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Nicolas Maigret, Drone.2000, 2014. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ


Nicolas Maigret, DRONE.2000, 2014

GAMERZ in Aix-en-Provence is probably the only festival in Europe that doesn't bat an eyelid when an artist proposes to organize a performance in which drones modified to be fairly dumb roam freely and menacingly over a room of spectators. This might not sound scary until you realize that a dumb drone is even more dangerous than a smart drone.

The two UAVs of the DRONE.2000 performance are guided by the simple algorithms of a Roomba robot. Clearly, that's not enough intelligence for them as they bump against the walls, fly far too close to the audience, dart green arrows over the heads and emit a noise that has been amplified to the point of discomfort. This could have ended in tears and bruises (but it didn't.)

The only direct experience most of us have of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) is fairly benign. We know them through hacking, art, cinema or video games. One day, these flying machines will also deliver our parcels, help coordinate firefighting efforts or keep a 'benevolent' eye over sports games. How far should their autonomy and power go? Do we trust them? Do we trust the ones who manufacture and control them?

Drone.2000 is part of a series of works by Nicolas Maigret that reminds us of the military origins and use of technologies that have reached the mainstream. Here, trusting the autonomy of the machine is not only a discursive concept, Maigret writes, but a true experience shared with the audience, triggering off their reactions, tensions and commitment of their bodies in situation of real danger..

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Nicolas Maigret, Drone-2000, 2014. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Nicolas Maigret, Drone.2000, 2014. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

I was in Aix-en-Provence for the opening of the GAMERZ festival but had to leave before the start of the performance so i asked Nicolas Maigret to give us the lowdown on his work:

Bonjour Nicolas! Which model of drone were you using in this performance?

These are Parrot AR.Drone 2.0. The advantage of this model is that it is widely used and very hack-able. A large community is working on hijacking it for different uses. (see: nodecopter = hackathon, ardupilot.com = auto-pilot, copterface = facial recognition ...)
It is not cheap and it is really is somewhere between the toys, the connected object, and the semi-pro equipment.

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Nicolas Maigret, Drone.2000, 2014 (Preparation before the performance.) Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Nicolas Maigret, Drone.2000, 2014 (Preparation before the performance.) Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Nicolas Maigret, Drone.2000, 2014 (Preparation before the performance.) Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

Can you explain how you modified the drone?

The challenge was really to confuse the public, to have it face the autonomy of the machines (in this case flying ones). And add to that a confrontation with instability, fragility, and the potential danger of algorithms that govern the autonomous behavior of these machine.

To do this we have reproduced the primary behaviors of a robot / vacuum cleaner like iRobot Roomba. Which means that the Drone is absolutely not aware of his surroundings, it only knows its height and rotates randomly from time to time when it bumps against an obstacle (walls, etc). We blocked the cameras normally used to stabilize the position, the Drone is literally un-intelligent. He does not know the position of the other drones either.

These changes entail an underlying sense of danger, a sort of sword of Damocles that is quite striking. Especially since these same drones falls down rather frequently (whether there is a public or not).

Each drone is also equipped with vibration sensors under the propellers. These sounds were gradually amplified during the performance, until the beating blades gets a real physical presence. This activates a martial connotation in the brutality of the contemporary sounds - this aspect recalls the sound approaches of the Futurists (or their reactivations such as Jean-Marc Vivenza's Aérobruitisme Dynamique). However, the Futurists harboured a progressive and inclusive form of hope, whereas I believe that we now have a very different rapport, we feel a growing distrust towards the widespread propaganda of technological innovations that have very little in common with yesteryear's myth of progress.

How did the public react? Were they aware of the danger?

Public reactions alternated between discomfort, nervousness, and humor.

The awkward movements of the Drones quickly made the danger tangible. Initially, most of the audience intuitively chose to stand near the walls, on the sides of the room. I think this was the time when anxiety was at its peak. Then people gradually got closer or they sat down around the space. Some even tried to interfere with the flight of these Zombie Drones. Ironically, the walls of the room, which were the places where most people gathered, were also the places where the drones usually fell.

It should be noted that the Drones also intermittently emit a laser target in the shape of a cross towards the public, openly evoking the military and oppressive parallel of this same technology that has quickly been gamified for the general public, in particular with drones plug and play like AR.Drones. (see the project blurb.)

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Nicolas Maigret, Drone.2000, 2014. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Nicolas Maigret, Drone.2000, 2014. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

Drone.2000. i love that name but the 2000 is ironic, right? it makes me think of all those shops called 'Fashion 2000' "Car dealer 2000" in the 1980s and 1990s.

The title is clearly ironic. At least it summons an imaginary future as it existed in the past, especially one related to the autonomous flying objects that we encountered in sci-fi and anticipation literature, film, comics, tv series.

I think there is something of the self-fulfilling prophecy in these generational fantasies inspired by sci-fi, the entertainment industry, and more generally the effect of the zeitgeist. Indeed, entire generations grow up with a common imaginary, whether they are dystopian, critical or not. Later, as they are adults, some mechanically attempt to achieve a more or less faithful realization of that imaginary. (This is also a key point of Jean-Baptiste Bayle's Terminator Studies, or of Nicolas Nova's latest book). I think that's part of what we've been seeing over the last 20 years through a series of gadgets and "innovations", emerging notably from the Californian ideology and more generally from the new ruling class of the engineers.

The title, Drone.2000, conjures the vision of a future that is already gone, that seeks to disrupt the mask of fascination associated with innovation, and that also tends to generate a tension between our aspirations to consume science-fiction artifacts and the ideology they carry.

The term drone crystallizes fairly well this tension between, on the one hand, a fun and fascinating artifact coming from the world of model-making and on the other hand, a new paradigm in the relationship to the "clean and surgical" war (Grégoire Chamayou, Drone Theory) or a probable near future characterized by widespread surveillance and control.

It is for these reasons among others that I wanted to make the Drones completely autonomous and disturbing, a symbolic intersection between these three references.

Merci Nicolas!

Drone.2000 was produced by M2F Créations - Lab GAMERZ, Grégoire Lauvin and Nicolas Maigret.

Also by Nicolas Maigret: The Pirate Cinema, A Cinematic Collage Generated by P2P Users.

Sponsored by:





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Image courtesy of Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc

Jennifer Lyn Morone has turned herself into a corporation and collection of marketable goods and services. Everything she is biologically and intellectually, everything she does, learns or creates has the potential to be turned into profits. Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc is a graduation project in Design Interactions but as Jennifer underlines, this is not a speculative project.

JLM Inc is a new business established to determine the value of an individual. The corporation derives value from three sources and legally protects and bestows rights upon the total output of Jennifer Lyn Morone:

1. Past experiences and present capabilities. These are offered as biological, physical and mental services such as genes, labour, creativity, blood, sweat and tears.
2. Selling future potential in the form of shares.
3. Accumulation, categorisation and evaluation of data that is generated as a result of Jennifer Lyn Morone's life.

JLM Inc is not only an audacious long term performance, it is also an thought-provoking exploration into personal data exploitation by corporations and governments. The projects is an extreme form of capitalism which might ironically enable an individual to regain some ownership of and power over their own data. Jennifer Lyn Morone Inc is obviously a very personal venture but the designer is also beta testing on herself an app, the Database of ME or DOME, that will ensure that your identity and data can be collected and stored for you and only you.

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Image courtesy of Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc


Jennifer Lyn Morone, Inc. Video of the project. Film: director- Ilona Gaynor

A few questions (amongst the dozens i wanted to ask) to Jennifer:

Hi Jennifer! I obviously laughed when i read the sentence 'This is not a Speculative Project' in the gallery. So you really managed to become an Incorporated Person? How did you do that? Is this a standard, banal process?

It's nice to know that the sign worked as it was intended. I feel that there's a limit to the impact that speculative work can have as it can't be directly compared to a current reality. This was my way of addressing the audience just to make it clear that the project is real and actively negotiating several problems that we are faced with today and that need to be addressed.

So, yes, I really have become an Incorporated Person. The process has not been standard or banal at all but that's probably because I am not in business school setting up a business to sell something. Rather, I was on a critical design course reappropriating capitalist and corporate strategy to make being a person a business.

