Category Archives: trends

Book review: Artificial Intelligence. What Everyone Needs to Know

9780190602390Artificial Intelligence. What Everyone Needs to Know, by computer scientist, researcher and futurist Jerry Kaplan

On amazon USA and UK.

Publisher Oxford University Press writes: The emergence of systems capable of independent reasoning and action raises serious questions about just whose interests they are permitted to serve, and what limits our society should place on their creation and use. Deep ethical questions that have bedeviled philosophers for ages will suddenly arrive on the steps of our courthouses. Can a machine be held accountable for its actions? Should intelligent systems enjoy independent rights and responsibilities, or are they simple property? Who should be held responsible when a self-driving car kills a pedestrian? Can your personal robot hold your place in line, or be compelled to testify against you? If it turns out to be possible to upload your mind into a machine, is that still you?

Sometimes i realize that i need a new perspective on technology. My main sources of information about science or technology are art exhibitions, social media channels run by activists and books by social scientists or philosophers. I decided to expand my horizons and check out what an engineer has to say about technology. In particular artificial intelligence.

I thought a book like Artificial Intelligence. What Everyone Needs to Know wouldn’t overwhelm me with nerdiness. The volume is part of an Oxford University Press series that aims to offer compact and balanced monographs on complex issues in a Q&A format.

In his intro to the book, computer scientist and futurist Kaplan promises to give nontech readers an overview of the key issues and arguments about the main social, ethical, legal and economic issues raised by Artificial Intelligence.

The experience didn’t start too well for me… The first part is remarkably techy for a book that promises not to scare off the amateur. It’s not difficult to follow at all but i was there for the ethics, the critics and the possible pitfalls of AI! I soldiered on nonetheless, read about the intellectual history of AI, the history of machine learning, the various types of AI (actually that part was very interesting, it gives grounding and clarity to the whole field), etc.

DARPA Robotics Challenge Pomona Fairplex 06-June-2015 Photographer: J. Krohn Requester: Brett Kennedy
JPL’s RoboSimian exits its vehicle following a brief drive through a slalom course at the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals. Photo: J. Krohn/ JPL-Caltech

Things picked up for me at chapter 4, the one that studies the philosophy of AI and how it poses a series of challenges to philosophy or religious doctrines which often orbit around human uniqueness and our place in universe. Whereas the first few chapters explained terms such as computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing, the pages in chapter 4 invite readers to reconsider and refine their understanding of intelligence, free will, consciousness and what it means to be ‘alive.’ Automated methods are slowly nibbling at the list of abilities previously considered the sole province of humans. Think of chess, for example. Pre-Deep Blue, being a master of chess was regarded as the epitome of being intelligent and human. Then in 1996, Garry Kasparov was defeated by a computer and we had to find new benchmarks to define human intelligence.

The following chapters kept on getting more and more relevant to my interests as they explored the impact that AI will have -or already has- on law, on human labor, on social equity (although the disruptive effects of AI are not inevitable, it is quite likely that income inequality will get worse) and it ends by looking at the possible future impacts of artificial intelligence.

The questions Kaplan explores are fascinating. I sometimes wished he would have added more details and depth to several of the issues he presents but i guess the particular format of the book made it difficult for him to be too lengthy. Here are some of the questions he answers (and sometimes admits we don’t have quite yet the framework to answer them with certainty):

Should people bear full responsibility for their intelligent agents (if your autonomous car hits someone)? Should an AI system be permitted to own property? Could an AI system commit a crime (answer is yes) and can it be held accountable for it? Can a computer ‘feel’? Which professions are under threat of being automated in the near future? Will i be able to upload myself into a computer? How can we minimise future risks posed by the machines? What will be the impact of AI on social equity? What are the benefits and the risks of making computers that act like people? Who’s going to benefit from this tech revolution? Are there alternatives to our current labor-based economy?

Artificial Intelligence. What Everyone Needs to Know is not a book i would normally pick up but i’m glad i did. There is much hype and fear around robots and artificial intelligence and it’s difficult to get a clear view of what lays ahead of us. Much of the public perception of AI is shaped by Hollywood, sensationalist headlines, and videos of robots interacting flawlessly with a trained demonstrator. The reality, as Kaplan demonstrates in this book, is a bit more complicated:

IEEE Spectrum, A compilation of robots falling down on Day 1 of the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, 2015

Book review: Artificial Intelligence. What Everyone Needs to Know

9780190602390Artificial Intelligence. What Everyone Needs to Know, by computer scientist, researcher and futurist Jerry Kaplan

On amazon USA and UK.

Publisher Oxford University Press writes: The emergence of systems capable of independent reasoning and action raises serious questions about just whose interests they are permitted to serve, and what limits our society should place on their creation and use. Deep ethical questions that have bedeviled philosophers for ages will suddenly arrive on the steps of our courthouses. Can a machine be held accountable for its actions? Should intelligent systems enjoy independent rights and responsibilities, or are they simple property? Who should be held responsible when a self-driving car kills a pedestrian? Can your personal robot hold your place in line, or be compelled to testify against you? If it turns out to be possible to upload your mind into a machine, is that still you?

Sometimes i realize that i need a new perspective on technology. My main sources of information about science or technology are art exhibitions, social media channels run by activists and books by social scientists or philosophers. I decided to expand my horizons and check out what an engineer has to say about technology. In particular artificial intelligence.

I thought a book like Artificial Intelligence. What Everyone Needs to Know wouldn’t overwhelm me with nerdiness. The volume is part of an Oxford University Press series that aims to offer compact and balanced monographs on complex issues in a Q&A format.

In his intro to the book, computer scientist and futurist Kaplan promises to give nontech readers an overview of the key issues and arguments about the main social, ethical, legal and economic issues raised by Artificial Intelligence.

The experience didn’t start too well for me… The first part is remarkably techy for a book that promises not to scare off the amateur. It’s not difficult to follow at all but i was there for the ethics, the critics and the possible pitfalls of AI! I soldiered on nonetheless, read about the intellectual history of AI, the history of machine learning, the various types of AI (actually that part was very interesting, it gives grounding and clarity to the whole field), etc.

DARPA Robotics Challenge Pomona Fairplex 06-June-2015 Photographer: J. Krohn Requester: Brett Kennedy
JPL’s RoboSimian exits its vehicle following a brief drive through a slalom course at the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals. Photo: J. Krohn/ JPL-Caltech

Things picked up for me at chapter 4, the one that studies the philosophy of AI and how it poses a series of challenges to philosophy or religious doctrines which often orbit around human uniqueness and our place in universe. Whereas the first few chapters explained terms such as computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing, the pages in chapter 4 invite readers to reconsider and refine their understanding of intelligence, free will, consciousness and what it means to be ‘alive.’ Automated methods are slowly nibbling at the list of abilities previously considered the sole province of humans. Think of chess, for example. Pre-Deep Blue, being a master of chess was regarded as the epitome of being intelligent and human. Then in 1996, Garry Kasparov was defeated by a computer and we had to find new benchmarks to define human intelligence.

The following chapters kept on getting more and more relevant to my interests as they explored the impact that AI will have -or already has- on law, on human labor, on social equity (although the disruptive effects of AI are not inevitable, it is quite likely that income inequality will get worse) and it ends by looking at the possible future impacts of artificial intelligence.

The questions Kaplan explores are fascinating. I sometimes wished he would have added more details and depth to several of the issues he presents but i guess the particular format of the book made it difficult for him to be too lengthy. Here are some of the questions he answers (and sometimes admits we don’t have quite yet the framework to answer them with certainty):

Should people bear full responsibility for their intelligent agents (if your autonomous car hits someone)? Should an AI system be permitted to own property? Could an AI system commit a crime (answer is yes) and can it be held accountable for it? Can a computer ‘feel’? Which professions are under threat of being automated in the near future? Will i be able to upload myself into a computer? How can we minimise future risks posed by the machines? What will be the impact of AI on social equity? What are the benefits and the risks of making computers that act like people? Who’s going to benefit from this tech revolution? Are there alternatives to our current labor-based economy?

Artificial Intelligence. What Everyone Needs to Know is not a book i would normally pick up but i’m glad i did. There is much hype and fear around robots and artificial intelligence and it’s difficult to get a clear view of what lays ahead of us. Much of the public perception of AI is shaped by Hollywood, sensationalist headlines, and videos of robots interacting flawlessly with a trained demonstrator. The reality, as Kaplan demonstrates in this book, is a bit more complicated:

IEEE Spectrum, A compilation of robots falling down on Day 1 of the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, 2015

Book review: World of Malls. Architectures of Consumption

World of Malls. Architectures of Consumption, edited by Andres Lepik and Vera Simone Bader.

Available on amazon UK and USA.

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Publisher Hatje Cantz writes: The catalogue World of Malls is devoted to a type of building that was invented in the United States just less than sixty years ago and quickly spread throughout the world. Due to urban planning’s increasing orientation toward the automobile, the mall became a substitute for lost urbanity. Yet what direction is the development of the shopping mall taking today? On the one hand, there continue to be spectacular new openings in America, Asia, the United Arab Emirates, and Europe. At the same time, however, many malls are empty, and some are being converted and repurposed. There is hardly any other building typology that is being discussed as controversially: does the shopping mall mean the death of the city, or does it stimulate its revitalization? In their essays, urban planners, economists, and architectural historians such as Anette Baldauf, Bob Bruegmann, Dietrich Erben, Richard Longstreth, Alain Thierstein, June Williamson, and Sophie Wolfrum examine the transformation processes of the shopping mall from the twentieth to the twenty-first century.

