29 December 2004

music is the color - 2004 playlist

As unmeaningful as it may seem, i want to share the tracks that have lived with me during this ending year. My 2004 playlist is around 2300 titles long, sorted in a very weird way... That's around 7 or 8 new songs for each day, which i find to be a pretty fair average.

This is quasi-raw data, so the few gems (if any) are well hidden !
The "Best Winter Blues Fighter" award goes to "Little Jazz Bird" by Blossom Dearie, a song recorded in NYC in 1958 or 1959, which can be found on the Jazz Masters 51: Blossom Dearie - Verve Records compilation.

Needless to say, this has nothing to do with P2P or other barbarians abbreviations..

-raphael.

28 December 2004

When I live my dream

Wes Anderson has accomplished in "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" one of my cinematographic fantasies. A dozen of Bowie's songs punctuate the story along its course, each time with a mixture of evidence and caricature. The effect is brilliant and thrilling. Because the soundtrack is made almost entirely from one single artist and from very popular songs. But the songs are never catching the attention away from the story. They blend in the movie, yet they are outsanding, because they are performed as if they would act as a chorus in a play. Few are Bowie's originals. Most of them are performed beautifully in brazilian by Seu Jorge.
One scene of the movie confirms another thing: Bowie's music is perfect for trackshots. It has already been demonstrated by Leos Carax in "Mauvais Sang" in the best scene of the movie with Denis Lavant running on the beats of "Modern Love".
"The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" is also just a great movie, full of lights and colors. Check out the official website to grab some cool AIM icons or watch few excerpts.

--Joëlle

26 December 2004

De la frivolité

Last week, I was in front of the French TV, as I usually do when I come to Paris on holidays and treat myself to some couch potato days. The mid-day show was "Arrêt sur images" ("Pause on images") that analyses and comments on a weekly basis the TV images produced on a specific subject, usually a piece of news or recent media focus. I usually like to watch the show because I like to watch TV eat itself.
That week's subject took me by surprise: "Friends", yes, the sitcom. I had dreamt of Arrêt sur images making a subject on Friends since the beginning of the show because I always thought there was a lot to say about it. And there it was, 10 years after. But the result was rather disappointing. Because maybe they didn't try to go beyond what has been said already 100 times, a mixture of clichés and old information. Yes, the sociological model of Friends is based on friendship (!!) and on recomposing a tolerant family with the help of which you always overcome problems, ya-di-ya-di-ya...
If they'd actually shown the excerpts of Friends they were talking about in English, I would have just passed the time pleasantly and forget about the whole thing. But one columnist (would you say columnist for a TV show?) obviously thinking that she was very intelligent dismissed the show with contempt, on the argument (!) that this was just entertainment and that its humour was making people laugh gratuitously when humour used to have a serious function of reflection.
Hum... First, I'm tired of "used-to-have" or "used-to-be" arguments because they state more than anything their weakness and vacuity. Second, I'm sorry that the editorial team of the show isn't more demanding about the quality of argumentation exchanged on the set. But more importantly, it strikes me still that entertainment is so dispised for what it is and that it's not acknowledged "profound" qualities. When I praise or criticize entertainment, and in this case a TV show, I do it from the perspective of the text and the performance, and Friends has been over 10 years more or less well written, more or less well played, but globally quite cleverly.
In the evening, "Bandwagon" was shown. The whole movie is basically about what I just said - although it tells the intelligence of entertainment and the depth of frivolity in a much better way. It's by far my favorite musical - when each scene and each song tell the stories of solitude or anger, hope or love in a very very nonchalent way. The Fred Astaire way.

--Joëlle.

22 December 2004

Between Brasil, France and Japan...

Pierre Barouh is a french composer that started to write in the 60s; he went from pop to samba, has many fans in Japan, and wrote the famous Françoise Hardy song "Des ronds dans l'eau", which can be heard of the soundtrack of Gabriele Muccino's movie Ricordati di me (2003).
I wasn't born in the sixties, though.

-Raphael.

10 December 2004

Safi, safi

Idrissa Soumaoro that I was listening to all the time while I was in Mali just won the prestigious RFI World Music Awards. I'm really happy because his folk music is really beautiful. Mady who drove us all over Bamako is also the producer of the album and he had the tape playing in his car as we were going from one place to the other.
When I came back to Dublin, I looked for the CD but it wasn't released before another six months or so.
I finally found it on the website of Wrasse Records who distributes albums of great artists from all over the world. And it's always a good thing to support independant distributers!

