Charles Csuri exhibited a new version of his artwork Random War (1966) on the Media Facade of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb. Csuri was one of the artists that I selected and curated for the exhibition titled Dislocations that was part of the Official Parallel Program of the 12th Istanbul Biennial and of ISEA2011 Istanbul.
Random War (1966) is one of the artworks that best embodies computer art and the current technological approaches to fine arts. For Charles Csuri, who everyone in the field knows as Chuck, it is not enough to describe him as a pioneer of computer art. It is my academic evaluation that perhaps the best description for the man is that of visionary.
Visionary because only someone with a strong vision could in the 1960s – from one of the agrarian states in the United States, Ohio – develop a passionate and fervent aesthetic relationship with the computer as an artistic medium.
Since then Charles Csuri has seen aesthetic movements rise and dwindle internationally while continuing his artistic practice, challenging a variety of media but always keeping faithful to the basic instincts that characterize his artistic process: innovation, experimentation, harmony and aesthetic.
Charles Csuri created a transmediation, specifically upon my request, of his original Random War (1966), transforming the plotter drawing into a video cascading upon the 400 square meter screen that adorns the Media Facade of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb. The video used Facebook data (my own Facebook friends) to re-create an hypothetical war with people wounded, dead, awarded medals or missing in action. They were also assigned military grades.
Csuri’s insight into the madness of war and his use of Facebook ‘friends’ is a subtle critique of contemporary life but at the same time, within the context of Zagreb, it is also an analysis of how ideology can turn friends into sudden enemies. Zagreb’s local history – within the larger conflict of the ex-Yugoslavia – became the context within which Csuri’s artwork was exhibited.
These were some of the reasons why my choice fell upon Csuri as one of the artists for the Dislocation‘s program on the Media Facade. The exhibition also happened to coincide with Csuri’s SIGGRAPH Award for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art.
Dislocations, 2011, Senior Curators: Lanfranco Aceti and Tihomir Milovac.