[Blank] Project by Soichiro Michara, an experience of the unfelt

Blank-Project-An-Experience-Of-The-Unfelt first published on http://neural.it/2014/04/blank-project-an-experience-of-the-unfelt/   A changing sculpture of bubbles and a weirdly constructed bell catch the visitor’s eye when confronted with Soichiro Michara’s [Blank] project. The environment seems quiet, subtle and cryptic. But on closer inspection one realises that the components of the work, which are both physical and analogue, build two functioning systems that conceptually connect. Bubbles climb up on strings, which connect air pumps to tanks filled with soapy water, while sound is produced by a bell attached to a microchip and a tube. The work is an outcome of the artist’s two year occupation with a difficult issue: How to respond to the disaster at Fukushima, a tragedy that once again proved that nuclear power can not always be controlled? How could one tackle an issue that many still do not want to think about? And how can one perceive unseen and unfelt contemporary threats? It seems that Michara purposefully chose a system of bubbles in order to depict something which is artificially created, manipulated and up to a point controlled and he empowers it through a mechanism that is ambiguously functional as a detection or warning system. The wind-bell, a common symbol in Japanese tradition that protects people from evil spirits, is now recording radiation levels. What initially seems playful or non-important in this installation might prove to be real and harsh. It depends which side one prefers to see.

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Mapping the Commons receives the Elinor Ostrom Award!

The Mapping the Commons received  “I Premio Elinor Ostrom a la investigación e intervención social vinculada a Bienes Comunes”  in Buenos Aires!

Picture 36

More info here:

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Loophole for All

Paolo Cirio likes exploits. One could say that he is a real virtuoso of today’s networks as he is constantly studying them in order to expose their mechanisms, locate their vulnerabilities and subvert their modes of functioning. In his latest project, Loophole for All, Cirio focused on an obscure side of today’s networked economy, the offshoring. The artist targeted the Cayman Islands, one of the major offshore centers that serve multinationals and banks by providing them secrecy, little or no taxation and loose legal control.  As they allow companies to hide and maximize their profit, offshore centers were seen by Cirio as network switchers which facilitate the flow of corruption for the global market and are therefore worthwhile of being attacked. And so it happened. Cirio hacked the Cayman Islands governmental server, stole a list of 200,000 registered companies and proceeded in issuing for anybody interested counterfeited certificates of incorporations from the company’s registry at a very low cost. Fiction or reality one could ask. As expected, the Caymans Companies Registry denied the incident declaring that the list was not really a hack but rather  a result of search engines which aims to scam people. But unfortunately for them, Cirio had already succeeded his goal.  Exploiting the loopholes that companies themselves use, he took advantage of the offshore companies’ anonymity , appropriated the system and opened the stolen data to the public.  While a ‘democratization of the offshore business’ might be fiction, raising awareness through revealing networks’ invisible structures seems indeed to be possible.



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Unmanned, playing tolerance to reality

Unmanned, Molleindustria, unmanned_molleindustria.jpg







[short review for neural]

Molleindustria’ s games have traditionally aimed to put the player in a rather uncomfortable or unusual position. Previous games have asked users to run McDonald’s businesses, to hide church scandals in Italy, or to supervise child labour in Congo. The team of radical Italian game designers have launched their latest challenge: ‘Unmanned‘ invites you to become a UAV pilot and follow the character throughout his daily routine. Players attempt to not cut themselves shaving (and that’s the only ‘real’ blood you will see) and to be a good husband while talking on the phone; to try not to miss a moving living target via a radar at work and play first person shooting games with sons at home. Every time you succeed in your role different medals await you. But as with all Molleindustria’s games, this is not the point. Unmanned is not about checking or developing your skills and competencies but rather about realising your indifference and tolerance to an existing reality. The game will remind you of the Collateral Murder video, leaked by wikileaks two years ago and it will most likely freak you out. It will make you wonder about the sense of playing it in the first place. But that’s only because Unmanned shows the power video games have as a medium for addressing human sensibilities. Games are about choices, just like life itself. Imagine what happens when fiction and real terror come so close.

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Data Bodies Networked Portraits

Critical reflections on today’s interconnected self

Fundacion Telefonica, Lima, Peru
As part of the MMcLuhan100 program
July 7 – August 28, 2011

We have been living in a networked world for 15 years now. Interconnected sets of nodes, as sociologist Manuel Castells described networks, seem to have progressively become the context of our everyday life, of our work, leisure and socialization. Our thoughts, interests and desires have moved to immaterial spaces of the digital sphere that have opened accordingly the way for new challenges, experiences and modes of being. While participating, communicating, sharing and collaborating in the digital social networks today, our identities are being shaped within them. Networks have become the new homes, the new environments of intimacy and belonging, which are located nowhere and everywhere at the same time. Dispersed and interweaved, with no here or there, no inside or outside, the reality of the networks became the new common reality the connected world shares. Heterogeneous, polyphonic and multicultural, this   charming networked condition is based on two fundamental elements: on the growing wealth of data being provided, controlled and exchanged on one hand and on the multitude of users contributing this data on the other.

