The first virtual exhibition of Artpool's context project was an audio interactive network installation of Márton Cserny's "Stencilage" in the context of itself and the Web.

"… a good artist is one who builds good relationships…," says George Legrady. In the network of good relationships – in which a given work was created – the body of experiences can be interpreted as a sum of unified intellectual circumstances. The contexts become visible if the work is seen as a signal generator and if the relationships pertaining to the visual signals are carefully unfolded.

The images – in Cserny’s concept the pictures were not intended as pictures but rather as communication in which there are no graphemes but only visual signals and patterns. These images are not actual compositions but they do not fall apart either since the coherence between the “pieces” is ensured by the meanings that exist outside the image. Despite their concreteness, the patterns do not become concrete messages but remain riddle-like communication operating in their external contexts. It is this characteristic of the images that makes them suitable for network processing.  

The series was created in such a way that certain virulent motives were reused, like the letters of an alphabet, but with a new meaning. Individual images are not autonomous; we could say that an image is not a picture but only makes sense as part of the series or in the context of the series. Thus, the series presents the model previously applicable to entire oeuvres “in brief”.

The templates (patterns, visual signals), much like the letters of the alphabet, are at great variance with one another both in their content and form, as if each one were the emblem of a specific culture. (It must be noted that the letters of an alphabet are just as dissimilar as different autonomous cultures). What we have here is the autonomy of templates, and not the autonomy of pictures. A great part of templates are found and selected in a given cultural environment and are motifs that are well-known or easy to recognize. The role of the artist is primarily limited to the delivery, i.e. the creation of the context. The important thing is not the creation of an object but the self-assembling principle.

With his self-assembling picture-contexts the artist accepted, demonstrated and rendered perceptible the typical consumer situation expected of an artist who is no longer an “author” but a permutator (arranger, assembler). The permutator only selects from the ready mades, i.e. everything is ready and he only places them in his own time. This becomes the new message which makes the work virtual in a real space, thus enabling another permutator to reuse it as a ready made. The medium of the model, or the “work”, is constant permutation, “the act”, unnoticeably changes our culture, like a virus. The artist is an invisible “superintendent”.

The name (Stencilage) mainly refers to the word “mont/age” but beyond this the mono/chrome use of colour also has some hidden implications. The coll/age (glueing) technique – similarly to the assembl/age method – used in connecting the motifs is executed in the form of a “haphazard” combination of objects ripped out of their contexts. Kindred genres include: Wolf Vostell’s decollage (the perchance montage), Robert Filliou’s “bricolage”, Sándor Altorjai’s aleatorical demontage, Miklós Erdély’s self-assembling poetry, Endre Tót’s idea combinations, Ray Johnson’s “stencilage method”, the moticos (set of silhouettes) and my own trans-functioning actions. There is a kinship between Yves Klein in regard to the monochrome use of colour. This “multicultural picot-writing” – installing ways of thinking that were built into cultures onto or into one another – is the actual spatial representation of multilinear reading (hypertext). These artistic inventions came into being simultaneously with the development of the World Wide Web – it may be assumed that they are derived from the same idea source – and it is time to see them in a network context.

I envisioned the construction of the Stencilage website (network place) in such a way that it would faithfully follow the “stencilage method”, even in the differences. There is  quite a big formal difference in the transcription but it does not become conspicuous because of the similarity of the content. In relation to the copy, which can now be regarded as the original, and the transcribed original copy, the network place enables feedback points to the primary sources.

Experience is the most important source of personal and real knowledge. Traditional school knowledge is represented through reading and memorising “non-personalised text packages” relative to carefully marked zero points, and school grades reflect how successfully the task was accomplished. The successfulness of experience gained through personal and current curiosity and decoding is marked by the experience of “real knowledge”. In this case the zero point moves and the reader’s choosing of a route is directed by the meanings of information relative to one another. The network place based on the “Stencilage” models the acquisition of experience in which each motif can be a starting point and a point to continue from; the reader simultaneously “reads” the picture and the sound, i.e. he reads content, like he does when he is looking for something as he is walking in the street. 

The pages have sound. The sound of the images start from a home page, like the series of musical motifs played in the original order but repeated indefinitely. The music is independent from the images, with the only connection between them being the same author/permutator. The pages – if we turn them linearly – strictly come one after the other in the order the motifs appeared on the theoretical home page, and then continue from the new motifs that appear on later pages. This engineer’s precision is of no importance to the reader; its only objective is to exclude any subjective interference coming from the permutator. The permutator’s method is to “look for” the most exact correspondences while letting chance take its course.

The web comes into being in such a way that when the pages are turned the motifs in the even numbers link the pages to each other like a chain. By browsing this internal web the reader of the image hears the musical “composition” that he or she creates. Exiting into the external (world wide) web – which from a musical point of view is silence – is possible from the motifs with odd numbers. The internal web is about the work, while the “explanations” are in the external web. The internal and external webs are distinguished merely for the reason of construction (“context-sprouting”), since from the moment of entering the web a “context automat” is at work, which “monitors” the attention of the reader.

György Galántai (1999)

(English translation: Krisztina Sarkady-Hart)

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