In 2007 three Slovenian artists legally changed their names to Janez Jansa, the Prime Minister of Slovenia at the time, and known to be an extremely aggressive right wing politician. The act was that of a critical gesture made towards the state. With the change their previous artistic identities were dissolved and now their only web presence can be found under Janez Jansa. The exhibition ‘NAME Readymade’ at Location One gallery in 2009 presented the official act of the name changing displaying documents such as ID cards, passports, bank cards taken from the new reality the artists had created.
As part of transmediale 2008 the artists used digital technology in a performance called ‘Signature Event Context’, in which they walked steadily chanting “My name is Janez Jansa” in a charted pattern at the Memorial for Murdered jews in Berlin. If the viewer logged onto their website or watched the satellite image of the performance they would see the name Janez Jansa start to appear on the screen from the GPS technology transmitted by the artists movement to the computer. The artists use this quote from Derrida to describe this work; “By definition a written signature implies the effective or empirical absence of who signed. Nevertheless, it marks and keeps its present state in a present past, which will stay present in the future as well. Thus, a present in general, in the transcendental form of a “quality of the present” (preservation). This general preservation is somehow linked to the present punctuality, always evident and unique, in the shape of a signature. That is the mysterious originality of every flourish beneath a signature. In order to connect to the reference, it is necessary to keep the complete singularity of the event of the signature and of its shape: the pure reproduction of a pure event.”
Janez Jansa have also been involved in re-enactment of performances. They organised Re:act (www.reakt.org) and re-enacted their own performance ‘Mount Triglav’ after the original was re-interpreted and fetishized by the artists group The Irwin Group. The original performance was inspired by a historical performance of 1968 which initiated the new avant-garde and art activism connected to revolts in Slovenia at the time.
The performance and re-enactment were both also show on Second Life. This reminds me of the work Eva and Franco Mattes, who re-performed the work of seminal performance artists using Second Life. An example of this is the Reenactment of Abramovic and Ulay’s Imponderabilia in 2007. Janez Jansa worked with Eva and Franco Mattes for Re:act, the project based on repeating artistic performances and historical events.