Guillaume Stagnaro, Fluorescent Umwelt (public space intervention)
Former Tax Office Building, Leon Štukelj Square, Maribor
10-30 January 2014
Opening: Friday, 10 January at 20:00

 After the big reveal we invite you to join us at Slavija №11 for groovy music and bubbles at our POST-NEW YEAR'S PARTY!

UGM | Maribor Art Gallery proudly presents Fluorescent Umwelt – an art intervention in the former Tax Office building on Leon Štukelj Square in Maribor. Using flickering fluorescent lights, artist Guillaume Stagnaro turned the façade of the empty and abandoned building on the central city location into a lively and surprising light ambient. Long fluorescent tubes are installed on empty office windows and have been set to flicker in prearranged intervals. They are equipped with a mechanism, which has been programmed by the artist to synchronise all the lights and to enable autonomous behavior. Kafkaesque intervention by Guillaume Stagnaro changes the character of architecture from a disused building to a living form and thus generates its nightly metamorphosis.

Fluorescent Umwelt is an Art intervention in public space following a research around the idea of parasitism and is directly inspired by the reading of the seminal book of Ethology ‘A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans’ (1934) by Jacob von Uexküll. In his book von Uexküll develops the notion of Umwelt according to which “every living species has its own universe, to which it gives meaning and imposes its determination”. We share and interact today almost permanently with another kind of "species” which, much as the living species described by von Uexküll, has his own universe. Programmed objects, ubiquitous in our modern society, because of their ability to perceive and act on the world give a new meaning to it in the same way that ethology allowed mankind to take a new look at the world at that time. Fluorescent Umwelt is the (temporary) invasion of the electrical system of the former Tax Office building by a colony representative of this new species. A colony of small organisms that feed on electricity and play with the lights after sunset.” Guillaume Stagnaro

With this light intervention UGM wishes to demonstrate the potential of a large new city square – in this case the Leon Štukelj Square - as a space of social gathering, interaction and creative expression. On the other hand we wish to display new possible ways of using an empty building in the city centre. The building, which used to house the offices of Tax Administration in former Yugoslavia, is a seminal example of 1970s brutalist architecture. It is a Slovene modernist architecture monument and an important work of Maribor architect Vlado Emeršič. Today the building is empty and its identity lost in time and space. 

Guillaume Stagnaro (born 1975, lives in Marseille) is visual artist, teacher and researcher, he conducts a practical, speculative and theoretical exploration in the field of cybernetics through the realization of digital art pieces and installations. For several years he worked with many artists for whom he designs and manufactures computing, robotic and electronic systems. He was a residency artist at the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, between 1999-2001 (within a collective ‘esc to begin’). He teaches in the Hypermedia workshop of Aix-en-Provence Art School (ESSA).

The project is collaboration between UGM and Otto-prod. Otto-prod. is a French association actively involved in contemporary art. All members of Otto-prod. are artists with several art education backgrounds. The group was founded with the ambition to promote, produce and disseminate cultural initiatives and contemporary art events within the EU. The association is based in Marseille and develops festivals, exhibitions and residences.

Simona Vidmar and Paul Destieu
Supported by: