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"social behavior" Category


James Bridle – The Anicons


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

“as an artist and activist, James Bridle 1980 shows the impact of the techno-surveillance society we live in. He has converted data collected with a spy camera for his project The Right to Flight to create a kaleidoscopic animation. As a protest against this ruthless technology, he has made unusable images.” – Change Makers

 

Skærmbillede 2017-11-29 kl. 17.10.34

James bridle is not only an artist and an activist, he is also a writer and a publisher and has appeared in magazines and newspapers like Frieze, Wired, Domus, the Atlantic and many others. He has a master degree in computer science from University College of London and wrote his dissertation on creative applications of Artificial Intelligence. Bridle also lectures regularly at conferences, universities and other events.

The Right to Flight was a four month installation, event series and ongoing research programme investigating technical infrastructures, surveillance, ballooning, and utopias. Ballooning has taken a dark turn since the zeppelin raids of the first world war to the use of surveillance-balloons in Iraq and Afghanistan and on the US/Mexico boarders.

James Bridle is in a specific case talking about a stolen car which is found trow Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) in northeast England in this text he is describing how a system like this is making every car a potential suspect, and how the surveillance-community suddenly becomes visible, and take a physical shape.

 

I have always been really interested in how our community has become an  surveillance-community, the way we store images, knowledge and numbers in our cloud, for instance. How you can find an answer to nearly anything in the “cloud”. How our focus has moved from the physical to the not physical – metaphysical. How Apple would be able to place you at a crime scene if you are owner and user of an iPhone with finger and face recognition. The norm is to tolerate that without questioning.

I think James Bridles project is interesting because he’s making those data unusable, data that is highly important in the way we are interfering and meeting each other today. Data which is not physical any more but have a high value in its metaphysical form.

I did a project earlier this year about how we began in some contexts to weigh the aesthetics higher then the function, and in some cases the understanding as well. And I think what James Bridle is doing can be understated in a similar way.

When you see graphical displays of books, posters or clothes etc., you begin to see a rhythm of incomprehensible elements, repeatedly one sees that a particular artist or designer chooses to use aesthetic elements like the Russian, Greek and Arabic alphabet as bearer of language. Some choose to use bar-codes or Gothic letters, ornaments that are clearly from another time, then the context it is viewed – used in. It is now only a matter of creating an aesthetically beautiful product, the recipient is now 100% uncritical and chooses only on behalf of aesthetics.
If you see Comme des Garcons for instance, they made a collab with Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy. In this colab there were t-shirts, hoodies etc with a text in Russian. I see people wearing this without knowing anything about the meaning of the selection of letters, they are only wearing it for the aesthetics and the fact that it’s popular.

 

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The connection I see between these two is that people of today’s society, the post internet generation, have such easy access to awareness – information, facts, news etc, that we have to some extent, stopped caring about it. We are choosing, consciously or unconsciously, what to be aware of and what we want to care about.

Even though both Bridles footage and Comme des Garcons/Rubchinskiys design with the language/letters is filled with important and valuable information, the finished product in these projects is only an abstract form. Roughly said, we are ignoring the value in this information and only choosing to see the abstract result that gives us aesthetic pleasure.

Gorillas inside a box


Saturday, November 25, 2017

The first indication given to us about this assignment was to select a book based solely on its design. As soon as this information was delivered the first thing that popped into my mind was to find one that would present the most extravagant, out of the box features, so that whatever the next steps to follow would be, the subject matter could not be accused of being boring.

Ironically enough, I chose a book that is inside a box. Which actually was the main reason it outshone its shelf mates, that suddenly looked very serious with their glue bind cover.

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Puzzle box by Ines Lechleitner is an artist book released in 2009. I was momentarily skeptical at the functionality of its green gapped cardboard cover —not that it mattered to my eyes, since the pick was based on unconventionality—, or to put it in a way that fits better the central reasoning that led to my choice, maybe the fact that it would present an additional layer to access its content, or remind the feeling of opening a present, would make it more interesting. Soon, the content justified the packaging: it is composed by two books one being the artist’s work where you can find pictures of a group of gorillas in a German zoo and drawings that explain the movements made by the camera. The second one being a response of different authors to the work carried out. Then, two videos were also included — found as a CD in the book— that focus on the gorillas entering and leaving the frame, and finally, a map of the relations between the gorillas’ habitat, the photographs and videos. The box now seemed like a handy support to carry the CD and the map.

You can find the true reasoning behind the design in the author’s website: «Puzzle Box is modeled after ‘Beschäftigungskästen’, which were designed specifically for apes as an interactive occupation and recreation tool. The apes are expected to learn how to manipulate grains inside the box by pushing them from one level to the next in order to gain access to the food.»

This box was inside the gorilla’s location and is recurrently found throughout the images of the book

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As I mentioned earlier the book contains a response of different authors to the work. It was captured as a conversation between the artist and the authors. When I finished reading it, I imagined myself participating in that conversation. To get more insight on what the artist had experienced over the period of 5 years in which she developed this project I decided to go to the Amsterdam zoo to elaborate my response.

I quickly began to make associations. The humans standing there encircling the gorillas’ cage while expressing their reactions could be similar to the way the gorillas manipulate the Beschäftigungskästen, both actions are driven by the effect, even if in the first case it might be entertainment and in the latter obtaining some food. It is interesting to consider the sizes of those involved in this equation and the movement of this idea which goes inwards in distance.  Us humans look at the cage and touch the glass with our fingers while inside, the gorillas look at the box touching it to get some food. And even taking it further, while manipulating the box the gorillas fell into it, furthering the confinement, satisfying the humans need for entertainment and consumerism now possible through the Puzzle Box in which they lie. Definitely, I noticed how much my perception of the zoo as a place had shifted since I was a child.

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There are five polar notions that get emphasized in the book

we/them

open/closed

active/passive

space/movement

In the frame (onscreen)/ out of the frame (offscreen)

The pictures in black and white somehow make stronger the sensation of two different entities separated by distance. The framing delimits the space in a way that makes you wonder what is around, almost as if each picture wasn’t complete or was a piece of a puzzle. It also happens with the video where you would need a 360º panorama to understand the full set. The pace in which the gorillas are depicted is calm, almost uninterested.

In the zoo, once I spent enough time with the gorillas and my brain ended up getting used to the extreme, overwhelming aroma, I was able to truly concentrate on their movements, realizing how much more aware I was becoming of my own. I felt there was a strong relation between this feeling and the fact that the whole work of the artist (the map, the video, the pictures and the drawings) was to know very precisely, almost memorizing, each step and movement of the gorillas knowing what movement it was, which place were they occupying in space, when they did it, all of it systematically. This is also linked to the book’s design that appears to be calculated, calm and neat, using the same typewriter font throughout the book, and clean ‘one-line’ drawings.

Remembering that humans possess in a 98% the same DNA than gorillas I suddenly felt funny imagining my movements being dissected in a book.

 

Puzzle Book, designer: Ines Lechleitner, Rietveld Library Cat. no: lec 1

Gaza: A leopard never change its spots but a donkey can change and get stripes


Thursday, May 18, 2017

A cages, a theater, a library and research center – Gaza Zoo, the first one ever in the strip. It opened in January 2006, the same month Hamas, the radical Islamist, came to power

I have chosen to analysis what it is to be Authentic. Authenticity is the undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine. In my opinion, the artist chose to use the donkey as an analogy for the Palestinian people that their “authentic life” is to survive in extremely difficult living conditions. The donkey throughout history has been known to be used for labour by humans and are often overworked. In comparison, animals such as zebras and horses are always seen to be more superior than donkeys. Zebras and horses tend to have more rights and often protected from abuse as though they are on a pedestal. Similarly, the Palestinian people are represented by the donkey who have also been stripped of their true identity as they are not recognised by the Israeli government. Palestinian people have no citizenship rights in the west bank and in Gaza. It is as though Israeli people have superiority and the Palestinian are inferior and are left powerless.

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/20436092)

faux is made in imitation, it is artificial, it is not genuine. Faux is the opposite to authenticity as it masks itself to look like the real deal, however underneath lies the truth. The chair, similar to the donkey is sat on by man and are used, changed and adapted. Sincere imitation is achieved through genuine feelings. Portraying these feelings of how you see the world and its changes are the keys to make it.