In November 2013 I starting looking into the details to incorporate, which seemed deceptively simple: choose the business name; decide what kind legal entity you want your business to be (I became a C-corporation); figure out where to incorporate (I did it in Delaware); find a registered agent; fill out some forms; and then pay. All of this, however, required a significant amount of research for me to even understand what the legal and financial implications of my decisions would be. For example: what being a C-corp versus an S-corp entails, how valuation of companies works, what are the benefits to incorporating in Delaware compared to other States, how shares work and how the price per share is determined (which I find completely illogical).

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#01 Share Certificate of Jennifer Lyn Morone, Inc, a Delaware Corporation. Image courtesy of Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc

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Delaware Apostille Certificate. Image courtesy of Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc

I used the research, combined it with my intention and fused it into a business plan where I had to define what my mission is, what I stand for, and what my vision is and how I plan to achieve these by being the business (person) I will be. Repurposing the corporate mentality even further required me to stop thinking like an individual about what I want and need but what other people want and what can I offer to meet their needs. This helped me to determine my services.

What I found interesting is that it is quite common for people to incorporate before they even know what they want to do. They can do this because, in Delaware where the majority of major corporations are located, all you need to state in the articles is that "The purpose of the corporation is to engage in any lawful activity for which corporations may be organized under the General Corporation Law of Delaware". This is also the common way of describing what the company will do so as not to limit the ways in which it can make money.

Now that I have incorporated myself, I have legally created another person with my name in the eyes of the law. In the USA my corporate self now has not only the same but even more rights and benefits than I do as an individual. My corporate self takes on any responsibility and I am not liable for its actions or debt, only my initial investments. This is why we see companies able to go bankrupt, get bailouts or get away with ruthlessness without anyone being charged or responsible for what happens.

As the founder of my corporation I turn over my skills, capital, possessions and intellectual property to it and these become its assets and increase its value. My identity (name, appearance and IP addresses) become the brand and are trademarked; my mental abilities (knowledge) as processes and strategies; my physical abilities as equipment; my biological functions as products, my data is the corporations property and the shares are my potential. These all become assets that I can now capitalise on. My debt is turned into the corporations liability, which actually increases the company's value if it were to be sold.

By issuing shares I can raise capital, based purely on my potential success. In exchange the shareholder has partial ownership of my corporation. I wanted to do this to expose that shares in no way reflect the true value of a company, only its perceived value based on popularity and that stock markets are pure gambling.

As the founder I can set the price of the shares extremely low, the usual amount advised in 10,000,000 shares at $0.001 or $0.0001 per share, I opted for the latter. After that I applied for a tax number (EIN), which takes about an hour to receive. Then you have to set up a bank account after which you can buy your shares, usually at least a third of the shares, and reserve about 10-15% for stock equity to pay for any services needed. Then you look at what the corporation's assets are, what's your inventory, and include the work that has gone in so far and put a number to it. A valuation has to be done to then determine what the new price per share will be and this can be done by someone who is an experienced investor or a venture capitalist, but they basically just take that number that you have got and multiply it by 10 and then divide that by the number of shares.

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Image courtesy of Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc

How do you put value on things such as Education RCA and Live and work in Germany? And why is living and working in Germany proportionally more valuable than living and working in France?

Those prices actually have no reflection of how valuable the experiences have been. What the numbers represent are of what my life has cost so far divided up into periods of time based and how much I either earned or what was paid for me to live and learn. These become my base values, the initial investment, on top of which I can begin adding the intangible (knowledge, personality, skills which are very hard to put a price on) I gained from these experiences and tangible assets (possessions/inventory, both internally - i.e. blood and externally - i.e. computer) that I acquired or continually produce. This gives me a starting point to know what my production costs are so I can determine an honest price for my services.

The cost of my education, how much I received after my father passed and how much I earned in France and Germany (to answer your question: France was significantly less since I worked for an ex-partner and didn't receive a salary but also didn't pay rent) I knew already. What I didn't know and never thought to ask before was how much I cost my parents, purely financially, from conception to the age of 18. I asked my mother and she came back to me with this number with inflation figured in. I've since set aside shares for her.

It is an interesting perspective to now have. Often we think about what we don't have or aren't receiving. By calculating how much money has gone into my existence as input I then took a look at what my output has been, what I've actually done with that, and I wasn't terribly impressed. In capitalism individuals are meant to consume as much input as possible, while corporations can't survive unless their output is both useful and greater than their input, which needs to be relevant and not wasteful of time or money.

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Image courtesy of Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc

Could you explain us the purpose of the DOME app? How does it insure that your own information remains your property?

The philosopher John Locke stated that a person's natural and inalienable rights are "life, liberty, and property": that "everyone is entitled to live once they are created", that "everyone is entitled to do anything they want to so long as it doesn't conflict with the first right" and that "everyone is entitled to own all they create or gain so long as it doesn't conflict with the first two rights". Today, I believe that the data a person creates should be considered their property: it has a monetary value in the economic system that our lives are structured around. So I see data as a resource that people create and that is currently being exploited.

Governments were created to protect people and their rights but as we are living in a time of crony capitalism, where economic success is dependent on close relationships between business people and government officials, I think it will be a long time before any policy or solutions will be established. Instead what we are seeing are efforts made to better track and monitor our actions to get a clearer picture of how to better target our consumptive behaviour. This is what I consider data slavery.

Right now, as a hyper-connected network society, each person creates a trail of data that is being used and profited on mostly for advertising purposes. People are now referred to as consumers and statistics and government and Industry pay substantial sums for our information.

So as a form of protest and in an effort to revolt against this, I am using subversive tactics to reclaim what I feel should be a person's rights by incorporating my identity and creating DOME (Database of Me) as a way to take ownership and control of my property. Now that I am a corporation any data that I create that is linked to my name, IP address and appearance is copyrighted or trademarked and therefore subject to litigation if used without my permission...think of how Getty gets the rights to images and if you use it without their permission or having paid you get a fine. So any photo I take, any email I write, any call, text, web search, cctv footage of me that is stored on someone else's, company's or government's sever does not have the right to be there or to be used, sold, leased or traded.

DOME's function, in its simplest form, is an app that acts as a firewall between you and other servers. You use all of the same services, apps and interfaces you do today but you also have your own server and the app operates quietly in the background of any device you use, making two copies of the data you transmit. One hard copy goes to your database, the other is encrypted and goes to its intended destination but can't be used beyond that. In DOME's complete form it is a customisable app that still does what the simpler form does but with its own applications so that a person can communicate, share photos, socialise, navigate, search for information, and record external sensors such as biosignals. So people would need to have their own server or a data locker on a shared server and download the app on their computers and phones.

For the purpose of this project all of my personal data collected with DOME is being displayed on the tracking page. This is to show and make a clear distinction that there are real lives behind the data, which is something that I think is critically missed in this data discussion. Right now there is only a portion of my information compared to what will eventually be there. It will being streamed in real-time to mimic how the NSA, GCHQ, Google, and others view our information now and it is public because I want to draw attention to how exposed we currently are.

I am also using it to measure my "operations" to monitor and track productivity and efficiency in the same way that corporations normally do. Spy software and keyloggers are becoming very commonplace mostly used by companies on their employees, jealous partners to their loved ones and parents to their children.

Currently, I am the first and only beta tester. I am using myself as the case study to capture as much data about myself as possible, store it all in one place to see how much a person can actually generate, and then correlate it to see which combinations are valuable.

Given the growing market for information if people have ownership and control of their data they should be the ones compensated for it, not other companies. So beyond any success with DOME I have the intention to build a Platform, or try to work with others who are heading in this direction as well, as a cooperative Data Broker. People would use DOME and have an overview of their information as a data portfolio from which they could choose, if they want, to send as packaged data sets to the Platform as an investment for a known purpose. The Platform would then combine different people's information, as this increases the value of the data, and then sell it to the approved markets. Those that contribute their information would then get a return on their investment. This is not necessarily the best solution, it is only a fairer alternative to the system that is in place now.

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Image courtesy of Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc

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Image courtesy of Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc

Do you think that an individual has more to lose or more to gain from this extension of capitalism to their own person? Because on the one hand, they regain some power. On the other hand, the idea seems a bit perverse.

What I am doing is quite outside the realm of ordinary behaviour but we are made to behave in what I consider quite a perverse way because of the economic system in place. Which I am in awe of as it is not really what I would have expected after millennia of evolution.

