OKOLO OFFLINE at Depot Basel

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“The World Wide Web turns 25 years old this year. Not such a long time ago, nobody could have imagined, that as a blogger – as a single person – one could reach a large audience, having thousands and thousands of followers.

Blogs enable individuals or groups to position themselves as journalists, researchers or collectors. Many bloggers act independently and fulfil a variety of functions, for which a printed publication would need to employ writers, graphic designers, producers, lectors and editors-in-chief. As opposed to commercial magazines or their sponsors, institutions and their lobbyists or their obligatory print runs, Bloggers do not need to account for their content. While several blogs foreground a neutral perspective, most are appointed to personal fondnesses, originating from their creators’ aesthetic affinities and referencing an effigy of their work. Blogs often serve as an attempt to create a visual order – they gather impulsive image-selections and manifest an intuitive act of collecting. They resemble historical cabinets of curiosity from the 17th century, which were filled by travellers. Blogs also imply that their author is connected to particular surroundings, in which he supposedly moves physically just as virtuous as he does digitally; Blogs create an illustrated world, a suggestive reality.

Browsing through okoloweb.cz, one finds odd, remarkable, beautiful things and their histories, which often had been forgotten for a while. There is both, graphic material that was found and assembled by the bloggers, but also their own material about architecture, fashion, furniture and products from the past and the contemporary. The visual appearance of the captured object is important to Okolo; the texts, which accompany the articles, are short, descriptive and contain the most important background information about the many images. Okolo-Collective discovers, selects, researches, detects, photographs and eventually transforms something real into something digital. Selecting with an aesthetic comprehension, following their personal bias, skilled as graphic designers, journalists, curators, and networked in the scene of design, the bloggers generate new visual coherency. They reproduce and interpret, they render access and cross-link. Information for everybody; adventures via mouse clicks.

Yet, is the experience of information and the aesthetic sensation of scrolling down a website comparable to an experience of the same things once they are represented in a space, instead of the web? How relevant is the option to see objects in a multi-dimensional context, being able to observe them from all perspectives? Do digital texts work the same way, once they are printed on paper? Or does the brief information about an image in the web suddenly turn into a meaningless smattering? How sustainable is the curiosity, triggered in the web? Does it encourage to do more research, or does it vanish as quick as one browses the next web-page? Do online archives and documentations have the same value, a similar relevance and an equally sustainable stability as physical conservation methods? Does the internet spare us the walk to a museum?

Ask yourself these questions while walking through the exhibition. OKOLO and DEPOT BASEL transformed 25 blog posts from digital to analogue – 1:1 and without an equivalent adaption. 25 announcements, 25 objects. A radical selection of material that has been collected and added almost every day for the past 5 years; a tiny extraction of okoloweb.cz’s digital storage of information and images. Nevertheless: What only takes seconds of scrolling in the WWW and presumably carries no weight because of its large amounts of megabytes, suddenly turns into a significant matter, once it is represented in a space.

The World Wide Web – meanwhile having been declared dead several times – has not all completed its development and still offers creators, such as Okolo, continuously new potential. What kind of opportunities will emerge for bloggers, such as the Czech collective, in order to transfer physical into digital material, rendering it distinguishable for the internet? For the time being, Okolo decided to employ the medium of video, as to exhibit historical objects online in the most suitable way. Soon they are planning to create an ‘almost realistically accessible’ collection, in which the objects’ proportions and perspectives are more explicit. The first three videos of this series, titled ‘Minute’, will be launched at Depot Basel.

Perhaps, in some years, we might be able to smell things online; in Spike Jonze movie ‘Her‘ the protagonist falls in love with his operation system. Visions? Yes, and not too far away. Especially since many of us sit in front of a digital work space, satisfying the lust for life with ‘digitally suggested realities’, in order to avoid missing something. But the ‘real’ adventures pass by behind the office window. Today and in the future, it could be nice, if the observation of an object in the internet would generate a desire to touch it or to lift it – if it could cause the interest to learn more about it in a book. Fortunately for all of those who will not disengage themselves from the screen, but who still do not want to miss anything either, there are people like the creators of Okolo. They travel the world for us, they search for artefacts, which should not be forgotten, and for objects of cultural value, which are still unknown, in order to present them online and to offer a perception that is as close as possible to the original. Photos: Gregor Brändli. depotbasel.ch

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Nun

Published on 8 March 2012

This object is a shade for one of the lamps which you could see at our Light Sculptures exhibition that opened in March 2012 at DOX by Qubus concept store in Prague. We found this component in the studio of our friend, designer, collector and big design enthusiast Jan Jaroš who runs the Prague-based Cohn auction house and distributes Czech vintage design. This shade is from 1963 and was designed by Josef Hůrka, creative director of NAPAKO lighting company. His ‘Nun lamp’ is one of the most elegant design from the 1960s and its simple steel shade documents Hůrka’s formal skills.

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Safari Legend

Published on 29 August 2010

Piloted by Jürgen Maltens, editor-in-chief of Motor Klassik magazine, Volkswagen Iltis was one of the most original cars on the route of the traditional veteran Sachsen Classic Rally in 2010. The robust, originally military vehicle for the German forces, Iltis, was produced by the company between 1978 and 1988. This custom modified model with the famous number 137 was a Paris-Dakar rally winner in 1980. The car developed specially in collaboration with Audi was driven by Freddy Kottulinsky and Gerd Löffelmann.

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Our New Rules

Published on 7 March 2013


The objects we use for our precise desktop work include Johann Faber Goldfaber vintage pencils, an Artek ruler, a Balata ruler for Kukka designed by Bet-Melacha, Camel MINI pencils, a L. & C. Hardtmuth vintage pencil and a series of vintage triangles from Liguria.

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How to Use a Comb by Carl Auböck

Published on 22 November 2012


Our friend Matylda Krzykowski has taught us how to use her unique Carl Auböck comb from the 1960s. In 2012 Matylda prepared a project with a Vienna-based producer of horn products and brush manufacturer to create a collection of elegant brushes during the Passionswege at Vienna Design Festival 2012. In her research, she discovered horn products from Carl Auböck, modernist designer and producer of accessories, furniture, lighting and many other things. In 2013, we met Matylda in Tel Aviv with this amazing 1960s vintage Auböck comb made out of horn in her pocket. Timeless form and unique material is presented in the small design treasure, documenting typical post-war Auböck’s style based on free-form shapes and precise decorative language.

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Recent Japanese Inspiration

Published on 14 January 2012

Our inspirational selection of Japanese products and more:

A1 Architects Contemporary: Japanese architecture is very powerful today. Czech studio A1 Architects is also influenced by the Japanese architectural environment. One of their most well-known projects is the Hut tea house in Ostrava, which illustrates some of the main ideas of Japanese architecture: minimalist space, craft work, traditional rituals and materials.”

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