In the picture below, the man seen is Mahmod Berghote standing with one of Marah Zoo’s world famous painted donkeys. The zoo’s two white donkeys caused an international media frenzy after Mahmod and his brother spent three days painting stripes onto them using black hair dye. Unable to find an animal trader to bring a real zebra through the tunnels from Egypt, the Berghote family decided to make a fake pair using white donkeys. The story was reported all over the world as a feel good news piece and often used as an example of the Palestinian people’s resourcefulness during the siege of Gaza.

 The idea that imprisoned people can make a business out of smuggling, locking up, and exhibiting animals is deeply ironic. There are about a dozen Zoo’s in Gaza and their story is intertwined with world politics in a way that would be unimaginable anywhere else.

In 2005, Dr. Saud Shawa, a veterinarian, decided to establish Palestine’s National Zoo. For Shawa, this was about education and showing people how to care for animals. Supported by international donors, he built a spacious compound with big movement, won elections in Gaza. The border was closed and the initiative was halted before it could get started.

As of today, not a single zoo has been profitable. In fact, there is only one person in the Gaza Strip who benefits from the business: Abu Nadal Khalid, an animal trader. He has animals drugged and smuggled through the infamous system of tunnels leading from Egypt into the strip.

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The Swedish/British Anastasia Taylor-Lind (Great Britain, 1981) is a photojournalist connected with the VII Photo Agency, with a special interest in the Middle East. She made this photo of the Marag Zoo Zebra, Gaza 2009.

 

Untitled photo by Anastasia Taylor-Lind. Exh.cat.no.32-faux

highlight our movement


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

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When we have an appointment ahead of us there is all kind of preparation, there is a planning, and there is a lot of expectations. On the other hand the beauty of having an appointment with someone that you do not know, I have to admit, is in the fact that just a little of what you have planned or imagined will happen.

The most important thing the public space means to me is when it allows you meeting something or someone unknown. When we are surprised, it will add to our life an emotion of discovering, and participating. Meeting someone or something that you do not expect, something that you have not seen before. Where does this encounter leave to you?

Many people feel alone in a city, and are living an unpleasant and isolate life.

Why? There are probably several reasons: is it because there are so many impressions that a modern city offers to us and make us feel lost? Or is it because the individualist way of living, where everything is centered on what one wants for her/himself, making people isolate from each other?

I want to participate in creating the feeling that we are creating and using the public space. That means that we ourselves are the ones who can make this space as we want. I start asking my self what and how I want the space I use and I share with the others?

I would like to create something that could connect people through the action. A  kind of action that we are used doing in every day life.

I started by analyzing mistakes or things that I dislike – or in other words those that I was looking for ….

First mistake would be to design something for people without observing what people do or want. I want something that connect people who don’t know each other. Some one asking to a stranger to help him to sit, for instance?

I started to understand that I had to design something for somebody else (out of my personal sphere) and in this case something for any kind of person: something universal

I reached the conclusion that you can not force someboy to do what you want but you must follow the organic situation that is present and that is important to put the subjects in question at the same level to each others.

I went far from the image of an object and I finally started by giving the importance to the fact that “If the actions are what unify people, what about if the actions are the one that tricker something?” so instead of the people having to go and do something to make that happen, it will focus on what they are already doing that will create an external factor. A factor that could be an emotion but could also be an aid.

Scan 20.47.57.jpeg Scan 7.jpeg

I started to imagine it in a more playful circumstance.
My elements became the sidewalk floor, and the walking the triggering factor. As I said before there is no better meeting than with a stranger. I wanted to refer to people who don’t know each other… My project consists in a non platform.

Untitled-1 Untitled-2pdf

This platform will be positioned under the tiles that form the sidewalk and connect only with the three of them. I imagine the Amsterdam Central Station as a starting point, because it is a place were many people from different backgrounds and identities are passing and walking.

Scan 2 Scan 8

While people are walking, tree people are activating a system that generates something. The soap bubble represents a good element for this situation, because it is an element that does not intimidate, and more important does not need to be cleaned up. The element could vary from different situation to different environment: for example if tree people are waiting for the bus and they are standing on the tiles. The tiles can pull out an umbrella for example that protects you from the rain or the sun. This means it can be open to us for many different choices but the goal will remain the same.

 

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I want to give a special thank to Jesse Jorg who inspired me in this project.

 

Try to Attempt


Sunday, April 23, 2017

___After remembering my child dream about a brave crane man, I’ve decided 10 years later, no matter what, no matter the way, to get in contact with him. The main goals ? Talk with him and learn about his work. Did my dream reflect the reality ? I’ve tried to understand why life got in the way.

Crane experience

The first step was to know what’s going on in the field. It was quite easy, some construction sites took place just next to the Rietveld Academie. To reach my goal, I’ve first talked to a worker passing by. Straight away, he made me realize that everyone was very busy over here. From this moment, I’ve understood one thing : it’s going to be more complicated that I’ve thought.

I spent one day asking questions to several workers, but none of them had time to answer me. It was my first failure. Then, I tried to figure out something else. Maybe I should have tried to get in contact directly with the crane man ! But how to approach someone that busy ? I had to find a way. I’ve spent a few days, walking around, observing the crane man through the Rietveld Academie Windows. While I was looking at him, I was wondering what he his seeing ? How could I capture his attention ?

As the site was in front of the Rietveld Academie, the crane couldn’t have missed the school’s walls. Therefore, I came back to my class room and I start thinking. After putting a few ideas on the paper, I’ve found the one. I had to draw the crane man’s attention on something special, something that he couldn’t not see : a big sign just in front of him. The goal, still the same : capt his interest, but moreover, make him fell special, like the man in my dream. In order to do that and stand for his work properly, I’ve decided to picture him as a super hero. The sign had to be very clear : CRANE MAN, I’m a fan ! Let’s talk about your superpowers !

Sign for the Crane Driver

A few days later, I heard some of my classmates, speaking about the crane man, who finaly got my message. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in Amsterdam at this time, and when I came back, the crane man was gone.

During several days I was wondering what should I do next. Try to talk to him again ? Find an another way to get in touch with him ? I started to think that I’ve missed my chance.

Against all expectations, I heard about the crane man through the social networks on the school page. He actually post a picture of the sign from his crane. I couldn’t expect more !

cren driver's picture

I didn’t fail, I actually got in contact with him !

I’ve learned a lot about him and his work, just observing it. I succeeded to deliver a message, without directly talking to him. This is the very proof that when you’re trying hard, and when you really want, you can do Something. Even if it was not your first thought.

Experience to attempt

picture dice

___This experience gave me the desire to spread this message to people. Telling them that after all,  the aim doesn’t matter, trying does. To do that, I was looking for something that always makes me think about attempting. I thought about a dice. Each time you roll it, you’re trying to do a specific number. It’s actually a real tool of the idea of attempting. For instance, you’re using dices to get out of jail when you’re playing Monopoly. I’ve been thinking about how could I change the dice in order to erase the proper aim of rolling it : never reach the specif number you wanted. Erasing the numbers ? Changing the size? The shape?

I got the idea to create a specific dice, a dice which never stops Rolling. From there, you’ll be rolling it only in order to try the object, without directly knowing where it’s going to lead you. The original size of the dice was important for me because of its practical aspect. It needs to be small, easy to grab, to catch and to carry. I also wanted something playful.

Then the bouncing ball emerged in my mind ! I thought about playing without a goal. You just attempt it for what it is. However, as far as we know it, you can get bored quite easily with bouncing balls, because of the repetitive action. This made me create something that can change the first aspect of the ball and show the different steps along the trying process. From now, the idea is to create something that can captivate people’s attention in the street, and make them start to attempt something with it. Give them a gift which is actually not the ball as they think, but the action of trying.

I now have to find a practical way to do it. Creating a layer around the ball could keep the track of the different attempts. I first thought about tape, but the ball was not bouncing anymore after being wrapped. About Velvet, tracks were not that clear and the ball didn’t bounce enough. I’ve noticed that sometimes on the public benches, you can find some painting missing, It’s the wear, due to people, sitting a lot at this specific place.