But here we are and it is obvious that Capitalism works best for Capitalists. So, I am experimenting, with myself as the subject, to push the limits to the extreme to provoke change. The way in which I am doing it is merely reflecting how things are and where they seem to be heading. Systems and governments have been adjusted and overthrown before, the problem with this one is that it works too well for the ones running it but not well enough for the rest...and the disparity is growing wider.

Theoretically, I think a person would have more to gain as a corporation as long as capitalism is in place. In practice you might have to ask me that in a year, five or even 10 years time. People change, adapt, and continue to learn throughout their lives which is much more sustainable and scalable than the way companies operate. Together we are very diverse and alone unique because of the experiences we go through which create our most valuable asset, our individual perspectives. We all have assets and potential, but for many only a small percentage is even used and rarely for one's own benefit. If my friends and family became corporations I know exactly who I would use and for what and I know who I would invest in, not only because of what they can do but because of who they are.

If people were to write a business plan like I did they would most likely benefit in some way and definitely gain a greater perspective. But unless they take on the legal and financial implications like I have they won't truly change the way they live and how they engage with others. Technically speaking, all becoming a corporation really comes down to is looking at what you do and what you want to do and applying the same terminology, strategy and framework that corporations use to make money. I think that there will always be perversion as long we need to gain or earn money, or some form of currency, to meet our basic needs.

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Image courtesy of Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc

Could you describe to us the kind of services you are offering for free or those you are offering in exchange of money?

It really depends on who is asking and what they are asking for and is also affected by supply and demand. My services are categorised under mental, physical or biological, under which are combinations of features such as problem solving, compassion, strength, coordination, heat, and bodily functions. So when I offer something for free it's because I produce it anyway and have no use for it myself and there is no demand, so it's waste. If there starts to be a demand then it's no longer waste but a byproduct which I can sell. If there's something that is going to require depleting a resource, which would be measured by time, money and energy spent, in order to do it; such as consoling a friend and trying to help him through his problems for a few hours, then it will either be an exchange or invoiced. For example if this friend who often asks to meet to talk about his relationship problems is also there for me when I need consoling or help then it's an exchange. But if he is never there for me when I need it, then I would send him an invoice.

Another example compared to how we are used to working now would be if a firm or company wants me for some mental services, say creativity and knowledge, then it would be similar to acquiring a consultant, but I would calculate my price based on what the knowledge cost to produce (education and experience) and calculate in my overhead costs, what I lost in time and energy against what I may have gained in value such as enjoyment or if I learned something new. If I there was value I gained I would deduct that from the price.
 
This may seem ridiculous but in an extreme form of capitalism each person would need to have a complete way to measure the value of their life and the quality of their knowledge, skills, health and relationships to increase efficiency.

Oh! i just saw you're offering free urine! Is it ironic or would the urine be of any use to the buyer?

It's both! There's irony in the whole project, I've just dealt with it very pragmatically. We are bound to our bodies, some ways it's an extension of our mind, in other ways it operates without us even having to think about it, in either case you are in it for as long as you live, or as long as it keeps up. It is 100% yours but there are external factors such as laws and taboos that condition you to use your bodies and the valuable things they do in very specific and deemed acceptable ways. Companies on the other hand don't work this way. As I described above in how a waste might turn into a profitable byproduct, it depends on supply and demand.

So if you look at the body as equipment with quite mechanical operations, it produces things like urine systematically. As I am just starting I don't have any customers. So I am copying how businesses give free promotions to attract potential buyers. In my research I came across people that were looking to buy urine for drug tests. There is also the potential to sell to labs of companies that are developing bio-fuel cells to power phones. Who knows who else might want it.

As there's a pretty steady supply, which can be increased to an extent, if there started to be a demand that was more than I could supply then I could increase the price. If the demand is equal to the supply then I would price it based on what I saw people would pay and keep it competitive to bottled synthetic urine, yes there is such a thing. I could also increase my profit margin by only drinking tap water.

So, there's irony on several levels: to illustrate the exploitative aspect of capitalism on resources and what this looks like at the extreme level of and by the individual; the ways in which we are conditioned to use our bodies and what we are 'allowed' to do with them; and the fact that you can potentially sell anything as long as there's a willing buyer.

There is also another level of sincerity, in that the more manual your work is the less you are paid. When times are really tough, women in particular have had to resort to selling their bodies for money, with sex, pulling teeth, hair. I saw many people online looking to sell their kidney to help a friend in financial need. I also went to start a clinical drug trial and found that there are many healthy and educated young people who are now doing this for additional income. In face of an increasingly specialised workforce and automation of manual jobs people have to be resourceful and will have to look at what they have and what they can offer to live from.

Do you have a marketing plan that will ensure that people are eager to get those services and that you will make a profit rapidly?

I do have a marketing strategy as it was part of the business plan. My initial customers or users of my services will be everyone I engage with and know now. For example, if you wanted to interview me after the launch you would have to go through my website, check my calendar and block my time with the type service you want. You can then check my progress with the tracking page to make sure I'm doing what you asked of me. It would probably be an exchange as you are promoting me and helping me reach a wider audience, which would increase the value of me as a company and therefore effect my share price, creating profit for the shareholders.

My shares will be vested over 3 years, which means that I can't sell them and I will not pay dividends until all production and overhead costs are covered. Until then all the money that comes in will be reinvested into the company until it is stable and making a profit.

My website will be monetised on the use and tracking page with banner ads to click on displaying things I own and want to sell, services I'm promoting and other people's services. That will be similar to the way Google AdSense works with affiliate marketing but instead of products and companies it will be with people I know are looking for work or have just done something that's available to the public, such as an exhibition or a book.

I plan to create some revenue also from endorsements to promote events I might attend, clothes I might wear, restaurants I might eat at and products I might use. This is to reflect how celebrities and athletes are used to influence the public and how product placement only happens when it has been paid to be seen. However, as normal people, we actually buy things and become walking billboards if logos or the brand's identity are obvious.

Finally, there is the profitable but time consuming endeavor of pursuing intellectual property infringements. The profit of this will depend on whether my lawyer will charge me fees or if he will take a percentage from cases won.

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Stills from the video. Image courtesy of Jennifer Lyn Morone

In the video you present yourself dressed as a businessman. Why not highlight the fact that you're a woman?

This project takes its stance in criticism to the capitalist system of which I can not think of a more iconic image than the man's business suit. When you see a man in a business suit you know his job is to make money. I wanted to highlight that I am reappropriating the Capitalist's role and strategy by embodying this uniform. There is a very schizophrenic nature to this project and through it I must play many different roles and not all of them will fit. The clips in the back are used to represent this and indicate that I am making this role fit me and not the other way around.

I think that it is still obvious in the video that I am a woman. If I had accentuated this fact by dressing up in a female business outfit or a sexy dress then I still would still be playing a role. Actually, over the course of this project so far the fact that I am a woman has already come in the way a few times and with people I considered friends. One wanted to help with contextualising the philosophical nature of the project. Our communications became muddy because he developed feelings, which was uncomfortable to say the least. Then he became greedy after speaking with people about the project and aggressively stated that he deserved a large proportion of shares. And finally, he was dishonest about how he used money I gave him to set up the my server. The second set-back, which was directly because I am a woman, was with a friend that I pitched to as a potential investor, since he's squandering lots of money to build a spaceship so he can go to the moon in a few years. At first he was very interested, up until the point that he realised I was not going to sleep with him.

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JML Neon. Image courtesy of Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc

It looks to me like the project has just begun and you are going to learn and experience a lot in the coming months. Or will JML Inc disappear beyond the graduation show? 
Do you have any plan to push the project further?

Yes, this project has just begun and there is so much work still to be done before launching. Over the summer I will be at Innovation RCA's launchpad where I will have a business mentor and work more on the marketing plan. I will also be holding a crowdfunding campaign for DOME and will soon do a friends and family round of shareholders for JLM Inc.

I am looking forward to many aspects of the project such as exposing the loopholes that big corporations use to their benefit and challenging norms that we are conditioned to. I have already learned many things and gained a greater understanding of our economic system, which brings a clarity to why our society and culture are as they are.

This project has the potential to go on indefinitely as I am using my life as the subject. And just as life goes, it's hard to say what the outcome will be.

Thanks Jennifer!

