustrophobic view because on one side, there was about upgrade in technology and just to the neighbours in Croatia and in Bosnia and Serbia and in Kosovo, the communication lines were showing up as first as not working and some of them cut down like the phone lines to Serbia was simply not there but were cut down or filtered or whatever.

So, you can imagine that if you have a country in war that’s in active state against the neighbour country that probably the phone calls would be switched off. I mean we were not wireless yeah, that’s really to remind you all. Now, and of course somebody who would be a care observer could now observe communication technology maybe more by content working completely in another way but what was price for new technologies that at that time was really still fresh or was still about to fully grasp what new media is bringing us in the near future. And on the other side, the very good structures for national televisions and good phone lines I mean Yugoslavia is wired, a super wired country especially after doing [#inaudible 00:23:53-0#] that were transmitted all the world. That was showing incompletely and not light but what has happened with technology in the state of war. You know?

Interviewer: Now, Yugoslavia as a socialist country and socialist countries were you know very protective of their media, it was very centralised, very controlled but [#inaudible 00:24:25-4#] seem to be the opposite or was that something you were interested in because of you know your experience with socialist media or you know was it like an alternative for you to receive so much freer?

Marko Košnik: And this is you see again this is offline, yeah? This is again on – every party in Berlin that would start talking about Yugoslavia would now finish the topic in the morning. And there was a crowd guy you know a Serbian guy around as well, people would be totally messed up even more than what they were two days before. So, media [#inaudible 00:25:08-7#]. Um, media official information media, newspapers, radios, TV in Yugoslavia was absolutely running different flavour at least by the [unclear] by the image but what experience of my friends in soviet part of the Eastern block was. And I’m not so sure what central media is not centralised to produce the shows.

And I think here comes the beauty of [unclear]. If you want to do [unclear], you had to take over the infrastructure of how technical activity is done. And of course then you can play with the content and try to promote it in other kind of content is possible. So, in Yugoslavia, the technical infrastructure was good and I tried to somehow promote the democratic aspect of socialism was in full flavour. So, it’s very hard to decide on how much more centralised was Slovenian National TV comparing to ORF I guess. But of course it was coming from traditional after the Second World War and here it was to protect the system or to expand the system of special kind of socialism that was called self-management after services and was very, very respected by [unclear] communists and left to surround Europe.

But of course, the idea to let people in and to as well to engage in direct contact that’s not conducted like we are now conducting an interview. So, once you open the gates and people are actually contributing in an undetermined way, that experiment that we are still all excited about but it didn’t itself really prove to be of use for what is now called television nowadays.

Interviewer: I know.

Marko Košnik: Because I don’t know any television. Yeah.

Interviewer: So, let’s see. Ja, the technical infrastructures in place and you were saying that artists in Slovenia for example were used to do these kind of group projects. #00:28:10-1#

Marko Košnik: Well, few of us, yes exactly, because through ‘80s, the interesting part was for example to build up a performance down here in a hole in ‘85 would be the festival that was the image of 20 people real sound studios building up a huge, a huge movie screen that actually was traveling that was moving, was architecture for a performance. And I think what we got from the video festival was about 1,200 Deutsche Marks and I guess that already the stenography was in the range of 20,000. That was all done through connections through self-organisation frankly all kind of tricks you know?

Interviewer: Tradition office kind of?

Marko Košnik: I would say but that was really few people working this way. The rest of course were trying to catch up with the given opportunities that were you know a standard way of extracting some artist to present the state and then to teach and just as usual.

Interviewer: Okay. But you had this group of people who were prepared to participate in this. What did you tell them? Why did? You know what was their?

Marko Košnik: You know mostly that to do a complex works on the border or on the edge; you would already have to establish relations. You would have to be respected by some people who – so, everything was by the word of trust because there was no means; there was no honorary or no any other satisfaction but to spend creative time together. And frankly, after ’91 all of us we were rather running solo you know with our backs to show, to visit creators what great artists we are collective works already were very problematic.

