!brute_force. September, 2020


Maja Smrekar, art piece.
!brute_force by Maja Smrekar*

What can people learn from animals? How can we have a more respectful and loving relationship with all of them? What is the role of technology in this relationship between humans and animals? Can it help us to improve the way we relate with other species? And, more specifically, can artificial intelligence help develop our empathy and connection with non-human beings?

!brute_force is a project by Slovenian artist Maja Smrekar that reflects on the possibilities, regulated by technology, of a real but also poetic meeting between a human and a dog.

Placed in a labyrinth, the artist and the dog set out to find each other. An artificial intelligence organizes and reorganizes this structure according to their heart rhythms; only when their hearts are synchronized is confluence between the two possible.

In this way !brute_force takes a new look at the dynamics of human domination and oppression of animals and nature, and the crucial role of technology in a possible reunion.

At the same time, !brute_force highlights the importance of collaborative, transdisciplinary knowledge, based on the concurrence of the fields of neuroscience, philosophy, programming and dog training, among others, to the construction of new imaginaries and ways of inhabiting the world.


I. Click Festival 2019, Helsingor, Denmark (19 May 2019).
II. Ars Electronica Festival 2019, Linz, Austria (September 5 to 9, 2019).
III. Kapelica Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia (December 2019).
IV. Click Festival 2020, Helsingor, Denmark (May 2020).
PREMIERE: Ars Electronica Festival 2020, Linz, Austria (September 2020).


Maja Smrekar‘s (SI)  work has been established in the international art and science milieu. Grounded in sculpture and contemporary arts, her practice has allowed her to lead strong collaborations in developing cross-conceptual productions that include installations, performances, site-specific art, drawings, videos, sound, workshops, lectures, talks, and texts. She has been an artistic associate of various production platforms, such as Kapelica Gallery / Kersnikova Institute (SI), The Culture Yard (DK), Aksioma Institute (SI), Quo Artis Foundation (ES), etc. Among other awards Smrekar received the Golden Nica Award in the Hybrid Art category of the Prix Ars Electronica in 2017 and Preseren Foundation Award, the highest national award for artistic achievements in Slovenia in 2018. Smrekar’s work has been exhibited at numerous venues worldwide, among them at art spaces (Kapelica Gallery, SI; Art Laboratory Berlin, DE), festivals (Ars Electronica, AT; Click festival, DK; Transmediale, DE; Rencontres Bandits-Mages, FR), and museums (ZKM Karlsruhe, DE; Het Neuwe Institut, NL; Latvian National Arts Museum, LV; Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, SI).

More info: https://www.majasmrekar.org/



Created by Maja Smrekar (SI)
Produced by Quo Artis Foundation (ES)
Co-produced by Kapelica Gallery / Kersnikova Institute (SI) and The Culture Yard / CLICK Festival (DK)
Partner Ars Electronica (AT)

This project is part of the ‘European ARTificial Intelligence Lab’ initiative and is supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Ljubljana – Department for Culture, Danish Art Council.

AI team: Alen Balja, Miran Lončarič, Naveen Agula in collaboration with Primoz Ravbar (UCSB, USA)

*Photo by Borut Peterlin. Collaborators: Polona Bonač (animal wrangler) with dog Baxus; University of Ljubljana / Faculty of Mechanical Engineering / Laboratory for Machining.