How do you describe a musician that plays over 30 instruments and in order to get feedback from his audience “locked the room, didn’t let anyone out, and then just made big noise”. Nothing fancy you think? But what if the person telling you this with a smile is also an engineer and an official employee of the ministry of culture of his home republic of Slovenia? We think it is best to try to stay as close as possible to the core: Peter Tomaž Dobrila is an electronic and information technology engineer as well as a musician who focuses on the creative use of the new technologies. Yet what he told us during our extensive conversation stretches way beyond his artistic practice right into the heart of some of the most relevant challenges we see in our global village.
And Peter Tomaž Dobrila offers some solutions too. One of his answers is collaboration and cooperation. His collaborative journey started when his country was still called Yugoslavia. He was then a member of the Slovenian avant-garde movement and participated in the first independent record label in Yugoslavia where he soon learned how impossible it is to create when networks get destroyed: “The split of Yugoslavia cruelly and clearly divided us, because at that point we were completely passive for a couple of years. It was impossible to work on anything as all the connections were cut and lost.” A couple of years later Peter Tomaž Dobrila used his experience to establish “the Multimedia Center KIBLA, which was the first multimedia center in Europe and is still the biggest in Slovenia or Ex-Yugoslavia. KIBLA is a production space with many facilities and know-how. Besides being a technological platform it is also a creative environment, where human interaction and support from the whole team is of most importance.” For him “really important and also very necessary is to establish a common platform or common identities. Indeed, there is always the thing that the situation you are in, that you’re living, that you’re surviving somehow builds you, somehow obstructs you, and somehow shapes you in a way you really want to respond to.” For Peter Tomaž Dobrila the most successful periods in history were those in which scientists and artists shared ideas and collaborated in searching for common ground and adds “in political terms we have position and we have opposition. On the artistic level, we have composition. We should try to get composition, position and opposition try to work together, and to involve what’s needed for the survival of our society, from the tiniest elements, to incorporate all little ideas and each and every human.
A Piece Of The Sky by Byzantine Cadillac
To get there a key ingredient for Peter Tomaž Dobrila is experimentation and what he refers to as the “DIY” [Do It Yourself] principle. For him “lots of things became too predictable, everything must be planned… I think that the first point in the artistic practice should still be experiments. I am still experimenting.” For him this is particularly relevant when dealing with restrictions: “once you are doing art, you can’t be free in relation to the tools that you are having, because you are somehow limited with them or by using computer, visual art tools or musical instruments or whatever. By experimenting, you can learn and you can get more out of them, as you are trying to find some ways that are not presented in the first trial, but you have to find the ways by yourself. […] I think experiment could be somehow a synonym for freedom. Freedom could be just “form without a cause” or “form without the content”, but experiment is a “form with the content”, because it demands some attitudes or views of the environment. I think freedom is maybe a too loose expression to somehow grasp the excitement of experiment. Experiment has its aim. Freedom is somehow aimless in a way. So with experiment you can also discover some new parts in space.”
For Peter Tomaž Dobrila the lack of experiments represents also a “problem of the contemporary society” where the “economical pragmatism somehow suffocated all other parts of the human activities. So the pragmatism suffocated experiment, because of the sum goals and the sum results. We are speaking not in quality measures but in quantity measures.“ According to Peter Tomaž Dobrila great art is produced when attention is put on context, concept and content. This translates into his vision of a better society where an organizations’ purpose and its products are deeply embedded into their societal context: “What is now fragmented should be more connected. […] We have now good products, so we can be good customers. If we had excellent products, we could be excellent customers and so on. I think business people should therefore invest in the society as a whole, because by educating and investing in society, they will also be able to growing their customer base for their products.
What sounds utopian is maybe not when we reflect on how quickly things change if we look from a distance–or to quote Peter Tomaž Dobrila once more: “We were still doing cassettes; you know the small things, probably almost not used anymore”.
Read the full interview here.
Violin Case by Byzantine Cadillac
Earth Water Catalogue is an artistic initiative to raise awareness, enhance understanding and appreciation of, and respect for water – in people of plenty, and for those in need – by addressing the ethics through aesthetics of this fundamental planetary asset.
Peter, apart from his musical endeavors, and amongst other things participated in this very necessary initiative with a waterfall performance in one of the Ganga tributaries.
Music Source: Peter Tomaž Dobrila / Byzantine Cadillac
A Piece Of The Sky – Byzantine Cadillac, Composition by Cameron Bobro singing, programming, playing assorted instruments;
Peter Tomaž Dobrila playing Turkish Oud, Sound engineer: Cameron Bobro
Violin Case -Byzantine Cadillac – Composition by Cameron Bobro singing, programming, playing assorted instruments; Peter Tomaž Dobrila playing Turkish Oud, Sound engineer: Cameron Bobro