Check out Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc at the RCA Show 2014 (Kensington) until 29 June.
Also part of the show: We have the means to make you happy.

Film: director- Ilona Gaynor
Editing: Ilona Gaynor
Grip: Naama Schendar, Rodrigo Lebrun, Rachel Knoll.
Subtitles: Rodrigo Lebrun
DOME app: Zac Tolley, Lloyd Elliot, Yosuke Ushigome
Website: Mark Osborne, Neil Thomson
Backend: Zwitterion's Domain pty.
Electronics: Mike Vanis

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Arcangel Constantini, Phonotube

In 1880 Alexander Graham Bell Invented the Photophone. While his earlier invention, the telephone, uses electricity to transmit voice communications, the photophone relied on a beam of light to send sound. A person's voice was projected through an instrument toward a mirror. The vibrations of the voice caused vibrations in the mirror. Sunlight was then directed into the mirror, where the vibrations were captured and projected back to the photophone's receiver where they were converted back into sound.

Bell believed that the photophone was "the greatest invention [I have] ever made, greater than the telephone". He might be right, the photophone was a precursor to the fiber-optic communication systems. The reason why the photophone didn't take off during Bell's time is simply that the system was useless whenever the weather was cloudy.

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A photophone receiver and headset, one half of Bell and Tainter's optical telecommunication system of 1880 (photo)

Inspired by Bell's patent for the photophone, artist Arcangel Constantini developed the Phonotube which uses fluorescent tubes and strips of leds as light instruments and sound sequencers for audio and visual performances.

The tubes are covered with negative offset, printed with sound patterns that spin at variable speeds. The oscillation from the light emitted by these patterns is transduced into sound processes by light excitation, through a variety of electronic circuits as pre-amps photo-cells and photodiodes, voltage control oscillators, relays, circuit Filters, 1bit systems.

The Phonotube is part of the program of the Sight + Sound festival which will take place in Montreal next month. And because i've been admiring Arcangel's work from afar on too many occasions, i thought i should take the upcoming festival as an excuse to get in touch and interview him about the work.


Phonotube Live : Calit2 auditorium UCSD " three junctures of remix" 2013

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Phonotube Live : Calit2 auditorium UCSD " three junctures of remix" 2013

Hola Arcangel! Reading through the description of the Phonotube on your website, i had the felling (perhaps wrong) that it relies on a fairly simple technology. Is that correct? How much did you have to tweak.improve/modify the Graham Bell patent for the Photophone?

In reality, it is a very simple technology, the patent is very crude, clever and significant. It is about the transmission of information using vibrating light, Graham Bell state that this was his legacy to human kind and this is true.

We perceive our surroundings because of light oscillations, our retina transmits the perception of the visible spectrum of light to the part of the brain that interpret this light frequencies as images.

Every aspect of reality is on its own frequency, mystics knew this by meditation and contemplation, science by theory and experimentation, all this intermingling knowledge is a legacy, Graham Bell had an intuition on how to manipulate light to integrate information on it, and with this started a revolution. I'm interested in researching this simple perception principles through art practice, in exploring the meanings and implications while experimenting with the process.

Phonotube is part of this research, based on a simple principle, in this case experimenting with fluorescent lights. To energize this kind of lamps, a transformer and electronic circuit are used to generate high voltage in a high frequency energy, the gas inside the lamp is expelled and turns into a light that is vibrating to this energy frequencies. The light produced is a kind of carrier, the repetitive patterns printed in the tube give a new oscillation to this light, small Photocells are transforming light into electrons, this energy is pre-amplified to audible sound, and processed trough filters. Furthermore, a circuit with Photo diodes is used as a variable for Low Fidelity Voltage Controlled Oscillators.

A second sound artifact uses a strip of LED lights inside a transparent Tube. A series of AtTiny85 microcontrollers are programed in 1 bit sound (1, 0) that produce light pulsations on each of these LEDS. Small photocells and a pre-amplifier Circuit transform these pulsations into audible sound. OculO is another instrument involved in the performance, it uses a Joule thief hack from a disposable camera that energizes a 22 watt circular lamp with a 1.5 volt battery. Photocells transform the gaseous light into sound. These energy frequencies and the electromagnetic induction become part of the sound performance of OculO. I also interact directly with my body, canalizing energy by receiving tiny electroshocks in my fingers trough contact with the electrodes and the lamps.

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Phonotube & OculO Live : -->Metting Point<-- CasaDaros Rio De Janeiro / OculO

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OculO
Arcangel Constantini, OculO

You use the Phonotube in performances but is it an instrument anyone could use? I suspect many people in the audience wouldn't mind to have a go and play a bit with it? is it intuitive or is there a steep learning curve to be able to play the instrument?

I started to explore this project as an installation for stop motion animation, in the style of Emontiscope or seminscope.

Phonotube is still an experiment. I have tested different sound circuits. The intensity of the sound frequencies in its current state are meant for live performance. I included small speakers on it, thinking that it could be used by the public also as an installation, as it is simple and intuitive to use. Now, the speakers are used during the performance to Generate some EVP, Electronic Voice Phenomena using piezoelectrics directly on the speakers, performing it with OculO turn into a spectral portal.

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seminscope, Laboratorio de Arte Alameda Mexico, 2005

The descriptive text says that the Phonotube was "inspired by visuals experimenters as Norman Mclaren, that used the optical sound of cinema, reversing the process to experiment with it." I looked online but didn't find much information about McLaren's experimentations. Could you tell us what they were about?

Norman is a pioneer of experimental sound and animation. He was artist in residence with the National film Board of Canada, he started to work directly in clear film, drawing, scratching, painting the material to produce abstract Motion films. This lead him to invade the film area dedicated to the optical sound. Fascinated by the abstract Sound Frequencies archived by different visual patterns, and how sound worked in synchronicity to the visuals, he started to produce an Impressive work using this techniques.

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Arcangel Constantini, Phonotube

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Arcangel Constantini, Phonotube

The description also said that "In the history of the invention of electronic instruments, the study of light and its behavior as a particle or wave, and its application to sound processes (...) is currently, one of the areas of scientific research with the greatest potential in human communication." Now that sounds really interesting. Do you have examples of how the study of the behaviour lights can lead to innovative means of communication?

Most Telecommunications nowadays are based on light transmission, fiber optic cables crisscross the planet connecting the continents transmitting terabytes of data using laser technology.

There is an important research in the spectrum of visible light to transmit wireless data, instead of electromagnetic radio WiFi. The researchers are using pulsating Led light to transmit data with a huge increment in broadband velocity.

There is also the fantastic research on Quantum teleportation that tries to establish instant communication between photons separated by large distances, the record now is 143 km,

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Arcangel Constantini, Phonotube

The object looks stunning. I really like its simple and striking design. How important is the visual aspect of the Phonotube in your performances?

Gracias Régine. As i mentioned, the research started as a visual project. Aesthetics become very important in its relation to sound. The tube has an the aura of a partitur. The intensity of the sound frequencies of the Low Fi oscillators are meant for live performance, the plan is to develop the project as an instrument, but as the lamps are no longer on production there is now an obsolete quality to it. The light of the lamps is the only light on stage, and for Sound & Sight performance will explore the use of analog video filming the tube.

Thanks Arcangel!

Previously, by the same artist: Nanodrizas, "flying" saucers for polluted waters, Net-art wrestling match.

Also at the Sight + Sound festival in Montreal: Crystal forming robots.

Christian Faubel, Crystal forming robots on overhead

The Crystal Forming Robots are little autonomous robots that are placed on an overhead projector. Each robot is powered by the light of the projector and their movements over its surface make tangible the growth process of crystal structures.

When a robot has collected enough energy, it will start moving around. The robots are equipped with tiny magnets, and as soon as two robots with matching polarity come close, they attract each other. Over time, more and more pairs of robots form, create larger clusters and a crystal like structure eventually emerges. The overhead projector magnifies the process into an abstract movie.

The background of this work are the early experiments of cybernetician Gordon Pask on building a chemical computer as a learning system. With the help of software simulation the idea of a growing structure that modifies its own perception of the environment is illustrated. The robotic implementation of the growth process is a first step towards making such a process tangible.

