Damir Očko was born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1977, where he currently lives and works. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 2003 and since has had artist residencies all over the world, most recently in Norway, Ireland and Germany.
Očko has been involved in a variety of projects including the remarkable The Kingdom of Glottis exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris in 2012. Another of his more notable shows has been his representation of Croatia at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, with a solo show entitled “Studies on Shivering: The Third Degree”, curated by Marc Mebmbekoff. Damir Očko continues this exploration of the twists and turns of language and the ways in which speech can be poetically generated by the neurophysiologic system, as well as the potential in subjects in terms of conceptual and concrete attitudes toward spatial placement.
Očko investigates language as expressed in sound and voice and that resonance within visual images through the medium of music, film, poetry and two- dimensional objects.
His practice involves film, collage, photography, installation and artists books, which all work in between the edges of reality and fiction, whilst maintaining a critical distance from them. “What I try to do is to better understand the ways of listening and looking, and how this intensity emerges… a cinematic intensity, when image and sound are working as a dense harmony,” Očko has stated in regard to his practice.
Inspired by the likes of John Cage and Edgar Varese, Očko’s practice drives toward a primal sound that has both poetic and political ramifications. Očko, who was born into a period of major political transitioning continuously associates his work with the turmoil of international politics and the dissolution of Yugoslavia. The influence of Orwell’s 1984 on Očko is clear. Orwell’s Newspeak B vocabulary consists of words deliberately constructed for political purposes welded together in an easily pronounceable form. Damir Očko propounds this mindset throughout his projects.