The installation of photographs, (4 colour, 18 black and white), taken in December 1994 on the demarcation line between Croats and Muslims, entitled Odavde te moze u oko, opens a timely subject of the look, the seer, the eyewitness and vision. Stokelj admits that during his visit of ruins and fronts, holed by lethal bullets, he himself was being photographed in that milieu, through holes and saints.
The (eye)witness and voyeur was therefore not only noticed, but was also photographed, pictures of him were being taken. Here we have objects which are not some silent, totally passive scenery of other's stage, but which with an incredible force fix their (inhuman, machine) gaze upon the observer; the same topic Paul Vrilio was reflecting upon in his text Machine that sees, in the field of contemporary theory. In the beginning of the final section of the book La machine de vision (Paris, 1988), the title of which is Machine that sees, he mentions the thought of the painter Paul Klee,
"And now the objects preceive me", which he uses as the starting-poin for reflections about a machine that sees (perceptron) as a device for automatic vision without looks (looking). Yet Stokelj goes even further in his statement, for he reveals he was not only seen, that is preceived bye the object, but also photogaphed, captured, brought to a standstill in a moment. To be a photographed photographer is no coincidence in a milieu of countless openings, stains, holes, of a total preformation, that is in the milieu of war as it is today. Moreover (and especially) in the one generating the war in Bosnia, distinctively a media war, which means surveillance, manipulation, and deceving lie at its core. It is not possible anymore that the observer could not be observed, captured in the field of vision, fixed as the target of various measuring devices on a clearance and simultaneously included in the panopticon of universal translucency, indiscriminate picture talking and manipulation with an artificial (machine like) and natural look. He reached a position where he does not photograph (only) objects, but precariously follows those (hidden, secret, virtual) simulacra that photograph him. Therefore he is persistently searching for openings, niches, stains, holes, all of which is seen on his photographs... on Strokelj's photographs included in the exhibition Odavde te moze u oko. The attacked look, the look to which anwsers a stronger, virtual look, the seer seen through eyes of the virtual eyewitness, the photographed photographer, the look of machine which manipulates with the seen, are amongst things defining this exhibition. Stokelj's photographs, which the author of these lines does not like, are in the fact post-aesthetic, the light on them is also disagreeable, therefore they are photographs of perforation, shooting through and surfaces of the little wounds and stains. We are dealing with photographs that reached a digital level; it looks as if physics and chemistry of photographic paper have already been replaced by the digital medium of pixels. Stokelj's photography is a net of points, for what we see is a multitude of points, holes, little wounds, stains, scars, injuries unraveling (the traditionally drafted, stable) matter. A photograph which is a target itself, reached by the missiles, that like artistic dust, say from weapons-kinetic objects of Survival Research Laboratories poured down on it.
The exebition Odavde te moze u oko is conceived as an exhibition of multimedia installation. The setting of photographs is accompanied by music (Croatian Unprofor Big Band), a special place is occupied by a photograph in a baroque frame (10 x 15 cm) placed on a chest yet accesible to the viewer's eye through the keyhole in the chest, which slows the same picture, only illuminated and enhanced (to size 160 x 100). As we are dealing with the eye, looking, seeing and the present day problems of digital manipluation, but also preforation, inter-activity and pointilism, this additional element of the installation is so-to-speak obligatory, especially as the curious viewer of this photograph will also be noticed, recorded with a video camera. This recording will (likely) be shown live on a big display in the center of Ljubljana (at Sestica). The exhibition is thereby extending from space to time, live installation in the video and info media (the opening and presentation of the exhibition will probably take place as well on the info-highway Internet) is productive and also provocative for the slovenian culture scene, for it implicates the way out of the gallery seen as a shrine, a prison, a clinic but mainly the place of the capital.

Janez Strehovec

How to contact Bojan Stokelj:
TEL. +FAX: +386 65 22904