Then I thought about putting a layer of paint around the ball. Attempts will brake it step by step. The painting missing on the ball will show a pattern. Each of them will be different and will represent the track of experiments during the day.

try project Vondelpark

Now I’ve found my object, I still need to figure out how people will face it. First I created a small box looking like a board game. Inside ? 4 balls and the rules of the game. Nevertheless, it didn’t work, because people just had to follow the instructions, without thinking of the idea of trying several times. I’ve wanted to let people the choice. If they want to try it, why, how ?

I built a small public facility, where balls were free to access. That way, people can choose to pay attention or not. With this making, I offered people to do whatever they wanted. No matter what they did with the balls, each choice was a good one. This project became a free gift to people, without giving them something tangible.

After all, the experience itself is the most valuable.

trying-in-Vondelpark,-Amsterdam

Just try, click on it !

The island of Utopia


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A page of the 3rd publication from the first english version of Utopia, made in 1597 by Raphe Robinson

A page of the 3rd publication from the first english version of Utopia, made in 1597 by Raphe Robinson

 

The book Utopia was published in 1516 by Thomas More. The word itself means “nowhere”, from the ancient Greek language. As it is said, it was written to give an example of a better society rather than the one of  Europe in the sixteenth century could be like.

As I started reading it there was just one question that kept arousing into my mind: how could the Utopians be so willing to obey the rules? Was More making use of his famous black sense of humor when he designed them?

The Utopians are a group of devoted, placid people; they all dress with the same garments and eat in big cantines. Their sense of community is greatly strong. They agree with all the rules. But that sounds so atypical. More, as many other utopians have done, created a little society where human feelings as fear, hate, jealousy and rage almost didn’t exist.

In fact, many utopic authors created a world in which these feelings didn’t exist either. Like the dystopian work of Aldous Huxley, “A Brave New World”, in which humans take pills to be constantly happy. Most utopias are made to terminate all bad feelings. But why not learn to control them and coexist with them? The deeper the pain, the deeper the joy. A world without these feelings would be a passive world. And in a passive world, there’s little space for big strokes of imagination and self-thinking. How boring would that be…
 

An example of how the island of Utopia could have looked like Isola_di_Utopia_Moro
An example of how the island of Utopia could have looked ~ how it was illustrated in the first edition

 
That lead me to think that most utopias are dangerous. As they represent the most ideally perfect aspects of society/mankind, and perfection is a subjective concept, they are very susceptible to not to fit the personal needs of every human being. So they can easily set apart any person who doesn’t correspond the same ideal, and put her in a cage.

Hitler almost realized his own utopia, and drove many people to serve him in this savagery. Maybe the others could sympathize with him because they saw, too, the heaven in Hitler’s mind. However after the discovery of the Holocaust, utopias could never be the same.

I’m not sure if I could, as many people do, relate that much Thomas More to the humanists of the 15th century. They put for the first time men before God, seeked the ability of the human being to think by itself and break with traditions, and supported more the science rather than the superstition. Thomas More was a deeply religious person, and he even stated being God’s servant when he was executed. However, his book Utopia pursues the finest achievement of a human community in what regards society organization, behaviour and education. So to have gone gone so deep into the matter, shouldn’t More have had a real passion for humanism?

More’s book is not easy to read. Used as we are, “free” educated thinkers from the 21rst century, to judge and compare everything with our current times, I think it’s difficult to put yourself into the mindset of the 15th century. I believe it’s a truly visionary book to be written back in that time, when religion had a considerable place in the european population, taking big imporance in every act.
 
atenas Renaissance artists from the 15th century seeked, too, to find perfection and utopy in the human body

Renaissance artists from the 15th century seeked, too, to find perfection and utopy in the human body

And exactly 440 years after Utopia was published, Constant Nieuwenhuys started working in New Babylon. His structures were motivated by the devastated cities he saw after World War II; he started thinking about how architecture influences daily life, and how it creates a specific environment depending on its shape and interior organization. When I thought about Constant and More together, I couldn’t imagine such differents idealists. But as soon as I started going deeper into his ideals, and tried to understand them, I could see some resemblances. On one hand, I think they were united by the fact that they both had a fascination for anthropology. Constant and More put a great effort into imagining, each one their own way, ways to enhance culture and society. What would have happened if we combined the community of More with Constant’s architecture? Perhaps it would have been a total failure, as it is like combining two opposite worlds that scream for way divergent paragons of life. Constant architecture was made to play, whereas iddleness was totally forbidden in More’s book.

 

An example of one of Constant's scale models for New Babylon

I can also imagine that some art tendencies would have been banned in Utopia. As they hide, as well, butcher houses because it stimulates human violence, they would have probably limited art to just beautifully looking things that appeal to “nice acts”.

But what More, with his deeply religious faith (which maybe nowadays would have been translated into a deep love for mankind) would have designed for nowadays? Aren’t we almost living in a utopia right now, isn’t Amsterdam some sort of bubble? How would he would have felt in our current capitalist world? He was not an artist but I believe he had a deep love and understanding for humanity. Which doesn’t take him that far from art..

 

Homo Ludens


Monday, October 24, 2016

 

The human being is qualified as « homo sapiens », the man who knows and « homo faber », the man who makes. « Homo ludens » is the man at play.

 

So i decided to find out more about Constant Nieuwenhuy’s « homo ludens » and the context.

We are in the period after the second world war, everything is destroyed and has to be rebuilt. Constant had an utopian vision of how we could re invent our world, and for him it was a real possibility. We had to forget how we did thing in the past (traditions, routines, processes, plans…) and create a new world from dust, that he called « New Babylon ».

 

The people of the « New Babylon » world are called the « homo ludens ». He insisted on the importance of play. Something joyful, pleasant and adventurous in our daily lives. People could transform, recreate our environment according to their new needs. Everyone could use his creativity as he wished. Art would exist as part of our day-to-day existence, everyone would be an artist. He puts the human in the centre of everything. Mobility is another key dimension because it was getting easier to travel across the world. Constant saw the new babylonians as a new race of nomads with unlimited freedom to decide about the appearance of their surroundings.

 

 

Staircase

 

 

I think this staircase is the perfect representation of Constant’s idea of « homo ludens ». The stair’s principal function is no more the useful part of it, to go up and down. The amusement of going up and down is what it is about. It isn’t the most practical staircase but when you go up or down, you have fun.

 

The opposite of this new concept of a « ludic society » is the society we are in now, a « utilitarian society ». A society based on the exploitation of the human being’s capacity for work in any kind of domain. « Utility » is the principal criteria of a man for his activity. The creative man can only claim his right on rare occasions.

 

The « ludic society » on the contrary is freed from repetitive production work. It would be a « classless society » with no more hierarchy. A society were individuals developed and discovered their own creativity with others. Constantly at play, an uninterrupted process of creation and re creation.

 

How would « social justice » work in this new world ?

 

Equality and freedom between everyone is the principle of social justice. Freedom depends not only on the social structure but also on productivity. Supposing we are in a world where people create daily, if there is no production then this society doesn’t work. Productivity depends on technology. The new technologies we discover every year give us new ways of doing things, more possibilities, more freedom for the « homo ludens » to play with.

With theses new possibilities people innovate, make something new, re do, renew, rebuild, restore, transform, change… This is in effect the role of a designer but in this world there wouldn’t be any constraints.

 

Schema2

 

These innovations can be used in all kinds of activities. For instance, Constant imagined that air conditioning in  « New Babylon » does not only serve to recreate, as in a « utilitarian society » an « ideal » climate but also to make it possible to vary the ambiance to the greatest possible degree.

 

Technology and innovation enable creativity. For example, we can now bring to reality what was a simple 2D image on a computer. There are many kinds of innovations but I think that artificial intelligence (see also : 7 trends for artificial intelligence in 2016 ) is going to be the major innovation that will have an impact on our society and really affect our creativity in the future.

 

Imagine a world where « homo ludens » would be able to have artificial intelligence (AI) assistants. You could not really make the difference with a human. They would have all the data of the world in their system and would use « deep learning » .

« Deep learning » is different learning methods where the AI has advanced audio and visual analysis skills (facial recognition, voice recognition, computer vision…). They would be able to modify their attitude based on the past, they learn. If you are a bit curious about this subject I advise you to watch the tv series « Westworld  ».

With all this data and advanced technology IA assistants could give to « homo ludens » a different perspective about their production and bring real technical and practical support instantly. It would be similar to the character « Jarvis » in Iron Man. What is interesting about this AI is that it is invisible.

