“Détournement: s’emploie par abréviation de la formule : détournement d’éléments esthétiques préfabriqués. Intégration de productions actuelles ou passées des arts dans une construction supérieure du milieu. Dans ce sens il ne peut y avoir de peinture ou de musique situationniste, mais un usage situationniste de ces moyens. Dans un sens plus primitif, le détournement à l’intérieur des sphères culturelles anciennes est une méthode de propagande, qui témoigne de l’usure et de la perte d’importance de ces sphères.”

or in English:

Short for “détournement of preexisting aesthetic elements.” The integration of present or past artistic productions into a superior construction of a milieu. In this sense there can be no situationist painting or music, but only a situationist use of those means. In a more elementary sense, détournement within the old cultural spheres is a method of propaganda, a method which reveals the wearing out and loss of importance of those spheres.

Source: Internationale situationniste Bulletin central édité par les sections de l’Internationale situationniste Numéro 1, Juin 1958.

Why blogging this? As détournement seems to be an important notion in the social practices we are interested in here, I’m putting together a lexicon about its different expression. Might be relevant to express the nuances we run across.

On “critical jugaad”

An interesting interview of Deepa Butoliya by James Auger at Speculative dot edu. Based on a recent CHI workshop paper she wrote about non-western maker and DIY cultures, Butoliya describes the notion of “critical jugaad”:

Critical Jugaad is jugaad done as an act of everyday resistance and survival. Critical Jugaad is a term I have coined that is based on an inquiry that explains how people use ingenious making practices like jugaad as a tool for resistance, subversion and criticality against colonial powers of oppression. Jugaad is a Hindi term which means making do with what you have at hand. Jugaad-like practices form cultural binders and empower people to find a collective force to fight oppression while practicing creative self-expression.

Why blogging this? This notion, and the way she described it more thoroughly in the interview, is interesting both because it describes a counterpoint to Western visions of Maker culture, and also because it highlights a similar phenomenon to my earlier blogpost about gambiarra: DYI as a way to re-appropriate technologies and goods.

Digital media debris #1

Why blogging this? This street scene is from 2009 in Geneva. I am used to keep track of discarded digital technologies… I’ve been observing this kind of scene for more than twenty years. I realize I do have colleagues also working on this topic. Media Debris is a research project conducted by Katharina Niemeyer and Juliette De Maeyer about “street media history”, which aims as “documenting the crime scenes of (r)ejected technologies”.

“it’s just an iPhone 10”

Last year I spent few days at Nø School Nevers, a summer school about “critical research around the social and environmental impacts of information and communication technologies”. This was the occasion to spend some time participating in various activities and discover the work of Gambiologia… a collective that “exploram peculiaridades da cultura brasileira no contexto eletrônico, especialmente relacionadas à tradição da ‘gambiarra'”:

“Gambiarra is a word that only exists in Brazilian Portuguese. It indicates informal uses and technological solutions to everyday life and infrastructure problems. (…) The Gambiologia Collective transforms this repertoire into a science of combat. It promotes workshops, urban interventions, debates and exhibitions that stimulate the use and the reinvention of obsolete, broken or discarded devices. The jury recognizes its work and action methodology, directed at the critical and creative use of media, and decided to award Gambiologia as a process and strategy rather than as specific artworks.” (Prix Ars Electronica 2011 – Statement do júri)

Why blogging this? Gambiarra looks like an interesting variation of the practices we are interested in this project. The way it’s framed in Brazilian culture makes it quite relevant to investigate.

Zombie Media

“Zombie media addresses the living deads of media culture. As such, it is clearly related to the earlier calls to investigate “dead media” by Bruce Sterling and others: to map the forgotten, out-of-use, obsolete and declared dysfunctional technologies in order to understand better the nature of media cultural development. And yet, we want to point to a further issue when it comes to abandoned media: the amount of discarded electronic media is not only the excavation ground for quirky media archaeological interests, but one of the biggest threats for ecology in terms of the various toxins they are leaking back to nature. A discarded piece of media technology is never just discarded but part of a wider pattern of circulation that ties the obsolete to recycling centers, dismantling centres in Asia, markets in Nigeria, and so forth – a whole global political ecology of different sorts where one of the biggest questions is the material toxicity of our electronic media. Media kills nature as they remain as living deads.”

Hertz, Garnet & Parikka, Jussi. (2011). Five Principles of Zombie Media. Conference: Defunct/Refunct.

Why blogging this? This is probably the core notion of this project, to the point that our interest resides in documenting what one could call “zombie media practices”. Perhaps the “media” angle is less prominent in our project though.

Hello world!

Tweaked console

One of the many souvenirs of a repurposed digital device (The SEGA Master System II, a cost-reduced version of the Master System released in 1990) that we ran across few years ago. Certainly a good illustration of what we want to investigate in this project.