HoopUp - Research

The HoopUp research segment is part of Violeta Vojvodic Balaz (Urtica) PhD theses "Dialectics of communication" (under construction). The HoopUp project is an aesthetic-communication experiment focused on the meaning and social impact of the artistic message. Built upon the basic postulates of information and system theories, http://hoopup.net engine logic is driven by users' creative inputs―their personal epistemologies (an aesthetic formation of information in a form of symblic interface) and the cognitive constellations created among them (micro-narratives).

Social context:

The cultural information shapes society and triggers the movements which cause changes in nature, social sphere, or our private relations. Nowadays we are affected by social networks-inflamed uprisings, data overload, fast-consuming, simplified and often trivialised information that dominates Internet communication. But what about the art message, how we communicate it today? How deeply and broadly can artistic ‘subversion’ or ‘correction’ penetrate and effect change in society?

HoopUp Pattern:

Phonetically expressive neologism "HoopUp" consists of a noun "hoop” (circle, ring) and a verb "up" (do something). HoopUp means Do something in a circle, analogue to a tasks "create a message in the circle" (creation of an individual messages by students during the workshop) and "make a semantic circles" (their group work at http://hoopup.net and formation of constellations and circular installation). The HoopUp methodology renders social organism into symbolic-projections, it is an epistemological quest for the pattern that connects―"never quantities, always shapes, forms, and relations" (Bateson).


The hands-on participatory methodology is built upon the didactic and management experience gained through the development of Urtica’s art project Social Engine 2004-2008 (developed in cooperation with Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen, Austria). The HoopUp methodology interweave educational and artistic aspects into one integral operational process. An internal structure follows the life cycle of an art message: starting from Urtica’s didactic approach based on the symbolic game (a way of social learning through which one assimilate reality according to his/her needs without fear of ostracism); via interaction and symbols creation during workshop; to upload and critical analyses of art messages within context of HoopUp online tool. In that way creative products of micro communities (separate workshops) become connected in time through virtual environment (web tool) into macro picture of creative art processes and actual social tendencies. HoopUp.net stands for digital inclusion, since it performs like a hub, that hold together a large number of individual inputs. Its hybrid participatory structure interconnects virtual and physical environment, culture and ICT, and have a subversive impact in the sense of interclultural encounter, i.e., meaning that an individual’s initial attitude, biases, and values may change during the interaction with another individual or group coming from a different cultural background. The openness of the HoopUp model challenges Joseph Beuys’ notion of “the social sculpture” (in regard to Web 2.0 development), and his statement “everybody is an artist” rooted in the power of universal human creativity.

HoopUp handbook for students coming up soon