The title of the exhibition Digital Endemics by Jakub Nepraš (1981) comes from botany. The term “endemic” refers to an organism that originates and occurs only in a particular geographical area and nowhere else. It is specific biological “information” of its kind anchored in prehistory or in another time, on the basis of unpredictable changes, which travels across evolution not only as evidence of itself but as a catalyst for processes and events involved in the further development of the whole and connecting the past with the future.
Hypothetical digital endemics, whose existence is toyed with in the concept of the exhibition, may represent differential elements on the technological plane up to the level of self-organised data systems, including AI. Both spheres then have an immediate impact not only on human society, but also on the shape of life in general, and open up a network of questions that, although often not yet voiced, already concern us. These are the questions that interest Jakub Nepraš the most.
The result of his activities are unique visual systems, the creation of which is based on information databases and social processes that he experiences first hand, but above all on the bipolarity of the current situation in which social and natural planetary developments are increasingly diverging. This paradigm underlines the physical form of Nepraš’s data sculptures, the construction of which uses both technology and traditional materials. The result is a unique visual-intellectual concentrate, a multifaceted instrument with outstanding associative acceleration – an endemic.
Also, in keeping with the nature of endemics, his objects have a certain isolation encoded within them, while at the same time it is clear that they have not been created out of nothing. They speak out on an issue that is alive and they have the possibility to influence it. In this way, they – like their real-world prototypes – already take on meaning. Something else that might engage them is the search for a symbiosis between the agents of natural and digital evolution. By drawing attention to the problematic aspects of our existence in the spirit of commentary, they become filters that can help us resolve such matters on a personal level and deflect dangerous realities. At the same time, through interaction, they continue to branch out and form a new evolutionary stage.