Mainly, it’s not a secret anymore but European art still and more and more is based on a signature of an individual. So, this whole episode of how to bring up [unclear] ideas in group situation shows very, very problematic. And I guess some groups could do things temporary and so from finding those in certain conditions. But soon long-term survival and strategies are in question, I’m afraid there’s not many groups existing nowadays like so many of them really Ars Electronica and [unclear] for example, those groups as smooth media myth was – had to be a group, had to be a team of people because of all the knowledge and communication and content and stuff wasn’t something for individual to play with.

Interviewer: And in Slovenia and like for example in Moscow, there wasn’t also this aspect of window to the world that was so important because you already had access to the artworks in Europe and the US.

Marko Košnik: Yeah, that’s a special question. So, surely there were artists exhibiting around the world that were doing it in the name of Yugoslavia or the city or the republic they were from or for the nation. But I think here they’re talking about so called independence or what would compare to NGOs. So, I think we’re more in the field of self-organisation if we try to understand how people connected in ‘90s in the case of [unclear].

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Marko Košnik: And in Yugoslavia, we were having of course a lot of information coming from Venice and from neighbour and distant festivals as well. We got a person in my newspaper who was visiting us electronically and reporting about it. But – but we contact with the scenes like people who would really know where to go and to make direct contacts, that’s another question as we didn’t have open status to go like our of Slovenia or out of Yugoslavia to study art or we didn’t have common connections that usually are proving us to be [#inaudible 00:33:03-1#] for the European students to meet each other and to work something that’s not just local or just on one school or on the city scene.

Interviewer: Because even for the German groups for example it was important for them to be on television you know and to be able to do their thing on television. So, you know television was a very powerful medium still at that time that people wanted to participate in that and be part of it.

Marko Košnik: Yeah. For the idea of being on television, this aspect somehow I couldn’t really use to motivate someone because it was clear – to the most, it was clear how the picture phone will finally look like in reality. So, to say it loud, we created two programs and one of them was performance based. So, now to make a performance that basically it just sending set of distinguished images that took quite some time to show up and these images of such a smaller solution on a small screen.

Um, there were some friends, artists who were really disappointed by that and they felt betrayed. It was hard to explain them over the phone when in writing what the picture phone is. I think a much more important was to say Kassel Documenta just to mention Kassel Documenta in ex-Yugoslavia to the artists that sounded big, not going into details how exactly Documenta by [unclear] was there or how it was set into the program of Kassel Documenta.

Interviewer: So, let’s look at the two programs or the two shows that you did [#inaudible 00:35:00-3#], let’s start with the first one. Ja, can you explain to us what was going on there at the thing?

Marko Košnik: It was clear from the show that all what we had is a content part and that the idea of sending out a message to the world and to European guys in nearby there’s war while you are creating the future. Now, how to become part of that future if one has to go to the war to reach there. This paradox was briefly felt by more sensitive people that artists really are, and intellectuals who were trying to cope with the situation. That was out of strategic approach on how to create beautiful prosperous country at the time of war and the neighbours.

And the content was defined by a question on what the real intellectuals or artists have to say that’s not said in official media about the war. And the title I coined was a message from [unclear] to [unclear] is a funny word how it sounds in Slovenia because it connects much more to [#inaudible 00:36:24-9#] system then to Europe and then it nah, means no in Slovenia so definitely nine [unclear] to [unclear] something like that. Plus, don’t upgrade software with war. That was another game play.

So, we could unite around this concept with some performers and then comes in the technical part which was pretty unique by the fact that Radio Student was having a regular transmission line which first was to reach the studio for Radio Student from a performance area that was apart. And for the first show, the sound was not an easy affair as well as what they were mixing in the studio of Radio Student was the phone calls of invited intellectuals and they were trying to get voices from [#inaudible 00:37:31-8#] as well.

And then they ought to be translation because we found out that to push somebody like [#inaudible 00:37:42-9#] who was coming from Croatia and was partly in a refugee position to English no matter how well he knows to speak it would be better to have translation as translation was technically possible. Then the more the connection was used to Kassel again from Radio student with first typing translator who ought to type down the lines when normally there would be place for people to speak up later. So, this is in brief content part and technical part put together for the first transmission of the two.