 

Artificial intelligence and « homo ludens » could work well together but AI can be dangerous if it is not well controlled.

 

Utopian…


Monday, October 24, 2016

After World War II, much of Europe is in ruins. People in Europe had experienced two world wars in three decades, many wanted peace and quiet and to try going back to the old order. Women who, during the war, had gone out to work would now stay at home. Some young people who had grown up during the war wanted to explore the newly won freedom. The young artist Constant Nieuwenhuys was one of these young people. He and his family went into hiding to avoid registering for ‘Kulturkammer’ (Nazi Chamber of Culture) so that he could continue to sell his art. When they hid in the house of Constant’s brother in law, his brother introduced Constant to philosophy. He began to read Karl Marx which would be a great source of inspiration for him later on.

1948 Constant created the international artist collective CoBrA. It was a collection of radical young artists from northern Europe who was against war, nationalism and militarism. They wanted to explore a new freedom through art and new perspectives through child- and folk art, mixing different materials and work collectively. Many of them were also Communists, who didn’t see it as the function of art to hang in the bourgeois homes. After CoBrA, Constant concentrated on his project New Babylon, creating models, collages and paintings to figure out what a post-marxist society would look like. His models show buildings that rise up on pillars from the ruins of the old capitalist society. ‘Homo Ludens’, man after a revolution, that no longer need to work as all the work had been automated by machines. He is no longer a worker but spend his own life and time for play. All land in New Babylon was owned collectively and the models show horizontal buildings for a horizontal community, and large open spaces as architecture was not to limit the spawning of Homo Ludens. Instead, it could constantly be modified to needs and desire.

In 1974 Constant gave up the development and presentation of the New Babylon project after nearly two decenniums of exploration. Many saw the project as utopian but for Constant it was a potential and real future. In the New Babylon society, people are connected through a large building that stretches around the world. A place where everyone can be received as mentioned by Mark Wigley, author of “Constant’s New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire” a digital folder of the books content that we have got access to today –connected with our phones– and through which we can attain the content independent of place both during the day or at night.

When I went through the exhibition New Babylon at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, I thought of today’s socialism and the ideas that an alternative society is something strange and impossible. The ideology of today tells us that we live in the post-ideological era, liberal democracy won the cold war and so also the hegemony of ideological thought. We are told that we can move freely we can become anything if we work hard. Today Constant’s ideas seem naive and detached from reality ‘his idea is a utopia and today we have come to realize that we live in the best of worlds’. Today we are told that we are free. By calling something a utopia we take away its revolutionary strength, Constant is harmless because he hangs in an art museum. His models are ornaments from a naive era. When we leave the museum we leave the naive dreaming behind and come back to our “post-ideological” society.

We have acquired the freedom of choice in what we consume, but that is also as far as our freedom extends. Jens Nordfält, a doctor in store marketing, explains how the architecture of a supermarket is constructed to make us consume. At the entrance is placed freshly baked bread to make you hungry. In the back of the store is placed everyday goods that everyone needs so that one will go past many goods and increase the chance of spontaneous shopping. Placed by the checkout is sweets and cheap small goods that one can indulge in when one has been good and done ones weekly shopping. This is not play nor neutral and free from ideology, but instead reflects the capitalist utopia.

The Concept of Détournement


Monday, October 24, 2016

Détournement is a technique. Détournement is a style. Détournement is a tool.

  • To really understand the concept of this tool, first we have to get to know it’s origins.

When we speak about détournement, the first and the most important figure we have to mention is Guy Debord.

Debord was a Marxist theorist; writer and filmmaker who is mostly known for his activity and leading membership of the Situationist International ( SI ).

In 1950, at the age of 19, Debord joined an avant-garde movement called Letterism, led by Isidore Isou. After two years Debord splits off and creates a radical group, the Letterist International.

Shortly after this collective of rebel artists and theorists was founded ( 1952 ) , détournement was claimed by this certain group.

The very first publication ( and description ) we can find on their desires; announced by Guy Debord and Gil J Wolman in 1956, was the ‘ A User’s Guide to Détournement ‘ .

After we did these very basic studies on the genesis of our subject, we can go deeper in search of the meaning and, so to say, the use of détournement.

  • Every movement, every new style claims current things and situations to change. They all have the same purpose: leave the old, the used behind and create, express something new. In our case Guy Debord’s movement was a very radical, even revolutionary way of changing the meaning of art, or better, the production of it. Debord and the situationists all agreed on the fact that art could no longer stay a chic, luxurious, high class production. Rather they believed and strived for art to have a deeper, educational input. They broke down the walls of the classical and the bourgeois way of looking at and creating art by taking different elements of already existing works and transforming them into something new, to express another meaning. These changes don’t necessarily have to be drastic or aggressive. The point of it is to change a small component but then with this small detour, changing the overall expression and audience. They mainly aimed political situations and circles, but only in a peaceful and respectful way.

A very important figure and example in this case would be Asger Jorn. Jorn was a really good friend of Debord, therefore he was highly inspired and led by the situationist concept, styles and ideas. In his paintings series called The ‘Defigurations’ , we can clearly explore the idea of détournement. His works are mainly driven by political issues and his frustration with established structures and authorities within society.

Another well known example is Marcel Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q. where he simply adds a moustache on Mona Lisa. With this small adjustment which first looks funny and sarcastic, Duchamp changes the whole meaning of the original Mona Lisa, that presents a laid back, carefree woman, but with this detour he presents the restlessness of the women’s sexuality.

  • At this point i find it more important to come up with more recent examples for détournement.

Let’s say you go to a restaurant, you get a piece of toast and a strawberry. Then you take a bite of this strawberry and you realise that it is actually a tomato. This is a concoction by the radical Star Chef Grant Achatz called ‘ strawberry / tomato ‘ . His cuisine is amazingly revolutionary as he transfers every simple ingredient into something more, something different. With this, he presents the meaning of modern cooking on a new level that is more of a performance or art than just making food for the guests. The food itself loses its meaning, it becomes the show, the whole experience. He takes a simple vegetable a normal herb or an ordinary ingredient but then the way he cuts, boils, combines them he creates tastes, techniques and culinary styles that we have never experienced before.

Another very important figure and illustration from our daily life is Banksy. We are not quite certain if Banksy is one person or a group of revolutionary artists, but the works we find and see under Banksy’s name are carrying the biggest recent political and social issues from these days.

In our case Banksy () could be one of the best examples how détournement works. In these works we can find well known images of current situations, famous moments and people, companies and figures. The way Banksy transforms these pieces, irrevocably opens our eyes on actual problems in our society, on existing and known political debates. The only small detour Banksy has, is that the way it’s propaganda exists might be more aggressive or intense by publishing them on public places, than the basics of détournement were created.

  • However, we face an important  and interesting question now. What if we detour détournement? How far can détournement go? How can or should we divide it from anarchy?

Or maybe peaceful propaganda is not enough at all these days anymore…?!

I assume it might not be. I believe that nowadays within such an aggressive society, political parties and their choices; we have to fight the “rival” with clear, harsh and rebel tools.

So answering our questions: it is almost a mandatory for us artists and philosophers and writers, comedians, journalists or simple working class people and for all medium that is capable of, to take the peaceful elements of détournement to a next,  advanced level. We do have to go further and show our dislike or disagreement, even if it has to cross laws and politeness, for the sake of change and recognition. We have to apply effective and more powerful tools to our ideas and requirements  for them to be realised.

THE SITUATIONIST DILEMMA


Sunday, October 23, 2016

 

Competitive notions in interpreting the concepts of situationism are creating a dilemma. This dilemma signifies friction between the concept and its use in daily life. 

 

Firstly I should say that situationism and the Situationist International had been created in a different world/time than the one I live in. The concept of freedom and play as stated in many of their ideas, resemble an assembly of philosophical and empiric references that are mine, but experienced in a different context. This leads to a reinterpretation of freedom and play connected to the world I live in now.

 

INDIVIDUAL VERSUS GROUP 

Situationist ideas about psychogeography (dérive) and unitary urbanism clarify the concept of living in situations, freedom and play vividly. People wander through different urban areas. Having their individual feelings lead them while being directly influenced by their surroundings. An idea of exploring and living in a landscape existing of unplanned surprises.

