[-empyre-] "Chindogu" and re-design

Margarete Jahrmann margarete.jahrmann at zhdk.ch
Fri Nov 27 06:54:21 EST 2009

dear davin,

thank you so much for your posting,
and the reference to Rube Goldberg, because indeed I felt a
misunderstanding, at least from my point of view, when reading
kevins posting. the middle european strain of artwork on absurde
machines, of course does not address to laugh about anybody else but
ourselves, our world determined by absurde requests of the "thing".

> interest to me are rube Goldberg machines as well as the folklore of

Goldberg's "impossible" machines correspond exactly to what the
contemporary "on purpose" creation of electronic objects- as middle
"thing" between the synthetic and the immaterieaux does!

Davin, in particular with your refrerence to the Rube Goldberg
machine, you stress this important point. Goldberg, this historic -
btw. Western ;) creator of images of impossible machines wonderfully
transported the idea of critique on hegemonic power inherent to
technologies of everyday life, with and by an artefact - the sketch.

> I also think it might be a transitional link between material culture
> and digital culture, in that it materially juxtaposes functions in
> ways that digital applications can be assembled seamlessly within a
> particular platform.  In a sense, an app-ladened iphone is an absurd
> object, but somehow "reasonable" because it is assemblage is virtual
> rather than mechanical.
perfect - I would call it the "semi-synthetic",
to highlight a particular technology-based understanding of
materiality and affordances in relation to play. By taking the
"thing" and object interactions into account, it puts a focus upon
theoretical and practical aspects of the inquiry of technologically
enhanced playfulness.
This view will open up the meaning of materiality through the
intervention of practical theory, nourished by arts practice as

The Ludic interface as example is best described by term of
semi-synthetic play in techno objects, considered as media
materiality between the new „materiaux“ and the synthetic on site
experience. The semi-synthetic needs to be introduced, because it is
still linked to the discourse of materiality, but goes beyond it in
its focus on technology as matter, that entails emotional affection
and critical social status, via the playfulness as creativity
process, connected and afforded by the semi-synthetic.

Ludic interfaces as new phenomenon of techno cultures compared to
contemporary developments of play forms an intuitive bridge from
personal involvement to technology. In a new relation, beyond
Interaction Design purposes, the reference to art as definition for
Ludic Interfaces is questioned. The optional Ludic Interface
definition provides an argument contextualised in that way, that it
is equally informed by present arts practices and practical use of
technological communities as traditions of absurd interventionist
poetic practices.

love&/ peace
thanks for starting this thread
marguerite charmante
for Ludic-Society

> Peace!
> Davin Heckman
> On Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 11:02 AM, Margarete Jahrmann
> <margarete.jahrmann at zhdk.ch> wrote:
>> dear friends,
>> dear machiko {/wave we met at a Vienna Muqua panel},
>> your nice submission spurs on to participate again- some time gone
>> by since the game art thread...
>> please let me kindly add, that of course the Chindogu as described
>> by Kenji Kawakami and his "ten tenets of chindogu" was key for the
>> founding of the "Ludic Society" - elaborated in issue one of the
>> Ludic Society Magazine magazine in 2006.
>> http://www.ludic-society.net/LS_issue1_nov05_min.pdf
>> http://www.ludic-society.net/issue/play/issue1.php
>> Practice, inspired by this concept, were play-objects, we called -
>> GoApe chindogus...
>> http://www.ludic.priv.at/ludicwheel/index.php?target=photo#
>> >From my point of view it is not crucial, if it is a Japanese concept
>> or a European.I also think it is a bit over exaggerated to say it is
>> widely used in England - as far as I know the art academia scene
>> from my own PhD studies and teaching experiences in the field of
>> Ludic arts and interfaces.
>> The Chindogu, from my point of view is an aesthetic and political
>> programm, connecting traditions of 'patphysics, object orientation
>> and conceptual arts
>> - and most importantly can be used to introduce "uselessness" -
>> connected to play - as subversive statement, at least in the
>> European interpretation of the idea.
>> and we make jokes on it ;)
>> "In the logics of the imaginative Roger Caillois (1973) suggests the
>> mollusc as soft conception model, which is obviously an adequate
>> frame of expérience for the hereby proposed proceedings of Ludics.
>> The mollusc mood styled smooth new objets célibataires trigger
>> electronic and ´pataphysic poetic glitches, as a followup series of
>> the ludic society gamebased search artifacts of “GoApe-Chindogus”."
>> Title: GoApe Chindogus. Nouveau Objects célibataire. New Bachelor
>> Machines, 2005-2008. 'Pata-physical Circuitboard things,
>> Classification: conceived semi-synthetic object/ techno-affordance
>> Date: Autumne 2005. Technique: Printed circuit boards, electronics
>> URL: http://www.ludic-society.net/play/objects.php
>> Collaborators: Max Moswitzer
>> Presented / Exhibited: 2005 Neue Galerie Graz, 2006 ArcoMadrid, 2007
>> Conteijner Gallery Zagreb, 2008 Laboral Gijon
>> Published:
>> Jahrmann, M. (2008), ‘Morales du Joujou: Ludic wonder objects’,
>> Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research 6: 2.. Intellect,
>> Bristol.
>> Jahrmann, M. (2009). Plays on a metamorphosis of Contemporary
>> Electronic toys. In: Coded Cultures, Exploring Creative Emergences.
>> Ed. MUMOK Vienna. pp 23-27
>> Jahrmann, M. (2008), ‘Play Fetish. The Portable Prison’. In: Jörg
>> Huber, Philipp Stoellger (Hgg.): Gestalten der Kontingenz. Edition
>> Voldemeer, Zürich. Springer Wien New York.
>> love
>> marguerite charmante
>> Machiko Kusahara schrieb:
>>> Hi all,
>>> As Renate introduced me in her email, I am currently in LA.
>>> During the weekend as we cycled around in our neighborhood, my partner
>>> found a book "99 More  un-useless Japanese Inventions", a sequel of
>>> "Chindogu" at a yard sale and bought it for 50 cents. What a bargain
>>> price!
>>> It is funny, because we have been recently talking about the strange
>>> "Japanese" inventions by this author, in relation to questions I
>>> almost always get when I give a presentation on Device Art, the
>>> project I have been working with my colleague artists and engineers.
>>> The strange thing is that although the term "chindogu" is not part of
>>> our language (while we understand what it means by seeing the Chinese
>>> characters) it seems to be now widely accepted as a Japanese concept.
>>> These inventions were originally introduced in English. So, until
>>> recently (until the author started showing up on variety shows on
>>> Japanese TV) almost no one in Japan knew about it.
>>> A typical reaction of Japanese when asked about the concept from
>>> "foreigners" is: "What is that? I hope you don't think we are really
>>> using such crazy things! This is a joke!)
>>> Recently I heard that in UK this book is widely used in design
>>> education, as a key concept to "re-design" things, i.e. to design
>>> "impossible-to-use" things.
>>> Playfulness is a very important part of Japanese culture, but I still
>>> feel rather uncomfortable when I hear people praise "chindogu" as a
>>> representation of Japanese creativity.
>>> Each time when asked I need to explain what are the differences
>>> between "chindogu" and our Device Art.
>>> Yes, we design things that are not "practical" from coorporate point
>>> of view, but we are not joking.
>>> Machiko Kusahara
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> empyre forum
>>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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