Interviewer: That’s things that were happening on the screens right at that moment?

Marko Košnik: Exactly, this, this all material which was picture phone achievement was going directly over a regular phone line at that time probably called analogue phone and that was the biggest disappointment for all of us because [#inaudible 00:38:52-3#] was out of reach. It existed, was not yet spread around not particularly in the cultural sense but we could work from, there was just a regular format. So, the voices had to come the other way around over the phone from Radio Student after the weeks and months from all the sources I mentioned.

Now, the very funny part for us was that we had no video monitor even to set up to get analogue camera video in to monitor and then to cross it over to the picture phone. So, basically we had a local TV transmission that was retransmitting Kassel from the [#inaudible 00:39:39-4#] satellite TV to watch what’s appearing in the place of what normal TV monitor would do.

Interviewer: So, there must have been a time lag first of all.

Marko Košnik: Absolutely. There was time lag and I mean the whole thing was absolutely funny because um, there was so much of connections running, for something that wouldn’t pass a primary school of what is a satellite transmission of an event.

Interviewer: Okay. So, you were able to see yourself on the monitor? What was you know officially transmitted in Germany and you already mentioned there was a little bit disappointing. Can you elaborate on that? What did the artists think once they saw themselves on the international satellite television?

Marko Košnik: You know how communication goes between people when there’s some new technology in the air. So, everybody has to use imagination to basically get excited about something they have never tried out. So, our capability now is a group that was an organisation put together by freewill and enthusiasm was basically having some guys informed on understanding what’s going on. And maybe some believing [#inaudible 00:41:13-4#] explanation that they came to show up like live TV a Documenta Kassel. And of course they were disappointed by the very fact of these small images though the mood was very engaging.

And so we showed up for the media because we had media representatives observing it so national media was reporting as well critique to the national TV, why they wouldn’t collaborate in something like that or yeah we like to write theoretical stuff here in Slovenia as well.

And I think that intellectual scene was very excited after watching what happened. There were mainly the problem was, is this art or isn’t art? So, you know? What level of quality would have to be there that artistic quality and what is basically conceptual approach to something that really doesn’t work or especially is not interactive is one way message from [unclear] to [unclear] in the middle of celebrating new possibilities of interactivity. So, we got very good feedbacks from the scene in the Ljubljana from all the people who were seeing it. It was showing up, the very some, let’s say other view to what’s going on in Yugoslavia. It wasn’t a celebration of technology at all but-,

Interviewer: It was an alternative.

Marko Košnik: It was working in a sense of content meaning and of course Documenta was written all of it. So, yeah, it created a lot on local level and not so much to say on international level I’m sure.

Interviewer: So, we’ve been talking about performance number one and then there was the second show. Can you also tell us what happened there? And it was more for an international audience and sort of-,

Marko Košnik: Well, Karel and Salvador and Mike and the rest of the crew in Kassel certainly got the [#inaudible 00:43:42-6#] of this message that we were building up for half an hour in a sub-program of program. But the idea yeah, then the idea to do something more that actually connects to war we improvised as well. So, we decided for the second slot, for the [unit] slot two days later I think which was now focused on the fact that there was no open phone line, classical phone line between the republics ex-republics of Yugoslavia during the war.

So, somebody from Slovenia couldn’t call to Serbia while from Belgrade you could call to Germany and you could from Slovenia to Germany, this triangulation came out as a possibility to stage a phone call between Belgrade and Ljubljana and to actually claim that for this we need a satellite to use a conceptual approach to make a disproportion on Kassel Documenta and the satellite up there or move them and all the [#inaudible 00:45:09-2#] activity to claim hey, we can actually phone from Ljubljana to Belgrade. And for this of course we needed somebody in Belgrade who would understand the invitation though there was no phone line for it.

