Norbert Bayer | 白宁瑞

Fabrizio Bianchi: Modern Mosaics


by Fabrizio Bianchi


In his latest art project Norbert Bayer is trying to find out how time and space manifest in our daily lives.

At a first glance the website offers a seemingly accidental collection of patterns: Floral and geometrical, simple and complex, colored and black and white. But next to each pattern you can find a small map on which a specific place is marked with a tiny dot: It is the place where the original to the pattern is located. Where it materializes as a physical object, a permanent mosaic of terracotta or glass.

Bayer’s research in dissertations and personal travel journals extracted patterns that are photographed very rarely. The few times they are, it is mostly in passing, because the interest of art history and travelers seems to focus on representational aspects of the genre. The researchers often ignore frameworks, the backgrounds, and the actual patterns of the mosaics.

Bayer’s designs are variations of these mosaics; he interprets them without betraying their character. Analogue to the monitor’s surface they are pixilated, but not exclusively for technical reasons: The grid gets accentuated. Each element of the mosaic is 2 by 2 pixels in dimension, thus the pixilated image is rather coarse compared to the original. Thus Bayer implies the fact that the originals are raster interpretations of the world, consisting of small stones.

Bayer offers these patterns for download as Modern Mosaic; everybody can load the current pattern as desktop wallpaper. By transferring these mosaics to a pixel image and distributing them via the website, he finally makes them available everywhere, after centuries of being restricted to only one place.
Liberated from their material burden they can now decorate any computer as a virtual image.
Today the computer is the status symbol number one, very much like the villas and churches in which these patterns were displayed originally. The virtual space is often preferred to the concrete space as a place for communication and contemplation and is customized and decorated in the same way.

The partly sweeping patterns don’t cover the whole monitor, but are interrupted by colored areas. Thus a spatial effect is created; corners and edges of a room are visible.
Thus making the desktop wallpapers usable in daily life: Folders can be arranged on the monitor’s surface in a virtual room analogue to a concrete room.

For each month of 2005 a Modern Mosaic is available for downloading. Everybody who downloads the current one every month or subscribes to the e-mail service can go on a diverse trip through Europe’s centuries old musivic tradition and get inspired by the wallpapers. That way Bayer leads the mosaic back to its basic etymologic meaning, deriving from the Greek language, meaning, “consecrated to the muses”.

more texts about Norbert Bayer in English:


Norbert Bayer:
Just what is it that makes it so different, so appealing?

Prof. Dr. Ursula Panhans-Bühler:
Raw Or Cooked: Mister Ministeck’s Pixel Turn

Suzana Sucic:
A Day With Mister Ministeck