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Architects Grazioli and Muthesius, Schloss-Arkaden, in Braunschweig, 2005-07. Photo: Thomas Meyer

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Cumbernauld, Britain’s first shopping centre and the world’s first multi-level covered town centre. Photo: Dag Nilsen, via Glasgow Architecture

Shopping malls are reviled as much as they are flourishing. Marc Augé calls them non-places, Rem Koolhaas says they are junk spaces. No one with a bit of taste and civic ideals would openly admit their admiration for these perfectly air-conditioned theaters of consumption. They often offer little more than a self-contained micro cosmos where any behaviour, any living being that doesn’t serve a commercial purpose is banned. No photo, no skating, no begging, no jogging, no access outside of opening times, etc. And if that were not enough, shopping malls are also accused of robbing city centers of life and businesses. Or of turning them into bland clones filled with the exact same mass-produced garbage you can also buy in suburban malls.

World of Malls is the catalogue of an exhibition of the same name that is currently open at the Architekturmuseum in Munich. Both explore this type of architecture under its economic, political, psychological and sociological guises. The various essays are interspersed with texts and photos that examine some of the most iconic, controversial, inventive or failed experiments in the 60 year-long, yet understudied, history of shopping malls.

I liked this book so much i almost want to drop my computer right now and go to a shopping center just to look at it with new eyes. World of Malls is full of brutalist sublime, of insightful observations about the way we live and consume today but best of all, it is also full of fascinating stories…

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El Helicoide, 1955-60, Caracas, Venezuela

Like the one of the ambitious “El Helicoide de la Roca Tarpeya,” in Caracas, Venezuela. It was planned as a drive-in mall for rich people. The concrete architecture is spectacular, the plans involved a roof cupola by Buckminster Fuller and even Salvador Dali thought it would be an ideal venue for his work. However, construction stopped a year before its completion in 1960 because of the political instability and the economic and legal complications that come with the flight of a dictator, the arrival of a military regime and then democratic election of a president. The building was abandoned for over 20 years, then squatted by some 10,000 people who were evacuated in the 1980s when the intelligence agencies moved in. The police has been using it for 15 years, it also serves as a prison. The rest of the structure is left to rot.

The Proyecto Helicoide organization is currently trying to save the building.

And then there are malls that evoke personal stories.

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The Jerde Partnership, Horton Plaza, 1982-85, San Diego, USA. Photo: The Jerde Partnership

I’ll never forget the day i walked by chance into the Westfield Horton Plaza in San Diego. Never in my life had i seen anything so demented and garish. The shopping space is distributed along 5 mismatched levels, the facades are vividly painted and the inspiration for this aberration was old European towns. It was designed as “experience architecture.” While malls are usually conceived to keep shoppers’ eyes onto the goods, this space became an attraction in itself. It’s been so successful that it actually lured people back into downtown San Diego.

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Joseph Wong Design Associates, New South China Mall, 2001-2005. Photo via Strange Abandoned Places

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Joseph Wong Design Associates, New South China Mall, 2001-2005. Photo: UOL

The book also reminds us that there are malls that get revived and revamped and others that slowly die.

When it opened in 2005, New South China Mall in Guangdong Province was the largest shopping center in the world. Built like a small town, the space can accommodate 2,350 stores and it doubles as a theme park with a replica Arc de Triomphe, a giant Egyptian sphinx, canals with gondolas, a Teletubbies Edutainment Center, a mini Golden Gate, etc.

In spite of the lavish and outlandish architecture, many of the stores are empty and footfall is scant.

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Rolling Acres Mall, built 1975 – closed 2008, Ohio, USA. Photo: Seph Lawless

Through economic decline and changing shopping habits, the number of “dead malls” has strongly increased in the last decade. Akron’s Rolling Acres Mall was the largest one in Ohio when it opened in 1975. It closed in 2008. Photojournalist Seph Lawless documented the space after vandals shot out the mall’s glass skylights.

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Southdale Center, 1954-56, Edina/Minneapolis, USA. Photo: Gruen and Associates

The first shopping mall opened in Minnesota in 1956. Designed by Victor Gruen, Southdale Center was meant to challenge the “car-centric” America that was rising in the 1950s.

The architect gave his name to the Gruen Effect, the moment when a dazzling shop displays compels you to buy something you had never intended to purchase.

More places and images i discovered in the book:

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Foster + Partners, Aldar Central Market, Abu Dhabi, 2011. Photo © Nigel Young, Foster + Partners

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Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Las Arenas Shopping Center Barcelona, 2011. Photo: WAF via e-architect

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Main-Taunus-Zentrum, 1964 in Sulzbach, Germany. Photo: ECE Projektmanagement GmbH

The Main-Taunus-Zentrum, located on the outskirts of Frankfurt, was the first German shopping center to be built in the style of the American mall.

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CentrO, Rhode Kellermann Wawrowsky, 1994-96, Oberhausen. Photo: Thomas Meyer

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Emre Arolat Architects, Zorlu Center, 2007-2013, Istanbul, Turkey. Photo: Thomas Meyer

The Zorlu Center houses green rooftops as well as the largest performing arts center in Istanbul.

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Aristide Boucicault, Au Bon Marche, opened 1887

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Aristide Boucicault, Au Bon Marche, opened 1887. Grand staircase, Archives Moisant-Savey. Photo: Albert Chevojon, circa 1900

The exhibition World of Malls. Architectures of Consumption is at the Architekturmuseum der TU München, Pinakothek der Moderne until 22 October 2016.

The Next Big Thing is Not a Thing

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Entrance to the exhibition The Next Big Thing is Not a Thing. Photo: Pauline Doutreluingne

Last week i was in The Netherlands for the Week of New Maastricht, an event organised by Maastricht-LAB to look at innovative ways to repurpose neglected areas and abandoned buildings (especially with those with monumental value.) Local examples of innovative urban overhaul include: an ex fire-house turned restaurant, ex-army barracks filled with working spaces for designers and a brasserie, a 13th century church that houses a bookshop, a 15th-century monastery that is now a hotel.

One of the areas slated for similar rehabilitation and revamp is the Sphinxkwartier. The place takes its name from a toilet factory. The ceramic bathroom seats are now gone but in a couple of years, they will be replaced by concert halls, student spaces, lofts, bars, etc. What made me bike faster to the Sphinxkwartier, however, is the fact that Bureau Europa has already relocated there. Bureau Europa explores the field of architecture, urbanism, and design. In a critical and often avant-garde way. I love what they do.

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On top of the now closed Koninklijke Sphinx factory

Their ongoing exhibition The Next Big Thing is Not a Thing is a bit overwhelming but it is also as good as i was hoping. It investigates how the field of design is increasingly influenced by the science of anthropology, how it is becoming more critical, more involved in society and more curious about new fields of knowledge.

Using the gaze as a metaphor, the exhibition surveys the evolution of the design discipline and examines new fields of knowledge and critical practices. The exhibition questions the underlying myths within design, deconstructs its emerging signs, and examines how technology determines the future landscape of design.

The Next Big Thing is Not a Thing displays the works of more than 50 international visual artists, designers, and anthropologists. The show is articulated into several chapters. It is however so dense and the works on show are so different from each other in intention, practice and meanings, that it might at times seem like a mere accumulation of super interesting projects.

Bureau Europa THE NEXT BIG THING IS NOT A THING 5 maart – 10 juli 2016 De tentoonstelling THE NEXT BIG THING IS NOT A THING verbindt de laatste ontwikkelingen op het gebied van design met de wetenschap van de antropologie. Met 'de blik' als metafoor verkent de tentoonstelling de grenzen aan de ontwerpdiscipline en worden nieuwe vormen van kennisontwikkeling en kritische reflectie onderzocht. De tentoonstelling stelt verschillende mythes binnen de vormgeving aan de orde, deconstrueert haar symboliek, en toont de invloed van technologie op het designlandschap.
!Mediengruppe Bitnik, Random Darknet Shopper, 2014-ongoing. Installation view at Bureau Europa. Photo: Moniek Wegdam for Bureau Europa

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Defense Distributed, The Liberator at the exhibition The Next Big Thing is Not a Thing. Photo: Pauline Doutreluingne

Some of the works question our Western-centric vision of culture, our faith in ‘modernity’ and our understanding of ‘progress.’ Others explore how the design discipline attempts to bring together two fields that Western history and culture have separated: episteme (the domain of theory or knowledge) and techne (the material and practical application of art and craft.) Another part of the exhibition looks at how designers grapple with the world’s biggest problems, in particular environmental ones. A last group of works explores the role of design in political issues: warfare, border control, economy, public accountability, etc.

The Next Big Thing is Not a Thing is packed with information, food for thought and judicious parallels. I’d recommend taking an hour or two to visit it. But if you can’t make it to Maastricht before the show closes in July, check out the catalogue of the exhibition. It is available as a PDF online.

A quick walk through some of the works on show:

Emma Charles, Fragments on Machines, 2013

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Emma Charles, Fragments on Machines (production still), 2013

The internet is a very material space. There are server farms to be built, fibre-optic cables to be laid under the ground or sea, ventilation systems to be maintained.

Emma Charles’s documentary Fragments On Machines lays bare the physical structure of the internet. She takes her camera to a series of 19th and 20th century buildings in New York City and explores how urban architecture is now hosting the material nodes and connectors that comprise the physical manifestation of the “virtual” world. In addition, the film shows how the Internet is connected to the wider economy via such phenomenon as high-frequency trading (HFT). HFT firms have indeed moved to be as close as possible to the Internet’s infrastructure. The physically closer these firms are, the faster their algorithms can trade.