And that was pretty neat affair to go on the press channels and [#inaudible 00:45:33-8#] who decided to contribute to the program at the time professor and important [#inaudible 00:45:42-4#] as well they’re engaged in [unclear] contemporary art centre and [unclear] Ljubljana. He joined the conversation with this friend the artist from Belgrade from [Remy] Magazine, this we could plan and establish for a unique program which was a conversation from [#inaudible 00:46:08-9#] in English this time between three of us in the studio and [#inaudible 00:46:15-4#] in Belgrade in the editorial place of Remy Magazine which was the most important critical with media at the time in Serbia in a position of critical alternative.

Now, the picture phone had the same thing to do but a strong face is talking from Ljubljana wasn’t so interesting. The rest of the material was simply transmitting small graffiti from the walls of Radio Student, from the old Radio Student in Ljubljana to somehow we’re still trying to illustrate the situation plus some artistic small interventions of photocopies that were put around for that reason.

Interviewer: Ja. So, for the condensed version of the Belgrade to Ljubljana connection please. Explain that to us again. And you’re very patient by the way, we’re very grateful that you take so much time for that but ja, let’s do that [crosstalk]

Marko Košnik: Oh, thank you so much for being thankful. If it would only help the guys to meet more out there, so, [#inaudible 00:48:00-5#]. So, as soon as the war built up in ex-Yugoslavia, the phone lines were actually cut in-between the republics of former Yugoslavia. So, there was no way to call Serbia from Slovenia by phone. And we use the concept that Kassel will connect their grade line that worked from Serbia to Germany and Slovene line that worked from Ljubljana to Kassel or [#inaudible 00:48:45-6#] and get us a phone connection which will work.

But of course, I guess nobody in Serbia was watching [#inaudible 00:48:58-7#]. And in Ljubljana again this was transmitted – actually no I think even the second land wasn’t transmitted over Channel 8 the local television station because we did it around 10 o’clock when they had the regular program. The first program was 12 o’clock that could go for people to watch it but this one was live on radio in Ljubljana for audience to listen with explanation of what is going on.

Interviewer: So, and you decided to use this opportunity to talk with somebody in Belgrade [crosstalk]

Marko Košnik: Yeah. So like older story in short? Yeah, [#inaudible 00:49:51-3#] and then I think it’s, you know – how to say? [#inaudible 00:49:58-4#] had yeah something boring, to explain this in short yeah.

Interviewer: Or maybe [crosstalk]

Marko Košnik: So, no, I’m talking. So, I try. So, the concept of um using [unclear] satellite and event with advanced interactive TV capabilities in Kassel just to have a regular conversation between Belgrade and Ljubljana worked out pretty well by the fact that [#inaudible 00:50:39-7#] important intellectual in Slovenia who always kept quick position and a better look at what from Remy Magazine, from [unclear] Magazine in Belgrade at the time they led the conversation from a Radio Student of Ljubljana on our site with a radio announcer and my presence.

This is how we had a slot of about half an hour, this time talking in English for audience of Radio Student and of course for still a regular picture phone program that normally was connected to picture phones in Kassel to be interactive manner. Now, this time the second channel was simply reserved for completely clear but this is one way story on this um, connection which was rather conception miracle and to prove how differently technology can work in the time of war.

Interviewer: And just to remind ourselves such a conversation one year earlier probably would have been very easy to arrange just call Belgrade?

Marko Košnik: Everybody could call anybody during the old Yugoslav times. Like the rest of the world, as such Yugoslavia was having open borders since ‘60s and number of German tourists occupying the Adriatric coast was growing plus some from other parts of Europe. And um, the phone lines and the connection to able to European broadcast union was perfect.

Interviewer: So, to break things up, if you look at the whole thing, the whole era now what is your conclusion or what did you get out of it if you look at it from today’s point of view?

Marko Košnik: I can find one [unclear] an incredibly important moment in the content wise thinking what to do with new media once somebody would try to address the central way of communication in technology. Besides [#inaudible 00:53:17-6#] started by [#inaudible 00:53:23-5#] who was part of the team, of the French team of the Documenta project, there was to my knowledge no promising television happening till now that would approve or that would be based on so called two-way communication.

So, to say two-way communication is a paradox because normally communication should be already something that’s two-way which of course is not so in the case of classical television. We talk communication media while we are actually putting to one-way communication. And this mess is an originally European mess with actually got just worse.

