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Category: Hacktivism

Digicult Presents: OPEN SOURCE MEETING

Fondazione Accademia di Belle Arti Pietro Vannucci – Perugia
October 10, 2008
10am-1pm / 4pm-7pm
Le Arti in Citta festival

Promoted by: Umane Energie and “Flussi” section of festival “Le Arti in
Curated by: Moreno Barboni e Marco Mancuso (Digicult)
Moderated by: Marco Mancuso (Digicult)
With: Graffiti Research Lab, Pier Luigi Capucci, Laura Colini, Umane
Energie, Confinidigitali

On October 10, the group ‘Umane Energie’ and the ‘Flussi’ section of “Le Arti in Citta” festival are promoting a seminar called Open Source Meeting at the ‘Fondazione Accademia di Belle Arti Pietro Vannucci’ in the city of Perugia. This is curated by Moreno Barboni and by Marco Mancuso, critic, curator and director of Digicult ((, and will be participated by Graffiti Research Lab, Pier Luigi Capucci, Laura Colini, Umane Energie and Confinidigitali.

The Open Source Meeting is dedicated to the ever-expanding circulation of ‘open’ computer resources and is meant to get territorial subjects, such as Confinidigitali and Umane Energie, to meet. Their Beduino open-source platform, derived from the international Arduino project, will be the base of a ‘multimedia park’ featuring national and international guests, so as to elaborate on and divulge the possibilities of open-source in the domain of digital arts and multimedia communication, both from an artistic and planning perspective.

Marco Mancuso and Moreno Barboni have therefore imagined a day of lectures and seminars, a round table of experts, researchers, curators and artists all with different but complementary expertises. This will offer the opportunity to reflect over the enormous potential, however mostly unsaid, of open digital technologies, their impact on the social, operational and political context in which we live, on their interaction with architecture and the social spaces in our urban areas and on comprehending their emotional impact on our perception of new art forms and creative languages.

Evan Roth and James Powderly are the Meeting’s international guests, founders of Graffiti Research Lab, for the second time in Italy after their first public performance ‘Laser Tag’, curated by Marco Mancuso in December 2007 in Rome and projected on the facades of the ‘Colosseo’ and the ‘Cestia’ pyramid. Graffiti Research Lab is wholly dedicated to developing technologies and experimental media to enhance public resources for urban communication. GRL have therefore been invited to explain their artistic/activist project, to describe their performances in cities round the world, to talk about the possible risks and the enormous potential for communication that lies behind applying open source technologies to graffiti and media art.

Pier Luigi Capucci, critic and professor, deals with communication systems and languages and, since the early Eighties, has been investigating the relationship between technologies, culture and society and between art forms, science and technologies. His task in the Meeting will be to trigger the debate around the collective and social impact of open-source technologies. The opportunities of choosing and accessing information and new tools have, in fact, enabled new possibilities for communicating and sharing knowledge extending the awareness of the cognitive, operative, social, and political uses of these same tools.

Marco Mancuso is the chairman of the Meeting. Critic, curator and founder of Digicult he deals with Digital Creative Media and the relationship between images, sound and space within contemporary Audiovisual Art. Focusing on how open-source technologies have affected the digital Audiovisual domain by showing an overview on the most interesting artistic and creative international projects, he will suggest some critical thought around how these tools are used, around shared creativity dynamics on the Web, free code, and around how ever more intertwined art, design and hyper architecture are. Laura Colini, researcher at the Bauhaus University in Weimar in the department of Architecture, Media and Urban Sociology, will focus on technologies and participated city-making projects. She will describe the concept of participation in urban planning confronting it with the participation to the city entailed by ITC practices. A sort of shared-practices taxonomy to city-making, called ICT spatial practices, that allows to build up critical thinking and awareness around the urban theme of collective planning.

Lastly, the collaboration between Confini Digitali and Umane Energie that has lead to ‘Beduino’, an open-source electronic device meant to develop interactive, artistic installations. It features audio controls, sensor interfaces, led and motor controls. Slightly bigger than a packet of cigarettes Beduino, based on the more famous ‘Arduino’ hardware/software, can be used without having to write any code by those who are not necessarily computer geeks. It can be used as a real-time audio and video controller, as a MIDI control, it is useful for interactive installations, to control led lights, robotic controls and much more.


