[-empyre-] Biennales Plus and Minus

xDxD.vs.xDxD xdxd.vs.xdxd at gmail.com
Mon Jun 13 07:00:07 EST 2011

hello there!

On Sun, Jun 12, 2011 at 10:19 PM, John Craig Freeman <
John_Craig_Freeman at emerson.edu> wrote:

> Finally, ManifestAR was founded in order to challenge institutional and
> state ownership of space.

yes: from institutions and state, to Layar, Facebook, Verizon, H3G etcetera

This is the main reason fro my ubiquitous critique to this scheme that is
developing with augmented reality.

we've been using the "squatting" terms a lot since the '90s, with
skateboarding, street arts, social centers, rave parties and house

The focus is reinvention of space and interstitial, nomadic revolt:
 reinvent interstices, reappropriate spaces, do something else and create
opportunities that follow different schemes.

physical revolution has failed, and we've moved onto the "immaterial" one.
But the story's always the same.

I've been trying to get a decent debate on this, but people just seem to
think that i'm just criticizing their work.

after the experiments in meta-branding and multi identity that have been
really powerful and successful in Italy (like Luther Blissett, San Precario,
Serpica Naro, Anna Adamolo and Fosco Loiti Celant), we've been taking the
next step.

what we mean is exemplified by two projects:
Squatting Supermarkets

and the REFF fake institution and its Augmented Reality Drug

all these are focused on reappropriation, recontextualization and
reinvention in a really radical sense

Squatting Supermarkets uses logos as AR markers, to add information on
ecology, sustainability and social responsibility directly on the labels of
products, turning them into wikis and opportunities for accessible
ubiquitous learning and free information

REFF cloned an existing institution, transforming it into an international
initiative  dedicated to the creation of a multi-layered reality. As one of
its "institutional" policies REFF distributes an AR Drug: an open source
software that transforms various diffused CMS software platforms into free
AR content managers and browsers

the first has been violently shut down by Apple for **possible** trademark

the second currently needs 5 full-time lawyers in 3 countries just to keep
on going without us going to jail or paying enormous fines.

these performances get advertisments from Layar. says something doesn't it?

I don't mean this as a sterile critique: i really would enjoy opening up a
*real* operative dialogue on these critical practices.

I wouldn't like AR, which i consider as a great opportunity, to fade away as
the next Second Life or, even worse, to become the next part of the System.

Corporate narrative is really strong, as it promotes a "Richard
Florida"-style idea of innovation/opportunities for change and disruption.

This narrative is infiltrated into critical discourse with free (as in beer)
software, free (as in beer) environments and free (as in beer) "new" public
spaces. And we already know what this brings to: we've seen it with 2.0 and
it looks like it we'll see it in 3.0 as well.

Shouldn't we concentrate more in things that are "free" as in freedom?

I mean: there are tons of excellent projects and i just mentioned the ones
produced by Art is Open Source and FakePress because they are so close to

Shouldn't we take these examples and work on them, instead of making
"another exhibit"? Someone was mentioning the spectacle...

just for the record: we're trying to radicalize even more. We're bringing
the research on the new interstitial revolt to the next level by operating
on economy as well, beyond mere presence.

This is something that could be a fertile ground to go beyond mere formalism
of aesthetics and narratives, ant to truly implement this art which we're
all talking about: an incredibly powerful glue among sciences, humanities,
politics and poetics.

all the best,

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