So, um, I think it’s a big warning for anybody who want to get engaged with the experience of [unclear] before internet itself that we are totally missing on conceptual point of how to relate between opinions and groups and how to play interactively on the content level, the humanist level, artistic level and not just in the wonderful computer games that are still growing the audience and possibilities. So, to be present at that time, to believe in the future of TV and to see how the future not only now had happened but actually how it became a [#inaudible 00:54:57-7#] and how the TV nearly had win again over internet just for the sake of people wanting to get synchronised around something and not just dispersed into all the possibilities around on their own. This way yeah, I would join to try to mystify the glory of [unclear] as much as possible but only if anybody would accept, if anybody starts observing the content part of communication media and get critical on this side.

Interviewer: But would you say that [#inaudible 00:55:36-7#] social in the way Facebook or Twitter today is a social media that people can interact without any central planning or any central institution?

Marko Košnik: Yeah. I think it would be very dangerously to go into the comparison. So metaphors on what social media today and what [unclear] was in ’92 and then to try to make direct comparisons. I guess [#inaudible 00:56:09-1#] is much about it but [#inaudible 00:56:11-3#] evolving interactivity than in more aggressive ways including 3D graphics and virtual domain where people opt to find some means of communication.

But now to say social networks again, the seemingly around different [#inaudible 00:56:34-7#] motives and central news that are commented and [unclear] indeed was real time process in which only had up to four channels running like four streams, four springs, four rivers at the same time yet being observed by a large part of the world at the moment when this was available. So, when you deal with four people coming online who have in parallel who had a certain ability to interface and would not rank and could not maybe prepare and could not maybe have a message ready to be sent in a special way or the second, the third and the fourth but a player or participant. I think this is still not so easy to understand on how real times run four people who had open channels but who didn’t invest half year to make a TV spot or a music spot about the message you’re sending.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Marko Košnik: And in that respect, [unclear] is something to study. Yeah, because itself it was an experiment and it was very attractive to the big media players to enter the [#inaudible 00:57:58-4#] very much. They were all very inspired and pushed to my knowledge what I was informed by friends from the great Germany and the world. But as soon as you find something like that happening in an interesting way, please send me an email. I come immediately to check what’s going on.

Interviewer: Ja. At that time a lot of people were disappointed. You know they called it [#inaudible 00:58:23-7#] because a lot of people just called and said, “Hello.” And then got so scared and they hang up again.

Marko Košnik: I think the departments had to be many simply because well, a person who wouldn’t understand there is up to several thousands of calls running into-,

Interviewer: Ten thousands [#inaudible 00:58:43-8#]

Marko Košnik: Yeah, running into four open channels. That’s really not a great thing to discuss or to try to explain because people simply don’t deal with this in every day practice of using phones or TVs on what the problem this is. I’m also interested very much on artistic side of disappointment of what aesthetics would come out of trying to put all these connections online real time. So, clearly if one wasn’t used already to – to the art of noise and wasn’t a fun of – of misunderstanding in art could not have aesthetic satisfaction by watching or collaborating in this kind of TV. And I think this was another problem that for [unclear] in that respect really was [unclear] TV in the middle of something that probably ‘90s has nothing to do with [unclear]

Interviewer: Hmm.

Marko Košnik: Especially the – the moment of John Cage death that was celebrated from all the active sides of [#inaudible 01:00:05-2#] that program simply deserves a historic museum like-,

Interviewer: You saw that?

Marko Košnik: – observation. Of course, I was watching that from then on. And I saw documents as well, so, some documents. So, the way how the death of John Cage immediately when the news came out started being celebrated basically not as just as I said event but as a momentum to identify with what is [#inaudible 01:00:42-2#] of art, I think speaks best by itself.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm, ja.

Marko Košnik: On this relation [unclear] in the middle of TV business. That is promising interactive experience.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm. All right. Thank you very much. I think we have covered all the things I wanted to talk with you about. And um ja, thank you again for your patient and taking so much time with us and okay. Out.

Marko Košnik: Yeah. Well, it’s nice to have a conversation.