10:00 Moreno Barboni: introduction and greetings
10:15 Marco Mancuso: opening and lecture
10:45 Pier Luigi Capucci: lecture


11:30 Umane Energie: lecture
12:00 discussion
13:00 closing


16:00 Marco Mancuso: introduction
16:15 Laura Colini: lecture
16:45 Confini Digitali: lecture


17:30 Graffiti Research Lab: lecture
18:00 discussion
19:00 closing


:::Graffiti Research Lab:::
:::The L.A.S.E.R. Tag payload:::

The New York artists and media activists GRL, will introduce their tool for digital urban graffiti: the L.A.S.E.R. Tag. The Mobile Broadcast Unit (MBU) with L.A.S.E.R. Tag payload is an open-source Weapon of Mass Defacement (WMD) designed to enable graffiti writers, artists, activists and citizens to communicate in the urban environment on the same scale as advertisers, corporations and governments. MBUs provide 1200 watts of audio and 5000 lumens of video projection capability mounted on an industrial work tricycle. The L.A.S.E.R. Tag payload allows individuals to write their own personal communications and expressions with a 60 milliwatt green laser on industrial facilities, monuments, towers, bridges, city skylines and other hard and soft targets of interest. The design and custom software for the MBU and L.A.S.E.R. Tag payload has been released open source, without copyright or patent, into the public domain. Hobbyists, hackers and other private citizens are encouraged to freely use, modify and release their own MBU/L.A.S.E.R. Tag designs. Units currently exist in NYC, Mexico City, Barcelona, Austria and Taipei. In NYC the MBU can be “checked-out” for free from the G.R.L. resource library and arsenal for use by interested parties. Advertisers need not apply.

:::Marco Mancuso:::
:::Audiovideodrome: on the open source contemporary audiovisual art, design
& hyper architecture:::

Audiovisual Art, the ability to create works of art – may they be narrative or abstract – by using sounds and images, has undergone a strong innovative phase in the last years. Within the larger context of ‘new media art’ it has found for itself an all-purpose role which is certainly more complex and multi-faceted, going beyond performances and installations. Progress in technology, open-source hardware and software, have eased the management of real-time audiovisual flows. Thus, contemporary Audiovisual Art seems to be today some sort of borderline area which includes pure creative and artistic expression, but also experimentation and design. A critical attitude towards this phenomenon in analyzing online shared creativity, free code and an ever more intertwined relationship between art, design and hyper architecture allows to observe how the concept of space reflects the existence of a fluid place/non-place to be explored, an element for design, a material and immaterial universe to be confronted with as it redefines the relationship of modern man and the new multimedia scapes surrounding him.

:::Pier Luigi Capucci:::
:::Open Cultures:::

The Opens Source diffusion opened up new options and chances to access the information and new devices. It activated new opportunities in knowledge’s communication and sharing and it expanded the awareness of the cognitive, operative, social and politic use of these instruments. Open Source also imposed a reflection on the software in general as a tool which, although immaterial, has a real, economic value which can’t be ignored in the information age. In the arts, in several realms and disciplines, many artists embraced the Open Source philosophy and practice, creating artworks which expand their power both at the poetics level and increasing the artworks’ flexibility and sharing, hence enlarging the extent of the artistic discourse

:::Laura Colini:::
:::Reflecting on ICT participated spatial practices and city making:::

Given the breakdown of defences against information glut, an awareness of how we use, act and interact through modern digital technology is becoming critical. Global trends and symbolic economy shape the production and distribution of a large variety of modern tools that use similar ways to communicate via text, audio, video. As a result, the creative digital communicative syndrome tends to sedate the question of “how and why” we act together and represent and shape our cities and lived space through digital media. Beyond the many definition of cities, I assume that cities are site of collective spatial practices and discursive processes, procedures and codified protocols leading to social, economic, material and cultural transformations. The purpose of this intervention, is to engage in reflecting on the processes of city-making analysing the benefits, pitfalls, and trade-offs of the combination of spatial practices with ICT. In particular, the parameters adopted to discern and categorize such practices is their capacity to empower local communities and to engender citizens participatory. I argue that the variety of social media, PPGIS, participatory video making and the latest resource on the web, -which have a strong emphasis on spatial related practices- could be analyzed according to their capacity to stimulate directly or indirectly socially and politically transformative approaches to city making. In order to validate the importance of studying the interdependency of ICT, social interaction and urban planning, I will refer to the selected research and case studies looking at their capacity of engendering truly participative processes, trying to unveil their limits, rhetoric, and visible/invisible power interests.