TeYosh (Sofija Stanković and Teodora Stojković), Dictionary of Online Behavior, 2013-ongoing

The internet is also a space that is constantly re-shaping the way we act in society. Think of #FRAP, Instameet, Sudden Mutual Linking, etc. These words don’t have any equivalent offline but online communication calls for new words to define new situations and behaviours. The always expanding Dictionary of Online Behavior helps us understand the way technology is shaping human expressions and norms.

Geert Mul, Match of the Day, 2004-ongoing

Another important aspects of our online life is made of artificial intelligence and the way its understanding of the world differs from ours.

Geert Mul‘s computer records, at random intervals, images from about thirty international satellite television channels. An image-recognition software compares the recorded image with every other single image stored in the computer and looks for the images that make a good visual match. Mul then looks at the result and selects the images matches he finds most interesting.

The computer cannot ‘understand’ the images, it just applies pixel statistics. For the human eye visual similarity is something else than pixel statistics. We attach ‘meaning’ to everything we see. This becomes especially evident when similar images appear to have a contrary meaning.


Monobanda and Dus Architects, 3RD (Trailer)

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Monobanda and Dus Architects, 3RD. Image by Pauline Doutreluingne

3RD are sculptures you put on like helmets. Inside is a video screen that shows the wearer as if they saw themselves from a distance, their movements captured and broadcast by a camera surveying the exhibition space. As if they were featured inside their favourite games. This creates a surreal sensation where reality starts to feel like a digital game environment.

Not a new idea but it deserves a mention for it elegant and suggestive design. Plus, the DIY instructions to make your own can be downloaded for free.

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Lalage Snow, We Are the Not Dead, Returning by the Road We Came, 2012

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Lalage Snow, We Are the Not Dead, Returning by the Road We Came (Private Jo Yavala, 28), 2012. Installation view at Bureau Europa. Photo: Johannes Schwartz for Bureau Europa

Lalage Snow shot portraits of British soldiers over a period of 7 months. Before, during and after their deployment to Afghanistan on Op Herrick 12.

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Theo Deutinger and Stefanos Filippas, Walls and Fences, 2015

Bureau Europa THE NEXT BIG THING IS NOT A THING 5 maart – 10 juli 2016 De tentoonstelling THE NEXT BIG THING IS NOT A THING verbindt de laatste ontwikkelingen op het gebied van design met de wetenschap van de antropologie. Met 'de blik' als metafoor verkent de tentoonstelling de grenzen aan de ontwerpdiscipline en worden nieuwe vormen van kennisontwikkeling en kritische reflectie onderzocht. De tentoonstelling stelt verschillende mythes binnen de vormgeving aan de orde, deconstrueert haar symboliek, en toont de invloed van technologie op het designlandschap.
Theo Deutinger and Stefanos Filippas, Walls and Fences, 2015. Photo: Moniek Wegdam for Bureau Europa

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain a quarter century ago, the world has been busy building barriers at an unprecedented rate: about 10,000 km of wire, concrete, steel, sand, stone and mesh has been employed to keep people out or in. Paradoxically enough, this avalanche of obstacles is accelerating even as we experience the age of free trade agreements, free movement of global capital, and the increased mobility of instant communication.

Bureau Europa THE NEXT BIG THING IS NOT A THING 5 maart – 10 juli 2016 De tentoonstelling THE NEXT BIG THING IS NOT A THING verbindt de laatste ontwikkelingen op het gebied van design met de wetenschap van de antropologie. Met 'de blik' als metafoor verkent de tentoonstelling de grenzen aan de ontwerpdiscipline en worden nieuwe vormen van kennisontwikkeling en kritische reflectie onderzocht. De tentoonstelling stelt verschillende mythes binnen de vormgeving aan de orde, deconstrueert haar symboliek, en toont de invloed van technologie op het designlandschap.
Opening night of The Next Big Thing is Not a Thing. Photo: Moniek Wegdam for Bureau Europa

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The Yes Men, Total Terrorism Solution, 2016

With the complicity of Greek MEP Stelios Kouloglou, Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men posed as a “defense and security consultant” at the European Parliament in Brussels to present an “industrial solution to terrorism”.

The “solution” is the re-purposed Halliburton´s survivaball. This cushiony orb might make you look like Gérard Depardieu but it will also enable you, if you’re one of the happy few who can afford it, to comfortably survive any terrorist attack.

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Gudrun F. Widlok, Adopted, 2012-ongoing. Photo: Pauline Doutreluingne

Gudrun F. Widlok organizes adoption of lonely Europeans adults by families in Africa.

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Hiroaki Kani, The Kowloon Walled City (detail), 1997

Kowloon Walled City was a largely ungoverned settlement in Kowloon City, Hong Kong. Kowloon used to be the most densely populated place on Earth, with 50,000 people crammed into only a few blocks of interconnected high-rise buildings that were built ‘organically’ without the help of architect or city planner.

The Hong Kong government demolished the walled city over a two year period, in 1993 and 1994. A group of Japanese architects, engineers, city planners and researchers, led by historian and cultural anthropologist Hiroaki Kani, documented the city right until the bulldozers arrived. Their notes and illustrated cross sections of the buildings were published into a book a few years later.

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Mikhail Kalashnikov, AK-47

The AK-47 (aka the Kalashnikov) was designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1946. 70 years later, it is the world’s most popular firearm. Favoured by guerrillas, terrorists and soldiers of many armies, the weapon has brought death all over the world but it is also regarded as one of the best designs of the 20th century.

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Marc Bijl, Group Mechanism, 2015. Photo: Pauline Doutreluingne

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Marc Bijl on the left and Heather Dewey-Hagborg on the right. Installation view at Bureau Europa. Photo: Johannes Schwartz for Bureau Europa

Ten showroom dummies dressed up with leather jackets that the artist spray-painted with single letters composing the word INDIVIDUAL. While the faceless dummies are meant to be anonymous, the leather jackets are symbols of rebellion and individual freedom. Group Mechanism exposes thus the fundamental contradiction of consumer culture (and of fashion in particular): individuality can be mass produced.

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Philippe Stark, Teddy Bear Band, 2005

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Philippe Stark, Teddy Bear Band, 2005. Installation view at Bureau Europa. Photo: Johannes Schwartz for Bureau Europa

The TeddyBearBand was created for children who like to hop from one toy to another. Stark’s TeddyBearBand is a teddy bear but also a stuffed dog, a rabbit and possibly a sheep.

More photos from the exhibition:

Bureau Europa THE NEXT BIG THING IS NOT A THING 5 maart – 10 juli 2016 De tentoonstelling THE NEXT BIG THING IS NOT A THING verbindt de laatste ontwikkelingen op het gebied van design met de wetenschap van de antropologie. Met 'de blik' als metafoor verkent de tentoonstelling de grenzen aan de ontwerpdiscipline en worden nieuwe vormen van kennisontwikkeling en kritische reflectie onderzocht. De tentoonstelling stelt verschillende mythes binnen de vormgeving aan de orde, deconstrueert haar symboliek, en toont de invloed van technologie op het designlandschap.
Opening night of The Next Big Thing is Not a Thing. Photo: Moniek Wegdam for Bureau Europa

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Installation view at Bureau Europa. Photo: Johannes Schwartz for Bureau Europa

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Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Stranger Vision, 2012-2013. Installation view at Bureau Europa. Photo: Johannes Schwartz for Bureau Europa

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Julien Prévieux, What Shall We Do Next (Séquence 2). Photo: Pauline Doutreluingne

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The exhibition The Next Big Thing is Not a Thing is at Bureau Europa Platform for Design and Architecture, Maastricht, The Netherlands, until 10 July 2016. It was curated by Pauline Doutreluingne.

My photos from the exhibition.

Previously at Bureau Europa: ZOO, or the letter Z, just after Zionism, Clip/Stamp/Fold – The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X-197X and Rien Ne Va Plus at Bureau Europa in Maastricht.

Book review: Future War

Future War, by Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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It’s on amazon UK and USA.

Publisher Polity writes: Will tomorrow’s wars be dominated by autonomous drones, land robots and warriors wired into a cybernetic network which can read their thoughts? Will war be fought with greater or lesser humanity? Will it be played out in cyberspace and further afield in Low Earth Orbit? Or will it be fought more intensely still in the sprawling cities of the developing world, the grim black holes of social exclusion on our increasingly unequal planet? Will the Great Powers reinvent conflict between themselves or is war destined to become much ‘smaller’ both in terms of its actors and the beliefs for which they will be willing to kill?

In this illuminating new book Christopher Coker takes us on an incredible journey into the future of warfare. Focusing on contemporary trends that are changing the nature and dynamics of armed conflict, he shows how conflict will continue to evolve in ways that are unlikely to render our century any less bloody than the last. With insights from philosophy, cutting-edge scientific research and popular culture, Future War is a compelling and thought-provoking meditation on the shape of war to come.

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Illustration by Alvim Corréa, from the 1906 French edition of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”

“Peace is an armistice in a war that is continuously going on,” wrote Greek philosopher and historian Thucydides. Coker delves into sociology, psychology, anthropology, history, philosophy, science and literature (in particular science fiction) to remind us that even though battles often rage far away from our own territories, none of us in the Western world can claim to live in peace. Therefore, it would be wise if our societies could develop a critical understanding of war.