 

So far, this concept might sound clear, but a paradox can be found in many of their statements.

On the one hand a person should be strongly attached to his/her own feelings/emotions/senses (individualism), but on the other hand a capitalist/materialist individualism is condemned. This states an interesting way of thinking. Complex by all means.

The word of subject in the sentence above is ‘individualism’, but in my vision on the main situationist theory (a radical aversion for ideas and practices of the powers that were), are ‘individualism’ and ‘collectivism’ interchangeable. The notion of the individual and the group as being a unity and at the same time fragmenting this collectiveness, is such a tough contradiction. This makes situationist theories approachable in many ways, but inapproachable in even more.

 

The radical, anti-capitalist ideas of the situationists can be very effective in extreme, collective confrontation (i.e. revolts, revolutions, marches, strikes). Meanwhile, the individual in daily life, loses strength.

An individual that constructs situations, will be living in a different situation than another individual, although their situations could overlay and complicates such an (already) unclear starting point. A situation defined for yourself, might complicate the practice of freedom and play in a cohesive, social setting.

Freedom and play should be incorporated in situations and life in general, but these terms are uncertain in ongoing effect and consequence.

 

EXTERNAL VERSUS INTRINSIC 

The situationist notion of the spectacle (materialist/capitalist vision on life as a narrow-minded, superficial one) still divides and unites people in their daily patterns nowadays. Although the spectacle reshapes itself continuously towards more flexible definitions.

 

Primary, intrinsic and united similarities are what makes us homo sapiens. The by the situationists admired concept of the homo ludens unites us too. This adventurous person at play is inside all of us. Still few people are able to fully express this as described in a situationist’s observation.

External influences, as the spectacle, restrict us human beings to be limitless in freedom and play. But also, in my point of view, originates an important part from within people themselves. External information (cultural, traditional) is necessary to reinterpret in an individual context. Therefore freedom is needed. Next to these external factors, a variety of embedded instincts and needs (biological, genetic) are prematurely existing. To approach these in a constantly free and playful way is beautifully stated, but in my conception naive, since we are  being born in an already populated world where centuries of ever transforming, created structures aren’t all based on (solely) money and power.

 

UTOPIA VERSUS REALITY

These situationist ideas, created and admired by artists and other people with interest and knowledge in arts, literature, philosophy and/or politics, is not made for, nor to be understood by many others. Capitalists nor communists (and many more who fill this gap).

A situationist world is a utopia. The importance of the unstructured, emotional drifts, guiding every person individually, is un-realizable.

Influence through morals, religions and politics have always been a limitation for protesters. But structure can be found in all ideas  about life. Structure requires limits. Also, a construction of situations.

 

Read more :

The Concept of Détournement

the pleasure of the unknown

 

WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE GUN?


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

text by Celina Yavelow

 

Guilty_Screen Shot

She changes this thing in the house to annoy the other, and the other is annoyed and changes it back, and she changes this other thing in the house to annoy the other, and the other is annoyed and changes it back, and then she tells all this the way it happens to some others and they think it is funny, but the other hears it and does not think it is funny, but can’t change it back.

The Other, by Lydia Davis

 

Loaded Language

 

The fact that language can change a state being is pretty much wow to me. Say the word and there’s a chance something will change: your insides start hurting (“Cunt”), you’re suddenly single again (“I’m breaking up with you”), or forced into a guilty state (“You’re under arrest”). The load in this kind of language is taken literally here, considering the body not only as the agent for speech, but also as physically subject to the force and effect of loaded language — realizing you can actually do things with words, and realizing also, that its authority can be both threatening and empowering.

Complex_Screen Shot

This thesis is titled Where did you hide the gun? because it’s a famous example of a question deliberately loaded by its formulation. It does not ask if there is a gun, but ensues there is, and where did you hide it? According to the question you’re already guilty of the shot — regardless (“POW POW!”). I’ve connected this mechanism to a term in language philosophy and theater studies called performative speech utterance, which is quite a tough shoe to chew, so my theoretical framing is constantly interrupted by metaphoric associations and a fictional narrative, offering a melodramatic illustration of the concepts employed.

And_Screen Shot

Meanwhile, I became completely hooked to the thought that language can be so directive, that we are so easily affected, seduced or tricked by it. I continued my research in a sound piece called Hi, Mary, which was set out to be a subjective audio tour of a small part of the GRA graduation show of 2015, but was mostly exploring this reflex in our body to surrender to a voice and its language. Listen to it here!
Sound file: Hi-Mary

[audio:http://designblog.rietveldacademie.nl/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Hi-Mary_Celina-Yavelow.mp3|titles=perfect fifth]

650-Celina_Yavelow_LS_05_low_res audiotour at Rietveld graduation show

 

the thesis
The subject –loaded language– is in itself interesting. But what makes the thesis original and engaging is the way in which she approaches the subject - a mix of various types of material (film, language philosophy, literature, current events, memories) and registers (short story, academic prose, interview, collaged/found text), all capably, impressively intertwined. Yavelow presents the reader with both basic and not-so-basic linguistic concepts, each of which she proceeds to explore through various perspectives.
The writing process is thus integral to the subject matter. The bluntness of certain images (for example guns) and juxtapositions (for example romance with guilt) is largely offset by the assured writing style. A range of literary devices are used to good effect: repetition, sentence fragments, double meanings, omission of conjunctions. An enjoyable, kaleidoscopic read.
[text by Louis Luthï]

Screen shot 2016-05-15 at 3.23.50 PM download this thesis by Celina Yavelow

 

A wide variety of books and a bride with no groom


Sunday, February 21, 2016

notebooks  

– – – – – – – – – – – – –  – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

A WIDE VARIETY OF BOOKS
AND A BRIDE WITH NO GROOM 

(Roughly about emojis)

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — – – – – – – – – – – – – – –– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  – – 

Bride with no groom

 

 

The first time I saw Emojis  was 4 years ago, around 2011. I had done that big investment and changed my Blackberry for an Iphone. Coming from the Blackberry world it was very important for me to be able to chat for free so I downloaded Whatsapp, which was gaining popularity in my Ecuadorian chatting circle of life. But coming from the Blackberry world I was also missing to be able to send their super cute “Smileys” (how I called them before calling them “Emojis”, by the way my grandmother calls them “caritas” which means “little faces”).

Smileys, Emojis, or Emoticons where not included in Whatsapp and apparently they were not in my super new and slick Iphone neither. A friend recommended me to download an app called Emoji Emoticons, this applications was going to somehow make a Emoji Keyboard appear in my Iphone. So I did Sparkles on Apple iOS 9.3

remember finding very strange the fact that this Emojis will appear in my keyboard as another language. Between the options I had I could either write in Spanish or write Emoji. Technically I couldn’t do both in the same time. Emojis in Iphone interface at that time weren’t categorize as a complementary element to written words, as they appeared in my BlackBerry. Rather they appeared as a whole new language. The Emoji pack for the Iphone was also a lot wider than the Bb Smiley pack. Suddenly having so many options made me question my real need for them. They were all new so I was not used to them and they all seemed not suited to my usual way of communication and a bit arbitrary. Somehow because they where not the Emoji I was used too, they also felt “un-official”. I knew I could demand them to be official and that I couldn’t defend that the Bb smileys were official indeed, but I think it was an interesting instinctive (?) reaction.

I asked myself for example if I will ever need 4 Volumes of books (each one with their own color) and 3 types of notebooks.Where was the ecuadorian flag? And why was there a Bride and not a Groom? What happened with him? Is it the hat? This little and easy remarks (maybe a little bit too easy: Pseuo-Nationalist and Pseudo-FeministFace Throwing a Kiss on Apple iOS 9.3) catch my attention. With the time Emojis started to be used more and more and they started to feel like a some-how “official” thing. Despite this the arbitrary feeling to it was still there. They were being used for a lot of people but were they representing this people need of communication? (AND NOW OMG, MY QUESTION HAS BEING HEARD BY THE GOD OF ADVERTISING AND AlwaysG is also bitching about Feminist-Emoji-Rights…Face Without Mouth on Apple iOS 9.3: Always #LikeAGirl – Girl Emojis)

The ancestor of the Emoji is the “Smiling face”, even though earlier versions are known, Harvey Ball is recognized as the official designer of the smiley, he did it back in 1963. Emoji were born in the late 1990’s created Shigetaka Kurita, an employee at the Japanese telecom company NTT Cocomo. Kurita came up with the idea to add simplistic cartoon images to its messaging functions as a way to appeal to teens. He draw them using a pencil and a paper in a 12 by 12 pixel grid. This is how he came up with 176 crude symbols representing from faces to music notes. This emojis were a hit in the Japanese market, and other mobile providers adopted this feature. In 2007 when the Iphone appeared Apple and Google realized that they had to catch up and they added their own Emoji keyboard in the Iphones. This feature was hidden in the US Iphones, but we soon discovered that we could download an app to make them appear. By this moment the propositions given by provider were partially overlapping symbols and had its own way of coding. Emoji from a different provider often could not be displayed between them. Also emoji via email was a problem. 