:::Umane Energie e Confinidigitali:::
:::Beduino presentation:::

Confini Digitali e Umane Energie present Beduino, an open source instrument, designed to simplify the process of creating electronic based art projects. It can be used for music controllers, VJ controllers, MIDI instruments, dance triggers and body suits, interactive installations, driving LEDs, motor and robotic controls and much more… It is based on the well-known Arduino platform, and 100% compatible with it, but intended to be used even without writing a single line of code. Beduino comes with a MaxMsp patch, possible and free to use with all major operating systems

Convocatoria para colaboradores: Interactivos? México’08: Tecnologías de la risa

Del 1 al 16 de agosto de 2008 en México DF
Inscripciones hasta el 28 de julio

Dirigido por: Zachary Lieberman (EEUU), Leslie García (México) y Alejandro Tamayo (Colombia)

Medialab-Prado y el Centro Cultural de España en México publican una convocatoria para todos aquellos que quieran participar en el taller Interactivos? México’08: Tecnologías de la risa (del 1 al 16 de agosto de 2008), como colaborador en alguno de los grupos de trabajo que desarrollarán las propuestas seleccionadas . El taller propone el uso de herramientas de hardware y código abierto para crear prototipos que exploren las relaciones entre las máquinas y el humor/la risa.

Formulario y bases de inscripción para colaboradores:

Propuestas seleccionadas:

Bases generales del taller:

Más información:
Centro Cultural de España en México:

Organizado por: Medialab-Prado (Área de Las Artes del Ayuntamiento de Madrid) y Centro Cultural de España en México (Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo – AECID)

Colabora: Centro Multimedia – Centro Nacional de las Artes

Más información en:


International Project Development Workshop
Call for Collaborators
Interactivos? Mexico’08: Technologies of Laughter
August 1 -16, 2008 · México DF
Deadline: July 28

Directed by: Zachary Lieberman (USA), Leslie García (Mexico) and Alejandro Tamayo (Colombia)

Medialab-Prado and the Cultural Center of Spain in Mexico issue a call for all those interested in taking part in the Interactivos? Mexico’08: Technologies of Laughter workshop (August 1 – 16, 2008), by collaborating in any of the teams that will develop the selected propolsals The workshop aims to use open hardware and software tools to create prototypes that explore the relations between machines and humor/laughter.

Call Guidelines and Registration Form:

Selected Proposals:

General Workshop Guidelines:

More information:
Cultural Center of Spain in Mexico (Centro Cultural de España en México):

Organized by: Medialab-Prado (Área de Las Artes del Ayuntamiento de Madrid) and the Cultural Center of Spain in Mexico (Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo – AECID)

With the collaboration of the Centro Multimedia – Centro Nacional de las Artes

More information:

TEXT: The Theatre of Electronic Surveilance, by Annamaria Monteverdi

This text is republished in collaboration with It was released in October 2007.

Does anyone remember Enemy of The State directed by Tony Scott and starring Will Smith and Gene Hackman? The story deals with a man targeted by closed-circuit cameras, radars, bugs, satellite indicators, high-sensitive microphones following each of his movements. This movie as many others is concerned with important issues such as control, wire-tapping, data security and satellite espionage. Among them we must mention Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation,The End of violence by the German director Wenders and The listening, shot in 2006 by the Italian director Giacomo Martelli.

Recently these issues have been handled by a US group, The Builders Association. Its manager Marianne Weems specializes in theatre stage design richly equipped with digital technology and wide screens. It is the producer which at the Roma Europa Festival in 2003 showed the multi-prize-winning movie Alladeen, the non-fairy-tale of call centre operators in Bangalore , India , also winner of an Obie Award.

Continue reading »

