Presentation at Harvard University: MA. Vesna Srnic “NEW MEDIA GENRES” (PowerPoint Presentation)


VIDEO ART (PowerPoint Presentation)

PHOTOGRAPHY  (PowerPoint Presentation)



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Cultural Heritage Performance

The project “Cultural Heritage” included several workshops: Slavonian cuisine, customs, housing, traditional kids games, folk habits, dance etc. This year a special event was a Multimedia Ambience created by team leader Ma Vesna Srnic which integrated atonal music  “Improvisation II for piano and tape” composed by Kresimir Seletkovic and played by Damir Greguric, jumbo poster with cultural authorities from the County history and contemporary artists as well, thus connecting tradition and (post)modernity.


(published in the American/Australian  International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, No. 1, 2009)

by MA Vesna Srnic


We are all aware of  the omnipresence of technology in human life and of  its possible dangers: as psychical alienation and losing our freedom through digitalization and letting the technology overmaster us. So it’s necessary to «humanize» technology in an anthropological way, to overwhelm it. This effects The New Education model as we can see it in Multimedia Art..

We’ve found the basis for our research in phenomenology and the philosophy of existence (Existentialism), as we’ve found them suitable for complete insights in the Individual and its human individuation without sexual differences, the way we see contemporary postfeminist theory.


Croatian scientist Fjodor Ruzic discusses in his book „Multimedia“ specifics of technological multimedia: “it is not just the sum of information in different media, but logically shaped, organized and integrated set of mutually connected media which altogether compose a multimedia document” .1

1.1. The critics of technological multimedia

The lack of high artistic education in the world of informatics, do not excuse neither intensified usage of computer in design (CAD) and film animation, nor in virtual cyberspace.

The artistic aspect in multimedia art is cognitively and sensitively created as a synchronicity (or synesthetics) of several media (image, music, text, speech and movement interpreted in space via media), and not only as logical document or work as it was meant in technological sense.

1.2. Multimedia Art as more than the sum of media


The 19th century idea of “Gesamkunstwerk” (Wagner) was the basis of “a total art work”, overlapping of Art, Philosophy and Religion. Although it had been proclaimed as decadent, the idea was a certain movement in usual seeing, as it became “re-valued seeing” in the sense of a “new inventing perception” 2 which develops our cognitive potency and leads us to the “new perception of reality”. Speaking of perception, it is also known that Viktor Šklovski emphasized the importance of the “astonishment” (ostranenie veščej) and prolonging of perception, also Laslo Moholy Nagy insisted on Empathy while he was working in the famous Bauhaus school, so he used a phenomenological term “Einfϋhlung”, to encourage new percepting values.

1.3. Mass media and Multimedia Art

The Mass media (photography, comics, poster, radio, film, video-art, television and internet) are very helpful to the artist: such media make special presentations possible   (street or online performances), thus actualize next step in artistic development: social individualization or socialization through digitalized, what means bare, but penetrative feedback information.

Once in short: Multimedia Art is not just logically created multimedia in a  technological point of view, but a synergic intensification and orchestration of Art work. Multimedia Art also emphasises intensification of existential supportings through “Einfϋhlung” (Empathy) and specifically New Inventing Perception, thus we become more aware of personal freedom and  individuality.

There are no too many Multimedia Art works, especially performances, because of their high costs, but we can invent some Primary Multimedia works of Art to use it in practice, what will be shown in our Experiences from practice at the end of the text.

1.3.1 Multimedia Performance

Multimedia Performance, as a special type of Multimedia Art is also known as Happening or artistic action in which a single person or a group, in a certain place and at a certain time, take an action.

In contrast with a theatre, a performer is an Artist, not just a character as it is an actor, and the content of performance is rarely traditional story or a plot. RoseLee Goldberg stresses in her bookPerformance Art: From Futurism to the Present 3, that performance can be a series of intimate gestures or  much bigger visual theater, at duration from several minutes to several hours; also, it can be performed just once or repeated  a few times with or without previously written scenario, spontaneously improvised or on the contrary it can be exercised several months.

Performance art as a term usually refers to a kind of avant-garde or conceptual art, or better to say of the visual arts.

The fact, which is very interesting for our topic, is that performance uses a number of different (audio) visual media in combination, for example: kinesthetic installations, video walls, online art etc.

Cerebrum(1960`s) was such an example of Multimedia Art Performance: labyrinth or “sensory-stimulation” laboratory as a night club connected with an art gallery. 4

Performance is also a variety of art specific for integrated individuals, and thus it becomes helpful in the post feminist period as the human individuation process and an opponent to sexual discrimination (sexism). My dear friends, Croatian/British performers and video artists Breda Beban and Hrvoje Horvatic (RIP), were famous for their quite and meditative awaitings in performances fulfilled with personality and mutual sensitiveness between a man and a woman.