The future of war is both fascinating and disheartening. It is made of mood hacking, cloned animals carrying missions as living bombs, false memories implanted in soldiers brains, quantum computing, helmets that turn thoughts into quantifiable information, liquid body armour, etc. Our weapons are many, they are in constant transformation and crucially, they have become ridiculously potent: a single jet bomber, Coker writes, has half a million times the killing capacity of a Roman legion.

But the future of combats might not even be where we expect it to be. There are chances that whole outlook of war will slip away from the usual suspects and battlefields. Wars of the future might no longer be the monopoly of the states but be carried out by new actors that range from big corporations to terrorists or mafias who will attack pipelines, close supply roads or fight for religious, or criminal reasons. Or maybe just one psychopath trillionaire with a grudge against the whole humanity will suffice to wipe us all from the surface of the earth.

Maybe war will look like a competition between machines that handle tactical warfare better than humans. Or maybe the war will be raged in space with lasers that target communication satellites and bring a superpower to its knees, killing no one but sparking catastrophic economic damages (no phone conversations or credit card transaction, mayhem at the stock market and in supermarket supply chain, etc.) Chances are that the battleground might actually be confined to cyber space, a space with its own rules and ethics, with new players, and lack of transparency and accountability.

At some point while reading the book, i almost gave up. It was getting a bit too bleak. Fortunately, Coker is an engaging narrator with a healthy criticism of technological promises. He reminds us that we often fail to grasp the use to which our inventions can be put. Coker illustrates the idea with the plane. Planes were not designed to throw bombs at troupes underneath. In war, they were used for transport and reconnaissance. But in 1911, an Italian pilot flew over Libya on a monoplane and had the idea of tossing over grenades as he approached a Turkish camp. At the time, the world reacted with outrage, it was regarded as a gross violation of the gentlemanly art of war. Quickly enough though, aerial warfare came to play an essential role in strategy.

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The ancestor of the flamethrower. Unknown – Codex Skylitzes Matritensis, Bibliteca Nacional de Madrid, Vitr. 26-2, Bild-Nr. 77, f 34 v. b. (taken from Pászthory, p. 31)

On the other hand, inventions that were to change the world didn’t turn out to be such game changers after all. Think of manned spaceflights beyond the Earth orbit. They were much celebrated decades ago but the last mission took place in 1972. Add to the picture the fact that potentially revolutionary inventions sometimes take longer than expected to catch on. Some of the the inventions that changed the face of battles have been conceived long before they were widely adopted. Flame-throwers, for example, first appeared in the 9th Century but were not used much on the battlefield before WWI. As for drones, they first flew at the time of the Vietnam War. Add to that, the unexpected but potentially highly disruptive black swans.

Interestingly, the author also suggests that future ‘may slow down’ at some point. Apparently the cost of circuit fabrication plants doubles every 4 years so the fast-pace innovation we’ve been experiencing over the past few decades might get prohibitively costly.

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Cyberdyne Inc. employees wearing Hybrid Assistive Limb, or HAL, robotic suits are seen in 2009. The gear received safety certification Wednesday by a quality assurance organization. Photo AFP-JIJI, via Japan Times

Future War doesn’t deliver easy to digest answers but it stimulates your brain, invites you to questions everything you might read about DARPA megalomania and asks you to consider issues such as our ability to design a conscience into our machines, the cultural impact of conflicts where there’s no human hero to celebrate, the ebbing away of governments power and the rising role taken up by citizens, corporations or future ISIS-like groups in micro and in global conflicts.

But ultimately, what i found most interesting about this book is the way it extend way beyond the military and talks about the future in general and our tendency to be gullible and uncritical regarding the promises of technology. It shows us that the future is incredibly hard to predict and that science fictions writers routinely get it more right than technology developers and other innovation evangelists.

Book review: Visual Impact. Creative Dissent in the 21st Century

Visual Impact. Creative Dissent in the 21st Century, by Liz McQuiston.
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Available on amazon UK and USA

Publisher Phaidon writes: An accessible and richly illustrated exploration of how art and design have driven major social and political change in the 21st century. Features the work of over 200 artists, from the famous such as Ai Weiwei and Shepard Fairey, to the anonymous influencers working through social media. Richly illustrated with over 400 images, this is a visual guide to the most influential and highly politicised imagery of the digital age.

Explores themes and issues such as popular uprisings (the Arab Spring, the London Riots) social activism (marriage equality), and environmental crises (Hurricane Katrina), as well as the recent Je Suis Charlie protests Global in outlook, it features exciting work from emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia, China and the Middle East, as well as the US and Europe.

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Blue Noses: Kids from our block (2), 2004

15 years of popular dissent in images!

Author Liz McQuiston practices and teaches graphic design. She has written several books that explore the intersection of design and politics: Graphic Agitation: Social and Political Graphics Since the Sixties, Graphic Agitation 2: Social and Political Graphics in the Digital Age, Suffragettes to She-Devils: Women’s Liberation and Beyond, etc. She not only knows her stuff, she also has impeccable taste. Her exploration of visual protest since 9/11 isn’t constricted by boundaries nor hierarchies. Online interventions rub shoulders with good old posters, murals with performances, court sketches with design objects. The people who rebel, resist and visually express their opposition are famous artists such as Kara Walker, Banksy and Ai Weiwei. More often than not, however, they are anonymous or operate behind pseudonyms.

The book opens on a brief overview of the visual legacy of the 1990s, a period characterized by cyberactivism and protests against the first Gulf War. But also by a rise in the use of technology by everyday people in need of new loudspeakers to get their voices heard. It’s in that paragraph that i learnt that in the late 1980s, French magazine Actuel collaborated with 16 other magazines to launch the “Fax for Freedom” campaign. They published a list of fax numbers of Chinese institutions and urged their readers to bombard them with faxes to cause chaos. In the UK, The Face magazine accompanied the campaign with the headline: “You have the technology to change history”. Fax activism! Who would have thought?

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Stelios Faitakis, Socrates Drinks the Conium (détail), Installation view at Destroy Athens, 1st Athens Biennale, 2007

After this short excursion in the 1990s, each chapter tackles a different theme or geographical area:
Chapter one is all about the Arab Spring as well as the political and anti-austerity protests that followed in the rest of the world. From Los Indignados in Spain to Occupy Wall Street. From Occupy London to Russia activists calling for the respect of human rights and openly questioning the reelection of Putin.
Chapter 2 looks at the objections to the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq and more generally at the War on Terror.
Chapter 3 explores divided countries, mostly Israel/Palestine and North/South Korea. But also cultural divisions such as the ones that cause heavy debates around the issue of the veil for women, the legalization of same sex marriage, feminism, etc. I particularly admired the diplomatic way McQuiston handled these controversial themes.
Chapter 4 is all about environmental disasters, both natural and man-made.

This book is intelligent, invigorating and often hilarious. It reminds us that (we) people are not only creative and resourceful, they are also brave enough to brandish their disapproval. The protests might not always the desired effect. But as Emiliano said Prefiero morir de pie que vivir de rodillas (I’d rather die on my feet, than live on my knees.)

Here are some of the works i discovered in the book. Some with comments. Others are perfectly happy without:

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Alshaab Alsori Aref Tarekh, The Syrian People Knows Its Way: Going out to demonstrate, 2012

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: US civil rights leader Martin Luther King,Jr. (C) waves to supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial 28 August 1963 on the Mall in Washington DC (Washington Monument in background) during the "March on Washington". 28 August marks the 40th anniversary of the famous "I Have a Dream" speech, which is credited with mobilizing supporters of desegregation and prompted the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Martin Luther King was assassinated on 04 April 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. James Earl Ray confessed to shooting King and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. AFP PHOTO/FILES (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
The United Unknown, You Have a Dream, 2013

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Grayson Perry, Vote Alan Measles for God, 2007

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Dorothy, No Globe for Earth Hour

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Paulo Ito‘s mural reflects on the money lavished on the World Cup while so many people in Brazil are hungry

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Bob and Roberta Smith, Interview with David Nott by Eddie Mair

Bob and Roberta Smith painted the full transcript of a radio interview of Dr David Nott in which he shared his traumatic experience working as a surgeon in war torn Syria.

Excerpts from the interview include: “It was like a bloodbath… You’d quickly operate on a patient… and you’d basically be squelching around with blood on the floor. And after every time there’d be a man come in with a big brush, like in an abattoir, it was like that.”

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Blu, giant child blowing at a group of soldiers who crumble away into a pile of dollar bills. Part of Santa’s Ghetto, 2007. Photo Tristan Manco

In 2007, Banksy took his annual underground art show to the West Bank and invited artists to create new works for the 8 metre high wall that surrounds the city of Bethlehem and separates Palestinian families from illegal Israeli settlements.

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Parastou Forouhar, Signs, 2004

Parastou Forouhar’s simple and elegant symbols denounce the marginalization of women in the Middle East.

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Princess Hijab. Photo Kai Jünemann

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Sarah Maple, I Love Orgasms. Photo via art threat

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Logomyway.com, Selection from the BP Logo Design Contest

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Richard Misrach, Swamp and Pipeline, Geismar, Louisiana, 1998. From Petrochemical America, photographs by Richard Misrach, Ecological Atlas by Kate Orff (Aperture, 2012)

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Richard Misrach, Sugar Cane and Refinery, Mississippi River Corridor, Louisiana, 1998. From Petrochemical America, photographs by Richard Misrach, Ecological Atlas by Kate Orff (Aperture, 2012)

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Richard Misrach, Holy Rosary Cemetery and Dow Chemical Corporation, Taft, Louisiana, 1998. From Petrochemical America

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In 1998, Richard Misrach was commissioned to produce a body of work on the theme of “Picturing the South” series. Misrach decided to focus on “Cancer Alley,” the Mississippi corridor that stretches between New Orleans and Baton Rouge and that is bordered by industrial plants that produce a quarter of America’s petrochemicals.

