SUBSCRIBE LES AUXILIAIRES DE MEMOIRE

les memoires auxiliaires

les memoires auxiliaires

FILIPE PAIS

Ronnie Yarisal & Katja Kublitz

yarisalkublitz_1

yarisalkublitz_2

“Freedom fighter”, 2008/2009

yarisal&kublitz_02

“RELATIONSHIP : The Quick and The Dead”, 2003

Interview with Ronnie Yarisal & Katja Kublitz here
Their website here

Do not touch the chair

Do-Not-Touch-Chair_1

“‘I made a sculpture of a chair by hand bending a single length of wire and placing it on a simple white plinth. However, as a further reference to the gallery context and to play with the idea of holding peoples attention, I added an interactive element. Based on the old ‘buzz wire’ game, the user must navigate around the wire using a metal hoop without touching the wire. If the wire is touched then they will hear my voice warning ‘Do not touch.” Dominic Wilcox

Video
Dominic Wilcox

the Postmedia Perspective by Domenico Quaranta

cover55dpi300-730x10241

A text from the recent book by Domenico Quaranta that deserves to be read until the end.

Read the rest of this entry »

The twitter revolution must die

twitter_revolution

Two days ago I received this interesting post in my mailbox via IDC mailing list. In these days of Middle East revolutions it’s important to think the role of communication systems and online social networks. Ulisses Mejias wrote us the following text:

“Have you ever heard of the Leica Revolution? No?

That’s probably because folks who don’t know anything about “branding” insist on calling it the Mexican Revolution. An estimated two million people died in the long struggle (1910-1920) to overthrow a despotic government and bring about reform. But why shouldn’t we re-name the revolution not after a nation or its people, but after the “social media” that had such a great impact in making the struggle known all over the world: the photographic camera? Even better, let’s name the revolution not after the medium itself, but after the manufacturer of the cameras that were carried by people like Hugo Brehme to document the atrocities of war. Viva Leica, cabrones!

My sarcasm is, of course, a thinly veiled attempt to point out how absurd it is to refer to events in Iran, Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere as the Twitter Revolution, the Facebook Revolution, and so on. What we call things, the names we use to identify them, has incredible symbolic power, and I, for one, refuse to associate corporate brands with struggles for human dignity. I agree with Jillian York when she says:

“… I am glad that Tunisians were able to utilize social media to bring attention to their plight.  But I will not dishonor the memory of Mohamed Bouazizi–or the 65 others that died on the streets for their cause–by dubbing this anything but a human revolution.”

Granted, as Joss Hands points out, there appears to be more skepticism than support for the idea that tools like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are primarily responsible for igniting the uprisings in question. But that hasn’t stopped the internet intelligentsia from engaging in lengthy arguments about the role that technology is playing in these historic developments. One camp, comprised of people like Clay Shirky, seem to make allowances for what Cory Doctorow calls the “internet’s special power to connect and liberate.” On the other side, authors like Ethan Zuckerman, Malcolm Gladwell and Evgeny Morozov have proposed that while digital media can play a role in organizing social movements, it cannot be counted on to build lasting alliances, or even protect net activists once authorities start using the same tools to crack down on dissent.

Both sides are, perhaps, engaging in a bit of technological determinism–one by embellishing the agency of technology, the other by diminishing it. The truth, as always, is somewhere in between, and philosophers of technology settled the dispute of whether technology shapes society (technological determinism) or society shapes technology (cultural materialism) a while ago: the fact is that technology and society mutually and continually determine each other.

So why does the image of a revolution enabled by social media continue to grab headlines and spark the interest of Western audiences, and what are the dangers of employing such imagery? My fear is that the hype about a Twitter/Facebook/YouTube revolution performs two functions: first, it depoliticizes our understanding of the conflicts, and second, it whitewashes the role of capitalism in suppressing democracy.

To elaborate, the discourse of a social media revolution is a form of self-focused empathy in which we imagine the other (in this case, a Muslim other) to be nothing more than a projection of our own desires, a depoliticized instant in our own becoming. What a strong affirmation of ourselves it is to believe that people engaged in a desperate struggle for human dignity are using the same Web 2.0 products we are using! That we are able to form this empathy largely on the basis of consumerism demonstrates the extent to which we have bought into the notion that democracy is a by-product of media products for self-expression, and that the corporations that create such media products would never side with governments against their own people.

It is time to abandon this fantasy, and to realize that although the internet’s original architecture encouraged openness, it is becoming increasingly privatized and centralized. While it is true that an internet controlled by a handful of media conglomerates can still be used to promote democracy (as people are doing in Tunisia, Egypt, and all over the world), we need to reconsider the role that social media corporations like Facebook and Twitter will play in these struggles.

The clearest way to understand this role is to simply look at the past and current role that corporations have played in “facilitating” democracy elsewhere. Consider the above image of the tear gas canister “fired against egyptians demanding democracy.” The can is labeled Made in U.S.A.

But surely it would be a gross calumny to suggest that ICT are on the same level as tear gas, right? Well, perhaps not. Today, our exports encompass not only weapons of war and riot control used to keep in power corrupt leaders, but tools of internet surveillance like Narusinsight, produced by a subsidiary of Boeing and used by the Egyptian government to track down and “disappear” dissidents.

