22 March 2010

Design for Space

A couple of years ago, I attended a workshop about inbetweeness conducted at the Bartlett school of architecture by Arianna Bassoli, Johanna Brewer and Karen Martin.
I read about a project today that reminds me of the themes that were addressed then. Artist Julien Prévieux and students of a technical graduating program in space design worked in the MAC/VAL museum to build substitution furniture for "missing" spaces in their high-school : private places for discussion, work or social activities..

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13 January 2010

RAW exhibited at Maison Pop

"RAW" is exhibited until the 30th of January at Maison Pop in Montreuil.
Maison Pop, 9 bis rue dombasle, 93100 Montreuil.

RAW is a set of tools and processes for capturing, in an unconventional way, everyday subjective experience of a place, a culture, a people.

RAW is named for the raw data gathered that purposefully remain unedited throughout the processes. The combined characteristics of RAW (including an emphasis on context of use, non-edition, and data presentation) make this concept a novel approach to authorship, to cultural exchanges, to audiovisual language, and to documentation.

At its core, RAW is an audiovisual recording device that combines a digital camera and audio recorder. Taking a picture triggers the recording of the sound a minute before and a minute after it.

The installation allows oneself to be immersed in the daily life of another person, notably thanks to the stereo sound of the piece. The first minute of sound plays while the image is slowly revealed.

The content presents a series of experiments made by 23 persons in Mali in August 2003. We also worked with teenagers from the Goutte d'Or district of Paris.

The project was done at Media Lab Europe in the Human Connectedness group. We thanks all the participants et supports of the project in Mali, France and Ireland.

More info on the project : the RAW website

Exhibited as well, The Objects of Telepathic Motion Picture by David Blair

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12 December 2009

Design for Attention

La fondation Abbé Pierre launched last Wednesday its yearly campaign against indecent or no housing.
Fake mailboxes were installed on buildings at the level of basement windows, in the République and Bastille districts of Paris, to bring awareness to the situation of millions of people who live in poor conditions or on the streets.

I tried to think many times about projects that could bring moments of connection between passers-by and people living in the streets. It's a tough subject, in so many ways. This latest activist action from la fondation Abbé Pierre is brilliantly smart and subtle. It's not coming from an art angle at all but it's a great example for non-intrusive, respectful designs that call for attention to a living situation that is often looked at in a very abstract way from a distant point of view.


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30 November 2009

SPONT'EX, part 1

So by an open invitation of Madjid, I should tell you about Spont'Ex.
Where do I start? Probably with the 16th of January 1994.
It wasn't the day we started Spont'Ex. But it was the day we first demonstrated as a group - if I recall well. The right-wing Balladur government (with Bayrou as the ministre of Education) had passed a law that, in short, offered better conditions for private, often catholic, schooling thus threatening the foundation of the public and secular ( laïc ) schooling of the French republic. The law was subsequently emptied of its core by the Conseil constitutionnel but 1 million people decided nonetheless to remind the governement of its attachment to the public school by demonstrating in the streets. That was probably the biggest demonstration I ever attended.
It was thrilling to be there, exciting and powerful. We were all caught in the hope of a yes future. We were carrying fake pink flowers and giving people appointment for May (rendez-vous en Mai) in stickers. We were hoping for a political change (that happened 3 years later with Jospin) that would knocked down the same ambient tight-ass conservatism that suffocates us nowadays since 2002. It just gets me crazy how we've been stuck in a political limbo for 7 very long years, first with Chirac and now with Sarkozy and that we can't seem to put an end to it. What's worse is that when I'm looking at the current left-wing opponents, none of them inspire me a sense of happiness, modernity and intellectual brightness that I'm striving for : a sense of Spont'Exitude.
Well, I still have at least that fake pink flower, ever since then, by my bed.

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