Hybrid War: At the Interface of Diplomacy and Art

“These weapons are here to enable the self-defense and secure the territorial integrity of the lake’s inhabitants–a goose and three ducks,” artist Ray Bartkus announced to the participants of the 2015 IPI Salzburg Forum entitled “The Rule of Law and the Laws of War.” “We artists have nothing to do with it and deny all accusations to be involved in this so-called art installation,” he said.

At the annual IPI high-level event in Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg, Austria, which took place from September 6-9, 2015, participants reflected on the theme of the conference against the backdrop of a world in the midst of turbulent change. In his installation entitled “Hybrid War,” artist Ray Bartkus created a different kind of reflection using the placid surface of the lake and the natural backdrop of the surrounding park, mountains and picturesque Rococo Palais. Each day, additional elements of military hardware (a periscope, artillery cannons, the turret of a tank and missile defense launcher) emerged from the water. In this way,“Hybrid War” is literally, a reflection on modern warfare, characterized by a high degree of uncertainty, elements of surprise, symmetry and asymmetry.

Ray Bartkus’ art has been seen by millions through his award-winning editorial illustration work for a number of publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, Harper’s, Billboard, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and many others. Last year, Mr. Bartkus, a native of Lithuania, had exhibitions in Salle des Pas Perdus at the UN in Geneva, at Neon Gallery, at the Wroclaw Academy of Arts in Wroclaw and at Titanikas Gallery at the Vilnius Art Academy. Later this year, an installation will be unveiled at the UN in New York.