Even without citing examples of specific Web companies that have aided governments in the surveillance and persecution of their citizens (Jillian York documents some of these examples), my point is simply that the emerging market structure of the internet is threatening its potential to be used by people as a tool for democracy. The more monopolies (a market structure characterized by a single seller) control access and infrastructure, and the more monopsonies (a market structure characterized by a single buyer) control aggregation and distribution of user-generated content, the easier it is going to be for authorities to pull the plug, as just happened in Egypt.

I’m reminded of the first so-called Internet Revolution. Almost a hundred years after the original Mexican Revolution, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation launched an uprising in southern Mexico to try to address some of the injustices that the first revolution didn’t fix, and that remain unsolved to this day. But back in 1994, Subcomandante Marcos and the rest of the EZLN didn’t have Facebook profiles, or use Twitter to communicate or organize. Maybe their movement would have been more effective if they had. Or maybe it managed to stay alive because of the decentralized nature of the networks the EZLN and their supporters used.

My point is this: as digital networks grow and become more centralized and privatized, they increase opportunities for participation, but they also increase inequality, and make it easier for authorities to control them.

Thus, the real challenge is going to be figuring out how to continue the struggle after the network has been shut off. In fact, the struggle is going to be against those who own and control the network. If the fight can’t continue without Facebook and Twitter, then it is doomed. But I suspect the people of Iran, Tunisia and Egypt (unlike us) already know this, out of sheer necessity.”

[Ulises A. Mejias is assistant professor at the State University of New York, College at Oswego. His book,  The Limits of Nodes: Unmapping the Digital Network, is under review by publishers.]

Ulisses Mejias Blog

From image to interaction

leadImage_preview

In this book Arjen Mulder investigates the origins of modern art from Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo to Kandinsky, Mondrian and Paul Klee, whom he regards not only as great artists but above all as great media theorists. In the process, he discovers how the models these illustrious predecessors built are still actively being used in the fields of contemporary art known as electronic art, video art, machine art, digital art, media art, and even “the art formerly known as media art.” Step by step, Mulder develops a surprising perspective on the genealogy of art from 1910 to 2010 and the role and value of visual culture and design in the present. He analyzes the feelings and experiences evoked by painting, photography, digital media and the interactive arts in a previously unseen manner. In compact, clear style, he works out a theory of art not as an expression of the worldview of its time but as a discoverer and researcher of it.

Arjen Mulder’s previous books include the acclaimed Understanding Media Theory: Language, Image, Sound, Behavior (2004), used at numerous colleges and universities, as well as essay collections in Dutch such as Het fotografisch genoegen (”Photographic Pleasure,” 2000) and De vrouw voor wie Cesare Pavese zelfmoord pleegde (”The Woman Cesare Pavese Committed Suicide for,” 2005), which critics have praised for its originality. He teaches media theory at the Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design (MaHKU) in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Via v2.nl

Mathieu Briand

sys17-5-8-1

Photo from SYS*017.ReR*06/ PiG-EqN\ 5*8

sys5-4

Photo from SYS*05.ReE*03/ SE*1\ MoE*2-4

Mathieu Briand’s work raises major questions about the Westen concept of the subject, particularly as it is formed by visual perception. It also reflects the transformation of our intenal world, which, as result of our increasing access to diverse virtual information, continues to expand in a way that seems disconnected from our relationship to the external world. For example, if we were to watch a relay telecast shot with a camera installed on the other side of the planet on a headset display, our visual perception and our physical body might seem separated, and yet they are not. Through viewing these images, our bodies achieve telepresence – which os not to say that we have actually moved to the other side of the planet. Text by Yuko Hasegawa

Boundary Functions

boundaryfunctions_1

“Boundary Functions is a set of lines projected from overhead onto the floor, dividing people in the gallery from one another. When there is one person on its floor, there is no response. When two are present, a single line cuts between them bisecting the floor, and dynamically changing as they move. With more than two people, the floor divides into cellular regions, each with the quality that all space within it is closer to the person inside than any one else.”

by Scott Sona Snibbe

Video and more info here

the most useless machine ever?

The-Most-Useless-Machine-EVER

Another Claude Shannon’s Ultimate Machine replica.

instructions how to build and video here:  http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Most-Useless-Machine/

A paralel image

“A Parallel Image” is an electronic camera obscura, made by Gebhard Sengmüller, in collaboration with Franz Büchinger. It is an interactive sculpture which can capture and display images. On one side is a camera made of 2500 photo senser which are mounted on a 1 by 1 meter board. On the other side there is the monitor with 2500 light bulbs to display to image. In between each sensor and light bulb there is a 3 meter long copper wire. The resolution of this sculpture is of course quite low, but the aesthetic of the device is very nice.

a_parallel_image_1´

a_parallel_image_2

found at  http://www.todayandtomorrow.net/

A Study Of Three Mirrors

“A Study Of Three Mirrors” by rAndom international are not really 3 mirrors. It’s a ‘temporary light painting’. Face recognition technology detects when the viewer is standing in front of the work and then directly paints the onlookers image in light. The Image then gradually fades. Evectively a mirror this work offers the ultimate immediate, yet ephemeral, contemporary portrait.

study-for-a-mirror-3

by rAndom international

via todayandtomorrow