--Joëlle

06 December 2004

23, going on 30

The Karamasov Brothers is one of my favorite book. I was about to turn 23 when I read it and a passage in the text particularly stroke me: in a very intense and intimate scene, Ivan, who's 23, is telling his younger brother Alyosha about youth and his love of life. It felt right and I decided to read the excerpt at my following birthday party:

"(…) I have thought of nothing else but my youthful greenness (…) Do you know I've been sitting here thinking to myself: that if I didn't believe in life, if I lost faith in the woman I love, lost faith in the order of things, were convinced, in fact, that everything is a disorderly, damnable, and perhaps devil-ridden chaos, if I were struck by every horror of man's disillusionment - still I should want to live and, having once tasted of the cup, I would not turn away from it till I had drained it! At thirty, though, I shall be sure to leave the cup, even if I've not emptied it, and turn away - where I don't know. But till I am thirty, I know that my youth will triumph over everything - every disillusionment, every disgust with life. I've asked myself many times whether there is in the world any despair that would overcome this frantic and perhaps unseemly thirst for life in me, and I've come to the conclusion that there isn't, that is till I am thirty, and then I shall lose it of myself, I fancy. (…) I have a longing for life, and I go on living in spite of logic. Though I may not believe in the order of the universe, yet I love the sticky little leaves as they open in spring. I love the blue sky, I love some people, whom one loves you know sometimes without knowing why. I love some great deeds done by men, though I've long ceased perhaps to have faith in them, yet from old habit one's heart prizes them (…)"

In two weeks, I'll be 30. So then what? Well, time flies. That's one cliché. It seemed to me that I was 23 not so long ago. Many, many memories jump at me, in the morning in particular. It's not nostalgia as much as it is a bewilderment at my past. I keep on being surprised and curious when looking back.
And then what? Well, life goes on and most surprisingly, I still have the same love of life. I just begin to understand though why people cannot stay in one's daily life forever. I wish all the people I love would carry on with me. The same people I met ten years ago or the ones I met when I came to live in Dublin two years ago. But it's not the way it goes. Adventures call everyone in all kind of directions.

-- Joëlle

24 November 2004

Wako-Chi

I'm going to miss being in Tokyo where I just spent a week. I'm few hours before my departure back to Boston and eventually back to Dublin.
Tokyo wasn't the futuristic fantasy that I imagined it would be after various accounts depicting the city as a crazy sci-fi all robotised out-of-the-earth kinda place, you know, the one you have in mind too if you haven't been there yet.
The town is all normal to me. I mean, of course, it's huge and crowded, and full of neon signs of all sizes... in some places. In some other places, it's very quiet, laid-back, and with no electronics features around.
I would describe Tokyo more as a patchwork with layers. Layers of what each decade foresaw as modernity. Like skyscrapers for the seventies, and the early eighties Shinkansen, or fashionable architecture for fashion boutiques in the nineties. And so on.
I enjoyed all aspects, even the most annoyable ones (like searching desperatly for an address or 1-hour subway rides), simply because Tokyoites are the most helpful. The only thing that I'm frustrated about is not having had enough time to experience more and explore more. In one week, I didn't have enough time to eat all the kinds of food I wanted to taste, to go to exhibitions, to take the Shinkansen to Kyoto maybe, to party, to meet all the people I wanted to meet, to see Mount Fuji. And yet, I had the impression to use all my time available and more. Because to some overwhelming extent, there is so much on offer (and for some price too) and there's no end to how you can enjoy yourself here.
I'm leaving with the impression that I only had a glance of it all and to me, it's as irritating as it is stimulating.

One quick tip: as you arrive, you might want to have an understanding of the variety of Japanese food which goes far beyond sushi, tempura and teriyaki. One way to do it, which I discovered late, is to go to the 2 basement floors of Mitsokuchi, the oldest department store of Tokyo. The 2nd basement floor in particular offers within twenty stalls or more an occasion to try many different cuisines. And with some quality. The sushi restaurant in the 3rd basement is very good when you crave for raw fish and you're unaware of restaurants in the area.

--Joëlle

21 November 2004

Million-Dollar Blocks

As Todd Clear, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, puts it: "People who live on Park Avenue give a lot of money to people who live in Auburn, New York, in order to watch people who live in Brooklyn for a couple of years—and send them back damaged." - excerpt from The Village Voice - issue 446.

03 November 2004

Today is not another day

I went along with Carson yesterday morning to the MIT polling site. I wanted to get a comparison with the French voting style. It's really different actually. You're not asked for proof of identity, nor electoral card. You just say your name and they check it on their data sheets. Then you're given an A4 paper on which you can check your choices for president and other elections. Then you check out, put the sheet in a ballot and walk away.
I missed hearing "A voté".

I didn't know what to believe about the elections outcome but when I got this picture of Greg's dog ready to vote for Kerry, I felt confident and hopeful that he could win.



But at the end, Bush got even the popular vote (he did better than Reagan in his time!)... I guess it's only democratic fairness. Even though this election process feels nothing like fair.