Over a decade later, Misrach returned to Cancer Alley to shoot. This time however, he collaborated with landscape architect Kate Orff whose “Ecological Atlas” of drawings and maps further visualizes the historical, economic, and ecological factors that affect the region.

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My David Cameron

Views inside the book:
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The Shock of the Anthropocene. Or what does it mean to have the future of the planet into our hands?

The Shock of the Anthropocene: The Earth, History and Us, by historians Christophe Bonneuil and Jean-Baptiste Fressoz.

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Pre-order on amazon USAand UK

Publisher Verso writes: Scientists tell us that the Earth has entered a new epoch: the Anthropocene. We are not facing simply an environmental crisis, but a geological revolution of human origin. In two centuries, our planet has tipped into a state unknown for millions of years. How did we get to this point?

Refuting the convenient view of a "human species" that upset the Earth system unaware of what it was doing, this book proposes a new account of modernity that shakes up many accepted ideas: on the supposedly recent date of "environmental awareness," on previous challenges to industrialism, on the manufacture of consumerism and the energy "transition," as well as on the role of the military in environmental destruction.

Through a dialogue between science and history, the authors draw an ecological balance sheet of a developmental model that has become unsustainable, and explore paths for living and acting politically in the Anthropocene.

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Photo by Aaron Vincent Elkaim, via Vantage

The Anthropocene is a proposed new geological epoch that recognizes that humanity's imprint on global environment rivals some of the greatest forces of nature. The authors suggest that the Anthropocene started with James Watt's improved steam engine designs in the late 18th century which kicked off the industrial revolution and thus the 'carbonification' of our atmosphere. From that time on, human activities started to have a significantly damaging impact on the Earth's ecosystems: high levels of air pollution, ocean acidification, out of control climate, mass extinctions of plant and animal species, modification of continental water cycle, etc. As the authors note, the Anthropocene is a sign of both our power and our impotence.

The book attempts to comprehend this new epoch but also to dispel a few misconceptions. I found particularly interesting the one about the sudden 'awakening' to our responsibility in climate change and the one that claims that only scientists possess the knowledge and wisdom necessary to save the planet.

The Anthropocene is often presented as an 'awakening' as if we were the first generations that realized the damage that burning fossil fuels, overfishing and other human activities have done to the earth atmosphere. But as the authors easily demonstrate, men knew what they were doing 200 years ago and environmentally damaging actions regularly met with criticism, challenge and struggle right from the beginning of the Anthropocene.

The book also states that today's scientific knowledge is put on a pedestal. On the one side is a small elite of scientists who appear as the spokespeople for the Earth. On the other is the uninformed mass of the world population awaiting to be saved or at least shepherded in the right direction. If we believe the experts, serious solutions can only emerge from further innovations in the labs, rather than from alternative political experiments in society as a whole. Besides, as the authors write, to position humanity (or just its elite) as a pilot means that the earth is little more than a cybernetic machine that can be dominated from the outside. They conclude that what we need right now is not a rescue plan made of geo-engineering prowess but more narratives, types of knowledge, a variety of civic initiatives and popular alternatives which explores the outlines of living better with less.

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Chemical and biological warfare trials during Cold War in 1956. The masks had to be worn to allow the collection of proxy warfare substances that had been sprayed from aircraft (image via The Independent)

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A visualization of satellites and other debris in orbit around Earth on Stuff in Space (image via Hyperallergic)

The book also demonstrate convincingly that the responsibility for the Anthropocene doesn't rest on the shoulders of every single human beings. Fressoz and Bonneuil explain at length the role that the military, capitalism and two hegemonic powers (Great Britain in the 19th century and the U.S. in the 20th Century) play in the Anthropocene. Some thinkers even used the word 'Oliganthropocene' to define a geological epoch caused by a small fraction of humanity.

The Shock of the Anthropocene: The Earth, History and Us is well written, impeccably researched (the authors quote all the relevant thinkers you might imagine from Marx to Piketty, from Gandhi to Hannah Arendt) and its discourse brings the Anthropocene into a wide historical and societal context. But above all, it is a book that shows that in the time of the Anthropocene, the entire functioning of the Earth becomes a matter of past, present and coming political choices. Even though people running the political sphere seem to royally ignore that fact. I've always found it a bit strange to see how low ecological concerns and promises figured in electoral campaigns.

One of the most important lessons the book has to offer is that we should probably all stop talking about an ecological 'crisis'. It's too late for that. A crisis can be overcome, the anthropocene can't. We've reached a point of no return.

Photo on the home page by Marco Gualazzini, Coltan mining from R.D. Congo- The War of Minerals.

Networked Disruption. An interview with Tatiana Bazzichelli

A few days ago, i was on video skype for an interview with Tatiana Bazzichelli and her irresistible Italian accent.

I had long wanted to sit down properly and have a chat with Tatiana. The reasons for that are many. First of all, Tatiana is one of the few people who knows the world of art but also the hacking community from the inside. Besides, she has a strong academic and curatorial background.

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Tatiana Bazzichelli at the seminar Networked Disruption, Kino Šiška, Ljubljana, March 11, 2015. Photo: Miha Fras

Bazzichelli is a curator and researcher, author of the books Networked Disruption. Rethinking Oppositions in Art, Hacktivism and the Business of Social Networking (2013), Networking. The Net as Artwork (2008), and co-editor of the book Disrupting Business. Art & Activism in Times of Financial Crisis (highly recommended, like all her book this one is available as paperback but also as a free download). She is director of the Disruption Network Lab, an experimental curatorial project on art, hacktivism, and disruption, based in Berlin. We'll talk during the interview about the upcoming activities of the lab but do not miss its opening event this month, it's called Drones and it examines drone warfare through the perspectives of a former U.S. drone operator, an artist, a criminal law researcher, investigative journalists, activists, filmmakers and a series of international experts.

Previous to that, Tatiana was programme curator at the transmediale festival, initiating the year-round reSource transmedial culture project, and was a Post-Doctoral researcher at the Centre for Digital Cultures, Leuphana University of Lüneburg.

The second reason why i wanted to steal a moment from Tatiana Bazzichelli's life is Networked Disruption, an exhibition and a series of events she has curated. If you're in Ljubljana (lucky you!) you have until Friday to check out the show at the Škuc Gallery. Right after that, the exhibition will move to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka. Future events in other European cities are on the agenda.

Centered on the concept of "Networked Disruption" (a concept which is analyzed in depth in her book of the same name), the exhibition highlights the mutual interferences between business, art and disruption. Because it brings together the heterogeneous practices of hackers, artists, networkers, whistleblowers, activists and entrepreneurs, the show is dense in reflections, provocations and references to contemporary society.

The increasing commercialisation of sharing and networking contexts since the middle of 2000s is transforming the meaning of art and that of business. What were once marginal practices of networking in underground hacker and artistic contexts have in recent years become a core business for many information technology companies and social media enterprises. In Bazzichelli's analysis, art intertwines with disruption beyond dialectical oppositions, leading to a discovery of subliminal and distributed strategies, which emerge from within the capitalistic systems, or act within it.

Here is the transcript of the interview:

Hi Tatiana! What was the catalyst of your research into the ways artists and hackers can disrupt the system from within? How and why did it start?

In 2008, I moved to Denmark to do a PhD. The research came from very personal reflections. When you and i first met a few years ago, i was interested in questions of sexuality and practices of queer culture. At the same time, i was also speaking about practices of hacking as a form of openness and DIY in connection with political activity.

However, around 2004-2005, I think that there was a moment of change because we started to get into a more mainstream social media framework. This for me modified the perspective because i think many people, who were part of our underground political culture, started to use tools that were becoming common at the time. I noticed that many people -and that includes the net art culture- started to be on Facebook and many of the conversations were happening there. It was a real surprise for me. I could not understand how it was possible that people like us, who used to be really critical, started to shift the field of conversation and action to Facebook.

For example, before Facebook, many people were using MySpace and here in Berlin it was the platform that was popular among the club scene. From MySpace people later migrated to Facebook. Many of these people came from the queer culture and were always speaking of the pleasure as coming from your own understanding of the body but also as a political mean. But when you are just clicking "Like" all the time on Facebook, you transfer your pleasure into a commodified value. "Like" means 'it gives me pleasure' but it also translates into a way for corporations to make money through advertisement. So i was at the time a bit upset.

Then in 2004 i went to this conference in Berlin. It was organized by Tim O'Reilly. It was the time when they were really launching this concept of Web 2. 0, both as a theme and as a business model.

What surprised me at the conference is that they were using the idea of hacking, DIY and many characteristics of the hacker culture to present their products. And i remember Tim O'Reilley at that conference saying that data is the next 'Intel Inside'. I found it a bit strange that the ideas of DIY, openness, sharing, participation were becoming a business model. Even if we always say that business and art are totally intertwined, i was surprised to hear that this could also apply to hacker culture because i was coming from a more politically-oriented hacking.

When i started my PhD in 2008, i wanted to investigate this process: how hacking, business and art started to be so intertwined and what were the consequences for our community of net artists, hackers and so on. As we know that Web 2.0 started as a concept in the Silicon Valley, i travelled to San Francisco and California during my PhD and i started to interview a lot of people. I summarized these experiences in the book.

