Radek Przedpełski received his PhD degree from Trinity College Dublin and is a lecturer in Visual Cultures at National University of Ireland in Maynooth and TCD. He holds an MA degree in Digital Media from Dublin Institute of Technology, where he specialised in Sound Design, and an MA in English Studies from UMK Toruń (Poland), where he specialised in Critical Theory and Post-Colonial Studies. His doctoral dissertation probed the question of metamorphosis in Polish neo-avant-garde technics of the 1970s, seen through the philosophies of Deleuze, Guattari, Simondon, Nietzsche and Spinoza as well as Polish Baroque and the Bronze Age metallurgical art of the Great Steppe. Radek is also a sound artist and freelance photographer. He also worked as a researcher on the project Naughty Nasals by the Slavs and Tatars artistic collective. http://radekprzedpelski.com/
Steppe Technics. Art as Intensive Engineering of Forces in Marek Konieczny
The paper aims to attend to intensive multiplicities and their generative thresholds in the art-work of Marek Konieczny, an engineer-turned-artist associated with the Polish neo-avant-garde of the 1970s. In 1974, the artist abandons his earlier preoccupation with geometric abstractions or Fluxus-type actions and embarks on the singular ‘Think Crazy’ idiom that makes an untimely connection with the nomadic steppe art of metallic fibulas. Such steppe media might be considered in terms of what the scholar Yuk Hui recently termed cosmotechnics, i.e. bringing together cosmologies and technologies through artistic or artisanal activity or Anne Sauvagnargues’ aesthechnics whereby art’s aesthetic plane of composition is indissoluble from its technical plane. As will be argued, what is at stake in Konieczny’s art is an intensive engineering of forces, something that already surfaces in his early construction designs of reinforced concrete hyperbolic paraboloid roofs, which the artist affectionately calls ‘Birds’. Konieczny’s practice recasts engineering as a tactical diagnosis and affective composition of material-incorporeal potentials—or tensors—beyond the death/life, nature/culture distinction. For Konieczny, art’s functioning can be understood as ‘the installation of a still life’, the ‘hatching’ of ‘a something’ or ‘a technology of documentation of (…) abstraction, of something that does not necessarily have to be a reality’: at once crazy, artificial and pulsating with hidden inorganic life—the unlife of mutant embryogenesis. Konieczny’s artistic engineering of forces creates a plane of Simondonian modulation, rather than an execution of the architect’s transcendental demiurgic plan. The article will conclude by framing Konieczny’s practices in terms of Jerzy Ludwiński’s innovative Bergson-inflected theory of the functioning of the avant-garde as geological involution, developed in the 1970s, and his understanding of art as a factory producing immanent effects, as well as the contemporary vitalist-materialist conceptualisations of tissue engineering-based art as a playful instrumentalisation of ‘semi-life’ (Ionat Zurr and Oron Catts).