The intertwining of fine arts with old knowledge and mystical rites is nothing new. The beginnings of art are tied to ritual; the phenomenon of the fine artist as a shaman is an unavoidable experience of contemporary art… Nevertheless, in recent years there has been a noticeable interest of artists in the spiritual spheres. Jeremy Shaw, Ernesto Neto are just some of the successful ones who deal with special sensory experiences or altered states of consciousness, and they have long been established there, such as Marina Abramović who has always believed in the connection between art and the spiritual, but without hesitation introduces audiences. into various forms of meditation. Interest in higher states of consciousness and different knowledge is considered by many to be a universal human need, and is especially relevant today and not only in art.

Vice Guru is elaborative art project in the media of alternative science because alternative science is the form of contemporary art.  I took a role of New Age guru during one year period, and surprisingly lot of people thought I helped them. I was the director of Basma - Institute of Complementary Medicine and Holistic Energetic Healing, which was actually exhibition/performance/mas media project. I pretended to take seriously some of the basic principles and procedures of alternative teachings such as the homeopathic principle of dilution or memory of water, movement and transformation of orgone energy, the theory of vibrations of morphic fields, methods of spiritual healing, the principle of sacred geometry, and more so, I perfected the field with the help of new technology.

Scientifically unverifiable areas of the reality are vast areas in which everything is possible. Arta and pseudoscience use this potential to create virtual values ​​that are relatively easy to monetize, it is only necessary to know how to place "product" on the needy consumers. I'm even tempted to believe that contemporary art is just another cult, or even a religion, but with this works I do not want to problematize this hypothesis, at least not directly.

Through my installation of installations, I studiously explored the mechanisms by which various spiritual teachings and wellbeing practices address the audience, recognizing their preference for scientific terms, analytical explanations, extensive facts, trust in the character of teachers / gurus ... Sometimes it is enough to just change the name methods or is subsumed under a close, broader term so that we approach it with more confidence (lithotherapy sounds more serious than the thought of crystal healing, epigenetics than the energy of thought ). Alternative teachings are often based on principles founded by scientists or scientific heretics (biologist Rupert Shaldrake is the creator of the theory of morphic fields; we owe Wilhelm Reich the name of orgone energy); some may have been studied by artists (Leonardo da Vinci study of sacred geometry)… Nevertheless, these are scientifically unfounded theories and cognitions. Today, certain methods of alternative treatment have fought for a position on the side of legitimate, so-called complementary medical teachings. The paradox is that they were initially accepted as an alternative to expensive, medical treatment and pharmaceutical dominance, and today they themselves have become part of an expansive industry. In describing their effectiveness, the lack of harmful consequences seems to be a key fact (!), Although it would be worth considering it more thoroughly. It is precisely the contemporary phenomenon of social acceptance and the spread of interest in various alternative teachings and knowledge that is the main theme of Vice Guru project.

 

While building the work, I applied a vocabulary identical to the world of the spiritual industries. Accepting the rules of the game, I immersed myself in specific knowledge and information, demonstrating my own research through graphs and exhibits, building collections and new useful products such as the idea of ​​morphogenic improvement of the city of Split / Zagreb area. The presented world of the Vice Guru's teaching tries not to be a depiction of a distant, fantastic world of alternatives, because it has long been perceived as real and very serious. The full discourse goes a step further and wants to convince the observer of the authenticity of the presented techniques as part of his own spiritual practice, thus adhering to the concept of exposing the so-called mockumenatary and transmedia storytelling techniques. After presenting the Basma Institute exhibitions in Split and Zagreb as pharmacies, I had a big interview for the biggest Dalmatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija, and Vice Guru was on the full cover of the printed edition. Then the hysteria happened, and I realized I went too far. Spreading the story to other media platforms aims at the persuasiveness of the fictional line by adapting to different communication channels as well as the game of pretending that the story belongs to reality. In addition to creating the character of a successful guru on Instagram, I supported my presentation with gallery mimesis, encouraging public to think about what we build trust in the knowledge offered to us and which sources we trust. Is it because we are offered information from the platform of media information services, social networks or is it a work of art as part of a museum collection or gallery exhibition? 

(derivated from the "Spiritual Practice" exhibition foreword by Jasna Gluic)