0arankindfer3.jpgI just realized today that although my stay in Zurich for the Digital Art Weeks last month was super short, there's still a couple of links and projects i'd like to share with you. High on the list is the paper DIY: The Militant Embrace of Technology that documentary director, independent curator and new media artist Marcin Ramocki presented during the DAW symposium.

Marcin sees his paper as an attempt to clarify some of the theoretical issues sparked by 8 BIT, a documentary about art and video games which he created together with Justin Strawhand.

His expose dealt with cultural practices involving the subversion of consumer technology, be it hardware and software. According to Marcin, if the DIY approach in the field of fine art is almost taken for granted, it is still relatively new in the world of consumer electronics and software design.

The PDF is online, Hurray! So i'll let you enjoy that fun and smart text and will just blog a few links to make the reading easier:

A Hacker Manifesto, by McKenzie Wark.

Artistic critiques of technology:

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Cell phone piano, each key on the keyboard is wired into a key on a phone so as you play, you are dialing

- when artists are actually hackers who break something they
shouldn’t be breaking, like in circuit bending. Paul Slocum’s Dot Matrix printer hacked to be a drum machine or Joe McKay’s cell phone sculptures.

- classical hack such as the early works by Cory Arcangel and Paul Davis opening and reprogramming of a Nintendo game cartridge.

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- structural game works, legal game modifications and machinima. One example of re-dressing the code is SOD, a Castle Wolfenstein modification by JODI.

- re-purposed and prepared hardware such as Study for the Portrait of Internet (Static) in which Lance Wakeling, Ramocki's own Torcito Project, Alex Galloway's Prepared Playstation and Arcangel's Two Projectors, Keystoned.

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Still from a video re-enactment of "E.T."

- remaking of a piece of software (and hardware), mostly retro-engineering and custom electronics. Plus, fake hacker websites, games rewritten from the ground up, alternative browsers and Hollywood movies. E.g minimal re-enactment of ET by Kara Hearn and Jamie Allen's custom 4 bit synthetiser housed in an old cigar box.

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Yop! Another quick one from the RCA exhibition.

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The Octopulse is a cute "alien bagpipe" that allows you to control analogue sound synthesis through unconventional means. The ‘tonetacles’ of the Octopulse react to movement and light, transferring movements into information for an analogue synthesiser to convert into cacophonous noises.0aasoleonein.jpg

The soundscape alters perceptions of what music could be and allows the electronic sounds of a synthesiser to be accessed by anyone.

Video.

A project by Brit Leissler who designed the fun and smart Soles on Ice.

Another project from the RCA Great Exhibition.

90% of children between the age of 8 to 16 years old, have accidentally viewed unwanted websites.
It is becoming popular for parents to set up internet filters (e-mail protection, pop-up blocking and chat room monitoring between others) which block unsuitable violent or adult websites. However, there are still a large number of websites which can easily pass through the filters and allow children to reach unsuitable material.

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Eriko Matsumura's WebFare is the dream tool for parents who want peek into their children's web surfing. The application and product looks like an electric torch that parents can shine onto the computer screen. A halo will unpeel one after the other the websites recently visited by their child. It gives parents a glimpse into their child's interests and surfing habits, rather than restricting their web access. Parents can then choose which topics they may want to discuss. As a result, WEBFARE can help parents to protect their children in their absence.

Images.

0personaldisgust.gifMore projects seen at the RCA Summer Show. Chris Hand has made a fascinating object called 139,590 Devices which challenges designers to turn into objects the names it generates and prints on a piece of paper. Just press the button and on the screen will appear three words whose combination always seem to make perfect sense: wireless road rage communicator, dog-mounted love alarm, gardener's neighbourliness matcher, gps-based group hug finder, peer-to-peer frustration reducer, domestic happiness announcer, pensioner's obsession matcher, community homesickness reflector, etc.

You can't predict which words will come up as the process is random. The only rule is that the first one relates to a technological or social context, the second one to an emotional situation and the last one to a function.

Funny how each time, you can't help imagining an object that does not exist and that you've never heard of. Natural instinct has us fill the gaps between the words.

Chris even designed scenarios and devices for such randomly named objects. One was meant for people living in boring towns. It's a little object that sends you a small electro-shock each time you arrive at a certain location. By passing repeatidly by that point, a pavlovian conditioning takes place and after some time users won't need the device anymore, their heart will start beating as they come near the location and the boring city will be filled by as much thrill-generating places as they wish.

Thought that nothing can beat the Hulger? The Strijk-O-Foon (which i'd roughly translate as Iron-O-Phone) works only for Siemens mobile phones though. Plug the iron, wait for a call (or ring a friend) and get the Strijk-O-Foon experience in its full hot glory.

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A work by Jelle de Bruijn.

Via Squeaky from.

Andrew Doro and Pravin Sathe are working on a series of everyday items that deal with the life embedded within the objects, we buy, use and ultimately discard.

In the second series, Detritus (III - XIV), the artists focused on travel anxiety and created airline sickness bags that breathe when closed but start hyperventilating as soon as they are opened.

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How does Detritus work? "There is a photocell that measures light, it just acts like a switch," explains Pravin Sathe. "When the bag is closed the photocell gets no light. We have it programmed so when there is no light it breathes slowly. When the bag is opened and the photocell receives light, the program tells it to breathe fast. The "breathing" is caused by a servo motor with two strings on either end attached to the side of the bags."

The objects comment on "ubiquitous computing", which promises to animate household items. In this case, items which do not appear to be computerized, particularly not for any practical purpose.

There's also the fear that ubiquitous computing can be harnessed to develop Improvised Explosive Devices and lead to technological paranoia. The artists hope to append their own ideas to ubiquitous computing reaching outside its helpful or nefarious aims into something more amorphous and ask the question: "Do inanimate objects have a life?" (more)

The next series the duo is working on are umbrellas that "breathe" as more carbon dixodie is added to the room (ie, more people in the room, the more an umbrella opens, the less people the less it opens).

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