The robots are going to be presented in a performance and exhibition at the Sight + Sound festival in Montreal next month. The programme of the event is, as usual, rather exciting. Sadly, i can't make it to Montreal so i figured out that the next best thing would be to talk to some of the artists who will be there. Hence this little Q&A with Christian Faubel...

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Photographs of a clustering sequence, it took approximately 20 minutes for the final structure to build

Hi Christian! I'm very curious about the way the little bots move in this video. For example, what happens when they all get immobile? Is the system 'trying to figure out' what to do next? What controls the behavior of the robots? Why do some move and others are more passive? Is there a hierarchy?

There is no hierarchy, each of the robots is fully autonomous and triggers a movement when it has collected enough energy through its solar panel. Even though they are all built with the same components, they may have variations in timing and duration of their movement. These variations appear because the components are not perfect, they have physical differences and theses differences contribute to the behavior of the robots. Another contribution to differences in behavior, is the fact that environmental conditions on the ohp vary, in the center there is stronger light and thus more energy for the robots to harvest. As a consequence robots in the center move more often than those on the borders.

Your description of the text talks about parasites and ecosystems. The way the robots move has something a bit organic. It's particularly uncanny in the video version with colorful umbrellas. How important is the observation or imitation of nature when you're developing robotic artworks?

I see most of my robotic artworks as reflections on nature, I consider these robots as philosophical toys because they make the abstract concepts of autonomy and self-organisation tangible. These concepts were developed to describe and understand the way behavior is organized in living beings. So i think that ideally the artworks tell us something about ourselves.

The crystal forming robots are actually an experimental platform that i keep working on as part of my artistic research at the lab3. The first version, that is also documented in the video, had rectangular shapes, while I am currently working with hexagonal shapes. This local difference in shape has global effects in form of the growing shapes. My next step is to add contact points on the robots, so that when they cluster electrical connections are created. Once i have this in place there are so many experiments to do with growing electrical connections, i am really looking forward to this.

What is the 'diffusion limited aggregation algorithm', developed for simulating crystal growth? Can you explain us how it works?

The diffusion limited aggregation algorithm was developed and described in a seminal paper by Witten and Sander in the 80ties to simulate crystal growth processes. [Witten, T. t., and Sander, L. Diffusion-limited aggregation. Physical Review B 27, 9 (1983).]

The basic principle is to simulate particles that do a random walk (diffusion), when they hit a structure (by chance), they attach to that structure (aggregation). The structure is initialized with a single element, over time more and more particles dock onto the structure and a crystal like structure will form.

When you google for it you will find an overwhelming number of beautiful implementations in processing. Andy Lomas presented very nice simulations on Siggraph in 2005. I became interested in this algorithm by a general interest on growth processes and specifically through works such as Roots by Roman Kirschner, which took the works of Gordon Pask on building a chemical computer as starting point. My research on this topic is documented in a seminar on plasticity. When you scroll down you will also find some examples of experiments on crystal growth, as well as some simulations with the diffusion limited aggregation algorithm.

"Over time a crystal like structure emerges from more and more little robots forming larger clusters." What happens once the structure has been formed? is the bots work over and done? or do they separate and start again the clustering process?

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No they will not separate again, the whole process runs into one direction and after an hour or more there will usually be only one single big structure. The robots need to be reset manually when the process has converged. I would say that the experiment is finished, when the process has converged and that you then start another experiment, by putting the robots apart again. What you will observe over the course of multiple experiments is that the shapes that form are always different in detail, but structurally similar.

I saw on the festival program that you will also take part in a Monochrome Layering performance at the festival. Will the Overheadbots be part of the events? Or are you going to do something that has nothing to do with them?

The overheadbots have a lot to do with the performance. When we (Tina Tonagel, Ralf Schreiber and myself) started to work on our performance project some years ago, the overheadbots were sort of a trigger for this project. In our performance, the key is the simultaneity of sound and vision. We place kinetic objects such as for example overheadbots, but also all different kind of small robots or self build instruments on the ohp and we use pick-up microphones to amplify the sound that they make when moving. So that in parallel to the moving shadow, or moving light you also hear the sound of the movement.
this is maybe best captured in these two videos:

Kunst und Musik mit dem Tageslichtprojektor @ Designacademy Eindhoven


Performance at the Shinytoys festival, September 2011

Why do you chose to work mostly with analog robots?

I like the openness of analog circuits. You don't need to implement any sort of digital communication protocol to link up to a device. Instead you can couple thinks by simply putting a cable that creates electrical connection. For example the when the crystal forming bots are equipped with contacts, so that an electrical connection between them is created, it is enough to put that connection in between the trigger points of the two circuits and the robots will from the moment the connection is created move in synchrony. This happens without any re-programming or other re-configuration.
Another aspect of analog robots is their adaptivity to variations in the environment, that comes as an emergent property. As a matter of fact the behavior of these robots look very organic. I have explored this in more detail in a paper and presentation i gave last year at the xcoax conference in Bergamo http://2013.xcoax.org/pdf/xcoax2013-faubel.pdf.

Conceptually i like the concept of the analog, not in difference to digital computation, but estimating in contrast to counting. i have been influenced a lot by the book Analogous and Digital of the German designer and typographer Otl Aicher. In this book he writes for example that a digital clock always shows the time precisely to the second. It provides you with exact numerical values, but the landscape of time, whether it is morning or afternoon, too early or too late, i can easier deduce from the positioning of the clock hand on the clock face.

Speaking with Otl Aicher i would say that i am more interested in the landscapes than in numerical measures.

Thanks Christian!

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Michiel Pijpe and the Artscience Interfaculty, Volta, Dick Raaijmakers ('95) at the Age of Wonder Festival. Photo by Sas Schilten

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Michiel Pijpe and the Artscience Interfaculty, Volta, Dick Raaijmakers ('95) at the Age of Wonder Festival. Photo by Sas Schilten

In 1800, Alessandro Volta made the first electro chemical battery. The 'voltaic pile' demonstrated that a moist, porous material sandwiched between two dissimilar metals can produce an electrical current. The scientist tested several metals and found that zinc and silver gave the best results.

In his experiment, Volta used a disk of copper, covered it with a disk of cloth soaked in brine (i.e., the electrolyte), and stacked that with a disk of zinc. He repeated the copper-cloth-zinc disks piling up until the pile reached a height of about 30 cm. The positive end of the pile is the bottom copper disk, and the negative end is the zinc disk on top.

Volta's experiment was re-enacted on a gigantic scale at the Age of Wonder festival a few weeks ago in Eindhoven. Or maybe i should write that Michiel Pijpe and the Artscience Interfaculty re-enacted the re-enactment of the voltaic pile discovery that media art pioneer Dick Raaijmakers realized in 1995. Raaijmakers (or Raaymakers) is regarded as one of the founders of the Dutch electronic music. He is also closely connected to Eindhoven through his research at the Natlab (Philips Research Laboratories) in the fifties.

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Dick Raaymakers at the Philips NatLab (image via V2_)

Over the course of a several hour long performance, the Volta team built up a giant and foul-smelling pile that alternated copper plates, clothes drenched in acid and zinc.

I didn't stand and stare until the final moments of the performance but I wish i had. The goal was to use the oversized battery to produce enough energy for one light bulb, suspended from the ceiling. I might have missed the grand finale but i've nevertheless been impressed by this over-sized lesson in physics and by the calm, repetitive gestures required to light up a mundane bulb for a few seconds. Also, it's always good to be reminded what a genius Raaijmakers was.

Thus, the audience can experience the relation between the invested labor and the resulting electric energy. And also, how and why the original visual quality of this 'proto-element' has been lost in favor of the efficiency of the modern battery. 'Volta' intends to recreate this lost plasticity, if only for a single moment.

