Sunday, April 26, 2009

'SCHENGEN Control Observation Point' by Schauplatz International

taken from Laura Palmer Foundation project's description

Schauplatz International, one of the most interesting Swiss independent theatre groups of the moment, employs journalistic methods in its work. The artists always begin by conducting thorough research: interviewing people, searching for information on the Web, inspecting the site, and comparing various viewpoints. The result is a theatre that is community-oriented, political, and documentary. Schauplatz has, for instance, recreated onstage the interviews immigrants have to go through when applying for asylum in Switzerland, re-enacted live the movie Free Willy, and exposed tax fraud in the Swiss town of Zug through the active participation of tax experts and corporate managers. Poland’s admission to the Schengen zone and the fact that Frontex, the European Union’s external-border security agency, is located in Warsaw, were the reasons for Schauplatz’s interest in Warsaw and the 10th-Anniversary Stadium. In the middle of the field of grass that had overgrown the pitch the artists recreated a portion of Poland’s eastern border, which is also the EU’s Eastern border, on a scale of 1:1. A control observation point was constructed on the crown of the stadium, from which viewers were able to monitor the EU’s Eastern frontier. During the eight hour-long live installation, the artists picnicked on the pitch, held discussions about the abstractness of borders, the construction of national identity, and the meaning of the EU flag. Their voices were relayed to the crown of the stadium, and binoculars and telescopes were provided for the viewers to view the action.

The starting point for the performance was the reflection that stadiums and borders are meant to build national identity. While stadiums are concrete architectural objects whose construction takes several years to complete, borders are products of our imagination, involving contracts, symbols, and potential violence. Both borders and stadiums are supposed to tell us who we are. Until recently, Frontex had its offices near the Stadium. The agency, in collaboration with the police, the military, and the secret services operates rapid-intervention teams and organises people-hunts and charter deportations. As a result, illegal immigrants resort to ever more dangerous ways of crossing borders. On their way to work every day, Frontex employees passed the Stadium, a place that, like national borders, used to divide people between legals and illegals. Schauplatz’s one-day live installation required close observation. When the artists saw the 10th-Anniversary Stadium for the first time, they immediately realised that their performance had to dialogue with scale, with dimension — ‘large’ vs. ‘small’, the hugeness of the stadium vs. the littleness of the individual within it. They wanted to give the viewer the possibility of different views. One of those was looking through binoculars at an ordinary piece of grass, where nothing happens. The artists did not force themselves on the stadium; instead they created a situation of live exhibition, turning themselves into objects of display. They also invited special guests.

One of those was software expert Hubert Kowalski, who in a matter-of-fact manner described the functioning of software that makes it possible for border guards to tell whether it is a human or animal crossing the border. He described robots that can recognise movement, objects, or the presence of living organisms, and explained the functioning of heat-sensitive cameras installed along borders. He also added that his hobby was re-enactments of historical battles. A little earlier a refugee from Chechnya, Aslan Dekaev, had appeared on the pitch, followed by someone who re-enacts events from World Wars I and II. The artists then wondered out loud whether fifty years from now military-history enthusiasts will be re-enacting the events in Grozny. The situation of obliqueness, uncertainty, and non-action created by Schauplatz was intentional, as the artists consciously renounce control of the situations they set in motion. With their subdued inaction, they provoked viewers to stroll about the Stadium, to enter the field of action — as if the artists’ presence were not important, and they were the reason the viewers were there. ‘We had the impression we had become a sonic background for the audience. It may be somewhat disappointing for an actor, because it means he has failed to attract viewers’ attention. But the Stadium seems to have simply been more important than us.’

Friday, April 17, 2009

Invincible Cities by Camilo José Vergara

Re-posted here form Flavorpill Daily Dose:

"Mapping the shifting landscape of urban America
An interactive website created by sociologist and photographer Camilo José Vergara, Invincible Cities presents "A Visual Encyclopedia of the American Ghetto."

Vergara travels through time. Invincible Cities captures more than three decades of changing streetscapes in Harlem, NY, Richmond, CA, and Camden, NJ. Trace shifting communities via photographs shot from the same vantage point throughout recent history.

The site encompasses multiple journeys. By incorporating ingenious mapping software and thematic tags, Invincible Cities makes it possible to explore many facets of each urban area. Categories include religion, vegetation, people, and junkyards, along with panoramas, artifacts, and census information.

Its interactive potential is just emerging. The ability to post comments beneath each image allows both current and former residents to discuss their neighborhoods. However, the project's future lies in its utility as a tool to inspire community-centered revitalization."

Read a profile on the Richmond project

Monday, April 13, 2009

One Flat Thing, reproduced

Synchronous Objects is a joint project of William Forsythe and OSU's Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) and the Department of Dance.

"From dance to data to objects, Synchronous Objects reveals the interlocking systems of organization in the choreography of William Forsythe's 'One Flat Thing, reproduced (2000)"

I re-post here from 'Great Dance Blog'
"The main focus of Synchronous Objects is to develop a set of data visualization tools for capturing, analyzing and presenting the underlying choreographic structures and components of Forsythe's "One Flat Thing, reproduced" (OFTr), which premiered in 2000. These visualizations in the form of information graphics, 2D and 3D animations and visual dance scores will provide audiences, students and researchers with new approaches to thinking about and studying Forsythe's intricate, counter-point work.

Two extended clips of "One Flat Thing" video choreography

To see a variety of data visualizations, visit:

- Information Aesthetics


- Flowing Data

- Visual Complexity

And also take a look at Many Eyes collaborative visualization application from IBM. Anybody can upload their own data, create a visualization and share it with others."

Exploring William Forsythe's "Synchronous Objects" Website

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Zeitgeist Movement: Orientation Presentation

The Zeitgeist Movement is the activist arm of The Venus Project, which constitutes the life long work of industrial designer and social engineer, Jacque Fresco.

The book of the movement: THE ZEITGEIST MOVEMENT - OBSERVATIONS AND RESPONSES - Activist Orientation Guide

Mr. Fresco’s background includes industrial design and social engineering, as well as being a forerunner in the field of Human Factors.

A documentary, titled Future By Design, on the life, designs and philosophy of Jacque Fresco is now available.
The film Zeitgeist Addendum featuring Jacque Fresco and The Venus Project produced by Peter Joseph was recently released. It can be viewed at

Is this a nightmare or a joke?
Is this a new-retro recovery of the ever-evolutionary/progressive positive-thinking of monternism or is this a blooming branch of the emerging hypermodernism?

Faceless-The film

FACELESS was produced under the rules of the 'Manifesto for CCTV Filmmakers'. The manifesto states, amongst other things, that additional cameras are not permitted at filming locations, as the omnipresent existing video surveillance (CCTV) is already in operation.
directed by Manu Luksch, voice over: Tilda Swinton, soundtrack: mukul, piano music: Rupert Huber, www.ambientTV.NET

The 4th Radiator festival. Going Underground - Surveillance and Sousveillance.

A very interesting exhibition regarding the city serveillance systems and its counterpart 'sousveillance' (Sousveillance - the counterpart to surveillance, where the ‘observed’ turns around, to face and watch the ‘observer’, recording the observers actions and movements.) of the 4th Radiator festival.
Read a review on Furtherfield