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.

Labels: , , , , , ,

27 November 2007

Truth or Dare

Yesterday, at the New Industrial World Forum, taking place at the Centre Pompidou, I attended the talk of Florence Devouard, president of the Wikimedia Foundation, in charge of managing and running Wikipedia.
The relationship between a tool, its aesthetics and the content created never seemed more obvious to me than when I heard her describe the many stakes of Wikipedia. As the service has been under the harsh fire of many critics for years, notably in the academic and media fields, the discourse of its representant was expectedly defensive. And I did agree with most of her arguments, it's hard to stand against Wikipedia when it's been so useful, simple to access and so open on the collective knowledge.
But one of her points was strongly worrying. As she described what was for her a great aspect of the tool - the openness on languages and cultures of the world (as in not everybody speaks English, Spanish and French and live in the Western world) - she supported her reasoning by saying that indeed every subject has many truths and that Wikipedia allows them all to be voiced. And then that's when it stroke me that the design of the Wikipedia tool and service was indeed supporting in its core that assertion. So in order to make her point, she used a specific example, underlying how Wikipedia can be used to offer a balance of views on a given subject, in particular when for instance French people have a say more easily than African people. In substance her quote was "I look forward to reading African francophones expressing themselves on Wikipedia, for instance on subjects like feminine circumcision and western Sahara" (implying that their opinions would be different than those of the French). Now with the 1st problem with this statement: there's an insinuation here that a point of view on a subject is submitted to nationality or ethnic belonging. Well, if all French people or all the African francophones would think one way and agree on everything, that'd be some piece of news! But more seriously, the way she phrased her reasoning could be easily understood that she meant that as a French person, I would voice arguments against feminine circumcision while an African person would advocate for it. Fortunately, we know it's not that binary.
The second subtext is even more problematic: one would tend to think that any opinion can be said on a subject - in itself, a reasonable point - and that they're all worthy and even necessary. Indeed, in the name of freedom of expression, and a currently trendy relativism, all "truths" are equal, all points of view are valuable and they all worth a space of expression. This is for me where the danger is. I don't believe you can wipe out historical context, experience and critical analysis.
Ironically, I think a part of the academic world, in order to play it very 2.0, is trying to get back in the race of demagogy: the recent invitation of the Balliol College of Oxford University made to the negationist David Irving, many times condemned in Germany and Austria, in a debate on the limits of freedom of expression is very revealing in that matter.
No, there aren't always many truths. It's not a science dissertation, where you could keep on questioning even that aluminium is a metal. I believe in making sense as you write an essay, and somewhat educating your audience towards an awareness of oneself as a human being responsible for others and for the ecosystem he's part of.
It's funny that in a forum addressing the "digitalization of design" in the light of the new uses of technology, the organizers didn't plan a time for questions from the audience, which in a way was an interesting echo to another of Florence Devouard's observation, that it's very frustrating for active Internet users if they're in a situation where they can't give a feedback (to what they read in the media for instance). So I went to find her at the end of the session to exchange thoughts on what seemed to me a big issue. She was quite receptive in general - a lot of people came to talk to her, sometimes passionately, about other things. I waited for my turn and exposed the problem I saw in her talk, we talked a bit and I like to think that she realized that some of her phrasing was inappropriate. Wikipedia has many great challenges, at the level of its ambitions. She told me for instance that one of the current problem she was facing was that in some articles, edits by women were systematically rejected by the male users. Now, how do you solve that?

Labels: , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?