While he was using a sharp digital technology, Horvatic implemented that strenght in their video art works, thus in galleries the participants/audience’ affections had multiplied their affection, mutually. 

The special importance of the performance aesthetics can be seen as the process of coming to consciousness while using multimedia, and we can call that phenomenon “existential supportings”. Thus technology is not just the medium or a “humanly extended arm” but it becomes also a medium for our spiritual transformations.

1.3.2. Social space of Performance – participating, inspiring and criticizing of the audience

Performance as the art of performing an action weather of single person or a group has got a very important role in the society, because the element of interaction between artists and audience/participants is ofgreat value for the art. That means we sometimes just can’t separate them from each other.

1. 3. 3.  Performance Art: Laurie Anderson

The rich online information about famous performer artist Laurie Anderson can be found at her own site and at Wikipedia: “Laurie Anderson is an American experimental performance artist and musician who plays the violin and keyboards and sings in a variety of experimental music and art rock styles. 5

Socializing within the American and the international music elites (Peter Gabriel, Jean Michel Jarre, Brian Eno, Lou Reed), her performances explore the huge impact the technology has on human relations and communication.

In Anderson’s performance there is a synesthetic merge of music for the violin and electronic devices, talking duet (produced by talking-stick controller) and her specific sound. Talk-songs are particularly Laurie’s music vocation.

While using the language of dreams, Laurie emphasizes, she wants to explore visions and dreams. Almost disappearing among numerous technical devices, she becomes anonymous participant and medium of electronic instruments, thus amplification of sounds and personal appeasing are indicators of a contemporary technocratic age and a significant “anonymous collectivity”. 6 We can find certain subversiveness in her early works, but later she has become politically stricter as left oriented feminist artist, for the reason of better understanding of American reality.

During 1980’s her popularity has been growing as the pop music and  performance artist: a single “O Superman“ as a part of the great project United States, was included in a later avangard album Big Science. “O Superman“ was Laurie’s revolt against mass culture domination, and she did that with including the art performance and  technology (multimedia) into the comercial world.

1.4. “Existential supportings” as the starting point of the Multimedia Art

The text is directed to those mass media which are electronically and (audio) visually defined, such as:  film, video art, television, computer graphics and Internet, and that means not, for example, comics, journalism or radio.

We claim the electronic media could not be the subject of classical aesthetics approach and  its classical idea of  the beauty, because of relativising that idea in the art through the opposite idea of “aesthetics of ugleness. In valorizing the modern and contemporary art, it seems as more important to look for the idea of the “value. Especially valuable is every effort to contribute the society, not only as the constructive work of art, but also as the avangard negation of useless forms and thoughts, what doesn’t mean in anarchistic way, but in a sense of bringing the deconstruction of the existing to a possible, new world.

Immediacy and intuitivity of the “existential supportings” substance in the mass media art are, actually, artistic and scientific quality in the technical meanings of cybernetics or autocontrolled media available for the intensifying human integrity, the same for both the men and women.

Thus alluding to the postfeminism, we have to say that although it’s not socially or politically organized as a movement (the way the feminism have been),  it goes beyond the national characteristics of the left and right commitment, accomplishing a certain transnational, global or glocal (global + local) attitude specific for the integrated individuals, no matter the sex differences.

The starting points of “existential supportings” in art can be religious, theological, philosophically-existentialistic, aesthetics or even materialistic, but the method should be highly moral, even if with the process of destructing the old values, which impeded the development, we intend to realize any positive or new values.

So, the etical establishment is a foundation, even if a formative energy is intended to renew by a destruction of old values. Sincerity and transparency reflect through the artist’s  intention and his realization of the work: thus intuitievely incorporating  the cognition in the work of  art.

II. EXPERIENCES FROM PRACTICE: Christmas in Musical Pictures

The Performance has been prepared in Croatia with 15 students of The Faculty of Teacher Education in Osijek, department in Slavonski Brod, while I was teaching at ‘Multimedia Culture‘ Board, and with 15 primary school students of the Elementary school Ivan Goran Kovacic. It was performed in 2004, before Christmas, in a large theatre, as a Primary Multimedia Performance.

Through six intensively integrated musical pictures, pupils, students and mentor stressed the idea of permanent learning importance, though the performance was a possibility of joining youngsters of different ages with older mentor and audience to learn and explore new reality, altogether. Musical genres were chosen very precisely to challenge the effect of astonishment.

