25 February 2009


As I was walking home from work this evening, in a corner of a dark street in Montreuil, I hear my name as I was passing by 2 guys that I didn't notice at first. It took me about 5 seconds to replace the 1st guy in my memory, and a first name to replace the 2nd guy whose face was "hidden" by a hat. The 2 persons were simply 2 of my best friends in Tolbiac, my undergraduate college in Paris, some... 14, 15 years ago!! They were on their way to a dinner but they gladly went in for a drink at the strangely convenient corner bar that seemed to wait for us (we call it a "rade" in French - a bar populated only by regulars, that you would hardly notice until you enter it by chance). It was so nice to get a drink at the comptoir, and get reacquainted for few minutes. I had so much fun with them back then! And as one of them said, there's still much fun to have.
One thing I noticed was how, as they were dropping names of people we used to hang with and tell me where they were now, my memory worked hard to remember them but then it was like I slowly rediscovered a whole part of my life that seemed buried under many layers of so many different lives. I bet over the next few days, a lot of flashbacks will greet my mind.
In particular, I was reminded that I used to film every new person who came to my home and I so forgot about it. I'm amazed they remember that. It reminded me then that I have a dozen of tapes somewhere at my parents place, that I need to digitize very quickly...

-- Joëlle.

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24 February 2009

DORKBOT PARIS at Palais de Tokyo - 26th of February

The Palais de Tokyo, a museum of contemporary art in Paris, has asked Dorkbot Paris to program 6 events related to their current exhibition Gakona. Inspired by Tesla works and referring to the "mysterious" military program HAARP in the Alaskan city Gakona, the exhibition presents 4 artists who are displaying work around the theme of "electricty". Since Dorkbot is about "people doing strange things with electricity", there's some sort of natural connection there and I'm thankful that the Palais de Tokyo commissioners thought about contacting us.
Thus, instead of doing an event every month or 2, we're presenting this time 6 events within 2 months. It's an ambitious program and I'm really looking forward to all the presentations and with the support of the museum, we were able as well to invite people from outside of Paris, including some MLE connections like Gary McDarby and Jonah Brucker-Cohen.
The first session is this Thursday and its theme is "Eco - energies", or the relationship between environment, technology and arts (and how to be aware of energy expenses so that eventually you can lower your electricity bill!).
Presenting works are Benjamin Cadon, Ewen Chardronnet, Dominique Leroy and Laurent LeGuyader.

-- Joëlle.

For more details (in French - sorry I don't have the courage to translate it all):

Dorkbot Paris au Palais de Tokyo - "Eco - Energies"
Jeudi 26 février 2009 à 19h30, Auditorium du Palais de Tokyo
13, avenue du Président Wilson, 75016. Métro Iéna (ligne 9)
L'entrée à cette session Dorkbot Paris est liée à l'entrée de l'exposition Gakona (Tarifs de 1EUR à 6EUR selon conditions, gratuit pour les chômeurs, moins de 18 ans et personnes handicapées). N'hésitez pas à nous contacter si vous comptez venir à plusieurs sessions Dorkbot.

Programme détaillé:

• Benjamin Cadon et Ewen Chardronnet présenteront à cette occasion le protocole de travail du Spectral Investigations Collective (SIC), travail collectif qu'ils mènent depuis 3 ans avec Bureau d'études, Ghostlab, Alejandra Perez Nunez et d'autres collaborateurs occasionnels. Le SIC enquête sur les spectres électromagnétiques tels qu'ils se manifestent dans les environnements industriels, mais également sur toutes les manifestations spectrales auxquelles il est confronté. Il met à l'épreuve la façon dont ces spectres viennent modeler, contraindre et orienter notre vie.

Pour cette rencontre, Ewen Chardronnet développera les méthodes employées par le SIC pour aborder la question des radars géants, Benjamin Cadon présentera quant à lui, des moyens pour capter des champs électromagnétiques à différentes longueurs d'ondes en l'illustrant de façon sonore et/ou visuelle (des "Very Low Frenquency" aux GHz de nos téléphones portables) et évoquera diverses utilisations "alternatives" : recherche d'énergie libre, effet van Eck, capteurs capacitifs, armes non létales, mind control et phénomènes surnaturels associés...

Liens web :
Ewen Chardronnet :

Benjamin Cadon :

• Dominique Leroy est membre d'Ecos, projet transdisciplinaire qui s’appuie sur la recherche scientifique et l’action culturelle pour interroger et mettre en perspective les interactions entre technologie, écologie et économie.
Il présentera des recherches et expérimentations portées par ecos depuis 2007 :
- un projet de monnaie sociale et symbolique, occupant dans une communauté une dimension économique et culturelle : ecosXchange, initié par Siraj Izhar, est un projet de recherche en cours depuis 2007.
- des micro-expériences techniques et artistiques mettant en oeuvre différentes énergies, comme Resonating-With-Light réalisé par Edo Paulus.

• Laurent Le Guyader, électronicien négaWatteur, mesurera et mettra en évidence les consommations électriques et les champs électromagnétiques des appareils de notre quotidien. Cette intervention sera suivie d'une discussion sur le scénario négaWatt : sobriété, économies d'énergie et énergie renouvelables pour résoudre la crise énergétique à venir.

• Opendork, session libre ouverte à tous
Apportez votre projet et venez le partager avec nous au sein de l'Opendork qui clôture chaque rencontre.