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Michiel Pijpe and the Artscience Interfaculty, Volta, Dick Raaijmakers ('95) at the Age of Wonder Festival. Photo by Sas Schilten

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Michiel Pijpe and the Artscience Interfaculty, Volta, Dick Raaijmakers ('95) at the Age of Wonder Festival. Photo by Sas Schilten

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Michiel Pijpe and the Artscience Interfaculty, Volta, Dick Raaijmakers ('95) at the Age of Wonder Festival. Photo by Sas Schilten

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Michiel Pijpe and the Artscience Interfaculty, Volta, Dick Raaijmakers ('95) at the Age of Wonder Festival. Photo by Sas Schilten

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Michiel Pijpe and the Artscience Interfaculty, Volta, Dick Raaijmakers ('95) at the Age of Wonder Festival. Photo by Sas Schilten

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Michiel Pijpe and the Artscience Interfaculty, Volta, Dick Raaijmakers ('95) at the Age of Wonder Festival. Photo by Sas Schilten

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Eniarof Aix 2013. Photo by Manuel Braun

I've been hearing about, seeing and discussing the work of Antonin Fourneau for a few years now. I even met him and played with his works on more than one occasion. Yet, I never took the time to properly sit down and have an online interview with him. I'm sure many of you have read about Antonin's rather magnificent Water Light Graffiti or about his interactive pieces that revisit and reposition classic video games. Maybe i'll sit down again one day and interview him about his artworks but right now, i felt it was high time to get him to talk about ENIAROF, the geeky funfair he's been orchestrating since 2005. Eniarof looks like nothing you've ever experienced. It's like a very wild, very Far West version of a digital art festival, with elements of village fair, hacker meeting and circus thrown here and there.

Eniarof is a reinvention of the funfair where the concept of the attraction becomes an excuse for art. The creators of each Eniarof take their inspiration from popular culture, ancestral and new, obeying the rules of the "Dogmeniarof". Karaoke, Lucha Libre, video games, art installations, performances, gory films and curiosity cabinets can all be found on the jolly & unprejudiced grounds of the Eniarof funfair.

The last edition of Eniarof looked a bit like this....

Eniarof Aix 2013. Video by Alex "A2HN" Napoli

And without further ado, here's what Antonin had to tell us about Eniarof. Scroll down if you prefer to read the interview in its original version (french).

Hi Antonin! What is the story of ENIAROF?

I was a student at the Art School of Aix-en-Provence when I started Eniarof. The idea for the project started to germinate in 2004 when I was participating in the exhibition Power at Villette Numérique with the collective Téléférique.

The piece "Fan" contained already quite a few tracks for collaborative collaboration that i wanted to keep persuing in the future. At the same time, entertainment industry workers with intermittent contracts were protesting in France. In the context of the scandal of amusement park employees (Mickey, Minnie and the others) working all year long but under a casual employment contract, I had the opportunity to read an article about the disappearance of funfair model in favor of a business model closer to the amusement park. The article also echoes Rem Koolhaas' book Delirious New York in which I discovered that an attraction was a rather interesting object at the crossroad between installation, pop culture and innovation.

I was just missing the artistic 'Freaks' side that you could find in a fun fairs but not in an amusement parks. Then I simply asked myself about the kind of environment I would have liked to evolved after art school and the idea of working exclusively in the digital art world was freaking me out. It felt like a ghetto that lacked the recognition from the art world and refused to embrace its popular side.

That was in 2005 and now the situation has changed a little: people are more tech-savvy thanks to the smartphone in the pocket, they are also more comfortable with the idea of ​​interacting. But when I created Eniarof, my idea was to decompartmentalize digital creation as much as possible and to disinhibit it while mixing it with other forms of interaction, with the public but without a computer. I thought it needed ​​different degrees of public interaction. So in general people go through an arcade with a new breed of interaction then they'd venture to slip on a jumpsuit made out of tyre to play 'pogo bumper car' or wear a wig to play HardRock simply by shaking their head. That's how Eniarof was born.

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One Life Remains, Slam Of The Arcade Age. Eniarof Aix 2013. Photo by Manuel Braun

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Eniarof Aix 2013 photo by Manuel Braun

How did it grow from a student project to a village fair slash high tech geek festival that counts 13 editions?

I've always been bad at promoting Eniarof. If you search online, you'll need to fish for information. Nonetheless, whenever I had the opportunity to present the project, I found that people were seduced by the concept. Soon enough we received proposals from festivals or cultural structures that were willing to welcome us just through word of mouth. I did not want to confine the project to a repetitive formula that would be presented each year at the same place. When I launched the project I was talking about a 'downloadable' funfair and I imagined a system of fair that would be easily duplicable. A bit like Dorkbot or Maker Faire. In the end, Eniarof did not go in that direction and I think that ultimately what we managed produce with our Eniarofer group is a kind of family and festive cohesion even though we meet only once or twice per year but the public knows us and returns because Eniarof's atmosphere cannot easily be compared to anything else.

Then there must have been a small evolution over the past few years because even the City of Poitiers called us to organize Eniarof 12 in a space of Blossac Park in connection with their Christmas fair. Eniarof is quite a polymorph party that comes with an array of representations and organizations that vary depending on the context. The Eniarof we ran in Aix-en-Provence or in Slovenia in collaboration with organizations that trust us have turned into real residence laboratories to build over a short period of time (2 to 3 weeks) what were essentially new attractions. In other Eniarof, you get 50% new attractions and 50% attractions that are already running with success and that guarantee a good atmosphere.

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Arcade Backpack (UCLA) @Eniarof, ESAAix with the Eniarof Fanfare next to the town center of Aix. Photo Daan de Lange

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Eniarof Aix 2013. Photo by Manuel Braun

There is an ENIAROF dogma, however, the event is still in the hands of a lot of improvisation, DIY, freedom, and collective efforts. So i suspect that things might not always run smoothly. What have you learnt over the editions of ENIAROF?

The main objective of the Dogmeniarof is to set the tone and give an idea of ​​the spirit of Eniarof but in reality we hardly ever fully comply with the rules of Dogmeniarof.

What works, what doesn't?

We could say that, in general, what does not work anymore in an edition of Eniarof is something that used to work well. For example, this year, we have a sound fencing game that met with such success that on the first night someone ripped the device cable from the wall. Which is great and proves that an attraction works when you do not even have to explain people how to play with it.

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Monsieur Moo, Brouette Tuning. Eniarof Aix 2013. Photo by Manuel Braun

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Alexandre Saunier, Helmetron. Eniarof Aix 2013. Photo by Douglas Edric Stanley

I'm curious about some of the projects shown during the last ENIAROF in Aix-en-Provence. In particular: the Wheelbarrow (Brouette tuning), Helmetron, and Arcade Concrete. Could you tell us a few words about these works?

Brouette Tuning first appeared in 2007 during the Eniarof in Slovenia. We've since presented it at 4 or 5 editions of Eniarof. This is a piece by Maxime Berthou aka Mr. Moo. It embodies in an object what Enairof is: pimped recycling, a touch of technology, mobility and lots of fun. The wheelbarrow is our best way to attract people. Just go out in the street with it and people wonder what's this UFO.

Helmetron was created by Alexandre Saunier and piloted as an Eniarof trio with Douglas Edric Stanley and me.

A few words of explanation from the author:
"""""
This is a light and sound instrument for computer. A bit like Isaac Asimov's Visi-sonor in the Foundations series except that here, the computer is the interpreter. In the end, we are immersed in the very heart of the computer and in its data stream, we are bathed in the files it reads and converts into light and sounds. It's 'glitch', it's hardcore, it looks a bit like a digital machine dream, it's a bit like Tron but without Disney's special effects.

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Alexandre Saunier, Helmetron. Eniarof Aix 2013. Photo by Manuel Braun

Two of my favourite anecdotes:

A guy took off the helmet and asked me:
" - What's the color inside the helmet?"
" - There's only orange, it's the only light I'm sending at the moment"
" - Oh, right, I was wondering cuz I've seen some green, blue, white and orange."

And then there was this girl who was shaking and trembling from time to time, I was afraid she was epileptic. When she took off the helmet she told me that she felt like she had tiny animals, insect-like, that were walking on her.

Otherwise what is interesting is that the reaction of people is always different, depending on their physiology / nervous system, some see circles, other see fractals, colors, etc.
.
"""""
What attracted me to his work is its Clockwork Orange 2.0 side which I think very few people would have enjoyed in another context. Here, however, we had people queuing to scan the mazes of the computer. This is one of the reason for Eniarof success: we take the public on board by mixing borderline and conceptual things in many different experiences and the public completely indulges.

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Antonin Fourneau and Manuel Braun, Arcade Concrete. Eniarof Aix 2013. Photo by Manuel Braun

Arcade Concrete is a project I developed with Manuel Braun with whom I've done several pieces (Patch&ko, Eggregor8, MadNes, Domoludens, spongegame ... ) which often revolve around the idea that the game interface can be sculpture material like any other and this sculpture material involves specific mechanisms and forms related to the gameplay of the software. It's as if every video game could get a materialization of its physical interface other than the standardized one and this materialization would involve a re-reading of its gameplay.

