TPT 2009 text: Katarína Gatialová

Katarína Gatialová
Curator of the Trnava Poster Triennial 2009 B category.

Source: catalogue TPT 2009

An ongoing critical discussion on gallery presenting of the street medium – a poster has not faded out yet, and we are already witnessing another “outraging” dash. We are now collecting and presenting websites, those same sites you can surf through at home in your browsers. Design of websites is a new competition category at the Trnava Poster Triennial.

This change in the structure of the triennial is not to be understood as a belated response to a swift development of digital communication media, nor hallowing the everyday virtual reality on the grounds of an art institution. What we are aiming at, is to check the functioning of respective design media in various contexts and point out the printing vs. digital media relationship issues. Websites are being rated online everyday and there has already arisen the need of preserving the form of digital cultural heritage. We are looking for vintage classics from a decade ago and oft en have to mourn over the loss of millions of websites. Therefore, broadening our biggest local graphical design show is more than legitimate. However, the contest of presented websites in the context of the poster exhibition is still rather experimental. Its particularity is linking digital and classic printing media and their joint presentation.

It is an interesting coincidence, that the first website was published online in the same year as the fi rst triennial exhibition took place. In the course of 18 years, digital medium has marked probably the most radical advancement in the history of visual arts. Internet historians are already writing about four generations of websites. The Internet responds to all cultural spheres and independently cultivates them into a parallel simulacrum existence.

Surely, it is not possible to give a good account of all kinds of websites at a single graphic design exhibition; hence what we have chosen from the “virtual jungle” is infl uenced by a traditional medium, a poster, and its initial purpose – ideas promotion. Only websites promoting or informing about individuals, organizations, products or events were allowed to participate in the B category of Trnava Poster Triennial. Sites belong to the area of fi ne arts are not taking part in the contest. Also, only websites that are not being dynamically changed by random users were selected to participate in the competition, meaning that site’s content may only be modifi ed by an author or administrator. This condition had eliminated blogs, discussion forums, social portals and online periodicals. Characterization of the B category is however still open and rules of the competition can change according to the experience from its fi rst opening year.

Is it even possible to exhibit websites in a gallery? This question emerges when we realize that displaying of posters is a gathering of works from many places at a single gallery, whereas in case of websites it is quite an opposite – they expand into open space. Parallel presentation of websites may bring an altogether new experience, diff erent from what we get from our screens.

In this year of triennial we are proudly presenting forty websites, mostly portfolios of studios and individuals that have been selected out of many by the international jury.