The CyberBull of Venice


The Belgian artist Hugo Heyrman, also called Dr. Hugo, presented 1997 at the 47th Bienniale in Venice a living bull. He called this genetic sculpture “From Lascaux to CyberBull“, a research on virtual and genetic identity.

In terms of the idea of the Situationist International who believed in changing the society by constructing daily playful situations and according to their art technique “détournement”, which was used to “turning expressions of the system and its media culture against itself”, the Belgian artist created a “genetic sculpture”.

His project on the Venice Bienniale was a collaboration with Charles Francois organized by Lino Polegato, Thomas Büsch from ClubMedia Berlin and Jörg Starke, Stiftung Starke Berlin and was planned to be set up in a real time live Video-conference between Venice-Kassel-Berlin-Brussels and New York. Unfortunatly this “tele-contact between virtual communites” didn´t worked out early time of the internet.

Dr. Hugo, deals on his webside motions of the mind with the transformation of the digital media as well as with the research, theory and experiments on the telematic future of art, the senses and synaesthesia. “Most of my work has to do with contemporary fragility“,  Dr. Hugo says, “The works are ‘ways of seeing’, forms of visual thinking, they make the virtual and mental space of an image real”.

The so called “Cyberbull” was a Beglian Bull called “BBB, Blanc Blue Belge” and brought a certain idea about Belgium: a label of quality and the future.
This animal which is essentially valued as a “mutant”, has been developed entirely in our country. He is totally ‘produced’ and imagined by man. It is not at all a direct product of genetic engineering. Therefore it is in itself the outcome of a futuristic idea: all by himself, he symbolizes the fusion between present, future and past. More than the virtual manipulations on the Internet, he is by his constitution, the true representation of a programmed manipulation at the service of man.

As an exceptional genetic sculpture, partly real and partly virtual,  this image implies the question: what is real in electronic and genetic manipulation? What is true and what is false? What is reality? What is identity? Is this “mutant” still a bull?

From the cave-paintings of Lascaux to the CyberBull, the potential symbolic power of the image of the bull is clearly in close connection with the origins of art history and the history of mankind.

Dr. Hugo and Charles Francois saw themselves a part of the concept of the new mediartist. They explained in their statement 1997 “The concern of artists is no longer the “creation” of art (creating works of art, objects or a style and imposing this style like a mirror of themselves and of the world) but to put communication at the centre of the debate. For contemporary artists, the only tangible reality is no longer situated in the “created” work of art, but at the breast
of the new communication technologies. The concept of the avant-garde implies that new ground is being broken. But in our world, new knowledge is now increasingly more the immaterial territory of the Networks.

The Cyber Bull drawings. A post-ego project, at the 47th Biennale of Venice, Dr. Hugo asked 15 artists to make a drawing of the CyberBull From the cave-paintings of Lascaux to the ‘CyberBull’ now. The potential symbolic power of the image of the bull is clearly in close connection with the origins of art history.

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