A Gigantic robotic hand that can crush cars and a band composed exclusively of robots performing at Rijeka’s legendary Hartera are but a few of the attractions of the extensive programme.

The programme of the Dopolavoro flagship, which deals with technology and new forms of work, was announced at the Weekend Media Festival in Rovinj on Saturday, 21.09.2019. This part of our programme, which will take place in Rijeka from 26th March through 12th July 2020, has been developing for the last three years, and in 2020 it will feature exhibitions, theatre plays and opera, as well as entertaining shows accompanied by an extensive publishing programme.

The Dopolavoro flagship primarily focuses on technologies and new forms of work that did not exist or were not widespread until ten years ago. The nature of work changes continuously under the influence of new technologies, and topics related to work also imply topics related to the state of non-work, free time and leisure, which are covered in cooperation with international artists in the fields of visual, performance and new-media arts.

The Dopolavoro programme brings visitors of Rijeka 2020 stories about ports, the sea, pirates, work and workers. By using a variety of media, Briscola and Tresette (Italian card games), exhibitions, robots, plays, symposiums and installations, as well as a few other tricks up its sleeve. This programme will enable Rijeka to open up some brand new topics and provide food for thought on the future of work and technology in a time that is yet to come.

 

Can machines be creative, or is this a right that only a human is entitled to?

The basic topics that Dopolavoro covers are the automatization of creative work, and new forms of work that deplete earth’s natural resources, and it also brings an overview of legally marginal forms of workflow organization. The topics that Dopolavoro tackles are European topics because they touch upon the future of the population of the entire continent and of the world at large.

Emina Višnić, the CEO of the company behind the ECoC programme implementation reminded us in her first sentence that the excitement surrounding Rijeka receiving the ECoC title was the primary reason behind her moving from Zagreb to Rijeka. Those were her introductory remarks on the topic of Dopolavoro, as an exceptionally challenging part of the programme that will take place in Rijeka in 2020.

Ivan Šarar, Head of the Department of Culture of the City of Rijeka, spoke on Rijeka’s courage and passion reflected in the way the city is trying to raise awareness of the topics covered by the Dopolavoro flagship. It is a programme involving cultural and artistic activists from around the globe. Rijeka is increasingly becoming a city with the potential to exert a strong influence in a field of key importance, yet outside of mainstream visibility.

Davor Mišković, leader of the Dopolavoro flagship

Davor Mišković, leader of the Dopolavoro flagship, showcased and announced specific programmes, the most prominent among them being the international group exhibition The Sea is Glowing. The exhibition is curated by German curator Inke Arns, who will be presenting the works of 20 artists. These works are the result of exploring new economies and forms of work related to the sea. It also features a series of individual exhibitions, plays and events such as ReCallas Medea, a robotic opera, a concert by Compressorhead, a music band consisting of robots, and the attractive interactive robotic installations by the American artist Christian Ristow, an icon of the legendary desert festival Burning Man.

The Cultural Programme of 2020 – Dopolavoro

The Dopolavoro programme features 9 exhibitions, 6 artistic installations, 6 plays, 8 musical events, 3 symposiums, and a large-scale international conference on the topic of technological changes and the future of work. To avoid any misunderstanding, this is an art programme, dealing with work from an artistic perspective.

Pirates, world-changing algorithms, robots and idleness – these are but a few of the topics being dealt with in 9 exhibitions set up specifically for the Rijeka 2020 programme

The exhibitions making up the Dopolavoro programme are new exhibitions, specifically set up as part of the artistic programme of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project, dealing with the topics of work and technology through works by Croatian and international artists.  The main exhibition of the Dopolavoro programme is The Sea is Glowing, accompanied by smaller exhibitions; Hysterical Machines, Ghosting the Ghost, Terra Effluviens, The Labour of Making Labour Disappear, The Third Shift, Work is Dead, Long Live Work, The Scheme of Things, Work Hard. Have Fun. Make History. and Pirate Care.

The Sea is Glowing is the main exhibition of the Dopolavoro programme, opening on 25th March at Exportdrvo. This large international group exhibition deals with the invisible economies related to the sea. World-renowned artists, gathered together on a project led by the German curator Inke Arns, will use this exhibition as a means of providing the visitors with a view of the sea as a space of freedom for the rich and powerful, as well as a space of the worst forms of exploitation of both the planet and the people. Rijeka is the largest Croatian port and Europe is a maritime continent, so Rijeka is utilizing this part of the programme as a means of communicating a theme that tightly binds the city to Europe. The group exhibition will feature works by twenty artists and artist collectives; DISNOVATION.ORG, Harun Farocki, Forensic Architecture, Femke Herengraven, Lauren Huret, Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman i Daniel Keller, Lawrence Lek, Katja Novitskova, Jenny Odell, Ovidie, Elisa Giardina Papa, Alexandra Pirici, Lisa Rave, Marie Reinert, Tabita Rezaire, RYBN, Tamás S. Auby and Hito Steyerl.