 

 

National Park on Apple iOS 9.3
(This is a landscape painting hanging in the wall of this article for decoration and recreation purposes)

 

 

So Emoji added to the Unicode Consortium in 2009.Unicode which was founded in 1990 is a network of contribution members. This is the organization who punctuates, encodes, names and sketches Emoji to make sure that each platform (e-mail, iOs, Android, Google, etc) shows the same character. Then each platform can design their Emoji.  Since then the Unicode Consortium adds new Emoji features each year. This emoji features are held by employees from Apple and Google…Man in Business Suit Levitating on Apple iOS 9.3

In June 2015 there were 37 Emojis added, including an upside-down smiley, a nerd, a robot, a taco, a cheese, a hot dog, a mosque, a synagogue, etc. They also enabled, understandably, the option to change the skin tone of certain human-emoji to different hues on the FitzPatrick Scale, a “recognized standard for dermatology”

Looks quite hard to determine what Emojis are needed to represent all the Emoji-users needs for communication, it is clear that we are looking for solutions to be more expressive via text, but in the same time it also sounds too-easy easy to ask for emoji-representation of everyone. Tyler Schnoebelen lingüistic-related man has done some observations. As he says, “we’ve learned to talk, and we’ve learned to write, but we’re only now learning to write at the speed of talking (i.e., text), sending messages over vast expanses, absent any physical contextual clues. If you are talking to someone face-to-face, you don’t need an additional word or symbol to express “I’m smiling” because you would, presumably, be smiling.” But when we text between each other we loose all the non-verbal faculties like vocal intonation and body-language. Thinking about texting in this way makes very clear the necessity of a body-related language to emerge among chatters to leave intentions clear in a fast, casual way as easily as making a gesture.

But Emoji are not as limited as body-languageMouse Face on Apple iOS 9.3. Because among this very understandable body-expression conventions we also find other pictograms. Pictograms that seems to represent objects, actions or just words. And that have no defined meaning. This is the shady part of emoji. One of the reasons for which we cannot communicate solely with Emojis. With the times though there are some interpretations that have been stablished among certain people for example the girl with hands up in her head is in Japanese context a gesture for “OK”, but in other contexts is mostly interpreted differently. Each Emoji is still very much open for interpretation and I guess with time this language will be shaped to fit our needs for communication. We will add emojis we need and the existing emojis will be filled with the needed meanings. Until then I guess we will keep playing with this pictograms in this shady zone trying to scape from the limitations they offer and trying to use them our way. Hoping also that Emoji will find its way to make us all Smile and will not create any sort of discrimination feeling to start a war, or a second feminist revolution. 

senorita

 

Thats all I have to say. But I have also this emoji-related links to recommend: 
emojipedia.org
Tearsofjoy.nl
emoji.ink
emojiliteracy.com
emojitracker.com
emojinalysis.tumblr.com/
emojicate.com/

And things to read: 
nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/11/emojis-rapid-evolution.html
time.com/2993508/emoji-rules-tweets/

How an object becomes a part of us.


Monday, May 18, 2015

So

I don’t know why  I have this anxiety about smartphones.

Maybe, it’s about dependence, it’s about feeling like something is missing when you don’t have it with you, like an actual part of you is missing.

Do we need smartphones, to avoid loneliness ? The relation we have with our phones are so intimate, we hold them in our hands, they connect to our bodies and become an extension of it.

My research became really visual as I found images that spoke stronger for themselves than what I was writing. Here is a selection :

 

existenz_controller Images from the Cronenberg’s movie ExistenZ came back to my mind. In the movie, the design of this object really intrigued me, this “game pod” [x] that could have been electronic but that is made in a really organic way. They plug it in their spinal column to be able to connect to it and play. Human and the machine are then one.

 

glove-one-the-wearable-phone-is-real-2 Brian Cera is a designer that did this phone/glove called Glove One [x]. He says: “It presents a futile and fragile technology with which to augment ourselves. A cell phone which, in order to use, one must sacrifice their hand. It is both the literalization of Sherry Turkle’s notion of technology as a “phantom limb”, in how we augment ourselves through an ambivalent reliance on it, as well as a celebration of the freedom we seek in our devices.”

 Another picture that was significative in my research

Capture d’écran 2015-03-24 à 18.45.45

 

 

Of one of my first steps, I made this picture to visualize what I wanted to do

 cellphonealien1

 

Quite fast I started to make some objects with clay as I wanted to work with touch and the feelings of materials in my hands. I wanted to make an object that you could use instead of your phone. An object that would be made with organic shapes and give a  conforting feeling. After using clay I wanted to try softer materials, more fleshy, I started with silicone and end with latex. Here is the evolution.

_MG_8411 - copie1 _MG_8383 - copie

_MG_8384 - copie _MG_8385 - copie

_MG_8396 - copie _MG_8401 - copie1

_MG_8403 - copie1 _MG_8404 - copie1

_MG_8410 - copie _MG_8415 - copie1

_MG_8426 - copie1 _MG_8429 - copie1

_MG_8435 - copie1

_MG_8436 - copie1

_MG_8452 - copie1

This is my final object, made out of latex.

 

Object of Curiosity


Thursday, May 14, 2015

When we got an assignment to contact a person that influences and fascinates us I got lost for a moment. There are simply too many people whom I would be curious to meet and ask about their work and inspirations! After a couple of failed email conversations with hard-to-reach professionals I decided to try another way. My inspiration came spontaneous as a follow up of my daily curiosities. I personally find it very stimulating for my own working process to make a step aside from the main route and see what is it there behind the corner because you never know! Following this simple idea I went to a butchery I have been to recently. I already had a short encounter there with a butcher Mike and a video of him slicing slaughtered pig. Therefor we met again and I had a great opportunity to spend some time at the butchery with the best butcher-guide! During that meeting I discovered the world of modern dutch butcher and afterwords continued on searching for the best object i could make to tell the story of this meeting. In the text below you can find all the process steps that led to the creation of the final piece- OBJECT of CURIOSITY.

First Reaction: Right after the meeting I decided to quickly summarize what had happened and what material I have now. I had a sticker with all of the information about the pig Mike was slicing and loads of videos documenting almost the whole meeting. I decided to make a list of tags which would describe that meeting.

Sticker from a piece of meat  2tags-about-the-meeting-copy

First tryout: My first idea was to make a fan with sharp knifes used as blades. I thought it would be a funny metaphor for the meeting. Chilling plus being dangerous.

First idea fan of knifes

 

Second tryout: Understanding that the fan idea is too flat I decided to try to make something what the butcher could use. Here is a sketch of some kind of logo/identity proposal.

second idea logo

 

Third tryout: After talking to my teacher and classmates I decided to go away from my direct design solutions and think more about what was my experience like, what made this meeting so special? The experience was unexpected, though the location of the meeting suggested some narratives, and the main conclusion I made was that my own curiosity led my towards this happening. I started sketching to figure out what object can look common but yet carry something surprising in it and trigger peoples curiosity at the same time.

2third-idea-taste-the-curiosity-copy

 

 

Final idea: To go further I decided to ask my friends in what situations they feel the most curious? Receiving their opinions I understood that all of them were naming the situations where the communication with other people involved. At this point it became obvious for me! That now I want to make something that I can give to others, something that will become something else when used by people. And here came the idea to make some kind of lottery ticket called OBJECT of CURIOSITY. It will help people to create their own Object of Curiosity and at the same time will be object that contains the curiosity in itself. Here is the first version of it.

