Marko Peljhan A native of Slovenia and a theatre and radio director by profession, Peljhan founded the arts and technology organization Projekt Atol in the early 90’s and cofounded one of the first media labs in Eastern Europe, LJUDMILA in 1995. In the same year, the founded the technology branch of Projekt Atol called PACT SYSTEMS where he developed one of the first Global Positioning Systems based participatory networked mapping projects, the Urban Colonisation and Orientation Gear 144. He has been working on the Makrolab, a unique project that focuses on telecommunications, migrations and weather systems research in an intersection of art and science from 1997-2007, the Interpolar Transnational Art Science Constellation during the International Polar Year (project 417) and is currently coordinating the Arctic Perspective Initiative art/science/tactical media project focused on the global significance of the Arctic geopolitical, natural and cultural spheres with Matthew Biederman. Peljhan has also been the flight director of ten art/science parabolic experimental flights in collaboration with the Microgravity Interdisciplinary Research initiative and the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre, creating conditions for artists to work in alternating gravity conditions. He is the recipient of many prizes for his work, including the 2001 Golden Nica Prize at Ars Electronica together with Carsten Nicolai for their work, polar, and the UNESCO Digital Media Prize for Makrolab in 2004. During 2008, Peljhan was appointed as one of the European Union Ambassadors of Intercultural dialogue. His work was exhibited internationally at multiple biennales and festivals (Venice, Gwangju, Brussels, Manifesta, Johannesburg, Kassel), at the documenta X in Kassel, several ISEA exhibitions, several Ars Electronica presentations and major museums, such as the P.S.1 MOMA, New Museum of Contemporary Art, ICC NTT Tokyo, YCAM Yamaguchi and others. In 2007 he was the featured artist of Ars Electronica. From 2009 on he is the one of the series editors of the Arctic Perspective Cahiers series (Hatje Cantz). In 2010 he has helped spearhead the founding of the SPACE-SI, the center of excellence for space sciences and technologies and has been closely associated with the Cultural Center of European Space Technologies in Slovenia. He also serves as a board member of the European Space Agency topical team Art Science. He holds joint appointments with the Department of Art and the Media Arts & Technology graduate program at the University of California Santa Barbara and was appointed as Co-Director of the UC Institute for Research in the Arts in 2009, where he is coordinating the art/science Integrative methodologies initiative..
Free Enterprise is organized by UCR ARTSblock at University of California, Riverside. It will be presented in all of its three venues in downtown Riverside: California Museum of Photography, Culver Center of the Arts, and Sweeney Art Gallery, encompassing approximately 8,600 square feet of gallery space. The exhibition is co-curated by Tyler Stallings, Artistic Director of the Culver Center of the Arts and Director of Sweeney Art Gallery at University of California, Riverside, and by Marko Peljhan, Associate Professor of Art and Media Arts and Technology at University of California, Santa Barbara.
Major support is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, University of California Institute for Research in the Arts, Projekt Atol, C-Astral, Republic of Slovenia – Ministry of Education Science Culture and Sport, City of Ljubljana Cultural Department, Moderna Galerija Ljubljana, French-American Cultural Exchange Program, City of Riverside, and UCR College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Wendy Brown, Annick Bureaud, Greg Esser, Roger Malina, Azure Carter & Alan Sondheim, Dragan Živadinov, Miha Turšič, and Dunja Zupančič have provided individual in-kind support.
The exhibition is officially endorsed by The International Astronautical Federation Technical Activities Committee for the Cultural Utilization of Space (ITACCUS) and is part of Arizona State University’s Desert Initiative:Desert One program.