Print Neural Issue # 28 in English Now Available celebrates 10 years of activity!
please check it and subscribe to RSS feeds, if you want.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3 issues + EXCLUSIVE DVD ‘Mediaterrae vol.1, Irpinia Electronic’
Europe 24,90 Euro – World 46,50 U.S. Dollars.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
[Neural n. 28 contents]
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. Florian Cramer interviews Jodi, “For us
it’s not an error”,
. Casey Reas (interview),
. Glitch explained by Olga Goriounova and
Alexei Shulgin,
. Ant Scott/Beflix interview.
. ICC Open Space 2007.
. news (Morpho Towers, Spamland, Bloomsday On Twitter
The Word’s slowest Instant Messenger, Spy Box)
. reviews (Gost Storeys, New Media Art,
Materializing New Media, Lebensfrische,
. centerfold: ‘Muon’ by Chris O’Shea
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. Ryoiji Ikeda unexpected errors in Cyclo,
. Jens Brand (interview),
. news: (Uokand (Tapelake), Cut Chemist video
scratching the audience,
OSCulator, EarthSpeaker, Ex Pharao)
. reviews: (John Dunca Work 1975-2005, The Topography Of Chance,
Elffriede Soundrawing, Camera Lucida, Municipal 44)
. reviews cd: (Andrey Kiritchenko, Merzbow, The Hafler Trio,
Yoshio Machida, Test Dept., Quio, Luc Ferrari, Frank
Less-Lethal vol.1, The @C & Vitor Joaquim, Silicon Scally,
Burkhard Stangl / Taku Unami, Mem1, Dunaewsky69, Keene,
Minimalismo Italiano, Beautiful Schizophonic, The
Missing Ensemble,
Annea Lockwood, Andy Vaz)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. Sebastian Luetgert, the Art of Challenging
Copyright (interview),
. Perry Honerman, Infringement Series,
. news (Interception, Terminal Air,
OpeSourceCinema, Dialstation,
Missing Persons).
. reviews: (Privacy On The Line, Gamer Theory,
Abstract Hacktivism,
From Counterculture to Cyberculture, The Class
of the New)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alessandro Ludovico
Neural Magazine – English ( Italian
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Networked_Music_Review Commission: “ItSpace” by Peter Traub

November 15, 2007
Networked_Music_Review Commission: “ItSpace” by Peter Traub

“ItSpace” creates a network of pages within the social networking site MySpace. Instead of people, the pages feature everyday household objects from the artist’s house. Each page has a photo of the object, a description, and most importantly, a 1-minute piece composed of samples of the object being struck, resonated, and so forth. All the pages, or objects, are ‘friends’ with each other, so that visitors who discover one object may jump to the others to see their profiles and hear their sounds. Visitors to the site are invited to create new “ItSpace” pages with pieces made from their own household objects and link those in as ‘friends’ of the original set.

“ItSpace” is a 2007 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. for Networked_Music_Review. It was made possible with funding from the New York State Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.


Peter Traub is a 4th year Ph.D. student in Composition and Computer Technologies at the University of Virginia. He received his Master’s in Electro-Acoustic Music Composition from Dartmouth College in 1999. After that, Peter moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where he worked as a software engineer for five years. While gambling his daytime employment on internet startups, he spent nights composing at Stanford’s CCRMA (Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics). His music and internet-based sound art works have been played and exhibited internationally. His interests at UV include music that utilizes computer networks, virtual and real spaces, multi-channel composition, and the exploration of alternative and open-source software systems for composition.

Winner Transnational Communities Award – Transborder Immigrant Tool and Nano_Berlin

Artists: Ricardo Domínguez, Brett Stalbaum, Micha Cárdenas y Jason

A bang.lab project: (

Project: Transborder Immigrant Tool (Herramienta Transfronteriza para

Country: U.S.A

The award was presented as part of the *nomadic borders* program of the International Electronic Art Festival – TRANSITIO_MX 02. Which was held in Mexico City from Oct. 12th to Oct. 20th, 2007.

The Transnational Communities Award was presented to us by the US Embassy in Mexico and the award was funded by *Cultural Contact*, Endowment for Culture Mexico РU.S. (Contacto Cultural, Fideicomiso para la Cultura M̩xico-Estados Unidos).

The *Transborder Immigrant Tool* has also received an
award from UCSD, Center for Humanities’ Transborder
Interventions, Transcontinental Archives Awards 2007-2008.

We also received support from the Calit2 Summer Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program at UCSD 2007 for our undergraduate researcher
Jason Navarro.

About Transborder Immigrant Tool:

The border between the U.S. and Mexico has moved between the virtual and the all too real since before the birth of the two nation-states. This has allowed a deep archive of suspect movement across this border to be traced and tagged ˆ specifically anchored to immigrants bodies moving north, while immigrant bodies moving south much less so. The danger of moving north across this border is not a question of politics, but vertiginous geography. Hundreds of people have died crossing the U.S./Mexico border due to not being able to tell where they are in relation to where they have been and which direction they need to go to reach their destination safely. Now with the rise of multiple distributed geospatial information systems (such as the Goggle Earth Project for example), GPS (Global Positioning System) and the developing Virtual Hiker Algorithm by artist Brett Stalbaum it is now possible to develop a Transborder Tools for Immigrants to be implemented and distributed on cracked Nextel cell phones. This will allow a virtual geography to mark new trails and potentially safer routes across this desert of the real.