Final idea- object of curiosity tryout Final idea- object of curiosity tryout 2

 

Final design: To make it look more like a lottery ticket I made a design for the object and used special techniques by applying scratchable lines on it.

objectof curiosity final version

 

Final move: To finish my project I asked two of my friends to test OBJECT of CURIOSITY and sketch their own Objects of Curiosity. Here below is what came outcome.

object of curiosity used by ValdemarValdemars object of curiosity

 

 

object of curiosity used by RubyCURIOSITY-ruby_900

 

OBJECT of CURIOSITY is a lottery ticket to the greatest trip of your imagination! In this object I tried to combine suspense with excitement, make it open and closed at the same time and, above all, interactive. This is a metaphor for the process of my work and a useful tool for others.

 

!BE CURIOUS!

#STICKY #SWEET_SMELL #MUSELS #VACUUM #MAFIA #BLOOD #SLAYERS #DELIVERY #FRESHLY_SLICED #HASH #FREEZER_ROOM #SALTED #DRIED #EX-ANIMATOR #GANGS #JEW_BUTCHER_FROM_30s #AIR_CONDITIONER_IN_A_WARDROBE #WINNER_OF_2013 #CLEAN_EVERY_WALL_EVERYDAY #BUBBLES #SHARP_KNIFE-THE_MAIN_RULE #STAB_YOURSELF #CHILL #FAMILY_BUSINESS #CUSTOMERS #BACTERIAS #SALAMI #HOOKS #HAIR_STYLING #VAN_PERSIE #FOOTBALL #DRUNK- AGRESSIVE WOMEN HARASSMENT CHILLED MEAT TO TASTE BETTER #YOUNG_MEAT- NO_TASTE #TEENAGE_MEAT #CUT_CLOSE_TO_THE_BONES

The chair as a subject of slow thought


Saturday, March 28, 2015

This is how I remember my grandfather’s chair. I remember how I used to watch him sit on it. Or, sit in it. The chair was big and my grandfather had then already begun to become tiny. It was as though this chair, with its plumpness, its doubtful green color and its leather cushions pushing into skin, offered him an escape.

Since then I’ve never seen anyone sit and disappear like him.
Maybe people don’t have the time.
Maybe people don’t have the space.
Maybe people don’t have the guts.

_________________________________________________________________________

Human beings are standing beings; our muscles are constantly at work to keep us up, while gravity is constantly pulling us down. Keeping this in mind, sitting seems to be merely a way to discharge these muscles, to compensate for the unnatural posture that is ours as a result of evolution.
It is compensation that shows that even though we’re trying (as we are developing new techniques and exploring new ways of enhancement every day) we have not reached the state of super human yet. We are still in some state where we possess human intelligence, but are trapped in our animal bodies.
To sit is to accept this animal body.

– or is it?

It is easy to speak of only physical aspects in regard to sitting. However, as both the brain and the rest of our body are part of the same nervous system, there is of course a connection between our mind and body; these two influence each other every second of every day.
Having the object ‘chair’ as a framework, I’m interested in how this chair can, being a  specific physical condition, extort or stimulate a specific mental condition. A desk-chair for instance has another mental state as a purpose than a dining chair; there is concentration on the one hand and relaxation on the other.

 

To explore this, I’ve been sketching chairs I come across lately. By doing so, I aimed to assemble a variety of chairs, carrying a variety of different appearances, to see what the similarities are.

mrs-fast-chairs

As it turns out, the designs of these chairs share quite some similarities (even though the chairs don’t all share the same purpose). You can see that none of them have armrests, for instance. Partly due to this, none of them seem to be ‘heavy’. All of them are quite small and all fitted in the place where I encountered them.

__________________________________________________________________________

I feel like these daily chairs, that I will refer to as fast-chairs, trigger two reactions in us;

Firstly, awareness of one’s surroundings: these chairs are in a way elongations of what is already there, instead of autonomous objects. This stimulates a way of living in which one is always cautiously aware of what is happening around him, and therefore less aware of what is happening within himself. Society tends to distract us from ourselves. As we are being placed in groups everywhere and also forced to function within these groups, we are reminded that it is these surroundings that matter; it is the society around you that you should play your part in.

Secondly, these fast-chairs stimulate fast-thinking: the lack of armrests, the light feel; all of these elements make that these chairs are only shortly used. As we rush through the day, we accept the world we live in and try to give the right answers to it. Who still dares to propose deliberate questions, though? Who still dares to sit alone, and be consumed by existential thoughts? Who still dares to disappear, like my grandfather would?

Considering the second thought, it is interesting to refer to Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist whose book ‘Thinking, fast and slow’, was published in 2011.
In his book, Kahneman distinguishes two systems of thought: “System 1” is fast, instinctive, stereotypical and emotional; “System 2” is slower, more deliberative, more calculating and more logical. System 1 is much more frequently used than System 2, explains Kahneman in the following interview:


As Kahneman distinguishes these models of thinking, you could also distinguish two types of chairs. Type 1 is the fast-chair I mentioned earlier and Type 2 is the slow-chair ; the type of which there are less and less to be seen in our daily routine. This I consider as a scary thing, since the level of critical, individual thinking might follow the way down.

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It’s in my grandfather’s living room where you can find the slow-chair. Sitting in his chair caused for him the seemingly paradoxical situation where while surrendering his physical control, he gained mental control. Because of its physicallities (pointing towards the plumpness I talked about before), this chair was something autonomous:

It didn’t need my grandfather to sit in it to exist, my grandfather needed this chair to exist.

 

(more…)

HEAD JEWELRY


Monday, December 1, 2014

Vaclav Cigler is a czech artist mostly known for his pioneering work in glass. Since the 1950s, Cigler has focused on glass sculpture and is still today considered as one of the preeminent artists working in glass. My interest in his work though did not develop from one of his glass sculptures but from an image of a mannequin head wearing a mysterious head jewelry exhibited in Stedelijk Museum.

Head Jewelry by Václav Cigler[x]

The jewelry consists of two galvanised brass circles put together, one that is fitting the circumference of the head and one attached to the other and placed in front of the face. The placing of the circle in front of the face affects the vision of the person wearing the jewelry. It becomes a frame through which the person watch the surroundings and in that way it changes and disturbs the perception. Furthermore the circled brass acts like mirrors: when angled, it gives the wearer a view of the room or of the people around which allows the possibility of intimate eye contact or covert observation. Imagining a lot of people walking around with this jewelry in the context of today it easily could be considered as some sort of electronic device attached to the head with a chip improving human possibilities. Or it could be a future, simplified version of virtual reality glasses having an invisible screen circled around the head. Especially the aspect of the mirror in the circle makes it relatable to virtual reality where the people around and the room then adapts into the screen of the virtual reality so it becomes this interaction between physical- and virtual reality.

When looking through some of Cigler’s work in glass it becomes clear that he is very interested in the human perception. That is also one of the reasons for his consistent interest in the work with glass because it is possible to create a new and different vision in that medium.

“…Glass is the most imaginative material that man has ever created. The presence of glass in a human space conditions not only the space itself but also an as the user. Glass is for me a pretext for expressing a different spatial and emotional perception of the world. A perception made unique by the optical means offered by this material, as well as by the new possibilities for using it in space… in glass, there’s the authenticity of the material, the discovery that it has uncommon optical and material properties, such as malleability. Glass by itself is a sufficient source of inspiration.”

Vane 2008 by Václav Cigler [x]

The sculpture “Vane” made in 2009 is an optical glass with an aperture in the center that gives an undistorted view of the landscape. A new visual perspective is given and what is seen is a collage space of reality.

In 1960 the phrase “Cyborg” was coined in a story called “Cyborgs and Space” and was used to describe a human being augmented with technological attachments which I find very interesting to put in relation with Cigler’s Head Jewelry. Manfred Clynes, being the inventor of the word cyborg, considered it as more human which is a contradiction to how it is generally perceived as something inhuman. But there is something interesting towards understanding or maybe even accepting a direct interaction between organisms and technology in order to enlarge the human experience.