Anyway, I'm glad to be in Boston to witness the whole thing. Cambridge (where MIT/Harvard are) has voted 85% for Kerry - maybe this is where all the democrat voters from Ohio/Colorado/Texas and so forth have emigrated! Undergrads and grads should go back home to vote, not for Thanksgiving! ;-)

--Joëlle

31 October 2004

~ Arabian Nights ~

Tonite i've had the pleasure to see
Il fiore delle mille e una notte
, the first of Pasolini's trilogia della vita movies. It was silly, almost a farce at first, and then started to unwind as a poetic, joyous, surrealistic moment. Anyone who has the chance to see this on DVD should check out the original trailer, a pure treasure of craziness and beauty!

"La verità non sta in un solo sogno,
ma in molti sogni"...

-raphaël.
~ Mosh ~

It's not too late (yet).

-raphaël.

23 October 2004

" Homeland Insecurity Advisory System(HIAS) is a public rating system that allows people from across the globe to determine the US Government's Threat Level by collectively rating RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) feeds from major US news sources. Turning the "Homeland Security" threat level on its head, the HIAS system will allow the people to collaboratively challenge this internally determined (and seemingly arbitrary) threat condition by rating each major US news source according to its support level for or against the US Government's actions. Finally, the citizens of the world have a voice in determining the threat level of the government itself. "
(excerpt from above website)

another great Jonah Brucker-Cohen work.
some people do make sense.

-raphael.

21 October 2004

In Pursuit of Happiness

Yesterday evening, I attended my first pop concert in a long time - honestly can't even remember when was the last time. It was also the first amazing music performance in forever. When was the last time I actually stood there and asked for more songs? After 2h30 and more of performance?

Yesterday I couldn't have enough of Neil Hannon. You know, Divine Comedy...

It was like a pure shoot of happiness, injected by a perfect combination of one voice, beautiful melodies, and 3 instruments: a guitar, a bass and an accordeon - sometimes, a keyboard, of course. I was transported - my ability of getting enthusiastic for a pop song well played still working.

At occasions, I could remember myself drinking a tea at Sophie's place in the 13th district or in this car with Madjid, Nicolas, Alain and Lisa on our way to Normandy. 'Promenade' was playing continuously and we'd try to recognize all the authors mentioned in 'The Booklovers'. I copied the Audrey Hepburn intro on the answering machine as my message. And when I travelled to Venice later, I couldn't think but of 'Something for the weekend' or 'Becoming like Alfie' as the glamourous quintessence of my trip.

On stage, Neil Hannon wasn't lacking very fine humour either. He teased the thirsty audience with a pint of Guinness that he would drink very carefully. Consequently after the show, Tomoko and I rushed to a pub where I ordered my first glass of the black stuff ever. Consequently too, Neil Hannon is known to me henceforth as the first man who 'talked' me into drinking a full glass of Guinness, two years and a half after I started to live in Dublin... What a groupie I'm making! I lost my Guinness virginity to a divine comedy....

-- Joëlle


16 October 2004

About work

what if u were right from the beginning but didn't know it? What if is wasn't so necessary to know what your doing (to label it, to name it, to market it) but rather to accomplish it?
Some people are devoted to whatever gives them back a good image of themselves.

Jacques Derrida is dead indeed, but Jacques Lévy is still alive...

-Raphael.

14 October 2004

About work

What if I was wrong from the beginning? What if I don't understand - still - what is work, what is production?
What is devotion to work? I know some people who are beautifully devoted to their art, their work.
They are moved by a motivation or an energy that is completely estranged to me.
Always, I question then my own motivation. I reflect on it as if it's separated from my process of creation.
How does one work and create without motivation?

-- Joëlle

11 October 2004

The philosopher Jacques Derrida is dead. I'm thinking mostly about his love of life.

-- Joëlle

10 October 2004

Acclairism || feeling video
gives you a scary and delicious hint at what the future might feel like.
By the way, "Have a wonderful journey!"

-raphael.

09 October 2004

Living in Tel-Aviv. Week 1.

Life seems ordinary, even after the Sinaï explosions. People call their friends to make sure, watch TV to learn more about what happened, how it happened, etc, zapping between local tv and CNN.

My personnal concern goes more directly to the beach. I have no real conscience of what's going on, or don't want to have it, so I guess I'll just head for the beach during my "lunch break" or whenever, it's just a 10mn walk from our small appartment on Ben Yehuda street, in the north of the city.

I am under the impression that the design concept we have defined is pretty strong, very telling, but that the object we have derived from it lacks some kind of "edginess".

Below is a traffic light that was hacked by some artist as the result of a collective action upon traffic lights. I find the project quite inspiring, even if this particular result might not live to our expectations. But what exactly do we expect from design? Unexpectedness ???



-raphael.

08 October 2004

Paris choice

Arianna has asked me the list of places I took her in Paris but also I meant to do that list for a long time anyway. This is my best of for food, places and more. I should do that for Dublin as well, some day. And Vienna. And London. And and. But shuh! Let's start with my home. In few parts.