The technologies of Spatial Data Systems and GPS (Global Positioning System) have enabled an entirely new relationship with the landscape that takes form in applications for simulation, surveillance, resource allocation, management of cooperative networks and pre-movement pattern modeling (such as the Virtual Hiker Algorithm) an algorithm that maps out a potential or suggested trail for real a hiker/or hikers to follow. The Transborder Immigrant Tool would add a new layer of agency to this emerging virtual geography that would allow segments of global society that are usually outside of this emerging grid of hyper-geo-mapping-power to gain quick and simple access with to GPS system. The Transborder Immigrant Tool would not only offer access to this emerging total map economy ˆ but, would add an intelligent agent algorithm that would parse out the best routes and trails on that day and hour for immigrants to cross this vertiginous landscape as safely as possible.

We also just returned from Berlin’s House of World Culture where bang.lab presented a new project on *nanotechology* , nomadic cultures of New York art practice and the global economies – entitled:

(a b.a.n.g lab project)
Ricardo Dominguez and Diane Ludin (Principal Investigators)

Lead Researcher:Nina Waisman

Assistant Researchers: Tristan Shone, Caleb Waldorf, Amy Carroll, Marius Schebella, Pierre Galaud and Césaire José Carroll-Dominguez

nomadic new york counters Manhattan‚s restless flow of money with “decelerated” in-between spaces. Their performance art refuses spectacle. It takes on a political dimension through the formation of temporary collectives which occupy spaces in new ways. The artists open up New York and Berlin through their nomadic coming and going, their avoidance of fixed structures. In Berlin they will tell us a story of life in the global metropolis, a story that we all have in common.

For the market, nanoparticles hold the 21st century‚s great promise. For critics, they are a vision of pure horror, as long as the toxicological risks are not known. The era of unregulated nanocapitalism has already dawned, with these smallest of particles being used today in cosmetics, fabrics and dyes. Ricardo Dominguez, founder of the Electronic Disturbance Theater and initiator of virtual sit-ins with the Zapatista resistance, sees his art as explicitly politically commissioned. He and Diane Ludin invite the public to a multimedia lecture-performance with two leading nanotechnologists that will provide insight into the stories of the global particle market. Knowledge is action!

This project was funded by CALIT2 Research Funds and the UCSD, Division of Arts and Humanities.

A new version of this nano-culture project will open at the San Diego Museum of Art in March 2008 as part of the *Next Wave* show.

INTERVIEW: Viral Communication Hotbed, by Claudia D’Alonso / Translation: Ian Bolton

This text is republished in collaboration with It was released on March 2006, and has been edited for republication.

According to some scientists the word “virus” does not indicate a living being, but “information” contained in the DNA/RNA with various alignments at some point of the genome. The virus enters into the organism and taking advantage of vital cycles and nutriment it infects; it modifies the cellular morphology succeeding at times to prime modifications in the informative matrix of the host, represented by the DNA. From some years the macro international advertising organism has been suffering from a singular viral infection that has been slowly fighting internally in order to change of morphogenesis and reproductive mechanisms: cultural jamming.

The cultural jammers, cultural saboteurs, are advertising groups, communication artists and professionals that, taking advantage of an individual’s/consumer’s addiction to publicity, inoculate into mind television advertising, pseudo-events, posters, stickering, fake sites, underhanded viruses that replicate themselves among the minds provoking semantic short circuits and derailment of the advertising content from the straight path of produce-consume-die.

Born in Italy in 2003 , is an advertising agency that uses non-conventional communication techniques, like the creation of fictitious events or campaigns reaching the limits of legality, through which they “fuck the market in order to enter it”, entering the media system and taking away the automatism communication. Among the campaigns of the guerrillas: Rottama il Brand (Wreck the Brand), that promotes the appropriation of incentives for those companies that decide to junk their own obsolete marketing plans; Shock and Hoax, network of urban marketing actions on the national territory during which areas of various Italian cities have been swamped with alarming Military announcements of “prohibited Limits” and “military drills” in order to provoke in our life of western tranquillity a small shock and a lightning bolt of thought towards the war in Middle East; the creation of t-shirts Spazio Disponibile (Available Space) in order to make us think about the unpaid promotion of the brands through the clothes that we wear; the site of Espropriproletari (proletarian expropriation) that ironically promotes the actions of expropriation of companies as a tactic to obtain unexpected straightening of media antennas, ergo advertisement at zero cost.