 

The World’s First Robotic Rock Band – Compressorhead – to Perform at the Legendary Hartera

The concert by the robotic rock band Compressorhead will take place at Rijeka’s legendary Hartera on the 25th May 2020. Compressorhead is the first rock band in the world with real instruments played live – by robots. The band became famous for its instrumental covers of songs by legendary bands such as Motörhead, AC/DC, Ramones, Pantera and Rage Against The Machine, and 2017 saw the release of their first album Party Machine. The band’s drummer Stickboy has 4 hands and 2 feet, the lead guitarist Fingers comes with 2 hands and 76 fingers, and the bass guitarist, Bones features 2 hands and 8 fingers.

Their “lead vocalist” Mega-Wattson joined the band in 2017. Weighing 350 kg, he was built with the help of funds raised via a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. The voice of the band’s lead vocalist is Rob Wright from the legendary Canadian punk-rock bands Nomeansno and the Hanson Brothers, who, along with his brother John Wright, who is also a member of the said bands, also joined the Compressorhead team in 2014 in the role of musical director and composer.

 

Operating a Gigantic Hand that Can Crush Cars, and Flying on a Robotic Bird

Attractive and interactive artistic installations also form a part of the Dopolavoro programme. American artist Christian Ristow is largely known for building and setting up huge robotic installations that appear at events such as Burning Man, the eight-day festival taking place once a year in a desert in the state of Nevada, USA.

But there is no need for you to go all the way to Nevada to experience Christian Ristow’s installations, as he is coming to Rijeka next year with no less than two of his installations; a large mechanical bird actuated by human power named FledgLing, along with an eight-metre long giant robotic hand, which is able to lift up and crush cars – The Hand of Man.  With the help of modern technology, the audience will be able to experience the ability to effortlessly lift up, crush and toss large objects. They will also be able to climb up to the top of the installation by walking up the stairs and making their way inside the bird’s chest (thorax), where they will take a seat, and assume the posture of a cyclist riding a recumbent bike. By turning the pedals, the visitor sets in motion an intricate composition of chains, sprockets, cogwheels and levers that open and close the wings, bending them towards the body, just like with real birds.

In July 2020, an unusual theatrical play will take place at the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc, entitled ReCALLAS MEDEA, showcasing a blend of opera, dance shows, and robotics. This robotic opera performance explores the relationship between the art of opera and new technologies, and also doubles as a homage to Maria Callas, the greatest opera diva of all time. The singers themselves create the musical backdrop through their own body movements, which, powered by specifically programmed computers, produce certain sounds. This way, they become the ones responsible for the performance, the tempo and the interpretation, which can be challenging, but at the same time provides space for growth, and for getting better acquainted with one’s own artistic expression.

Also a part of the Dopolavoro programme is a one-of-a-kind trilogy of plays by the BADco theatre collective from Zagreb.

 

Social Changes, New Technologies and the Future of Work

The Dopolavoro conference, which will be taking place from 17th through 20th June 2020 at the Campus of the University of Rijeka will be dealing with the topics of social change, new technologies and the future of work. This conference is a four-day meeting that brings together scientists, business people, artists, novelists and philosophers who, each from their own point of view, talk of the impact of technological change on work. In a series of lectures and panel discussions, the conference builds on the key processes and conceptions framing the notion of work today: automatization, globalisation, digitalisation, capitalism and democracy. These processes and conceptions deeply impact our understanding of work and shape the political, economic, social, environmental, educational and cultural landscape we live in.

 

How to Earn a Digital Currency Through Laziness and Not Working?

Oblomo to the People is an installation by the Slovenian artist Saša Sedlaček inspired by blockchain platforms – i.e. cryptocurrencies – and it will reward the laziness of its visitors. The installation is made up of deck chairs, sensors, and a system that will pay out Oblomo Coins to visitors in exchange for their laziness. Visitors will be able to spend the earned coins on the Oblomo Bay platform to purchase entertainment apps and various usable items. The installation will be located in the lounge zone of Exportdrvo, and it will have its public premiere from 25th April through 17th May 2020.

The project was named after the 1859 novel by the Russian novelist Ivan Gončarov entitled Oblomov, where the main protagonist, Ilija Ilič Oblomov, unquestionably the laziest hero in the history of world literature, manages to move only from his bed to a chair in the first fifty pages of the novel. Even though he spends most of his time in bed, Oblomov is actually not that much of a lazybones – or he is only lazy in the physical sense of the word – since, intellectually, he is a true fireball of energy. Oblomov is a prophetic representation of the individual in the 21st century, when physical work will soon be performed by artificial intelligence and robots.

Ivan Šarar, Head of the Department of Culture of the City of Rijeka, astronaut Emina Višnić, CEO of TD RIJEKA 2020 and Davor Mišković, leader of the Dopolavoro flagship

In the weeks ahead, we will continue the announcements of the extensive cultural programme that will be taking place in Rijeka during 2020, and these announcements will go on until the end of September and well into October of this year. With this programme, Rijeka joins the celebration of European cultural diversity next year. The values embedded in the programme concept and reflected in the programme itself are courage, uniqueness, progressiveness and ambition. All these values are the building blocks of Rijeka’s “Port of Diversity” to be experienced by Croatian and international audiences in an extensive art programme to take place during 2020.

Photo: Stephany Stefan Studio