Part 1.A Restaurants. (The most interesting part)

Le Bucheron
14 rue de rivoli, Paris 1.
Italian. Fresh pasta prepared in front of you by the same cook as far as I can remember (a long time ago). Nice ambiance, cosy and busy. My favorites: the Mezzelune and the Gnocchi. Great tiramisu or coupe Amarena for dessert. Price for pasta dish: 11/12 Euros.

Le Vin des Pyrénées.
Rue Beautreillis, Paris 4.
French. Enormous selection of wine. Yummy food. I have been disappointed on a couple of occasions but never when I had the Moelleux au Chocolat, a dessert to cry for.

Chez Janou
Paris 3.
South of France. Booking a must. It is always crowded and you know why of course. It's good, very good and not expensive.

Brasserie du Pont Louis-Philippe.
Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe.
Paris 1.
French. One of my all-time favorite for lunch or dinner. Relaxed atmosphere and basic, yummy food. My favorites: ravioles, salade de queues d'écrevisses et foie gras, truite aux amandes. Cheap.

Chez Enzo.
Rue du dragon.
Paris 6.
Italian. The first time I went there, I cried over the menu. Because stupid as I was, I couldn't stand not understanding it: it was all in Italian and I didn't know a word of it. I was young and proud. Renaud helped me and I ended up trying the Strozzapretti di Abbruzzo. It's still that same dish I'm having every time I go there. It's simply perfect. Some other time, I have enough appettite to share the Pizza Bianca. The restaurant is not a pizza specialist or maybe actually they understood all about pizza: they only have 3-4 pizzas on the menu, they're small, and bare only few ingredients. What more can you need?

That pizza place on rue des Rosiers.
Rue des rosiers.
Paris 4.
Another kind of pizza. The best of the world. Some people have criticized me for using that expression. But why would I say it differently when I found my favorite pizza in the world? Just order the most simplest one: with tomato sauce and cheese. It's that way that you'll understand everything about it. Thin, crusty, sweet and salty. 9 Euros. Closed on Saturday (Shabbat).

La Perla.
Paris 4.
Mexican. I'm not an amazing fan of Mexican food except when I go to La Perla. It's subtle and has a nice atmosphere.

Sushi-Bar on Bd des Italiens.
Bd des Italiens
Paris 9.
Japanese. Not the best Japanese ever but I simply love to go there. It's quiet and the food is great. A nice stop for a heavy shopping day or when you come out of a nearby cinema at 4pm, slightly hungry because you saw that character eat all the time in the movie.

Krung-Tep
Paris 20.
Thai. Finally. Finally, an amazing Thai place in Paris. Thanks to Claire and JB for letting me know about it. I was getting crazy not to find any decent Thai food around. But this one has also the style and the decor. Long legs beware!

Tao.
Rue Saint-Jacques.
Paris 5.
Vietnamese. I know that Tao is just what I want about Vietnamese food. I won't say the "best in the world" this time because I don't have enough experience in that range. I will just say that so far, I haven't had better conception of Vietnamese food than at Tao's. It's a small restaurant. So book!

Au coin des gourmands.
Rue Dante.
Paris 5.
Indo-chinese. Or so they say. A mix of cultures: Cambodia/Laos/Vietnam for the most part. Amazing food experience guaranteed. The soups are so tasty. If you order a soup as a starter, then you have something coming-up for main course. Ah ah ah! What a joke. You won't have more appetite, believe me. Yet, of course, how was it possible to just stick to one dish when you read that crazy menu? I understand because I make that same mistake all over again. Can't learn a lesson.

Café Beaubourg.
Face to Centre Pompidou
Paris 1.
French and more. Some people say Café Beaubourg is too posh, too expensive, too this and that. For me, it's a great atmosphere, on the first floor, by the window, when winter is coming and it's 5pm. You're hungry - you might have skipped lunch for some reason. For 10 Euros, you have a great portion of foie gras with delicious toasts - who said it was expensive?
On the menu, there's is a tasty list of small dishes or bigger meals between 8 and 14 Euros. But of course, if you order one of their great cocktails, that's when the bill gets a bit more excited...

La créperie du Pécheur.
Rue St-André des Arts.
Paris 5.
Galettes de Sarrazin and crepes. Not the best ever but again, the galettes are very very good. The lunch menu is a classic and I used to take it when I was a student at the near-by Sorbonne on special occasion. My favorite crepe - to this day - is on the menu, the Kermaria and the dessert can be taken from the entire desserts list. A rare priviledge in the history of lunch menus. Especially with this dessert list. Yes, for 9 Euros, on top of the savoury galette and the bolée de cidre, you can also have that crepe with pear, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, apple compote and vanilla ice-cream! Or not. Your choice.