We had the opportunity to meet and have a chat with Andrea Natella, founder and chairman of the project; this is what came out…

Claudia D’Alonso: how did come about: who are the members and after what experience did you reach the decision to start this project?

Andrea Natella: was born out of a bet. Is it possible to imagine modalities of radical participation on the universe of brands and at the same time present oneself as an advertising agency? Is it possible for the professionals of communication not to give up their own political ideas in carrying out their job? is still a bet that is up against demands of income and the need not to betray this projectuality.

Our backgrounds are diverse. Personally, I come from experiences of alternative transmission, from the Luther Blissett project and another strange experiment called Men In Red, a false collective of Radical Ufologia. The other members of the group have origins from the world of the political militancy, art, comic strips etc. We have always taken hand in hand these passions with average boring jobs, in the best hypotheses of little interest. With we are trying to get away from some kind of schizophrenia. Objectively, however, we are precarious workers.

Claudia D’Alonso: what are the techniques of guerrilla that you prefer to use?

Andrea Natella: There is no preferred technique. Each time it all depends on the idea that must be communicated. We enjoy ourselves more when we play with what is false; we invent unlikely stories and the mass media bites.

Claudia D’Alonso: i have noticed that compared to historical organisations of culture jamming, like Adbusters, you don’t make use of television advertising. Can you explain the reason for this choice? How do you think the scene of culture jamming is changing in relation to the choice of media in which the viral communication is injected?

Andrea Natella: Actually, at the beginning we made a false ad for Esso. There is a couple that is coming back from a party in a car, they stop a garage and fill up the car. We see, however, that the petrol ends up in bottle and not in the tank. A moment after we see the man transform into black-block activist and he throws a petrol bomb. Then we see the slogan: “Esso good for war, better for guerrilla”. It was an attempt of repositioning the Esso brand during the war in Iraq to face the boycotting that came from the no global front.

But it is true that we don’t do many videos. This is because we try to keep a high profile and, nevertheless, keeping the technical costs down, making videos at an “advertising” level remains expensive from a productive point of view.

Claudia D’Alonso: I would like to talk about the birth of cultural jamming in Italy. What are the roots of phenomenon and what influences have characterised its development?

Andrea Natella: we can say that cultural jamming has always existed. In a certain sense also the futurists did cultural jamming. More correctly I would identify the metropolitan Indians and the experience of the magazine Il Male as more direct premonitory group of the CJ today. I think that the true impulse, however, came from the experience of Cyberpunk that represented a new position within the mainstream media.

Claudia D’Alonso: Speaking about psichogeomarketing, are there any general differences between the feasible strategies of guerrilla in Italy compare to those put into practice in other countries, for example compared to the United States?

Andrea Natella: More than anything else there are various inheritances. The European Cj tends to be more political. There is always a deeper consideration than is expressed in the United States. I would say although the label is American the European Cjs are more mature, they are not simply interested in raising a problematic question and each time they try to give an open reading which always remains complex. It sometimes seems to me that the American Cj stretches simplification to the maximum, this in some way facilitates the result but weakens the content: it is tinned more easily.

Claudia D’Alonso: Among the techniques of communication used, how much has it mutated from the tactics of commercial marketing and how much from the contra-culture, from street the cultures, like for example stickering, the horizontal word of mouth of the mailing-list…?

Andrea Natella: Innovation is always born out of conflict. If there is no conflict there is no development. For this reason the street is the territory where innovation is consumed. Marketing is always subordinate from the point of view of innovation; otherwise you would not be able to explain the necessity to hire cool hunters, the really true strike-breakers of stylistic innovation. What we try to do is to increase the awareness that true value is produced by the consumers. Marketing has an exclusively managerial ability to put value into this innovation. The true problem is that street cultures are the true research and development units of post-fordist Capitalism. A unit to which, however, no economical counterpart is recognized

Claudia D’Alonso: You are an advertising agency and as such realized similar campaigns on a commission basis. Do you give yourselves ethical limits regarding the jobs you accept?

Andrea Natella: We will never make publicity for companies that produce weapons, furs or for any military forces or police forces. Having said this, our ethical limit is empiricist. Are we able to say something interesting with a campaign? If we accept the assignment, otherwise we try to refuse it.

Claudia D’Alonso: Let’s speak about proletarian expropriation. How did this come about and what is the concept of this campaign? Is it a type of “historical” action of the antagonist movement; through which communicative strategies have you reinvented it?

