Focus

Material addicts: when open access becomes a cult

In recent years, the relationship between materials and designers has been profoundly transformed by the search for new forms of access through increasingly participatory and deep actions, progressively deeper and more participatory, by the processes of new materials’ development and their scope. Up to the 1980s, the designer’s approach to materials definition had mainly been indirect, given the clients’ mediation, serving as interface between planning requirements and the choice of the most appropriate solutions in materials terms.... READ MORE...

Towards a Catalogue of Artists’ Records: Records by Artists (1960-1990)

In 1977, Germano Celant published the volume OffMedia, Nuove Tecniche Artistiche: video disco libro. In this text, recognising the pervasiveness of the record in the contemporary artistic practice, Celant wrote: “In the art of the 1960s the record took its place alongside communications media such as video, the telegram, the photograph, the book and the film […] In line with the reductive theories of the period the record contributes to the isolation of one component of art work, sound, while on the other hand it enriches the array of linguistic tools available for the task of exploding the specifically visual and pushing back the limits of the art process"[1].... READ MORE...

Shiro Takatani. The extension of visible

there is a sort of landscape full of visual and sonic inputs determining – unconsciously – our perception. Just around these minimal perceptions, boundaries of the infinitely small, are the works of the Japanese and worldwide known artist Shiro Takatani, already leader of the Japanese theatre company Dumb Type and today involved in different projects, from installation - as Frost Frames, conceived for the Kyoto Spiral Hall in 1998 and the collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto for LIFE – fluid, invisible, inaudible…(2007) – to live performances, like the recent La chambre Claire (2008) and Chroma (2012).... READ MORE...

The Spirit of Uncertainty. A few questions about Political Art

Five potters sit around a small pottery wheel. They work mainly in silence, only speaking occasionally. Their hands mould the soft earthy clay; focused they build upwards ­ slowly but steadily. What is striking, is their commitment to the collective nature of the project. Many visibly struggle to suppress the urge to privilege their own personal creative vision. But they persevere.... READ MORE...

Challenging perception. “SIN”, the first solo exhibition of Mario de Vega

The visitors of “SIN”, Mario de Vega’s first solo exhibition (1979, Mexico City) which opened on June 20th at the Laboratorio Arte Alameda in Mexico City, were requested to first read a sheet with pieces of information on the installations in that exhibition, in order to then sign a declaration of having read and understood the text, of not having recently undergone a surgery operation, as well as of not suffering health problems or upset such as high blood pressure, heart problems, general hypersensitivity, panic attacks, or epilepsy.... READ MORE...

Biohackers. The Politics of Open Science. Hackers aiming at the conquest of the world of science

What do hackers have to do with BioLabs dealing with DNA mapping and testing new modifications of human life? Biohackers is a book written by Alessandro Delfanti, a scholar who studies the relationships between science and society. He tells us not only that the hacker culture has many things in common with the world of science, but also, in a more fascinating way, that the current transformations of life sciences are and will be even more characterized by a mash-up or remix (by adopting the author's own words) between the traditional scientific culture, the hacker ethics and the open access culture.... READ MORE...

“Introduzione ai media digitali”. Watching at the technology-society connection

Short History of Nearly Everything is the title of a popular science book published some time ago. But may also be the subtitle of Adam Arvidsson and Alessandro Delfanti Introduzione ai Media Digitali, a short history (150 pages) of nearly everything that an internet user or university student needs to know about the political, economic and social implications of new digital media.... READ MORE...

Cinema in the time of workflow. The digital revolution and film criticism’s Ancien Régime

In 2007, when I started my collaboration with Digicult and writing for Digimag, I discussed with its editor, Marco Mancuso, about what could be the areas of intersection between digital art and cinema. At the time I was still rather fresh from a university degree course in film studies that was largely, if not entirely, based on textbooks using a terminology that was light-years far from actual, hands-on film-making. Six years later cinema was fully digitalized, but the language of film criticism has remained virtually unchanged.... READ MORE...

A look at the present day. Laurie Anderson’s “Big Science”, thirty years later

Thirty years ago, well, thirty-one, to be more precise; “Big Science”, Laurie Anderson’s debut album, was published. If you want to talk in clichés, what doesn’t do justice to anybody, we could say that the American artist doesn’t need to be introduced: anyway, Lou Reed’s girlfriend, key player in various artistic scenes of the last decades, Laurie Anderson is a complex and an iconic personality, i.e., a child of the ‘80s.... READ MORE...

After Subjectivity. Issues of (meta-) narrative and distribution

Popular culture as we know it now has has been facilitated by recently developed and emerging technologies; specifically those associated with dissemination of content. The radio, the record, the TV, the internet. And before that the invention of pictures, of language, of the written word, of vellum, paper, the printing press (props to Gutenberg).... READ MORE...

#Advancity. An antidisciplinary Manifesto for design, art and science

“Facts, not opinions” this is the inscription engraved on the gable at the entrance of an eccentric museum in the city centre of London. The museum hosts the machinery tried by David Kirkaldy, the first scientist who in 1865 tested industrial steel in order to make it a construction material for bridges, ships and railways. The inscription is a real declaration of intentions that describes the main role played by the scientific method and thinking within the paradigmatic shift occurred in the second half of the 19th century.... READ MORE...

Does technology set us free?

On a damp November day in 2012, I travelled from Liverpool to London to take part in a Battle of Ideas debate in London. The discussion was going to be about freedom and technology – or freedom from, as it turned out.... READ MORE...