Le Père Fouettard
Near les Halles.
Paris 1.
French. They have an excellent foie gras to eat with a glass of excellent Coteaux du Layon. The place is nice and the service efficient. I like to go there. For my 26th birthday, or Numer's closing dinner, or other occasions, I mainly have good memories of that place.

This list is getting long and so is my appetite after writing so much about food. It's time to have a break. Next part: 1.B. Restaurants.

--Joëlle

16 September 2004

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

It is the Jewish New Year today (and yesterday). It makes me think of my family and the dinner they should be having soon. A lot of wine and sweet wine to celebrate. Yesterday, I didn't have a typical Rosh Hachana dinner but I did have guests at home for dinner, I cooked fish, and sweet things, drank red wine, so I could start this new year in a joyful way.

-- Joëlle

27 August 2004

Writing

Le Monde has published an amazing interview of Jacques Derrida (in French).
The philosopher exposes thoughts on death and the notion of "surviving" or the "unconditional assertion of life" where unhappy moments are to be loved, like happy moments, except that the thought of happy moments includes the idea of death for they are ended when thought about. Also, he explains why he doesn't want to compromise with the complexity of language and with the elaborate formulation of idea. To some extent, it is strongly related to the process of writing and communicating a thought: I talked about it later with Arianna. How does one write about complexity in a language that looks at ease with words without compromising with simplification? I have always struggled with assembling words, now more than ever because I express myself in a language that is not my mother tongue. In that sense, the regular exercise of the blog is beneficial - but expanding my vocabulary in English is a long term process. And it doesn't ease my relationship with French. I can hardly communicate about work in French anymore, with Céline for instance. All those terms that are so English! How does one translate "mediated" or "empowered"? I find it hard to present "RAW" to a French crowd. Yet, I feel lucky. Because I have many ways to express myself, two languages for many different feelings, thoughts, observations.

--Joëlle.

25 August 2004

My Top 14 of the ISEA 2004 experience:

~Tallin
The old town looks like an Italian sunny city where time stops by.

~Hanging around with the girls, Arianna and Valentina
It was nice to spend some quality time with them, away from the lab: we had a lot of fun!

~A discussion with Janique Laudouar
It made me think of many things: the importance of awareness of media art history, the link of the RAW project with the notion of authorship empowerment, etc. She asked very interesting questions about my work and made me talk a lot!

~The French Rendez-vous on the boat
I already mentioned it: it was nice to catch up with the French media art community. It made me homesick... It was a great initiative of Anne Roquiny. I enjoyed meeting her. She has this beautiful smile.

~The cruise
A 700 people huis-clos: only interesting things can happen.

~Erkki Huhtamo's keynote
So close to my research (at least while I was doing my DEA) but yes, I want to write again about it. He inspires me.

~A dinner at the Stringberg restaurant, Helsinki with Stefan
The food was amazing, the service impeccable and it was just a nice evening altogether.

~The piña colada at Kappeli, Helsinki
What to say about it, except that we probably went to Kappeli every evening that we had available in Helsinki just to get that cocktail over and over again. Just a tip: one of their piña colada is enough for the evening. Two is really too much. The best thing to follow it with is a Mojito!

~Meeting Atau tanaka and seeing his performance with Cécile Babiole at Club BonBon, Tallin
I enjoyed meeting Atau, he has done many many great things but he's very humble about it - this was rather refreshing.

~The scent installation at Kiasma, Helsinki
This installation was not part of the curated ISEA show but it was the best on display anyway. A series fof 30 jars of different sizes and colors were displayed on a diagonal. They were each covered with a carboard paper, and as you would lift it up, you could smell the content of each jar. I traveled 30 times around the world, in the past and the present back and forth, within 15 minutes.

~The "Who owns our (software) culture" talk
Miller Puckette (Pure Data) and Casey Reas (Processing) were both talking and made interesting points in a very very different style. But the audience was very involved in the talk as well and it was just great to be there and take part in a subject that felt at the heart of our work.

~The Wearable workshop of Jonah and Katherine
I never got into wearable technology before - this was a great opportunity to broaden my horizon. I thought of many ideas. I worked that day with a woman named Petra. It was a lot of fun. We worked on a dress that your partner whispers to as he/she unzips it...

~The food market by the port, Helsinki
Amazing blueberries and cherries. And deliciously fresh salmon cooked on the spot.

~The Grilli Radio experience, Helsinki
An evening tour was organized that would take you from one "grilli" to the other and the whole experience was broadcasted on the radio (with other food experiences in the world, happening more or less at the same time). Oh yes, the "grilli" is a traditional Finnish street food stand serving heavy greasy food, at night only, for people who need to set their stomach after drinking too much...

I decided not to write about my down list which is very small after all. Only one word maybe to temper my enthusiasm: Kafka.
It was a lot of joy, laughs and food for thought!

