Z. Blace at Telekommunist International, satellite event of Transmediale, Berlin, 26 Feb 2016. Photo: Alp Klanten CC-by-ShareAlike3.0
|Born||Čapljina, SFR Yugoslavia (today Bosnia and Herzegovina)|
|Based in||not really fixed, but often in: Zagreb & Podaca, Croatia; Čapljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Berlin, Germany; Ghent and Brussels, Belgium...for sure mostly online.|
Željko Blaće, b. 1976, Čapljina, SFR Yugoslavia, between Zagreb, Berlin, Brussels, Ghent, Stuttgart, most recently in Rijeka, Split, Ljubljana and family residence in Podaca, but most reliably online as ~Zblace.
...(in+)consistently working (in-)between fields of contemporary culture and arts, digital technology and media, community sports and activism – by cross-pollinating queer/commoning perspectives and embodied experiences with thinking and doing methods across different networks and contexts...
He studied at Fine Arts Academies in Zagreb (Croatia) and Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), also briefly with Keiko Sei & Vasulkas (FaVU, Brno/Czech Republic) and Nan Hoover (Summer Academy Salzburg, Austria).
Blace has been active in Croatia's new media culture scene since 1996, originally as web designer, artist and journalist - and soon also in roles of organizer, researcher and curator (with)in several media culture focused NGOs:
- LABinary (1999-2003), as co-editor of printed newsletter and organizer of events new.media.culture.week & ASU2 (with Joanna Richardson)
- radioActive (2000-2002), as web editor, journalist and co-organizer of workshops/productions
- Multimedia Institute (2000-2005 as founding executive, now member), mostly as program/project coordinator in net.culture club MaMa and curator of exhibitions and events.
He was visiting artist/curator-in-residence at Thing.net (NYC), transmediale.de (Berlin) and UCSD.edu (San Diego) where he curated #1 exhibition of CalIT2 Gallery (2006).
As journalist and reporter he contributed to cultural programs of the national radio and TV (programs: Transfer and Triptih), occasionally publishing in IT magazines, more regularly in the cultural newspaper Zarez and on radioActive, Kulturpunkt, ZamirZine and linux.hr magazines and webportals. He advocated for non-profit net projects and worked on strengthening the impact of NGO sector on Croatian netspace (both in terms of infrastructure and legislation) in LastTuesday events and other initiatives.
He spent most of the 2007-2011 in the Netherlands as researcher in programs of Akademie JANvanEYCK.nl and phdArts.eu, as well as artist in residence at PartchingZone.nl and Roodkapje.nl in Rotterdam. He contributed to worksessions of ConstantVzw.org with f0.am, Beursschouwburg.be, and jointly with TeleKommunisten.net also at transmediale.de
Blace exhibited, presented and participated as visual and media artist/activist, as speaker/presenter at several international events (including Ars Electronica Festival, Net Congestion, Next 5 Minutes 4 (on editorial board), PingInProgress, NC48 - Graz, Money Nations II..). Since 2000 he works actively as a networker internationaly and has been (co-)organizing international events in Croatia: Art Servers Unlimited 2 (Labin, Sep 2001), new.media.culture.week Critical Upgrade! (Zagreb, May 2002) and tactical media events towards Next 5 Minutes 4 (Dubrovnik, May 2003; Vis, August 2003). He initiated Croatian media-art-hr and regional nettime-see mailing lists. In 2003 Blace established a.network, a co-ordination/production platform of regional media labs/centers, groups and individuals with mission to present new media culture and production in the South-East Europe.
on Digital Commons
As of late 90s Blaće was involved with advocacy, promotion, research, deployment and education on digital commons. Primarily over FLOSS (Free/Libre/Open Source Software) work, but also web services and standards, open content, generative and tactical media.
Aside from being an early adopter for few technologies and methods, he was organizing LastTuesday events in Zagreb for critical discussions on IT, wrote for Linux.hr and major printed IT magazines. He advocated Wikis and contributed to development, deployment, education and promotion of TamTam a Wiki system developed in mi2 lab/mama context where he was web designer, editor and educator.
He co-organized Croatian Blender and Drupal user groups, curated exhibition CreativeClusters on FLOSS creative media tools and communities (PureData, Blender and Processing). He is busy with methods, creative and critical/non-conventional uses, developments and deployments of technology with ConstantVzw.org and sporadically with Telekommunisten.net, Ljudmila.org and Queer.Haus.
As an early BeOS promoter, he is advocating for Haiku OS, its free software *(queer) reincarnation, as well as again enthusiastic over participatory Wikis, free Commons and open Data in the time when corporate social media popularity is finally massively questioned and in decline. Blace was first Wikimedian-in-Residence in Croatia and initiator of several groups and activities in the Wikimedia ecosystem, art, activism and beyond (like NotFoundON.org).
- 2020 publication of web exhibition DiVersions
As of 2005 Blace worked actively on #QueerSport (after initial engagement with LGBT sports in 2002), organizing and instigating sport and recreation activities, later promotional and discursive community events and projects, as well as presented and published on LGBT+/Queer realities in sport. In 2006 Blace co-founded http://www.qSPORT.info/, a queer society for sport and recreation.
In 2012 qSPORT and collaborators hosted seminal conference in South East Europe http://split-2012.qSPORT.info with EGLSG and Council of Europe with support of Heinrich Boell Schtiftung.
Blace works across art/cultural and social/political axis of sport in collaborative projects under http://www.QueerSport.info. This includes co-founding the sport-culture-activism initiatives ccSPORT in Berlin/Germany in 2016 as part of producing exhibition and program Contesting/Contexting SPORT 2016 https://archiv.ngbk.de/en/projekte/contesting-contexting-sport-2016/
2014 to 2017 engagements include: Pop-up Rainbow intervention in swimming race with ToolsForAction.net, Kickertables with TimeLab.org, ConstantVzw.org, Entorse.org & Recommerce/Bains.be, but also Queering Sports session at VanAbbemuseum.nl, wkv-Stuttgart.de and camp/lab activities at Timelab in Ghent (BE) and PROGR in Bern (CH).
Blace initaited and co-organized 2018-2019 Erasmus+ research and production project with BEYOND BINARIES examining the spectrum of Masculinity-Femininity / Hetero-Homo normativity in Aquatic sports and Dance with 6 NGOs from the field of LGBTIQ+ sport. https://B2.QueerSport.info/
Currently contributing to educational Erasmus+ project Rainbow Youth for Sporting Equality (RYSE) https://queersport.eu/projects/rainbow-youth-for-sporting-equality/
- "Multimedia Institute (mi2): Zeljko Blace, Marcell Mars & Tomi Medak interviewed by Joanne Richardson", subsol, 2 Apr 2002; repr. in An@rchitexts: Voices from the Global Digital Resistance, ed. Joanne Richardson, New York: Autonomedia, 2005.
- Josephine Bosma, "Contesting/Contexting SPORT 2016: Interview with Zeljko Blace", Furtherfield, 31 Aug 2016.
- Camille Francoise Z. Blace & Kristian Benić: building Wikiprojects at the Rijeka City Library (Croatia), IFLA, 6 November 2020.
Presentations, statements, interviews on activist, artistic and research work:
- 2010 short statements for eHrvatska TV show on Sintel third open content animated and first long movie of Blender Foundation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLk3IH4xCz8
- 2019 in coversation with Florian Cramer https://vimeo.com/339132780
- 2019 http://creatingcommons.zhdk.ch/networking-institutions-interview-with-z-blace/
- 2020 https://dorftv.at/video/33557
- Germany 2018-2019, Fellowship (Stipendium) web based media at Akademie Schloss Solitude