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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17 March 2008

Lost word

Last week, I went to see the new Gondry's masterpiece, Be Kind, Rewind. In all of his works, what strikes me the most is the brightness of his ideas, of his imagination. In that particular movie, I was touched by his reading of the (hi)story of cinema and of popular culture. But moreover, he subtly demonstrates how we need fiction to function, how we create narratives to make sense of reality and how we tell each other stories in order to connect, to live together (as in a polis) and to get a sense of belonging to a community/a family.
While I was watching the movie, I thought on another brilliant inventor, John Cage. I was then reading a book of conversations between Cage and Daniel Charles, called "Pour les Oiseaux" / "For the Birds" (a wordplay around the birdcage). What got me to think of him was a word that came back often in Gondry's movie: "sueded". In Be Kind, Rewind, the owners of a video club are shooting their own versions of movies like Ghostbusters, 2001, A Space Odyssey, Rush Hour 2, Boyz in the Hood and many more. They qualify their "remakes" as "sueded" because, as they explain, the tapes are "imported from Sweden". In an interview for the LA Times, Gondry said he "wanted a name that meant nothing". And from that he created a verb that means re-doing/re-interpreting/re-creating/re-composing just about anything, including webpages (in the movie's official site, you can find samples of Goolge and MyFace).
But the thing is what are the chances of coming across a word that doesn't exist twice in a week in 2 different contexts? In For the Birds, Cage uses that exact same word in its French verb form "suédé". So of course, after the movie, I go back home and start browsing the book in search of the paragraph, to compare the 2 meanings. But I browsed it again and again, 4 or 5 times, but I lost it. I can't find that word again. I thought for a bit that I dreamed it, that it's all a mix in my head, a Cage-Gondry conspiracy. But I'm convinced I did read it, because I remember thinking what the hell is that word "suédé"? what's the concept behind it? Maybe one day, when there's a digital copy of the book, it'll be easier to look into it. For now, I prefer to play around more obvious concepts addressed all over the book: silence, nothing, void, space, ecology, technology, references to Thoreau, Fishinger and Backminster Fueller..
In a last associated thought (who said again that the brain functions with associations?), reading Cage made me think about a wonderful project that Cati blogged about: "OTTO" created by Duncan Wilson and Manolis Kelaidis at the Royal College of Art.
An excerpt of the description: "OTTO (Greek for ‘ear’) is a device that makes hidden sounds audible. (...) Every object and surface in our environment has a whisper; subtle tremors and vibrations that are usually undetectable to the human ear, produced by the activity and movement of daily life. What if these sounds were audible? How would that change our aural awareness, perception of space and attitude towards objects? Would it be possible to ‘compose’ our own soundtrack using our walls and objects as a new form of instruments?"
For me this is more or less achieving as a standalone technology what Cage elaborated in his theories and his compositions: a way for us to hear the silence, the sound of objects, of our environment and make a sense of it: being an audience and a composer at the same time.

-- Joëlle.

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