Andrea Natella: Espropriprolatari (proletarian expropriation) was born out of ascertainment. To endure expropriation in the society of show business is objectively an advantage for he who endures it. Objectively it would be an advantage also for he who realizes it if issues of the legal type did not arise. We wondered about this labile legal border, for example the issue of how legality can at the same time transform an illegal action into a value and an action that creates value in something illegal.

Claudia D’Alonso: You certainly expected the controversies that arose in the public opinion after some proletarian expropriations, but do you not think that for actions of this kind there is a risk of not reaching the people, not succeeding in communicating the message one wishes to communicate, but to provoke a closure in the average Italian, who is immediately ready to label you?

Andrea Natella: When the Corriere della sera (national Italian newspaper) titled with: “We offer an expropriation, it is worth more than an advert” a communicative short circuit was created. With this operation, we exposed ourselves as an advertising agency. We made people think that in order to sell a company it is ready to do anything, also on the border of illegality. We tried to confuse these borders. After that it is not always necessary that decode is linear. When we see a work of art by Duchamp we are not trying to find the one and only meaning. Works of art open worlds and this is one of the aspects of the things that we want to do, without necessarily being confined to the world of art.

Claudia D’Alonso: do you think that guerrilla techniques risk being, at times, reabsorbed by the advertisng trade? Think for example about the Diesel Wall, about football championships on the Nike roof… are you running the risk of being ripped off by the market again?

Andrea Natella: There is an issue that every culture jammer should ask themselves when they think about an action: is it aversive, radical and innovative enough? Would it be even if it were “sponsored”? If the answer to this second question is no, then the answer to the first question is probably negative, too. If an action is radical enough it would be even if it had a sponsor. For this reason truly radical actions find it hard to sponsors.

Review of Game Art Installation “Ripon” by Natasha Chuk

It’s difficult to imagine a world in which people work harmoniously toward utopian socialism, an almost laughable concept in the face of our present state of dystopian capitalism. Yet communities were once formed, in America, no less, to create such a flawless way of life based on the notion of cooperation. Sharing and working together – two very “Sesame Street” sounding concepts – are explored in ‘Ripon”, a video game art installation presented by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council that was on view from June 8 – June 30 in New York City.

Through hand-drawn depictions of a dystopic society set within an original video game, artists Troy Richards and Knut Hybinette of Cleveland Institute of Art in Ohio, have created an imaginary life in one of said utopian socialist communities. Viewers/players of “Ripon” are surrounded by oversized digital prints of icons from the game for heightened, experiential play and observation.

The cleverness of the game is in a player’s inability to win, that is, to survive, creating a situation of equality in which game novices like me and seasoned gamers like Knut “die” within minutes of game play. The capability of outsmarting the game through repetition is omitted, eliminating the notion of player immortality, one of video game’s core and most celebrated features. Unlike most video games, “Ripon” is designed to de-center its player or players, making them slower and less powerful than their counterparts in the game, and better suited for background activity. But it goes further than this: the game provides commentary on the general breakdown of a utopian society.

“Ripon”, pronounced RIP-in, is also the name of a small town in Wisconsin that was modeled after the influence and writings of French philosopher and advocate of utopian life, Charles Fourier. In 1844, a group of followers started this small town observing Fourier’s fundamental guideline of having a complete set of personalities among its members to provide a balanced community and fulfill their mission of cooperating effectively. Theirs was an experiment in Socialism gone awry, which was quickly replaced with a new political vision. Ripon now ironically boasts the claim “Birthplace of the Republican Party!”

However, this video game installation is not a critique of Fourier’s philosophies or the failure of the Ripon community’s initial efforts to realize them. It is an experiment developed to promote critical thinking among players, and illustrate the quick dissolution of communal interactions with fellow players. Even the group at the exhibition who took this game for a spin, declaring it a cynical outlook on life, fell as victims to the tendency humans have to hold up the old adage “every man for himself”. These players abandoned the idea of sharing, working together, and surviving based on team effort for the more individual, Darwinian approach that resulted in leaving another player for dead if necessary.

Yet, “Ripon” does more than lead players down a predetermined path of demise. It combines technology and art, coming to life in a game with an embedded history lesson. Troy’s drawings give Knut’s games – available in a 2-D and 3-D version – an organic feel, setting “Ripon” apart from the cookie-cutter hyper-reality of most contemporary video games. The oversized drawings that surround players in the installation magnify the decaying society depicted in the game, and allow viewers to understand and appreciate the level of detail that went into composing them.