-- Joëlle



18 August 2004

Love boat

My first cruise ever just took place on the Baltic sea between Finland, Sweden and Estonia. The weather wasn’t quite like the tropical feeling you imagine from the idea of a cruise but the confinement in one location of hundreds of people gathering for the same purpose is rather a playful concept. A bit like a music festival where by the second day you feel you know everybody already.
So was the ISEA cruise.
Arianna, Valentina, Stefan and I went on this little crazy adventure where in between cocktails and hot tubs we were talking about work and of course, like it is expected of all of us to do, networking. As it turned out, the women sauna was probably one of the most interesting place to meet people.
I went to few talk sessions, like “African network” that I happen to discover by chance. The speakers came mostly from Zimbabwe and talked about interesting initiatives of teaching new media and promoting African artists. I found some echoes to my research with RAW and went to chat with one of the speaker about it at the end of the presentations.
But for me, the most interesting event, as a personal experience, was an afternoon session called the “French Rendez-vous” where, on the initiative of Anne Roquiny, most of the French artists and personalities on board were gathered. I came by curiosity and ended up participating. Each person was to introduce herself for few minutes. I was given this opportunity at the very end and talked briefly about my forthcoming presentation of RAW in Helsinki. But I wanted to mention something about how I was happy to be working abroad like I did in Vienna and like I do now in Dublin but that I felt some resentment that there were no research lab as such in France and that money was missing to back up the development of media art projects. I wasn’t sure it was the right place to talk about that but with some relief, many people came to see me afterwards to reflect on that problem.
Later on, I participated to two other initiatives that had in common the objective of making people meet and converse. The first one happened at cocktail time, by the open deck, when Sara Diamond mixed the concept of drinking martinis with giving advices to people and matchmaking them for possible collaborations. With my kalhua martini in hand, I came to see her and asked “Who do you think I should meet?”. After a following short conversation to get better acquainted, she introduced me to four different persons. I thought that her idea was really great, as in those events, networking isn’t an easy task and we lack unusual opportunities to approach people.
The second initiative was a dinner conversation to which you had to sign-up and it took place in a separate area of the restaurant. It felt like a society dinner where you have to demonstrate your talent to entertain the guests at the table with any kind of assigned subjects. Our host suggested we talk about food. I can’t remember exactly how, but the conversation resolved quickly around talking about the diet of the place where we were living, as being a drastic change with the place we were coming from. All the guests at the table had a story to tell about that: giving a hint that “media art people” travel a lot?
In that day, I also took part in the most surreal bus tour when the boat stopped at Marienham, some Swedish town on the way, that looked too quiet to be true. Arianna was reminded of the movie “The Truman Show” so you get an idea about it.
A late music set from Scanner showed very nice visuals with which I ended up my day and started my night awarded with good sleep and sweet dreams.

-- Joëlle

12 August 2004

Peripheral vision

Apparently, the center of the world is not the right question.
Cati pointed me to a text [in French] where the author addresses the question of the center of the world and its treatment by Guy Debord.
He opposes the vision of Georges Bataille who argues that thinking the center of the world as a unique element goes against the immensity that he imagines and that is open: "the world looks like [...] what happens from one to the other, when we're laughing, when we're loving". When there is freedom of communication, as such the center should not be thought: "where there is a center (and a periphery), the center should be fought".
This last sentence reflects very much on the idea of majority/minorities. Peripheries hold most often the energy to invent and create, to be open and receptive... until they become centers, exclusive and selective?

-- Joëlle
The center of the world

What is the center of the world for you? Where everything happens? Where the action takes place? Where you want to be part of? What city? What country?
It is the permanent quest of the traveller, the one who decides that the place of birth is the first one of many places of living.
It is my quest. A quest that aims for the dream place, the one where one finally decides to settle in. It is of course never the city where one lives at the moment. It is always a fantasy.

Where should I go next? What for? To accomplish what?

Where is the center of the world?

-- Joëlle

06 August 2004

Why I wish Zapatero would be the government leader in France too

I rented Mona Lisa Smile yesterday, because I was curious. The trailer I’d seen in the theatre showed me actresses I appreciate, like Kirsten Dunst or Maggie Gyllenhaal. But I had read many bad reviews and I gave up. But yesterday was the right time again because I needed an unconsequential movie. And while this movie lacks some qualities, it is actually very consequential. The first major surprise is the painting that the lead character (an art teacher) chooses to challenge her students’ assumptions and make them doubt about their knowledge of art: a Soutine. A beef’s carcass Soutine. How about that? When was the last time you saw a Soutine shown in a mainstream movie or actually any movie? I have never. This sequence is of great pleasure.
Now, the core interest: the movie is set in 1953-54 but of course, it is meant to resonate very much in 2004. Like Pleasantville or Far From Heaven that have similar themes and motives.
In this story, the women are educated to be good housewives. And she who does not aim to get married is a failure to society. Is it any different now?
Even if singles are more and more numerous, they are looked as pathetic. Honestly. Being single is only just a phase until one reaches the goal of settling down and starting a family. Being single cannot be an end in itself.
I even feel that sometimes. Especially at the movie theatre. Especially when I watch a romantic comedy. Except when - thank god! - it’s a movie with Julia Roberts who again in this movie ends it single and proud. Just like in My Best Friend’s Wedding when she made me feel like I would end up my life with my gay friends. Would she become some sort of cult feminist icon like Mae West?
But it is true. I am sensitive to the social pressure of the-wedding-as-the-goal-of-life. Because I was educated to think that. Because I'd like to think that my happiness is constrained to the Prince Charming showing up at the last five minutes, at the last page of the fairy tale that we all submit an application to. My life would be so much easier.