*   *   *

Musical picture No. 1: Minimalist music

Philip Glass: “Window of appearances “ (3 min. meditation)

Postmodern scene: dark nylon curtain as the Christmas Eve night, mirrors as stars, disco ball spots as the snow, projected picture of Raphael`s Madonna with Child

Students decorate a Christmas tree

Minimalist music enhances new inventing perception of wondering phenomen ( presentation and video:

*   *   *

Musical picture No. 2: Baroque music

Pergolesi: “Salve Regina” (5 min. meditation)

St. Mary with Child, St. Joseph and Angel (students in costumes) ( presentation and video:

*   *   *

Musical picture No. 3: Atonal music

Istvan Marta:Doom. A Sigh” (3 min. meditation by Kronos Quartet)

Frontal projection of a full moon; dark scene; students walking with torches; a woman crying

Atonal music stresses the effect of astonishment

In memory of Christmas in Croatian War  ( presentation and video: )

*   *   *

Musical picture No. 4: Jazz

Pat Metheny: “As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls”  (3 min. meditation)

Joyful winter games in peace ( presentation and video: )

*   *   *

Musical picture No. 5:Traditional English Christmas carols

“Silent Night”, “Away in a Manger“(5 min. meditation)

students singing on a play back ( presentation and video: )

*   *   *

Musical picture No. 6: Traditional Croatian Christmas carols

Radujte se narodi(3 min. meditation)

Local Folklore group and students` choir ( presentation and video: )


Postmodern “Great story of Christmas” was performed as a serialization, in 6 integrated sequences as musical pictures. Although the genres had been mixed, the result of the Performance was not a Kitsch, but rather the Postmodern Work of Art.

Multimedia Art enables intensive conjugation of cognition and our “existential supportings”, thus it becomes suitable for creative education and life long learning.

Copyright Common Ground (The International Journal of the Arts in Society published the papers “New Education Model: Multimedia Art” in the Volume 4, Number 1, 2009)

Online presentation:

Lector: Rozalija Baricevic, Teacher

1  Fjodor Ružić, “Multimedija”, Klik, Mozaik knjiga, Zagreb, 1994., page 15

2 Dr.Vera Horvat-Pintarić (editor), Televizija danas (TV today), GGZ, Zgb, 1972.; Medium and mediation,  page 194

3 Goldberg RoseLee, “Performans odfuturizmadodanas, Test! i  URK, Zagreb, 2003

4 Gene Youngblood, «Expanded Cinema», E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc., New York, 1970., page 361


6 Cheng, Meiling “The Speed of Darkness” Theatre Journal – Volume 51, Number 2, May 1999, pp. 200-202 , The Johns Hopkins University Press

The war and love video poem “Swallowing” was fillmed and coproduced by Croatian Open Television (OTV) during the war in Croatia, in 1993. The performance of “drinking water in sips” was performed in Contemporary Gallery in Zagreb, and the performers were MA. Marijan Susovski, the curator, famous Croatian photographer Milisav Vesovic MO, and the author of this video work MA. Vesna Srnic.

A vdeo work  was shown at the International meeting  CAD FORUM `93, which was held in the Croatian Museum Mimara in Zagreb (12th – 16th June, 1993) and where the problems of the technology and contemporary art relation were discussed. The multimedia poem “Swallowing” was presented in the section “New Croatian Video”.

Part of the introduction/preface to the exhibition of Comics, created by the Croatian internationally famous artist/illustrator Bruno Budrovic and painter Josip Majic, in Miroslav Kraljevic Gallery, Zagreb, 1995:


Josip Majic, Camp (Courtesy of the artist)


Author and producer: professor Vesna Srnic, Camerman: Tomislav Župan, Under protection: Youth Club, Slavonski Brod, 1987

Intro: Croatian National Television HRT, Zagreb

A documentary film shows sociologically and philosopically the culture of behaving in coffee-bars in Slavonski Brod, Croatia during 1980’s, as well as the designing of interiers of aforementioned space. The documentary film is incorporated in secondary school curriculum of Trade school in Slavonski Brod, in a subject “Cultural history heritage” of the caterer ad waiter course , by the teacher PhD. Vesna Srnic.

/Dokumentarni film prikazuje sociološkim i filozofskim pristupom kulturu ponašanja u caffee-barovima u Slavonskom Brodu (Hrvatska), tijekom 1980-ih godina, kao i dizajnersko oblikovanje interijera navedenih prostora. Ovaj dokumentarni film dio je školskog kurikuluma srednje Obrtničke kole u Slavonskom Brodu, u okviru predmeta “Kulturno-povijesna baština” kojeg predaje ugostiteljima Vesna Srnić.

Autorica i producentica filma: prof. Vesna Srnić, Kamerman: Tomislav Župan, Pokrovitelj: Omladinski klub, Slavonski Brod, 1987.

Uvodna špica: HRT Zagreb/