Et ensuite ?
Notez d'ores et déjà la date du 5 mars, session Dorkbot "Brainwaves" qui traitera d'ondes cérébrales captées et détournées!

Les sessions suivantes auront lieu les 12 et 21 mars et les 11 et 23 avril.
On y parlera (et plus si affinités) d'expérimentations électriques qui feraient plaisir à Nikola Tesla, de réseaux DIY, de circuit bending et de récupération/création à base de "déchets" technologiques.

On y rencontrera (entre autres) Gary Mc Darby, Dominique Peysson, Horia Cosmin Samoila, Jean-Baptiste Labrune, Dana Gordon, Gijs Gieskes, Douglas Repetto, Jonah Brucker-Cohen, Katherine Moriwaki et l'équipe de Dorkbot Paris.

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16 February 2009

Friday night lights

Friday night lights is an american TV show that ran for 3 seasons. It follows the life of people in a small Texas town that beats at the rhythm of the local highschool football team: Friday night is the night where the only place in town that resonates is the stadium. I like it as everybody else does because it seems very realistic and human. And after all, it talks about everything but football in some way. After 2 seasons, the show was doomed to stop and a new kind of production deal that involved a cable TV (DirectTV) + a national TV (NBC) managed to get the show going for 13 more episodes so the stories of the main characters were offered some sort of conclusion. In order to advertise for the show, DirectTV posted some pictures of the characters on their website (I didn't seem them there anymore). The way the pictures were staged is very interesting: everything is said about the characters, the story is in place and there's a sexy edge to it that put a new light on the show so you want to watch it. But that's a trick. None of the people in this show is really sexy, they're not cool. You don't want to emulate them, but you do care for them. Maybe that's why the show failed to be more popular: viewers would hope it to be one more sexy soap opera show while it's all about the dullness, boredom, mediocrity of daily life, where the next morning looks like the one before, except on Friday night and except for the small pleasures brought by love, friendship and passion. At one point in the second season, the show tried to be more soapie for a tiny bit (there was a murder!) but that's actually when it got boring and fortunately the writers understood that for the last season.

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09 February 2009

Paint it technicolor!

My best purchase this sale was surely the Douglas Sirk Collection: 7 masterpieces to exhaust your mind with dreams, the kind of dreams that make you change your life for the better.
Although I was familiar with movies like Imitation of Life (one of my all time favorites) and All that heaven allows, I discovered true jewels. One of them, "Has anybody seen my gal?" is set in the late twenties, while shot in the fifties. I think it's one of the very few movies I know that get to depict the twenties in technicolor (aside maybe from Singin' in the Rain). And it's like a veil has been lifted. You get to put colors on people, the streets, objects and mostly on... fashion! Of course, you see it the way they would see it in the fifties (there's another layer of reading for you) but it's so fun and it feels like being in a candy store.
The clothes are amazing, men and women fashion alike. Actually I love those high-waist men pants (I must say I'm not a big fan of the low-waist pants trend, so unbecoming to the silhouette). It makes me wanna wear more of those.
As a treat, here's a scene of the movie where music, clothes and acting come perfectly together.

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08 February 2009

Get a Plan C says the New York Times

Looking at the crisis often lead to creative and facetious comments, like this brand logos analogy (by Ji Lee) illustrating an article of the New York Times, What's your new Plan B?
My favorite is Cipriani vs McDonald's...

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07 February 2009

Facts of life

Last Saturday, on a late afternoon, I strolled in the 9th and the 18th districts of Paris, in a way I didn't do for a while. Just walking up the streets, not really knowing why or where, just for the pleasure of being in the moment. I looked at people, at windows shops, at the general romantic atmosphere of Paris in winter, on a Saturday. And then just as the chance has it in for you, I came across an art gallery I had seen before but forgot. It was an exhibition of Diane Arbus magazine works. The great idea of the commissioner wasn't about showing framed pictures, but the magazine clippings themselves, where sometimes you could read the first paragraphs of the cover story. In context, the photographs were more daring and rule-breaking than they ever were. You could really understand how they set at the time a before and after. A couple of works by Wolfgand Tillmans, Walker Evans, Annie Leibovitz and others were also there to depict the heritage. It was a simple, moving, enlightening exhibition. It was a stranger encounter in the middle of my urban wandering.

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03 February 2009

People for people

Seen on the french geek blog Transnets today: a video seen more than 5 million times on YouTube! It's the song Stand by Me, sung by street musicians all over the world and mixed together in one video by Playing for change. I don't know if it was the specific intention (the said one is "to bring peace through music") but for me it's a very simple and effective way to bring awareness to the people all over the world who earn some of their living with playing in the streets and give them a deserving homage.

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01 February 2009

My name is Michael Caine

I ordered a Michael Caine DVD set on Play.com and the first movie I watched from this set is The Italian Job, some sort of very annoying British humour concentrate with a hint of Italian northern Dolce Vita, served a la Fiat over industrious Turin.
This movie is like a time-travel shoot into the end of the Sixties, when graphic design in the urban landscape meant something and cars were impersonated. More than about robbery, I felt this movie was about the Mini Rover, Agnelli, the car industry, Turin, architecture and city organization. The movie is worth watching for the 25mn car chase (basically an ugly Alfa-Romeo chasing 3 super cute Mini-Rovers) where you can actually glance quickly at all the stunning details around the cars. It's beautifully shot that way.
The other reason why you watch the movie is Michael Caine, in all his splendor, nice tailored costumes and Cockney accent.

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