[-empyre-] CHINDOGU empyre Digest, Vol 60, Issue 27

Joseph Delappe delappe at unr.edu
Sun Nov 29 04:05:35 EST 2009

Chindogu has been a mainstay of my Digital Media 1 classes for several years now - each student conceptualizes, creates and documents  the creation of Chindogu useless invention.  The project helps to introduce a number of thematic and theoretical constructs from furthering the consideration of Duchamp's concept of the "Readymade" to allowing for a humorous first leap into a critical assessment of overconsumption and object fetishism.  This term I updated the project to include a second step which involves each student producing and infomercial for their inventions (lends well to a critical consideration of the nature of TV advertizing, etc.).

-Joseph DeLappe

On 11/26/09 5:00 PM, "empyre-request at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au" <empyre-request at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au> wrote:

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Today's Topics:

   1. Re: "Chindogu" and re-design (davin heckman)
   2. (The Internet as Playground and Factory) - tulip madness -a
      tale of old times (trebor at thing.net)


Message: 1
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 2009 09:55:34 -0500
From: davin heckman <davinheckman at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] "Chindogu" and re-design
To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
        <ff0cfe080911250655j24b7cfd2p7121fe08557e0836 at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252

I am very happy to learn about Chindogu.  I have been kicking around
some notes on cartoons and capitalism.  A particular object of
interest to me are rube Goldberg machines as well as the folklore of
the entrepreneur (the simple invention that makes makes a million
dollars, feeding rats to cats/cats to rats, and the proliferation of
pyramid schemes.)  But more than anything, I enjoy the spectacle of
the object that can contain it all.  Chindogu is a powerful critique
of the irrationality that occurs when a particular rationality is
allowed to advance unfettered...  and thinking about it will add
considerably to my thinking.

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.


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 exp?rience for the hereby proposed proceedings of Ludics.
> The mollusc mood styled smooth new objets c?libataires 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 c?libataire. 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: J?rg
> Huber, Philipp Stoellger (Hgg.): Gestalten der Kontingenz. Edition
> Voldemeer, Z?rich. 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
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre


Message: 2
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 2009 07:27:50 -0500 (EST)
From: trebor at thing.net
Subject: [-empyre-] (The Internet as Playground and Factory) - tulip
        madness -a tale of old times
To: empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
        <43943. at webmail.thing.net>
Content-Type: text/plain;charset=iso-8859-1

Good morning from coast to coast, Ricardo. It's 6:40 am; Brooklyn is
slowly waking up. The street lamps just switched off. I'll quickly write
before my daughter wakes up.

I loved the way you call up back memories of EDT, and I'm especially
curious about your question in the end--
"how do we train the next generations to hactivate the design of "playbor"
towards a "acti-play" that only pretends to "labor" in a directed manner -
de-linking towards disturbance."

Let me try to respond through the lens of The Internet as Playground and
Factory conference.

The scale on which all that networked expropriation takes place has
seriously changed since the late nineties and the lateral axis is much
stronger now. We are used and are using each other. Life itself is put to
work. We are performing our identity. We are watched and we are watching
each other. In addition to government and corporate surveillance we are
now also watching each other. We, the ones who mingle among the hundreds
of millions who wake up to the monolithic, centralized, non-transparent
Social Web every day, are reinforcing mental and bodily habits and shape
modes of life. To be sure, the Internet is only one location, one instance
where labor markets have shifted over the past decade. Mark Andrejevic's
is comfortable calling all that exploitation (see his slides
http://is.gd/53YOT, video http://vimeo.com/7697188).

To expropriate the expropriators is harder than we may want to admit.
At the conference, I was probably the only person who saw at least
sections of most presentations. Many speakers tried to construct new
of distributed labor and networked play while others focused more on
tangible alternatives. Speakers like Gabriella Coleman, Frank Pasquale,
Chris Kelty, Hendrick Speck, Brooke Singer, and Michel Bauwens -to name
just a few- suggested practices that offer concrete possibilities for
however limited social change.

Towards the end of my own talk, I located a few avenues for action (see
slides http://is.gd/51HJx). Hacking social media platforms/"jail breaking"
Facebook, is one of the suggestions. I wonder what you make of the
concluding points there.

With so much hype surrounding user-submitted content, I was pleased to see
the wave of fake, photo-shopped photos being submitted to news agencies
like CNN and others in 2008. Citizen reporting at its best.

I don't think that the refusal or withdrawal from these social milieus is
a good options for most people in the overdeveloped world. It takes a lot
of privilege to be able to say "no." Participation is hardly a choice for
most people in the US or Europe (and we can expand that dynamic to cell
phone use in some economic developing countries). For youngsters in Egypt,
Facebook was a useful (if by no means unproblematic) tool to organize
strikes and I could add many such examples. These disturbances accept the
fact that they take place on corporate grounds and in a hybrid economy.


You can also read through an edited archive of conference tweets, which
can serve as entry point for further discussion. http://is.gd/53JVJ


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