Sunday at Conflux, the art and technology festival for the creative exploration of urban public space, was hot in every sense including (unfortunately for Summer-phobics like me) in the meteorological one.
Given both the temperature and his own intrepidness, all my admiration went to Lucas Murgida. Last year, the artist was teaching Conflux participants the handy and delicate art of lock-picking. For this edition of the festival, he built a beautiful wooden cabinet, left it on a sidewalk and hid inside it. Mugida stayed in this torridness, for hours and with just a bottle of water, not revealing himself until a passerby would bring the cabinet to their home.
The name of the performance is 9/10 because Murgida wanted to check what would become of the often-quoted phrase, ‘Possession is 9/10 of the law’ when private property is placed in a public space. As he wrote: A person is not sure how to look at the object at first, but will usually fall back on the golden rule of U.S. culture (finders keepers, losers weepers) and claim it to be theirs. I am hoping to subvert the “finder’s” personal space by claiming it to be my own public space.
Saturday wasn’t much of an adventure. The cabinet was left in the street, people appeared to be tempted but they left it where it was. Now Sunday was more eventful, the artist and the cabinet got rolled into the storage room of a restaurant. As he had drilled a hole in the cabinet, Lucas was able to take pictures and get an idea of what was going on. The plan was to slip out unnoticed and leave the cabinet to its new owner.
Get the details.
Jenny Chowdhury was braving the mellowing heat in her 802.11 Apparel – Wifi Jacket. Part of a line of clothing that reflects wifi strength detected in the wearer’s immediate environment, the jacket literally “bring to light” a portion of the invisible radio waves by illuminating five stripes in accordance with the wifi signal strength.
The basic stripes of LEDs are integrated into a flower motif. This design choice associate our natural environment (the flower pattern) with the synthetic one (technology.)
More wearable devices were displayed all along the festival: CO2RSET which monitors air quality and tightens or loosens on the body in response to the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere; the Back-to-Back Massager vest which rows of electric massagers are pointed outward in order to massage others; Compli-mum, a kind of armor for women that plays movies and changes its own shape by separating or gathering parts of its construction through the use of microcontroller and a motorized skeleton structure and a very fetching Helmet Piece which i’m inconsolable to have missed.
Another work i missed because i was so busy passing the microphone to the public for a Q&A of the panel i curated for Conflux (more about that soon-ish), is The Light Mobs which showed participants how to use a simple little mirror (the pocket Lightcoder) and sunlight to transmit information.
But lucky me! i met Geraldine Juarez the day after and she gave me one of the Lightcoders to morse around and lucky us! she documented the action online.
The project had a very praiseworthy goal: to bring attention to our blind faith in digital technology as a medium of communication, using a simple analog “device”: the pocket Lightcoder.
I finally did a Botanicalls tour in which plants guide you by telephone in the area surrounding Conflux HQ. Each tree or plant, speaks in their own “Botanicalls” voice, based on their botanical habits and characteristics. It all started with the arrogant Rose and her ridiculous French accent (i’m allowed to write that cuz i gave her my voice) and ended with heart-breaking cries for help coming from the kitchen of a vegetarian restaurant.