Motto: "Memes are explained as thoughts that replicate themselves, flood civilization circuits and cause cultural changes. If our genetic function is to "computare" (think), it results from all previous development of the human thought that individual periods and stages of the development until today were merely preliminary, exactly because of our subordination to our genetic species. The subordination stage should be followed by the mature stage of the human life cycle, as an individual, with the help of technologies created by him, would think objectively by himself and independently. The tradition of Homo Sapiens, which dates back to the origins of history and civilization, has described us until now as thinking animals; the tradition. Now, however, we are speaking of a revolution at the dawn of the Information Age, where our identity is to be confirmed in a different manner: through interaction with others." (T. Leary)
Tomá Ruller, a video and multimedia performance artist, at the same time a dean and teacher at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Technology University in Brno, not far from the birthplace of the biologist Mendel, who discovered hereditary laws, he is presenting his contribution to the cyberculture. His exposition is based on a selection of his last ten years' work and includes previously unpublished work. Using new media, such as big screen videoprojections, digital photography, or manipulated televisions and networks, the author presents his virtual world as a real one. Science combines here with art. The author is a performer by nature; therefore in order to stress the authenticity of presented images, he employs his own body and real objects as tools by means of which he amplifies the interaction with a spectator. His ambition is however to become a communication medium confirming both the transcendence of his physical existence and the phenomenological transience of presented facts and situational phenomena.
Ruller's roots are attached to the philosophy of performance of the 1970s which issue from the experience of the natural world and personal trial of the society's demagogy. In this sense, the author has experienced police persecution and restrictions that lasted many years, not to speak of his later personal contribution to the revolutionary events of 1989. Fragments of these memories are reflected in his works as matter-of-fact residua of the reality which is anchored in our conscience in the sense of cultural evolution, and which helps strengthen our self-confidence. Many of his visual projects issue from the "philosophy of site" of a performance where the objectivity opened to the process of structural confrontation with the environment, and convinces us of its spiritual existence. This happens not only in the form of a visionary disclosure of the site's specificity, but also via fetishes or alchemists' interactions, while efficiently working with light in space, or their transmedial transfer between reality and virtuality. These works may not have the edge of social critique; definitely, however, thanks also to advanced communication technologies, they grow to the form of a sharp socio-genetic appearance, expressed for us on the psycho-cybernetic level.
It is by no means a coincidence, in view of the past art of action, that the former artist of action uses today the widest scope possible of advanced new media for his performance. The totalitarian regime consciously restricted to artists the access to communication media, condemned them to immediacy (limited as well), and therefore to the use of only accessible simple documentation. And it was documentation that fatally influenced the development of performances, since performances would not seem to have ever existed without relation to media. This is why the ambition in Ruller and other Czech artists towards media is much greater, since it is their evidence of personal freedom and of cultural evolution as such. A dis-play of media becomes, in fact, the goal, as the name of Ruller's exhibition suggests. Residua of meanings, used as names for individual presentations, employ, too, residua of objectivity and material reality. (Octopus ice-cream, Fish/Wine, Lost-Found). What in my opinion is extraordinarily essential is the moral ethos, accompanying the performer from his first body-actions to today's exigent visual presentations. I do not perceive much difference between 1988, when Ruller ventured to set himself on fire in a puddle near a suburbs dump, and his current effort to demonstrate memetics of the future. It may be a good example to his students. I presume that what we witness here is a preserved individual's ethos, so necessary to societies, which enabled the shift from imaginations to complex visions. Through a form (per-form), the message nests inside (in-form) to be further communicated and shared (trans-form). Obviously, this is possible thanks to technologies which we create or choose and which become the pillar of artistic creation. This Memo-Random, conceived as filing of my ideas, is also tributary to thoughts over the memetics of cyberculture, for the faith in possibility of objective independence of a creative individual, with a deep respect to the author.
VLASTA CIHAKOVA-NOSHIRO, 1999