Mapping Komiža Narratives 2014

Mapping Komiža Narratives 2014

Upon an intriguing episode of MKN in 2013 ADRIART will be back to the pretty little island with an even more spatially focussed and micro-geographically aware course of site-specific intermedia interventions:

Summer course, Komiža 2014:


when: 6-13 September 2014 
where: Komiža, Island of Vis, Croatia

Research-based intermedia interventions in the topologies, topographies, and tropologies of the island Vis and the town of Komiža.

Aims and outcomes:

The course aims at (repeatedly) constructing the narrative maps of the port town of Komiža on the island of Vis in Croatia – yet not from the schemata of the commonplace but rather out of the local inventive and open-ended analogies, paradigm-elisions, puns, conceits: out of dream echoes or deformations and satirical distortions of the quotidian. Through the course, the students will perform, inter-mediate and (re)formulate Komiža’s narrative topology by combining the narrative character of identity of Komižans with the urban, architectural, natural and economic reality of the place.

Topology (from the Greek τόπος, “place”, and λόγος, “study”) being a major area of mathematics concerned with the most basic properties of space, stresses compactness and connectedness. The course will attempt to recognize, comprehend and appreciate the urban compactness of Komiža and relate it to the social connectedness of Komižans.

The course encourages new forms of spatial expressions and the search for different perspectives about places and about stories associated to specific places. The mapping of both local knowledge and fiction by locating the revelatory in the unmapped and the unmappable is central to an in-depth understanding of the place.

The students will be free to choose any viable combination of media to develop an inter-media concept and finalize their work in situ. They can also choose between individual and team work with the existing Komižan narratives – as both conceptual departure points and (essential) materials for their explorations and creations.

By the end of the programme students will be able to identifiy, plan, organize and execute site-specific project work, demonstrating autonomous decision-taking and process monitoring. They will develop or expand creative intermedia and/or new-media related repertoire technically, formally, and conceptually, and will be able to work as authors, in a collaborative environment among mentors, professionals and academic peers.

Product and platform:

The students’ and mentors’ works will, along the years of the course’s development, gradually assemble into an online interactive archive, a multi-dimensional digital (re)mapping of Komiža, continuously in progress (of reinvention, inherent to the new-media paradigm). This (mixed) media database of location based works will little by little (re)cover the never ending whole of Komiža's (mixed) reality narratives. Besides presenting finished works, the archive will reveal the pathways of these explorations and developments that not only justifies the methodology of Komiža’s narrative mapping (topology) within itself, but also makes the site and the materials accessible for crucial stakeholders, the Komižans – of present, past and future.

Process and methodology:

The programme will be structured in phases. It will start with three weeks of mentored online exploration of the manifold data resources and (para)narratives of Komiža and the island Vis. This will be followed by an intensive week of reading and (online) discussing Komiža's „facendas“, the characteristic narratives that link the social, spacial, temporal, literary and lingual elements of communal life (literature will be supplied online). The final two weeks before coming to Komiža will be spent on focused research and the development of the individual or team creative concepts and drafting of production plans.

After these 6 weeks of online preparation the students and mentors will meet in Komiža for a condensed week of concept review, production planning, production and finalization. The intensive workshop will consist of production lab or studio work, regular critical discussions (with mentors and peers) and a particular stress on field work: Most works will be displayed immediately on (specific) site(s) already, but all will need a further week or two of postproduction before being included into the archive. The online archive concept and service itself will also be subject to constant revision according to the unpredictable developments of the inter-mediated narrative network.

Course credit value:

4 ECTS (full participation online and on site) within the “Studio” module of the Media Arts and Practices MA programme.

About the place*: 

The island of Vis and the town of Komiža offer very particular topologies within both the Croatian and the Adriatic geographical and historical context as well as within the wider Mediterranean cultural-historical and geo-political environment. Vis and Komiža have witnessed prehistoric times, the ancient cultures of Greece and Rome, the Renaissance, the 19th century struggles of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Italy and England for the domination over the Adriatic, the wave of emigration from the island to America (San Pedro, CA) at the beginning of the 20th century. Vis was the only free territory in the Adriatic during 1944 with collaborating forces of Tito's partisans and British Army stationed on the island. A special topological punctum therefore is Tito’s cave -- today a famous tourist destination.

All the while, Vis and Komiža have been both the periphery and the center of Mediterranean and Croatian culture. Despite having a small number of inhabitants, a small surface area and being geographically isolated, Komiža is a surprisingly urbanized place featuring a pronounced linguistic, cultural, economic and social identity. Based on these traits of Komiža and Vis, it is possible to develop a new symbolic value within the topos, such that can not only fuel but also vectorize its reinventions. The constant simultaneity of local and global can be found particularly in new-media and inter-media practices as they tend to rephrase crucial simultaneities (inside/outside, aesthetic/ethic, embodied/virtual...), and a paradigm of the net-work and/or the archipelago annuls the dichotomy between center and periphery. Komiža’s narrative mapping (topology), relies on the already articulated inter-islandic cultural practices which have been, in this part of the Adriatic, developed by local cultural activists under the name of Moj otoče (My Island!). The marine area surrounding Vis is many times greater than the area of the island and thus the sea (as a space which both isolates and connects, as a mythical place, as an economic resource, and as a point of disappearance on one hand and a life-sustaining medium on the other) is considered as an important parallel space of media research.

Thus, the basis of this inherently Komižan concept lies in the very topology, the „place“,  location, as a sum of historical, cultural, anthropological, and social idiosyncracies is instead a source and the foundation for the creative involvement of the students-artists. Thus, the place is understood as a conceptual frame for research of rational codes as well as intuitive elements, and particularly in their interactions. The ultimate challenge is  to establish an absolute interdependence of the place and the concept as an interaction of outer and inner factors (for the Komižans outer factors are the students/mentors while inner is the town itself – for the students the outer element is the town while the inner one is the collaboration within the groups, or the workshop discourses and interactions as such).

(*In Heidegger's thinking the concept of philosophy's starting point is: our finding ourselves already "there," situated in the world, in "place”.)

Course lead by: prof. Dalibor Martinis

Research and production lead by: doc. dr. Peter Purg

Course coordinated by: Academy of Applied Arts, Rijeka, under collaboration of University of Nova Gorica School of Arts