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The book Networked Disruption Rethinking Oppositions in Art, Hacktivism and the Business of Social Networking

In the book i started talking about the idea of disruption. That was in 2008 when not many people were using the concept of disruption. Now it is a total buzz word in many contexts, including political, artistic or hacker practices. Disruption is a term coming from business. If we want to define the term disruption, it means to introduce a product, a technology or an innovation that the market doesn't expect. This is usually a definition used by many start-ups to define the way they create disruptive innovation. The idea is that you introduce into the market an innovation that is often cheaper than the other products already available and in this way you create a disruption because you shift the public and the consumers into using the new product. This component of being unexpected is important. But what is equally important is that the discourse of disruption comes from inside this system.

In my previous experiences, i used to think that sometimes it was good to create opposition in order to trigger a change. It was the time right after the anti globalization movement, when we had to reflect on tactics that were often characterized by a component of opposition. Many people started to think that we needed to invent new forms of criticism. And that's why i was so interested in the queer community because they were usually adopting tactics that were playful and not merely oppositional of the system as many people were doing for example during the G8 manifestations when disobedience was applying a very frontal opposition. After the massacre of the 2001 G8 Summit in Genoa, we could see that the movement had to rethink its strategies. So i started to investigate different forms of practices that were working from within or adopting viral and playful strategies. Initially, I looked into queer culture but then after web 2.0, i moved into business because i could see that it was a second step that needed to be analyzed.

After the PhD, i i started to write about disruption and i saw that it could be applied to the art field. Just like the business is speaking about disruptive innovation, i thought maybe we should apply this concept to the art field and start to imagine practices that are actually coming from within the system and are also using this unpredictability as a form of tactical strategy, just like businesses do.

Of course it's not something new. The avant-garde for example created an artistic shock and used the idea of the unpredictability of practices. Following these lines and somehow transforming it into the present condition of net culture, i thought disruption could then be applied as an artistic practice and also analyze its loop.

In my book, this loop brings together art, business and disruption.

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Tatiana Bazzichelli, Disruptive Loop Diagram, 2011

If you understand how i conceptualize this model, then you can see how artists, activists, hackers, entrepreneurs, networkers are all inside this loop because they act from within the system. The mutual interferences and the mutual feedback loop happen between business, art and disruption. In my model, art is disrupting business by creating interferences, perturbations and virality inside the business field. I use the word business because it's a word that artists and activists despise. Business is directly connected to managerial thinking, to company rhetoric, etc. If you read artistic texts, you will find that they talk about market, not business. And that's why i decided to use the word. I think we have to start appropriating an imaginary and words that have never been parts of certain fields, like art and hacking. Or that used to be if we go back in time. The critical fields of artists and hackers however hate that word. So i thought we should start to appropriate the word business, just like the word hacking has been appropriated by web 2.0.

You curated an exhibition that is currently on view at the Škuc gallery in Ljubljana. Could you take us through some of the works you are showing there and tell us how they fit into the "disruptive feedback loop", how they embody this idea of networked disruption?

The idea for this exhibition was to refer to the book because the people who are part of the exhibition are also featured in the book but i also wanted to bring it to the present. That was a bit complicated because when you write a Phd you don't necessarily start to think about how to translate it into an exhibition.

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Networked Disruption. Exhibition view at Škuc Gallery. Photo: Miha Fras

I also wanted to try and reflect on the modality of curating, of presenting networks of networks that are all dealing with disruption and at the same time i wanted to have the opportunity to reflect on what disruption means as a strategy that is interfering with from within the systems. At that point i'm going to mention another reflection i made in the book about whistleblowing. Whistleblowers are people who are not only acting inside the system (they work for corporations, secret services, governmental agencies, etc.) but to me, they are also creating détournements of perspective because they facilitate an important moment of change. And there is also this idea of unpredictability. A person who was regularly working for a corporation or an agency is suddenly turning out to be somebody who's revealing the misconducts of the corporation or entity they work for.

I think that whistleblowers are actually artists because if we think about the history of art, going back to the Avant-garde and reflecting on this moment of détournement, shock, change and unpredictability, then it is exactly what whistleblowers are doing. They create shock and change And it's interesting because this applies also outside the metaphysical aspects of art. I mean it's not just civil disobedience, it's something that is having consequences on their daily life. There is no way back for them.

In that sense, it is also a very important act. Everyone could be a whistleblower. Every person who works into this closed system could wake up and say "I don't want to do this anymore" and they could start revealing secrets. It's also really interesting for me because it happens in the context of everyday life. We could say that the avant-garde was still really working into the art field. The idea was to bring life in to art... You know the usual sentence! But the perspective changed after the end of the seventies, even with punk culture or the idea of hacker cultures and many of the practices exhibited in the show, such as Luther Blissett and Neoism. These people had the idea of bringing art into life. It's thus something different. And that's what i'm interested in. I'm interested in the moments when art goes out of the usual structures and constraints and becomes something that everybody could apply into their own life. From this point of view, a whistleblower is an artist because he or she totally follows a perspective in which you create détournement of a point of view. That's the reason why i included some whistleblower projects and some practices connected to whistleblowing in the exhibition.

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Networked Disruption. Exhibition view at Škuc Gallery. Photo: Miha Fras

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Networked Disruption. Exhibition view at Škuc Gallery. Photo: Miha Fras

In the first room of the show, you can see the work of Julian Oliver, Laura Poitras, Trevor Paglen. Then we look at the roots of practices that come from subcultural groups that were active in the 80s and 90s (Luther Blisset, the Neoism movement, The Cacophony Society, the Billboard Liberation Front, etc.

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Networked Disruption. Exhibition view at Škuc Gallery. Photo: Miha Fras

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Networked Disruption. Exhibition view at Škuc Gallery. Photo: Miha Fras

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Networked Disruption. Exhibition view at Škuc Gallery. Photo: Miha Fras

And of course mail art because mail art has a connection with art, and also because mail artists spoke about how art does not necessarily have to be connected with the gallery system. Everybody can be an artist, everybody can do mail art. Besides, in some situations, people used mail art to circumvent surveillance. In the DDR for example.

Together with VIttore Baroni we created a create a timeline of mail art in relation to disruption but we also asked people to send works of disruption to the Škuc gallery.

These lines of inquiry reach the discourse of Anonymous, a practice that is totally in line with the discourse of anonymity and also with the disruption of identity and the discourse of dismantling a single truth. These aspects were already important in Luther Blissett and Neoism, they were playing with the idea of the truth of the media, of the identity, of the art field and they even played with their own practices. Many Neoists were indeed claiming they were not Neoists or they were coming up with different definitions of Neoism. I think that Anonymous is directly connected to that. Not only because the group is made of people whose identity you don't know but also because they are bringing together this aspect of political engagement but without the political mandate and they are having fun in the process, 'doing things for the Lulz' as they say.

Nowadays the moment of criticism is changing, especially for the hacker culture. Today if you want to look for enemies, these enemies are so powerful that you know you will never win the battle. This is the era of Big Data so tell me "Who is the enemy?" Since Snowden, we know about surveillance, we know that the enemy is totally pervasive. So if you want to be critical, then your strategy, your practice also need to be pervasive. I think that this is exactly what Anonymous is doing. Even if their operations identify the so-called 'enemy', they are so distributed that you know there is not one single mission. There is a plural aspect of dealing with anonymity. So i found it to be a very important strategy and one directly connected with whistleblowing because we know that one of the last operations was involving AntiSec and Jeremy Hammond. He leaked to wikileaks private data and sensitive information from the Stratfor corporation. That was an act of whistleblowing. And indeed Hammond got 10 years in jail for it.

Connected to that there is also the discourse of Barrett Brown. So you see that everything is connected.

What i'm trying to do in this exhibition is to draw these connections but at the same time i didn't want to be just the curator in a hierarchical way. I decided that i wouldn't be the only person taking the decisions. I worked with an internal individual from each group. We decided together to exhibit certain aspects of the entity or group and we were totally conscious that we were not doing a historical exhibition because that would have been impossible. Instead, the show analyzes some specific aspects of each group that we think are important in relation to disruption and then the show connects these aspects together. The idea was then to create a network of networks in relation to networked disruption. The title is thus networkED disruption as in "disruption among networks" and also inside of them. It is also connected to the idea of the disruptive loop because the loop is creating a network for disruption in which different agents participate to a feedback loop.

I was watching the video of the talk you gave at re:public last year. At some point, you were explaining that hacking cannot be disconnected from business in the U.S. You gave Burning Man as an example. Could you expand on this connection?

When i was at Stanford during a visiting scholarship during the PhD research, i met Fred Turner and we had interesting conversations. He wrote this book From Counterculture to Cyberculture. He was claiming that, at least in California, the development of hacker culture was always intertwined with business. He doesn't like to speak about co-optation but about layering, with things that don't just co-exist but are intertwined. i was inspired by this idea of layering and i tried to recreate it by analyzing artistic practices. In layering, there is a coexistence of opposition. And they are not oppositions from the outside, the oppositions are all living inside this loop. In my first scenario, i analyzed this practices by referring to Walter Benjamin, especially the idea of dialectical image that is the moment in which oppositions coexist. Business, disruption, art and hacking all together at the same time create something which in Germany they call Denkbilder ('thinking image'.)

Going back to the exhibition, you could say that it is the coexistence of oppositions because these groups were active at the same time but were never necessarily in contact.

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Networked Disruption. Exhibition view at Škuc Gallery. Photo: Miha Fras

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Networked Disruption. Exhibition view at Škuc Gallery. Photo: Miha Fras

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Networked Disruption. Exhibition view at Škuc Gallery. Photo: Miha Fras

The show also looks into the idea of business disruption with projects that are directly related to web 2.0 and social media. They are the most recent one such as Anna Adamolo and the collective Les Liens Invisbles. They are analyzing the Facebook system and other social media and creating disruption from within it by really understanding how the system of virality works.