Last time I went to Israel, I expected and I got the question: “why are you still not married?” I was surprised though that the question would mainly come from 9, 10, 12 years-old girls. At their age, I knew already I would not be trapped. Obviously, they think differently. They were not happy of the way I answered: what for? Or why would I want to? Is it THAT important?

I know I have a Cinderella hidden inside of me, and somehow it’s OK, I don’t really mind. But she’s not convincing anymore. Like with Santa Claus, we got to stop believing in Cinderella at some point. I know it’s hard. And it gets harder, the more you grow-up. But as much as I don’t believe that the Messiah is about to come to show me the way, I don’t believe that the Prince Charming is gonna come and give my life the meaning it longs for.

In another sequence of the movie, the art teacher shows a series of advertising picturing women in various occupations, always at home, with the last amazing vacuum-cleaner or the perfect washing-machine. I could not help but think that the graphics might be different but the content is still the same. It is still about the representation of the ideal woman (and the ideal technology!). In Vogue, Elle or Cosmopolitan, the women are still shown in a caricatural way, as stereotypes. Those magazines have their qualities in promoting a certain kind of feminism but they give it, at the end, to caricature, like the rest of them. And that’s very unfortunate. They are best at depicting frivolity and superficiality. But they don’t do it well enough, not enough in a positive sense.

And at the end, it comes down to making the stereotypical choice between careers and love. Because we don’t deserve both. We are still losers, whatever we choose. We remain clichés behind the lens of a camera, still or in motion.

This is my 3rd blog about a movie. Maybe it’s a way for me to realize that it is my sole passion, what truly inspires me. Well actually it’s not so true. There are books and also pop songs. But again, they all tell stories. That get me out of the reality.What a vicious circle.

-- Joëlle

04 August 2004

The End of Summer

I just saw The End of Summer by Yasujiro Ozu.
It was filmed like a series of pictures, where each frame counts (really each frame). In several occasions, I told myself I wished I had taken such pictures. Yet, it was a movie. A new reference for my project RAW LOVE that should be shot in pictures and sound.
In that respect, the resemblance with In The Mood For Love is startling: the way the camera pauses on each frame, the importance of the detail, a certain perceptible strange strength of the characters, and surely the over use of clothing that makes the movie. Wong Kar Wai saw this movie probably many times but didn't let his characters to be as "daring" in some way, giving them other kind of obstacles on their way to love.
Ozu made The End of Summer in 1961. Its modernity is striking.

-- Joëlle.

03 August 2004

Would you have seen the movie "l'Age des possibles" [Pascale Ferran] by any chance? You might have not if you were not living in France in 1996. It was first commissioned by the TV channel Arte and then released as a movie.
Ten young men and women, friends and lovers, living in Strasbourg at an age (in their late twenties), when everything is possible. When you know that in front of you is an infinite space of choice, expectation and possibilities.
I saw it when I was 21 and heartbroken. The story gradually takes shape in the depiction of the banal everyday lives of people like you and me. The high moment in the movie, almost at the end, is just a song, at a house party, when two female friends sing over the best piece of the "Peau d'Ane" soundtrack (another movie to watch, by the way).
I felt very much happy afterwards because I saw how life was actually very exciting. I was aware though I wasn't at that age yet, the age of possibles (mainly because of the constraints of my studies).
Years later, as I arrived to Dublin, I knew I was there at last. At a time in my life when I felt that everything was open to happen. And hopefully, I know that this feeling is still there, even more because it is mixed with doubts and sadness, with fear and melancholy.

-- Joëlle.

30 July 2004

I went to the Señor Coconut concert yesterday. And danced all my soul with Karen. We took advantage of all the space that was left empty in front of the stage. Slowly, that space got filled with other people who came here to dance. Lots of smiles were exchanged. Because people were just happy to dance together.
At the end of the concert, a young happy man came to me and kissed me on the cheek in a way that felt like he had to do it. And then left. Just like that. I love those spontaneous interactions with complete strangers that take me by surprise.