The context of the game offers an interesting space to observe our behavior. The halls of game arcades in the '80s and '90s used to play the role of physical and community space of video games. Arcades then disappeared in favor of 'in-house' games. And finally the video game is back in the urban space thanks to mobile devices. Arcade Concrete questions the place of video games in urban space. Playing on your iPhone in the underground is not the same as standing in front of a terminal and playing in front of everyone. There is now a terminal that sits at the entrance to the Art School of Aix-en-Provence and it became a space for discussion. Our objective is to multiply performances by casting terminals all over the world. A bit like Invader pasting mosaics, we will try and optimize the placement of a terminal and we will write down a user manual in the Eniarof book.

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Antonin Fourneau and Manuel Braun, Eggregor, 8 players are 1 pacman and try to play together. Photo decept.org

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Antonin Fourneau and Manuel Braun, Eggregor. Eniarof Aix 2013. Photo by Manuel Braun

And if you had to chose 5 projects shown at ENIAROF over the years, which ones would they be?

We have quite a few projects that have become "best playable" and that got more exposure such as:

Hyper Olympic by Djeff Regottaz and Loic Horellou where you play a remake of Track & Field with a very physical interface. It has now become a staple of festivals and it makes for a great atmosphere.


The Hyper Olympic Party - Parizon@dream - Gaïté Lyrique - June 9, 2012 - Dekalko

Eggregor8 by Manuel Braun and myself where 8 people play Pacman at the same time, as if 8 people were using the same joystick.

What's funny is that in 2010 there was a video game exhibition at the Centre Pompidou and most of the works invited were Eniarof pieces but they didn't even realize that the pieces were connected.

We could call it the BeaubourgNiarof.

There's also a work called "A battre" which Raphael Isdant created during the second edition of Eniarof in Aix-en-Provence. That one traveled a lot too.


Raphael Isdant, A BATTRE

There are also works that are either more unexpected or more specific to Eniarof Aix-en-Provence.

Such as Pogo Tamponneuse, a fighting ring where you need to put on a suit made of tyre in order to face your opponent. Video soon!

Or the Fucking Machine battle which was a bit borderline and totally surrealist.

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Eniarof Aix 2013. Photo by Manuel Braun

Eniarof has a dogma that mentions that ENIAROF has to take place in the proximity of an Emmaüs. Could you tell us why?

Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg's Dogme 95 often refers to economy of means. When I mounted Eniarof, my goal was to avoid going overboard with projects that swallow too much money simply because I could see that there was no budget for young artists. At the time, I was often hanging out in Emmaus where I saw many materials that Emmaus did not necessarily know what to do with. In addition, it is often nice to recycle, it gives you the feeling of having done something ecological.

Another thing that surprised me in the dogma is that the barman is paid as much as an artist. Why do you think it is important that every participant receives the same fee?

At the beginning of my career as an artist I was horrified to see that a festival was paying the guard or the bartender more than they were paying me. I wondered what was the future for us if artists were forced to sell themselves off just to get some exposure. Add to that that during this festival my work ended up being destroyed. Fortunately, the trend has now reversed for me, but it used to be a bit of a rule to remind me that I don't sell off artists the way i was sold off.

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The Book of Eniarof

What is next for ENIAROF?

We're working on a book.
We have a call for donations on KissKissBankBank.

We are also in touch with people on the other side of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean to make other editions of Eniarof over there but nothing's confirmed so I won't speculate too much.

Thank you Antonin!

If you want to see more images of Eniarof, check out:
Antonin's flickr set.
ENIAROF pool.
Daan de Lange flickr set.
The very staged HEAD Media Design flickr set.


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Eniarof Aix 2013 photo by Manuel Braun

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Eniarof Aix 2013 photo by Manuel Braun

If after this long interview you're still wondering what Eniarof is, this video might enlighten you:

-------

and now for ze frenchy version:


What is the story of ENIAROF?

J'était étudiant à l'Ecole d'art d'Aix-en-Provence lorsque j'ai démarré Eniarof.
L'idée du projet a commencé à germer en 2004 lorsque j'ai participé à l'exposition "Power" à Villette Numérique avec le Collectif Téléférique :

La pièce collaborative "Fan" du collectif regroupée déjà pas mal de piste de création collaborative que je voulais mener à l'avenir. Puis à la même époque nous avions des soulèvement intermittent en France. Avec le scandale des employés des Parc d'Attractions (mickey, Minie et autres) travaillant à l'année mais considéré comme des intermittents, j'ai eu l'occasion de lire un article sur la disparition du modèle de Fête Foraine d'avant au profit d'un business modèle plus proche du parc d'attraction. L'article faisait aussi écho au livre New York Délire de Rem Koolhas dans lequel j'ai pu découvrir qu'une attraction était un objet assez intéressant entre installation, culture pop et innovation.

Il me manquait juste le côté Freaks artistique que l'on trouve dans un fête foraine mais peu dans un parc d'attraction. Je me suis ensuite simplement demandé dans quel milieu j'aimerai évolué après l'école d'art et la vision d'oeuvrer seulement dans le milieu art numérique me faisait flipper. J'avais la sensation d'un milieu ghetto en manque de reconnaissance du milieu de l'art et ne voulant pas embrassé son côté populaire.

C'était en 2005 et maintenant la donne a un peu changé les gens sont plus numérisés avec des smartphones dans la poche et plus à l'aise avec l'idée d'interaction. Mais à l'époque au moment où je fonde Eniarof mon idée était de décloisonner un maximum la création numérique et la décomplexer tout en la mélangeant avec d'autres formes d'interaction avec le public et sans ordinateur. Je pensais qu'il fallait apporter différents degrés d'interactions au public pour le décomplexer. Ainsi en général les gens passe par une salle de jeux vidéo revisités avec des formes d'interactions qu'ils connaissent pour ensuite oser s'aventurer à enfiler une combinaison en pneu pour faire du pogo tamponeuse ou encore enfiler une perruque pour jouer du HardRock simplement en secouant la tête. Ainsi Eniarof est né.

How did it grow from a student project to a village fair slash high tech geek festival that counts 13 editions?

J'ai toujours assez mal communiqué sur Eniarof il n'y a qu'a regarder sur le Net il faut partir à la pêche aux information. Cependant à chaque fois que j'ai eu l'occasion de présenter le projet les gens ont accroché au concept. Donc assez vite on a eu des propositions de festivals ou structures qui voulaient nous accueillir simplement grâce au bouche à oreille ils ont entendu parlé du projet. Je ne voulais pas enfermer le projet dans un projet récurent qui serai présenté chaque année au même endroit. A l'époque où j'ai lancé le projet Je parlais d'une fête foraine téléchargeable j'imaginais un système de fête duplicable facilement. Un peu à l'image des Dorkbot ou Maker Faire. Mais eniarof n'a pas vraiment pris cette direction et je crois que finalement ce que nous arrivons à produire avec notre bande d'Eniarofer c'est une sorte de cohésion familiale et festive même si on ne se retrouve que 1 ou 2 fois par an le retour du public qui nous connait est que l'ambiance dans un Eniarof et difficilement comparable à autre chose.

Ensuite il y eu une petite évolution ces dernières année car lors du Eniarof 12 c'est carrément la Ville de Poitiers qui a fait appel à nous pour occuper un espace du Parc de Blossac dans la continuité de leur fête foraine de Noël. Eniarof est une fête assez polymorph qui a un tas de représentation et organisation différentes selon le contexte où nous sommes. Les Eniarof que nous avons mené à Aix-en-provence ou en Slovénie dans des structures qui nous font confiance étaient l'occasion de vrai laboratoires de résidence pour quasiment construire en un temps court (2 à 3 semaines) essentiellement de nouvelles attractions. Dans les autres Eniarof c'est un 50/50 de nouveautés et d'attractions qui roulent déjà bien et garantissent la bonne ambiance.

There is an ENIAROF dogma, however, the event is still in the hands of a lot of improvisation, DIY, freedom, and collective efforts. So i suspect that things might not always run smoothly. What have you learnt over the editions of ENIAROF?