The feel of the game and the environment in which it is presented are also indicative of an emerging type of video game art world practice that isn’t charged by a win/lose dichotomy, and seeks to provide a more thought-provoking experience. “Ripon” is in line with the inventive social issues games that are cropping up with more and more aplomb these days, and the art installations that play host to them.

“Ripon” has taken various forms since it was initially conceived two years ago, constantly being tweaked by both artists as their ideas shift slightly in one direction or another. And Troy and Knut will continue to make changes, even throughout the course of a single exhibition, allowing “Ripon” to evolve based on feedback from viewers and players, or simply at their whim.

On view from June 8 – June 30, 2007
38 Park Row @ City Hall Park

Natasha Chuk is an independent curator, media critic, and fiction writer. Her work and interests explore experimental narratives, hybrid forms, and multidisciplinary contexts of media production. She is co-founder of Unnamed Artists, an artists’ cooperative that collaborates on film, video, and audio projects. Born in Monterrey, Mexico, Natasha currently lives and works in New York City.

Blogumenta Opens

Initiated by Robert Labossiere, Blogumenta is a response to the confluence of super-sized art events taking place in Europe at the moment: the Venice Biennale, the Muenster Sculpture Project, Art Basel, and of course, Documenta.

I call it a response, but Blogumenta is more than that – it is a different kind of art event entirely. It has no physical gallery to visit, but there is an image repository on the website and in Facebook, one of the most popular social networking websites. It has no curator, but it was initiated by Robert and he is also the “Admin” of the Facebook group. The work itself is not for sale, but in the “Shopumenta” online store, you can purchase a Blogumenta ringer tee.

From the Facebook group page:

“Blogumenta may be Facebook’s first art gallery/art fair. Anyone can join and submit an artwork by uploading a photo or writing on the wall or any other way you can think of to contribute. Everything is subject to moderation by admin. Please be courteous.

Blogumenta has approximately 7 days to assemble an online exhibition comparable in scope to Documenta XII, arguably the most prestigious art fair in the world, held only every four years in Kassel, Germany. But enough about them! join, contribute, blog like you ment a.”

Today is the opening ceremony of Blogumenta, and Facebook users are asked to change their profile picture to acknowledge this. A selection of images have been made available to Facebook users (examples here:, and slowly but surely, I’m witnessing the Blogumenta-fication of profile photos. If you’re on Facebook, join the fun – and if you’re not, visit to comment, submit images, or browse the Shopumenta store.

The New Printed Neural Issue in English is Available

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3 issues + EXCLUSIVE DVD BY GRENZE (Helsinki, 2006)
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[Neural n. 27 contents]
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. Cornelia Sollfrank (interview),
. Arthur Kroker (interview),
. news (Mire.project, Journal, Wordie, Email Clock
Independent Robotic Community)
. reviews (Book of Imaginary Media, In Human
Format, City2City
Electronic Literature Collection 1, At the
Edge of Art
Words in Flux, GameScenes, Designing Interactions)
. centerfold: ‘netPong’ by Oriol Ferrer Mesia
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. Girl Talk (interview),
. Kim Cascone (interview),
. Alex McLean, Live Coding (interview),
. news: (SoniColumn, Deep House for Symphonic Band and Choir,
Ambient Addition, Breadboard Band, Forester)
. reviews: (Vj, RT-32 Acoustic Space Lab, Synken, We
Are All Drifting,
7ft_Konka, Women Take Back The Noise)
. reviews cd: (Muslimgauze, @C, Funkstorung, Johan Johannsson,
Kim Cascone, Nathan Davis, Mattin, Giuseppe Ielasi,
Rosy Parlane,
Strange Attractor vs Disinformation, Eric La Casa, Freiband,
Flim, The Alps, Cagesan, Chris Watson & Bj Nilsen,
Peter Rehberg,
Marc Behrens and Paolo Raposo, Nick Didkovsky,
Blotnik Brothers)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. Pirate Bay legal response style,
. Thieves of the Invisible,
. An Education and Labor Dispatch, by Trebor Scholz,
. news (PigeonBlog, Fake Progress Bar, View Finder Heatmap,
Ad Generator, Logo.Hallucination).
. reviews: ([the] xxxxx [reader], M.White – The
Body and the Screen,
H. Wagenbreth – Cry for Help, 36 scam Emails from Africa,
F.Snelting+P.Westenberg – The Language of Sharing,
T. Hansen – What Does Public Mean?)
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Alessandro Ludovico
Neural Magazine – English ( Italian
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