After long discussions with Janez (Janez being one of the producers of the show), we also decided to have a Janez Janša work. We are showing the letter in which the three artists communicate to the Prime Minister Janez Janša that they are becoming Janez Janša. Again, this was a moment of change that interfered with their private life (just like what happened with the whistleblowers). it is also a strong act of creating an unpredictable change in their life and also as artists.

Are you planning to show Networked Disruption anywhere else?

Yes, we are about to move the exhibition to Croatia. The opening is on the 23rd of April and the show will be up until the 14th of May. It's at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rijeka. The idea is then to move it to move it to the UK in 2016 as part of the AND Festival. I'm also trying to bring it back to Berlin. So it's going to be a traveling show.

How did the public react to the show? Did it echo with their own life?

The feedback we got in Slovenia is very positive, including among young people. I don't want to sound like a grumpy old lady but it is sometimes difficult these days to make young people understand that social networking is a practice that has a history, that Facebook hasn't invented everything from scratch. The show wants to highlight that social practices can be imagined in a different way, that if you understand a system, you can play with it. And play from the inside.


Trailer of the documentary DRONE directed by Tonje Hessen Schei

You are the director of the Disruption Network Lab in Berlin. I noticed the very promising title of an upcoming event on the homepage. It's called Launch Event: Drones. What have you programmed for the event?

Last year, i applied to the Hauptstadtkulturfonds, the culture fund of Berlin and i got a grant to develop a one year program (hopefully we will manage to go beyond one year.) My idea was to build upon the PhD research and the practice-based experience i had with Transmediale with the reSource program. So i decided to develop a platform of events and research that will take place at the Kunstquartier Bethanien in Berlin.

There will be 6 main events. One every 6 weeks. They are scheduled in April, May, August, September, October and December. Each event focuses on a different topic but all are aligned with the discourse of disruption as a concept which means 'to interfere with the system from within.'

Each specific thematic will be analyzed from different points of view. They will also together people who approach the subject from different perspectives. Hackers, artists, whistleblowers, activists, investigative journalists, researchers, critical thinkers, etc.

The first event is called Drones. Eyes from a Distance and we'll be analyzing the politics and strategies within and behind the drone usage. Somehow, drones are these invisible weapons that you know are used during conflict. They also have some kind of mystical aura. Mystical and horrifying. You know drones can kill people and they do it in a massive way. They are operated at a distance so they are part of the discourse of deterritorialization of conflict. At the same time, drones are becoming widespread in society. Amazon is using them to deliver parcels. Journalists are using them for filming from above. Makers and hackers are using them in their DIY experiments.

So this topic obviously opens up a lot of discussions.

This event will last 2 days. The model of the Disruption Network Lab events is a series of panels, discussions, keynotes and workshops sometimes. We also try to connect with other spaces in Berlin.

For the launch event, we will have a drone operator coming from the US. He used to work in the army there until he decided to become a whistleblower by discussing in public what it means to be a drone operator and how the work interfered with everyday life. There will be a panel with an investigative journalist, a criminal lawyer working specifically on Palestine questions, and activists from Gaza (if we manage to get them here as it's tricky to get all the permissions).

The following day, we have a second panel with another investigative journalist, an artist working on the mapping of strikes, and then a Norwegian film maker. His film, DRONE, will also be screened at the event.

We will also document the event and upload all the videos online.

Thanks Tatiana!

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Networked Disruption. Exhibition view at Škuc Gallery. Photo: Miha Fras

Networked Disruption, an exhibition and a series of events produced by Aksioma and Drugo more in collaboration with several partners. The show is up until April 3 at Škuc Gallery, in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
More photos of the exhibition. and of its opening.

Do check also the PDF guide of the show.

The 3D Additivist Manifesto + Cookbook

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The 3D Additivist Manifesto

A few days ago, i was at Parsons Paris for reFrag: glitch, a series of workshops, talks and performances that address the multifold ways in which glitches manifest and/or are mobilized artistically in our lives. Participants talked about flash crashes in the financial market (more about that one soon), wacky operating system from the early nineties, Spinoza glitches, archaeology of bugs, etc. It was good, brain-stimulating and intense. We even watched the documentary of a fist fucking performance. Here's the project page if you're into that kind of entertainment.

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Rourke presenting at reFrag: glitch.Photo by Benjamin Gaulon

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Audience at reFrag: glitch.Photo by Benjamin Gaulon

I'll probably write an incomplete but enthusiastic post about the event in the coming days but for now, i'm going to kick out the reports with Morehshin Allahyari and Daniel Rourke's presentation of the 3D Additivist Manifesto + Cookbook. Rourke was in Paris. Allahyari spoke to us via skype.

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Morehshin Allahyari, Dark Matter

Allahyari and Rourke's 3D Additivist Manifesto is an invitation to artists, researchers, activists and critical engineers to submit ideas, thoughts, and designs for the future of 3D printing. The submissions should reflect on the current state of additive manufacturing, identify the potential encoded into the most challenging 3D printed objects and push the technology to its most speculative, revolutionary and radical limits. Once collected, these submissions will form The 3D Additivist Cokbook.


Morehshin Allahyari, Daniel Rourke, The 3D Additivist Manifesto. Sound design by Andrea Young

The project started germinating in the artists' minds when Rourke interviewed Allahyari for her project Dark Matter, a series of 3D printed sculptures that combined objects, beings and concepts forbidden by the Iranian government. Most of these objects look pretty harmless to us. However, in her native country, a dildo, a dog, a satellite dish, a Barbie, or a neck tie (??) are frown-upon and in some case strictly forbidden. The work is both an archive of vetoed objects and an encouragement to those who live under oppressions and dictatorship to use the printer as a tool for resistance.

Allahyari and Rourke have recently teamed up for the 3D Additivist Manifesto + Cookbook, a works that brings together art, engineering, scifi and digital aesthetics under a mind-blowing and slightly weird umbrella.

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Photo: Adrian Gaut for Wired

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Julien Maire, Man at Work, 2014

The cookbook is inspired by William Powell's Anarchist Cookbook. Written in 1971, the manual brought together various readily available sources of knowledge and offered instructions on how to build bombs, make drugs, hack arcade machines, etc.

Other sources of inspiration for the 3D Additivist Manifesto include recent 3D printing projects such as the 3D printed gun, Julien Maire's (amazing) 3D animation that uses 3D printed objects instead of film and F.A.T.'s Free Universal Construction Kit.

One last major source of inspiration is Donna Haraway. Because the scholar is the author of the Cyborg Manifesto of course. But also because she believes that the Anthropocene is not a radical enough way to describe our era. Human beings are putting themselves in a situation similar to the one that the cyanobacteria experienced at the beginning the Earth history. They made life breathable for other other organisms by converting CO2 into oxygen, and they almost killed themselves in the process. Haraway suggests that we call our era the Cthulhucene.

reFrag:glitch, a collaboration between Parsons Paris and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago's Film, Video, New Media & Animation Department, is an international Glitch Art event that ran from the 19th to the 23rd of March 2015.

Copie Copains Club, a community of artists who copy each other

During the last edition of the GAMERZ festival, i discovered the existence of the Copie Copains Club (Copy Companion Club), a community of artists who copy each other. To become a member of the club, you either copy a fellow artist or you are copied by them. It's that easy!

Copie Copains Club aims to highlight the art of copying in the Post-Internet era. Today, the works and their representations circulating on the web become themselves available materials, ready to be replayed by other artists. At a time when production companies and governments toil to outlaw copying, CCC aims to be a space where everyone can freely enjoy the copying: a playground where contemporary artists or geeks designers of all generations and all countries can question their relation to intellectual property and their own creation.

Copie Copains Club is a cheerful, provocative project. More importantly, it offers the art community an informal space to discuss copyright, creativity, plagiarism, fair use of existing images and other issues that the art world has long been debating over but that internet culture has reinvigorated.

It is also interesting to note that the initiative comes from France, a country where copyright infringement laws are particularly stringent.

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Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Joëlle Bitton, Weather Desktop Project. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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.... inspired by Olafur Eliasson's The Weather Project

Copie Copains Club started as a platform and a licence but the experiment was given the opportunity to take on a physical presence when GAMERZ invited the artists behind CCC to curate an exhibition based on the works that follow the CCC rules. Some of the 'copies' merely put an humorous spin on the original, others added depth and an extra layer of reflection.

I talked to artists/curators Emilie Brout, Caroline Delieutraz & Maxime Marion about the CCC experience:

(The artists answered me in french. Just scroll down to read the original text.)

Hi, Caroline, Emilie and Maxime! I like the name Copie Copains Club. It's cheerful and melodic. Why did you chose this name? What did you want to convey with it?

We wanted a meaningful, funny and that sounded good. The CCC is a club of friends who copy each other. Like the project, it is "cute" but also a bit provocative, in particular because it includes the term copy, even if we're actually talking more about détournements, remixes and tributes. The acronym "CCC" is rich in references, and "CCC license" is a direct spin on the Creative Commons license.

Why did you start this project? I remember Maxime telling me in Aix-en-Provence about the situation of p2p exchange in France. So is there a political motivation behind the CCC?