Le DogmeNiarof est surtout là pour donner le ton et une idée de l'esprit dans lequel se déroule un Eniarof après effectivement on est très rarement dans le respect intégral des règles du dogmeniarof. (je vais te donner un lien URL du dogme on est en train de refaire le site)

What works, what doesn't?

On dit en général que ce qui ne marche plus lors d'un Eniarof est quelque chose qui a bien marché. Par exemple cette année on un jeu d'escrime sonore qui a super bien marché. Tellement que dés le 1° soir quelqu'un a arraché le dispositif de câble du mur. Ce qui est génial et prouve qu'une attraction marche c'est quand on n'a même pas à expliquer aux gens comment jouer avec notre attraction.

I'm curious about some of the projects shown during the last ENIAROF in Aix-en-Provence. In particular: the Wheelbarrow (Brouette tuning), Helmetron, and Arcade Concrete. Could you tell us a few words about these works?

Brouette Tuning est apparue en 2007 pour le Eniarof en SLovénie et fût présenté à 4 ou 5 Eniarof depuis. C'est une pièce de Maxime Berthou aka Monsieur Moo. C'est un symbole concentré en un objet de ce qu'est Enairof : de la récupération pimpée, un zeste de technologie, de la mobilité et beaucoup de fun. La brouette c'est notre meilleur moyen pour attirer du monde. Il suffit de sortir dans la rue avec et les gens ce demandent c'est quoi cette ovni.

Helmetron est une création de Alexandre Saunier qui a quasiment drivé Eniarof en trio avec Douglas Edric Stanley et moi.
Quelque mot de l'auteur pour quelques explications :
"""""
C'est un instrument lumineux et sonore pour ordinateur. Un peu comme le luminophone d'Isaac Asimov dans le cycle des fondations mais ici c'est l'ordinateur qui est l'interprète. Au final on plonge dans au coeur meme de l'ordi et on vit ses flux de données, on est stimulé au fil de ses fichiers qu'il lit et qu'il transforme en lumière et en sons. C'est glitch, c'est hardcore, ca fait un peu pensé à une dream machine numérique, c'est un peu comme Tron mais sans les effets spéciaux à la Disney.

Pour les anecdotes, mes deux préféré:

-> un mec a enlevé le casque et m'a dit
"Y'a quoi comme couleur dans le casque?"
"y'a que du orange, c'est tout ce que j'envoie comme lumière pour le moment"
"Ah. j'me demandais, perso j'ai vu du vert, du bleu, du blanc et du orange."

-> y'a une nana qui avait des secouses/frémissements de temps en temps, j'ai eu peur qu'elle soit épileptyque d'ailleurs^^
quand elle a enlevé le casque elle m'a dit qu'elle avait l'impression d'avoir des petits animaux, genre insectes, qui se baladait sur elle.

Sinon ce qui est intéressant c'est que la réaction des gens est toujours différente et dépend de leur physiologie/système nerveux, certain voients des cercles, des fractales, des couleurs...

www.alexandresaunier.com .
"""""
Ce qui m'a séduit dans sa pièce est le côté Orange Mécanique 2.0 auxquels je pense peu de gens auraient adhéré dans un autre contexte mais là on avait une queue de gens qui voulaient scanner les méandres de l'ordinateur. C'est une de nos réussite dans Eniarof en mélangeant des choses à la fois borderline et conceptuel on arrive à embarquer le public dans plein d'expériences différentes et il s'y livre avec plaisir.

Arcade Concrete

C'est un projet que j'ai réalisé avec Manuel Braun avec qui j'ai réalisé plusieurs pièces (Patch&ko, Eggregor8, MadNes, Domoludens, spongegame...) qui tournent souvent autour de l'idée que l'interface de jeu peut être un matériaux de sculpture comme un autre qui implique des mécanismes et formes particulières liées au gameplay du software. Un peu comme si chaque jeu vidéo pouvait avoir une matérialisation de son interface physique autre que standardisé et qui impliquerai une relecture de son gameplay. Le contexte du jeu est un bel espace d'observation de nos comportements. les salles de bornes d'arcades dans les années 80-90 jouaient pour nous ce rôle d'espace physique et communautaire du jeu vidéo. Les salles d'arcades ont ensuite disparu au profit des jeu en salon. Et finalement le jeu vidéo est revenu dans l'urbain au travers des dispositif mobiles. Arcade Concrete est un questionnement sur la place du jeu vidéo dans l'espace urbain. Ce n'est pas la même chose de jouer sur son iphone dans le metro que de s'afficher devant tout le monde debout entrain de jouer devant une borne. Il y a maintenant une borne qui trône à l'entrée de l'école d'Art d'Aix-en-provence et c'est devenu un lieu de discussion. Notre idée est de multiplier les performances en coulant des bornes un peu partout dans le monde. Un peu à la Invaders qui pose ses mosaïques nous on va chercher à optimiser la pose d'une borne et on va rédiger un mode d'emploie dans le livre Eniarof.

And if you had to chose 5 projects shown at ENIAROF over the years, which ones would they be?

On a pas mal de projets qui sont devenu des "best playable" et les plus exposés comme :
hyperolympic de Djeff Regottaz et Loic Horellou où vous jouez à un remake de track'n field avec une interface de jeu très physique qui est devenu maintenant un incontournable des festivals pour mettre la grosse ambiance.


The Hyper Olympic Party - Parizon@dream - Gaïté Lyrique - June 9, 2012 - Dekalko

et Eggregor8 de Manuel Braun et moi où vous jouez à Pacman mais à 8 en même temps comme si vous étiez 8 sur la même manette

C'est drôle d'ailleurs car il y a eu en 2010 une exposition dans l'espace 13-16 du centre Pompidou sur le jeu vidéo et ils ont invité essentiellement des pièces Eniarof sans même se rendre compte qu'il y avait un lien entre nous.

On pourrait appeler ça le BeaubourgNiarof

Il y a aussi la pièce "A battre" de Raphael Isdant qu'il avait créé lors du deuxième Eniarof à Aix-en-Provence et qui depuis à aussi beaucoup tourné


Raphael Isdant, A BATTRE

ensuite in y a des pièces plus inattendus ou très spécifique à Eniarof Aix-en-provence

comme Pogo Tamponeuse un ring de combat où vous devez enfiler une combinaison en pneu pour affronter votre adversaire.
vidéo prochainement

ou encore combat de Fucking Machine qui était border line et complètement surréaliste.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/atoimage/10856699295/in/set-72157637674537996
http://www.flickr.com/photos/atoimage/10856672265/in/set-72157637674537996

The dogma mentions that ENIAROF has to take place in the proximity of an Emmaüs. Could you tell us why?

Dans le dogme93 de Lars von trier et Thomas Vinterberg il est souvent question d'une économie de moyen. Mon but quand j'ai monté Eniarof était de ne pas tomber dans l'excès des projets qui engloutissent trop d'argent car tout simplement je voyais bien qu'il n'y avait pas de budget pour les jeunes artistes. Je traînais souvent à l'époque dans les Emmaus et je voyais qu'il y avait beaucoup de matériaux dont les Emmaus ne savaient pas forcément quoi faire. En plus c'est souvent agréable de recycler un objet on a l'impression d'avoir fait un acte écolo.

Another thing that surprised me int he dogma is that the barman is paid as much as an artist. Why do you think it is important that every participant receives the same fee?

Au début de ma carrière d'artiste j'étais horrifié de voir que le vigile ou le barman était mieux payé que moi sur un festival. Je me demandais quel avenir pour nous artiste si on était obligé de se brader juste pour s'exposer. En plus dans ce festival ma pièce s'est en plus faite détruire à la fin. La tendance c'est heureusement inversé pour moi mais c'était un peu une règle pour me rappeler à moi même si je dois inviter des artistes que je ne les brades pas come on m'avait bradé moi.

What is next for ENIAROF?

on a un livre en cours de réalisation
d'ailleurs on a un appel au don ... J'ai pas encore l'URL du KissKiss

et on a eu pas mal de bon contact pour réaliser d'autres Eniarof d'ailleurs de l'autre côté de l'Atlantique et au bord de la Méditerranée mais encore rien de validé donc je ne m'avancerai pas trop.

Merci Antonin!

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