NXT creatives

Stèphane Clor, Mato Lagator & Maria Trabulo

University of Applied Arts Vienna

The Ones Who Hold the Clubs

The scope and scale of control and censorship that occur in the vast spaces of the digital age has been one of the major concerns following revelations of Edward Snowden. The notion of borders as posing limitations has always been apparent in a physical sense when one can visualise the obstacles. However, the invisible and metaphysical barriers to communication which often define personal relationships and interactions are harder to conceptualise. They take their most extreme form in the digital age, where the promise of a free Internet obscured our ability to conceptualise the barriers that have been and are being erected. 

In their piece The Ones Who Hold the Clubs the artistic collective ClorLagatorTrabulo explores what it means to be stuck between borders in a no-man’s land. They create a space that forces visitors to abandon the sense of self in response to being watched and observed without the possibility to see or know who is watching. 

And yet in spite of constant surveillance the space also provides a certain anonymity; one can feel invisible separating the visitor from the consequences of their actions. This ability to act anonymously in spite of being watched, the artists suggest, is what allows us to take a step forward and leave a mark. We ignore those who observe in the hope to rediscover the sense of self. By allowing ourselves to contribute individually and with private acts of rebellion, we join the communal effort to break the borders down. 

Artists Statement

Borders isolate to protect, divide to create a sense of a whole. Metaphysical borders form barriers to prevent communication and the spread of ideas that in our digital age exist through censorship and limitations of the internet. Who erects these borders that isolate and seclude? Who prevents us from existing as a part of a wider community of a whole? And most importantly how can we fight to bring these borders down? 

Your passport is your IP address. Your photo ID is your email account. You cannot stay anonymous in a world that constantly watches you. You loose the sense of self. When facing an overwhelming enemy individually we are powerless. It is by coming together that we can topple systems of oppression. We must re-create a sense of the whole. We aim to explore how physical and translucent borders can be broken down through collective action. We are interested in understanding how togetherness can be achieved when individuals communicate without being in direct contact. We create a territory in between a no-man’s land, where the visual and acoustic properties of space are altered to create a sense of isolation. An individual standing here actively watched and observed; the promise of full surveillance achieved with every step they makes.