There is of course a political motivation, especially in a country like France where the right to intellectual property is particularly strict. Add to that laws such as HADOPI and a long tradition in which the artist is both protected but also hindered in its practice. The artist is not necessarily a victim of the copy, it feeds on it. The CCC is intended to dramatize a little bit this issue, attacking the copyright idea collectively with a smile and some nice nuances. But we also wanted to create a playground, a space for exchange and dialogue that uses artworks as a go-between.

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Djeff, Super Google Clouds. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Djeff, Super Google Clouds. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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... inspired by Cory Arcangel's Super Mario Clouds

Many people like to repeat Picasso's quote "Good artists copy, great artists steal." Nonetheless, copying still has a bad rep' in society of course but also in the art world. Why do you think there is still a lot of stigma in art against copying?

Copying in creation is a very old question, and it is surprising to see that it is still raised in a society where ownership and piracy are completely mainstream (who has never used one of the first images popping up on a Google search without even wondering where it came from?) What remains sensitive, is the personal relationship that each artist has with their creation, their own "originality". Many artists are still afraid of being dispossessed, yet each work, inspired or not by another one, matters for the personality that the artist will inject into it. The CCC is also a place where you can show without any embarrassment works that look a bit too much like other works (whether they were produced before or after), a place where everyone and no one can be called a copycat.

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S. Aubry & S. Bourg, One shot date painting. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Arnaud Cohen, More Human Than Human. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

How was CCC received by artists whose work had been copied? Did they all feel flattered or did the copies create discontent? Did you find for example that artists who are used to working in tech/digital/new media contexts react differently from artists who are working with more 'traditional' media and ideas?

For an active member of the CCC, being copied is a great honor, it means that someone took the time to reflect on, study, question your work ... The 4th rule of CCC requires you to notify the original author of the fact that they have been copied with a message like this: "Hello, you have been copied with such project, unless you specify otherwise you are now a member of the club and are now free to copy whoever you want". This friendly approach may explain why there has ultimately never been any problem nor removal request. Regardless of age or discipline, the project was generally well received, even by the most recognized artists. And if there is no reaction, we assume that "Silence is consent." This is what the club advocates: we first copy, then we inform, which is subtly different from the standard practice.

How is the CCC database growing? Do you get regular submissions?

Everyone is free to participate and join the club as long as they follow the rules of the manifesto. Such as copying only living artists (Rule 2), or to copy a "buddy" if this is a first copy (Rule 1). The buddy list (nearly a hundred to date) continues to grow steadily. The more the merrier :)

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Grégoire Lauvin, Brrrr! Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Grégoire Lauvin, Brrrr! Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Grégoire Lauvin, Brrrr! Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

CCC 'got physical' for the last edition of the GAMERZ festival in Aix-en-Provence. How did you select the artists who were exhibited? Did you commission some works or did you only chose from the works already available on the CCC database?

Artists and projects were selected directly from the website, but some were still at the idea stage. For example, Brrrr! by Gregory Lauvin existed only in the form of sketches, and the Gamerz exhibited made it possible to produce it. As this was the first physical CCC exhibition, we selected pieces which references were easily recognizable, this facilitated the reading of the overall project.

However, each of these copies had their own relationship to the original work, have very different approaches: distant reference, resonance between personal experience and the one of the referent artist, purely formal détournement, criticism, etc. We were also pleased with the way the works became autonomous, conversed with each other and raised new issues, such as the relationship between "real" and "virtual", transhumanism ...

And do you otherwise work with the notion of copy culture in your own practice?

The concept of appropriation is fully integrated within our respective practices, so that this is not even a claim or a militant act as was the case for artists of previous generations (Sherry Levine, Christian Marclay, etc.) This is a medium like any other, and it happens to be ours. So we very often use the media produced by other people, we focus on their history, on the why and how they were produced, the people they were intended to reach, the paths they traveled and the way to reassemble them in order to produce new forms. This has naturally led us to reflect on issues related to intellectual property.

Thanks Caroline, Emilie and Maxime!

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Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Annabelle Ameline, Où est Raymond? Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Emmanuel Laflamme, Survival of the Fittest. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

Réponses en français:

I like the name Copie Copains Club. It's cheerful and melodic. Why did you chose this name? What did you want to convey with it?

Nous voulions un nom explicite, drôle et qui sonnait bien. Le CCC est un club de copains qui se copient. A l'image du projet, il est "mignon" mais un brin provocateur notamment par l'utilisation du terme copie, même s'il s'agit en réalité plus de détournements, de remixes ou d'hommages. L'acronyme "CCC" est riche en références, et la "licence CCC" est une variation directe de la licence Creative Commons.

Why did you start this project? I remember Maxime telling me in Aix-en-Provence about the situation of p2p exchange in France. So is there a political motivation behind the CCC?

Il y a bien sûr une motivation politique, notamment en France où le droit à la propriété intellectuelle est particulièrement lourd, en plus de lois telles que Hadopi et d'une longue tradition où l'artiste est à la fois protégé mais aussi entravé dans sa pratique. L'artiste n'est pas forcément une victime de la copie, il s'en nourrit, le CCC a pour but de dédramatiser un peu cette question, en attaquant l'idée de copyright collectivement, avec le sourire et de jolis dégradés. Mais nous avions aussi envie de créer un terrain de jeu, un espace d'échange et de dialogue par oeuvres interposées.

Many people like to repeat Picasso's quote "Good artists copy, great artists steal. " Nonetheless, copying still has a bad rep' in society of course but also in the art world. Why do you think there is still a lot of stigma in art against copying?

La copie dans la création est une question très ancienne, et il est étonnant de voir qu'elle est encore sensible dans une société où l'appropriation et le piratage sont complètement banalisés (qui n'a pas déjà utilisé l'une des premières images renvoyées par Google sans se demander d'où elle provenait ?). Ce qui reste sensible, c'est le rapport personnel que chaque artiste entretient avec sa création, sa propre "originalité". De nombreux artistes craignent ainsi encore de se faire déposséder, or chaque oeuvre, inspirée ou non d'une autre, compte surtout pour la personnalité que l'artiste va y injecter. Le CCC est donc aussi un lieu où l'on peut montrer sans gêne des oeuvres qui ressemblent un peu trop à d'autres (qu'elles aient été produites avant ou après), un lieu où tout le monde et personne ne peut être traité de copieur.

How was CCC received by artists whose work had been copied? Did they all feel flattered or did the copies create discontent? Did you find for example that artists who are used to working in tech/digital/new media contexts react differently from artists who are working with more 'traditional' media and ideas?

Pour un membre actif du CCC, être copié est un grand honneur, cela signifie que quelqu'un a pris du temps pour se pencher sur son travail, l'étudier, le questionner... La règle 4 du CCC impose de notifier l'auteur original du fait qu'il ait été copié, avec un message du type : "Bonjour, vous avez été copié avec tel projet, et sauf mention contraire de votre part vous êtes à présent membre du club et êtes libre de copier qui vous souhaitez à votre tour". Cette approche sympathique explique peut-être qu'il n'y ait finalement jamais eu le moindre problème ni aucune demande de retrait. Indifféremment de l'âge ou de la discipline, le projet est généralement bien reçu, même par les artistes les plus reconnus. Et s'il n'y aucune réaction, nous partons du principe que "qui ne dit mot consent". C'est ce que revendique le Club : on copie d'abord, on informe ensuite, ce qui est subtilement différent de la pratique courante.

How is the CCC database growing? Do you get regular submissions?

Chacun est libre de participer et de devenir membre du club tant qu'il respecte les règles du manifeste, comme le fait de ne copier que des artistes vivants (règle 2), ou de copier forcément un "copain" s'il s'agit d'une première copie (règle 1). La liste de copains (près d'une centaine à ce jour) continue de s'allonger régulièrement. Plus on est de fous plus on rit :)

CCC 'got physical' for the last edition of the GAMERZ festival in Aix-en-Provence. How did you select the artists who were exhibited? Did you commission some works or did you only chose from the works already available on the CCC database?

Les artistes et projets ont été directement sélectionnés sur le site, mais certains n'étaient alors qu'à l'état d'idée. Brrrr! de Grégoire Lauvin par exemple existait uniquement sous forme de croquis, et l'exposition soutenue par le festival Gamerz a permis de la produire. Comme il s'agissait de la première exposition physique du CCC, nous avons choisi des pièces dont la référence était assez reconnaissable, pour faciliter la lecture du projet global. Mais ces copies, ayant toutes un rapport différent à leur original, présentent des approches très variées : référence lointaine, résonance entre son expérience personnelle et celle de l'artiste référent, détournement purement formel, critique, etc. Nous avons également été ravis de la manière dont les oeuvres, alors devenues autonomes, dialoguaient entre elles et soulevaient de nouvelles problématiques, telles que le rapport entre "réel" et "virtuel", le transhumanisme...

And do you otherwise work with the notion of copy culture in your own practice?

L'appropriation est une notion complètement intégrée dans nos pratiques respectives, si bien qu'il ne s'agit même plus d'un acte revendiqué ou militant comme cela pouvait l'être pour des artistes des générations précédentes (Sherry Levine, Christian Marclay...) : c'est un médium comme un autre, simplement c'est le nôtre. Nous avons donc recours extrêmement souvent à l'emploi de médias produits par d'autres personnes, en nous intéressant à leur histoire, pourquoi et comment ils ont été produits, à qui ils sont destinés, quels chemins ils parcourent et comment les réassembler pour produire de nouvelles formes. Nous avons donc été naturellement amenés à réfléchir aux questions liées à la propriété intellectuelle.

Merci Caroline, Emilie et Maxime!

Previously: The 10th edition of GAMERZ. From dancing trash bag to dichotomic perception + Hold On, when a joystick manipulates Hollywood.