You can question the definition of a cyborg and maybe this is also what Clynes is already pointing out; are all humans cyborgs? We do include both organic and inorganic subsystems. Inorganic systems being for instance prosthetic limbs or vaccinations that program the immune system in our bodies. At least it could be argued that we are living a cyborgian existence. A cyborg society has developed where the connection between organic and machine systems is extremely complex and inescapable.

A more direct example of a cyborg, or maybe as direct as most people would understand the definition of a cyborg, is Neil Harbisson. He is even considered to be the world’s first cyborg with an antenna attached to the back of his skull dangling over his forehead very similar to the shape of the head jewelry. Harbisson sees in grayscale but the antenna allows him to hear the color spectrum, even the colors that are beyond the range of human sight.

Neil_Harbisson_cyborgist

Neil Harbinsson[x]

He considers his decision of becoming a cyborg as an artistic statement: “I’m treating my own body and brain as a sculpture”. He is working with human perception using his own body as medium whereas Cigler uses glass to create different perceptions. Moreover, Cigler viewed jewelry as landscape for the human body as a means of connecting the body with its environment. Harbisson is literary connected with his surroundings by having the antenna which he considers just as much a part of him as any other organ or body part. Aesthetically the two objects, Head Jewelry and Eyeborg (what Harbisson calls his antenna), look very alike with their minimalistic characteristic but also their function has a lot in common if not considering the advanced technological aspect of the Eyeborg. What is interesting is how much an object can become a part of a human being and if it is really possible to not consider it as an object but as an organ. This also leads back to an acceptance of this cyborgian society that is already a reality. If a person got used to wearing the head-jewelry and seeing the surroundings through it, that is, having extra angles and the capability of observing secretly would this jewelry then also be thought of as a body part?

Sensors and supervision


Wednesday, November 26, 2014


The exhibition The Future of Fashion Is Now at the museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam features established and upcoming designers questioning and challenging the premises of contemporary fashion. One of the contributing designers is the canadian designer Ying Gao, who in her work Incertitudes used speech- and motion-activated sensors hidden within two white dresses covered with thousands of small needles, reminiscent of porcupine coats. The gestures and noises of a viewer or passerby forces the attached pins to move, transforming the garment as well as the contours of its wearer. In her description of the piece, Gao refers to the constant stress and uncertainty of modern day individuals, always flexible and ready to adapt to new situations.
Gao was participating in the section of the exhibition called Materiality and Experience, which makes perfect sense in consideration of her other works, also making use of innovative technological solutions. Besides Incertitudes, she has also investigated light-reactive electronic components, by creating coats that move depending on the intensity of a light source, such as a flashlight. Involving interactive techniques in fashion could bring a sense of dynamism to the concept of clothing. When permitting participation/interaction with surroundings and spectators, the pieces rapidly distinguish themselves from any garment that is delivered already “done”. Bypassing flatness and immobility, they become equipped with a quality of sensibility and refinement.

 

researchweb2

 1.
• Flexible Pressure Sensors • Incertitudes (close-up) by Ying Gao • Silver nano wire sensors • (Now)here (Now)here (close-up) by Ying Gao • Solar Powered Jacket by Tommy Hilfiger

 

Combining aesthetics with the latest technological developments is not always an uncomplicated process. Successful and sophisticated design of hi-tech clothing is still limited to a small number of fortunate tries. We slowly move away from the “ugliness” that usually haunt technical innovations in their early years. The industry could be seen as going through a process of normalization, where the feeling of the relatively unnecessary “tech gadget” is left behind.Designers experimenting with the new possibilities are however operating in an unexplored grey area somewhere between usefulness, beauty and supervision. When letting technology become autonomous and enabling it to take its own decisions, the designer releases control over the outcome. Reducing his or her position by introducing chance and fate will inevitably lead to new opportunities and new situations.
Although the integration of data-collecting sensors in fabric has a natural relevance for the innovative clothing designers, the use of such equipment will most likely not be restricted to the fashion industry only. This could mean infinite possibilities – the risk of abuse on civil liberties should be taken into consideration. What if the occurrence of intelligent fabrics was as widespread (but also overlooked) as surveillance cameras in public spaces? If biometric textile was put on the seats of public transport? Or misused, as if put on animals or plants? How would our experience of daily life change if speech- and motion reacting sensors were installed in supermarkets, shopping centers, cafés? If objects/garments changed with the impact of our mere presence?

 

research 2web2

 2.
• Infrared motion sensor burglar alarm • Digital persona Fingerprint reader • AR. 2.0 Parrot Model drone • System Azure Security Ornamentation by Jill Magid • Facial Weaponization Suit by Zach Blas

 

It is nowadays clear that smart wristbands (as well as watches, jewelry and other attachable items) tracking, measuring and analyzing the bearers every movement is a constantly growing industry. The technique of smart fabrics and integrated sensors in clothing is evolving equally rapid, thereby soon making the act of strapping on an external device unnecessary. By inserting sensors capable of tracking very precise information already in the fabrics, data on motion, size, location, force, weight or shape could easily be collected.
Technological monitoring of human movement is however nothing new. The first closed-circuit TV cameras (CCTV) came into use already in 1942 during the observation of a rocket launch in Peenemünde, Germany. Surveillance camera systems performing continuous video recording has been a common practice almost ever since. Among more recent developments are biometric recognition (face, fingerprints etc), aerial surveillance (helicopters, drones etc.) and naturally everything related to internet and social media. Could the integration of intelligent fabrics be a suitable addition to this process?

 

research 3web2

3.
• Google Glasses • Ritot smart wristband • Flexible Skin Temperature Sensor • Necklace Projector • Smartphone

 

New wearable technology are in some aspects already being used as a means of self-control and self-reflection, as a way of eliminating chance and the unforeseen at any cost. The behavior could be linked to the ongoing obsession with observing and measuring the own body. Health, sport and the perfecting of ones physical appearance has gotten a new trendy twist with smart apparel, fitting quite well into the all-encompassing life project certain enthusiastic users are living by. Are we moving from an attitude of authoritarian respect from earlier times and into a slavery of self discipline and personal surveillance? From the all-seeing, omnipresent monitor to the individual supervising itself?
The existence of hidden, interactive sensors and reactive fabrics is undeniably a relevant topic – the potential is striking. Anyone curious in new means of communication could possibly avoid the advancement of smart textile in modern daily life, reaching us all within a very near future.

On a personal level, I ask myself if there could be some sort of spirituality to be found in this technology of supervision? Is there an empty space to be filled in secular societies, leading up to this voluntary self-surveillance through different types of apparel and other devices? The subject is fascinating both from an artistic point of view as well as a philosophical/ethical one. 

 

research 4web2

4.

• Conan O'Brien tries Dream Weaver (video) • Chakra Balancing application • Deepak Chopras Dream Weaver • iPhone surveillance

 

How do we as individuals deal with the concept of spirituality, truth and privacy in the age of technology? The adaption to new conditions is unavoidable, but becomes more and more a matter of privileges.
The revelations on to what extent state supervision is currently practiced (Edward Snowden, NSA, Wikileaks) chocked a whole world and deepened the conflict with the established, monotheistic religions believing in the One and only God to monitor and judge all human action. Surveillance relates to different aspects of privacy, such as privacy of property, of space, of personality and of thought. Worthy of note is that not everyone has the economical means to question authoritarian demands on personal information, with the consequence of privacy possibly turning into a valuable property that only a select few can access.
New forms of spiritual practice and/or self-monitoring take shape with the aid of technological devices. Smartphone applications connected to health, higher power, meditation, zen etc. are immensely popular, offering a re-charging of the soul similar to the charging of batteries. When spiritual leaders such as Deepak Chopra releases biosensorical glasses promising relaxation and inner peace the merging of spirituality and technology is indisputably a fact. Are they all yet another expression of an egocentric, self-obsessed Western society or a useful tool to actually reconnect lost searchers of truth?
In any case, a space has opened up for an intimate, personal form of spirituality disconnected from the dogmas of organized religions whilst also distancing itself from sovereign state control. The idea of scientific knowledge as the superior way of accessing truth is once again questioned – and is it necessarily in opposition to all spiritual methods? To conclude: it is visible how technology/the visible and spirituality/the invisible intertwine and affect each other more and more in modern societies. This provides interesting opportunities for artists to question and investigate further, and I am certain that projects such as Ying Gaos is only a preview of what the future will hold.  

 


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