The exhibition Data Bodies – Networked Portraits aims to explore the ways identities are being formed, captured and portrayed in the networked sphere. Two notions complementary to one another, the data body and the networked portrait, become the reference for this examination as they can present the important duality and ambiguity existing behind every online persona being built nowadays: for every feature assigned or attributed to us, a trace is left behind. Our profile pictures, our interests, our friends as well as the places we bookmark, the photos and videos we upload or vote for, are all part of databases forming today’s networks. In this context, the networked portraits are formed by us, the users. They represent how we want to be seen and how we see the others, revealing our need to appear interesting, popular and attractive towards a community of users. The data bodies, on the other side, are a direct outcome of the informational society. They are based on mechanisms of aggregation and control. They are fed by the manifestations of our networked self, by marks of our communication, of our transactions and movements.  The networked portrait and the data body are thus two different sides of the same coin, of images of a self shaped by us and of descriptions formed by systems of data. But do we realize their particularities? Do we really recognize ourselves through them and how secure do we feel in this duality?

Aiming to situate and highlight the particular aspects and features of today’s connected realm, the exhibition proposes a reading of the networked sphere  through a rich variety of portraits, as seen through the artists’ eyes. Through data aggregations, visualizations, hacks or re-appropriations, “personas” are being revealed and are critically approached. Group portraits, networked heroes, maps of digital identities, as well as violations and identity thefts seem to all address a central question: What does our digital identity at the end depend on? On ourselves, on communities of users, or on informational systems of control? The artists as an antenna of society, as Marshall Mcluhan once said, may be the ones – once again – that can offer new modes of perception for the environments proposed by media and technology; this time by emphasizing and reclaiming the elements that mostly become the objects of controversy and power, our data.

Daphne Dragona

Participating Artists: Christopher Baker (US), Heath Bunting (UK), Paolo Cirio & Alessandro Ludovico (Italy), Gabriela Florez del Poso (Peru), Matthias Fritsch (Germany), Aaron Koblin & Daniel Massey (US), Men In Grey, MIT Sociable Media Group with Alex Dragulescu, Aaron Zinman, Fernanda Viegas & Scott Golder (USA) and Jon Rafman (Canada)


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Codes of Disobedience & Dysfunctionality

The National Museum of Contemporary Art in the framework of its collaboration with the University Research Institute of Applied Communication (U.R.I.A.C) of the University of Athens presents from the 5th until the 25th of March 2011 the project Codes of Disobedience & Dysfunctionality realised by British artist Martin Rieser and an interdisciplinary team of students, researchers and artists. The project will be based on the outcome of a preceding workshop, organised by the University Research Institute of Applied Communication of the University of Athens. The workshop is part of the action “Global Gateway” and of the EU funded program “Civil Society Dialogue – Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture” in which U.R.I.A.C participates.

“Codes of Disobedience & Dysfunctionality” proposes a different trail and a new narrative for the city of Athens and its contemporary transformations. Inspired by the posters and the graffiti of the city and taking advantage of the possibilities given by mobile communication technologies (GPS, QR codes etc) and the internet, Martin Rieser and the workshop team will aim to connect the urban surroundings of Athens to opinions and statements of its inhabitants regarding the challenges imposed by the current social, political, and financial circumstances. Anger, disobedience, opposition, dysfunctionality. The features of the contemporary metropolis in the midst of a period of crisis will be the main focus of the project. Can the new possibilities offered by technology really capture the needs and the atmosphere of a city like Athens? Can they embrace life itself?

From the 5th of March onwards, in the premises of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, on the internet and at the centre of the city (in the streets of Skoufa – Navarinou – Tzavela), the museum visitors and inhabitants of Athens, will be invited to follow the project’s trail and discover the spots where parts of the narrative are hidden. Special QR codes will be placed in selected locations of the city and by scanning them with a mobile phone, access to the audiovisual material created during the workshop will be given. Combining elements of installation art, urban intervention, gaming and performance, “Codes of Disobedience & Disfunctionality” reflects Rieser’s long term practice on art and technology.

Professor Martin Rieser is joint research Professor between the Institute of Creative Technologies and the Faculty of Art and Design at De Montfort University.  He has always been fascinated by the possibility of creating fragmentary narrative structures and interactive stories using new technology. As an artist and researcher this has led him into his current explorations using mobile and locative technologies and large-scale interactive video experiences. Professor Rieser’s art practice in mobile and internet art and interactive narrative installations have been seen around the world including China, Australia , USA  and Greece, France, Austria, and Italy.


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