Maja Smrekar

Solo show

Aksioma | Project Space
Komenskega 18, Ljubljana

27 November - 7 December 2012

Exhibition opening and presentation by Maja Smrekar and Al Vrezec: TUE, 27 November 2012 at 7 pm

The research into the phenomenon of foreign species within the project based on an example of degradation of biodiversity in the area of the thermal oxbow lake Topla near Čatež in the Dolenjska region, where several tropical species of flora and fauna have settled, paraphrases the juxtaposition of ecology as a scientific discipline and Ecology as one of the ideologies of contemporary zeitgeist. Due to the changed mechanisms of natural selection, which are caused by globalisation and which establish new relations within ecosystems, behavioural and genetic transformations in foreign as well as domestic species have become quite common. These transformations result in the changed potential of their ecological niches; as a consequence, from a long-term perspective, these species represent the greatest threat to the humankind of all species.

The installation presents research into the possibilities of genetic or ecological »switch«, on the basis of which the foreign species from the thermal oxbow lake Topla could migrate into the near-by environment. The “barrier” in the artificially established ecosystem separates the living environment of the European crayfish (Astacus astacus) as a representative of the autochthonous species and that of the alochthonous (foreign) species – the Australian red claw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus). The environment offers both species the opportunity to confront one another, which has not happened yet in nature.

The so-called “genetic reservoir” is designed as a prototype for a mobile live-in research unit, which metaphorically presents the human as the most invasive species of all.


The project has been carried out in collaboration with the Department for freshwater and land ecosystems at the National Institute of Biology in Ljubljana

Architectural concept: Maja Smrekar and Andrej Strehovec, B. Arch.
Author of architecture: Andrej Strehovec, B. Arch
Concept, design and execution of infrastructure: Marko Žavbi, B. Eng. (Laboratory Biomedicine)
Anthropologico-sociological research: Neža Mrevlje
Consultancy on foreign species and collaboration on the infrastructure of live systems: Dr Al Vrezec
Creating mobile unit: Dorval d.o.o.
Thanks to colleagues NIB: Tina Jaklič, Andrej Kapla, Špela Ambrožič

Production: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2012

Artistic Director: Janez Janša
Executive Producer: Marcela Okretič
Assistant Production: Sonja Grdina
Public Relations: Mojca Zupanič
Technician: Valter Udovičić
The programme of Aksioma Institute is supported by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana.
Sponsor: Datacenter d.o.o.

The project was conceived as part of the ARSCOPE project (Art-Science Co-OPeration Environment), which is co-funded by the EU Programme for Culture and which is carried out in partnership between TAKOMAT (Germany), CIANT (the Czech Republic) and AKSIOMA (Slovenia).

Aksioma - Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana

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About the author
Maja Smrekar was born 1978 in Slovenia, 2005 graduated at the Sculpture Department of Fine Art Academy in Ljubljana, currently finishing MA at the New Media Department. Her main interest is based at the phenomenology of perception which she first started reseraching through space phenomena by composing live video among various collaborations in interactive sound/visual projects with other artists. Her main artistic focus remains at the intermedia art field. Among others, she has been collaborating with Kapelica Gallery in Ljubljana for the last five years and with Aksioma Institute for the last two years. Under their production she has executed projects within which she was researching frequency phenomena through biofeedback and thelematic presence in relations to body, privacy and (inter)subjective perception of space. During the last two years she has been developing projects within the field of bioart with focus on living organisms. In 2010 she organised International Festival HAIP10/New Nature which has been focussed to interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration ethics between scientists and artists. The festival took place at Multimedia Centre Cyberpipe in Ljubljana where she has been active as an artistic director for two years. Maja Smrekar currently lives and works in Ljubljana, Slovenia.