Soon after, it reminded me of another interaction with strangers that strongly marked my memory. It was at a restaurant, I was eating at the bar with a charming young man and we kissed for the first time. Few people came to us in the evening to tell us very nice things. One woman in particular told us that we looked very much in love and it was beautiful to see - she was hoping that our love would last forever. I feel sad that her wish will not happen. Somehow I'm sorry to disappoint her.

I would not trade my memories for any peace of mind. I just wish they would not haunt me like lost ghosts.

Obviously, memories are probably my favorite theme when it comes to find a subject for storytelling.

-- Joëlle

26 July 2004

My friend Julie was in town [Dublin] last week. It was rather refreshing to talk with her about the "working conditions" of a media artist.
We thought few times that it might be better to stop. At all. Because fighting for doing what we care about, for creating, for producing the content we want is not THAT fun. Finding the money is of course the primary problem. We have to move where the financing is. We have to live far away from our lovers, friends and family. We chose an unsteady lifestyle. At the end one wonders if *it* worths the trouble. Because even then, when you finally find a structure to support your work, the doubts are still there for some reason. You are aware it is not going to last forever.
So, what is the next stop? Where is the next city, the new life, the new friends? How do you start all over again, every 1-2-3 years? How do you maintain contacts, a network? But mainly: how long? How long can I go on like this? Will there be a time/an age where I will be in a secure position enough or instead, will I have to struggle all my life?
I don't think I want to answer those questions, really.
Because at the end it doesn't matter so much. In the meantime, I have the chance to do what I want and I met an incredible number of fantastic people in the last ten years. And that's why I'm still doing it. Because of the people I meet, and because of the people I lost contact with but that I remember often enough to feel happy about my life.

- Joëlle.

23 July 2004

In the same idea of writing more often in this blog, I published a personal Media Lab Europe homepage that gathers together most of the links I use for publishing artwork, and my visual "diaries".
It is still very "raw" at the moment but I like it somewhat. I can't recall having such a site that works more as some sort of database or memory of my presence on the web. The ideal google search results if I was to type my name in!
Check it out: *the* homepage


- Joëlle.

21 July 2004

i had been wanting to post a text on this blog for so long.
it took me months.
is someone reading that blog?
am i talking in the void?
that doesn't matter.
i have to start somewhere, with myself as my own audience. like a kid in front of the mirror singing "like a virgin" by madonna with a hairbrush in the hand.
i can't manage multitasking.
i can't manage onetasking.
i'm lazy. or forgetful.
or traumatized by writing. especially about my work. it has to change.
you should know my work. you should know our work better. it is great.

- Joëlle

01 May 2004

As it turned out, I totally missed the REBOOT MAY 1st launch, as I was enjoying the sun in the streets of Paris...
Anyway, the very dear Hernando Barragan has all it takes to make you reach higher levels of design and programming consciousness.
Ciao bello ! :-)

-raphael.

10 April 2004

The week before MAY 1st REBOOT 2004 might be a deadly one...
It might as well be one of resourcing.

23 March 2004

ETRANGERS::Links is a quite comprehensive list of new media related websites : schools, museums, artists, online exhibits, graphic design resources, and so on. A very well done work by Sonia Marques, from the School of Fine Arts of Angers. And, yes, Superficiel is on the list ;-)
-raphael.

21 March 2004


thanks to the efforts of many (including me...), photographer/painter AURELIA VARTANIAN (and yet a friend of mine...) has now a shiny spot in cyberspace.
English and French versions are availlable, for the viewing pleasure of all.
Any remarks, commentaries, critics (good or bad), or feelings shall be much appreciated.
Anyway, Aurélia and myself hope that you will enjoy the visit, and wish to welcome you soon in her new home.

-raphael.

19 March 2004

Life after multimedia ?

is there any? well i think we should start thinking about that right now. Actually, i can see quite a few opportunities out there. Why not starting up life again as : a clown ? a B-Boy (is that a job?)? a make-up artist? a shrink (listening is essential in this industry)? a choir singer? a psychic ? a financial analyst? a car dealer? a porn star? what else?
Personally, i feel that multimedia is a pretty good preparation for (the rest of your) life.
Ok, maybe not for the B-boy thing...

18 March 2004

css Zen Garden is the true "road to Enlightment". Impressive and Simple. But how can anyone keep up the pace in this industry???
Core77 presents -- Timex 2154 : The Future of Time | International Design Competition To celebrate its 150th anniversary and demonstrate its ongoing commitment to design and innovation, Timex is inviting designers from around the world to explore and visualize personal and portable timekeeping 150 years from now - in the year 2154.

13 March 2004

SHIFT | CONNECTION is Shift's Exchange Graphical Links page.
Anyone for designing a 180x140 px banner ?
This can be a jpg, gif or even a swf file.
If you have the image i can do the coding, or vice-versa? ;-)
-raph.
superficiel blog. take One.
as this door is opening i wanted to share that one with you...
-raphael.