Interactive Art

Anerkennung - Honorary Mentions

Das Vergerät

Boris Petrovsky (DE)


Das Vergerät addresses the relationship between humans and machines, technology as a social construction and its visual, metaphorical and verbal language. Visitors can initiate communication via software; the message is translated by the interconnected blenders, coffee grinders, espresso machines, vacuum cleaners, microwaves, drills, electric toothbrushes, shavers, hair dryers, drying hoods, knives, epilators, knife sharpeners, massage machines, fans, fan heaters, high-pressure cleaners, floor and car polishers, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws etc. and repeated in machine idiom. The strong physical presence of the appliances and their processes triggered by the software lead to the hidden or non-addressed aspects of technology in daily life, which are usually covered up by the fancy, colorful product design of their interface. They transform surroundings and the domestic realm into technotopical spaces. And they become body and speech organ extensions of the “users.”

Das Vergerät (a German neologism) means something like “dis-appliance.” 100 used electric household appliances are interconnected and spatially configured as a meta-machine or meta-appliance or as a model of smart homes. 100 is the average number of appliances found in a middle-class household.

If “users” record an up to ten-second message into a microphone, the appliances repeat it with their noise, or they try to. What sort of understanding is there between men and machine? Is understanding possible? The phrases of the “users” become commands that run the appliances, controlled by the timbre of their voice and the melody of a spoken message and selected by the phonemes. The words and content of a message become a “significant” control without a controllable meaning. At the same time the messages will be repeated by a speech synthesis based on the noise of the appliances. When they start running and repeat the user’s message, it is as if they are confirming a command by repeating it. Then air is mechanically mixed, cut, ground, sucked, compressed, blown, drilled, rolled, stirred up, vibrated, heated up and cooled by the appliances as they consume electricity. The human voice is translated into machine idiom and at the same time “incarnated” by the appliances.

Boris Petrovsky’s work deals with the connections between idea, sign, concept and object in a media-centric world. His objects and installations, which become “processors” of communications, information and their contexts through light, sound and kinetics, are characterized by the investigation of the construction of reality. They are frequently virtually extended or networked across different locations over the Internet. Petrovsky’s art thus invokes a critical state between work, tool and raw material, between chaos, cluster and form, between illusion, manipulation and conspiracy.


Boris Petrovsky

Boris Petrovsky (DE) studied at the University of Fine Arts (HfBK) Hamburg. He lives and works in Konstanz. He received awards at the Prix Ars Electronica 2010 and the Japan Media Arts Festival 2012, exhibited at the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe (ZKM), in the festivals Mikro Makro 2014 and Paranoia 2010, the DEAF Biennale (Dutch Electronic Arts Festival) 2014 in Rotterdam, the Mapping Festival 2011 in Geneva, the Center for International Light Art in Unna 2013 and the Kunstmuseum Celle 2014, Scheinwerfer—Light Art in Germany in the 21st Century. He was represented in the media art collection of the ZKM and in the German National Library in Leipzig.

Programming, interface: Georg Nagel, Nina Martens (

Supported by: MAC Maison des Arts de Créteil (FR), Kunstkommission der Pädagogischen Hochschule Kanton Thurgau (CH)