Panel, ISEA Istanbul, Monday, 19 September, 2011 – 09:00 – 10:30Sabaci University, Sabaci Center, Room 3, Istanbul, Turkey
The panel investigates some of the interconnections between art, activism and business. “Don’t hate the media, become the media”, was one of the slogans of Indymedia. We are applying this critical hands-on perspective to the business framework. Presenters examine how artists, rather than refusing the market, are producing critical interventions from within. As the distinction between production and consumption appears to have collapsed, every interaction in the info-sphere seems to have become a business opportunity. Therefore, the creative intersections between business and art become a crucial territory for re-invention and the rewriting of symbolic and cultural codes, generating political actions or social hacks that use a deep level of irony, but also unexpected consequences. The tactics demonstrate the permeability of systems — that these can be reworked — and more so, that radical innovation requires modification of the prevailing business logic.
The backdrop of the Istanbul Biennale makes a useful reference point here as one of the markers along with art fairs in general for the commodity exchange of artistic production. We are not suggesting these are new issues — as there are many examples of artists making interventions into the art market and alternatives to commodity exchange — but we aim to discuss some of the recent strategies that have emerged from a deep understanding of the net economy and its markets.
The panel explores some of these contradictions: that on the one hand, there are alternative or disruptive business models that derive from the art scene, often as critical or activist interventions, but on the other how these practices can be easily co-opted by proprietary business logic. This is perhaps exemplified by the business idea of ‘disruption-innovation’, where disruption is considered to be a creative act that shifts the way a particular logic operates and thus presents newfound opportunities. Does this mean that well-meaning critical strategies of artists and activists are self-defeating? How do we develop disruptive business models that do not simply become new models for business that ultimately follow capitalist logic?
We maintain there is nothing wrong with doing business as such.
Chair: Tatiana Bazzichelli, Geoff Cox
Presenters: Christian Ulrik Andersen & Søren Bro Pold
Contributors: Dmytri Kleiner, Elanor Colleoni, Maya Balcioglu
The occasion is also thought as launch of the project DisruptivBiz, a platform of research on the topics of Disruptive Art and Business curated by Tatiana Bazzichelli and Geoff Cox.
By Tatiana Bazzichelli, published in Digimag 63, April 2011
In the essay The author as a producer (1934), Walter Benjamin describes the author’s role through the figure of the engineer. Instead of reproducing the production apparatuses, the author/engineer is able to intervene within them, transforming the cultural production function itself and opening it up to the collective intervention.
The engineer figure described by Walter Benjamin reminds the “tactical” art by Paolo Cirio, who contributes to transform the meaning of the artistic practice from within, by unveiling the unsolved knots in the art field. Through his artworks, Paolo Cirio (http://www.paolocirio.net) intervenes tactically locating some plugs of a puzzle which can be finished only by directly involving its referents, being them either corporations, media apparatuses, or the so-called network “users”.
His artworks, some of which were created together with Alessandro Ludovico and Ubermorgen.com (GWEI, Google Will Eat Itself e Amazon Noir), some others were created individually (such as Drowning NYC, The Big Plot e Open Society Structures), redefine the author’s and art’s role, which becomes a premise to think over social and political dynamics. By manipulating the media and the news media, as he himself claims, his work “often pushes the boundaries of the representation, going beyond the use of a single media and focusing on the information environment created by the data flow.” His artworks deal with the language, the narrations, the creation of conspiracy plots, but also with the meaning of power, democracy, privacy and control. Not always without provoking contraddictions and controversies. But it is just through this dynamic of the imperfect and the unknown – once they are started, artworks are opened to possible developments and interpretations – that it is possible to experiment how the information and media flows build their meaning.
This interview, starting from the description of the meaning of tactics and strategies applied to the artistic practice, and wondering about some concepts such as “the media robbery”, ends thinking over some sensible knots revealed by the last projects: Face to Facebook, created with Alessandro Ludovico and launched at the last Transmediale 2011, and P2P Gift Credit Card protagonist of an action in London on March 25th, in which the “revolutionary” credit cards have been distributed in strategic places.
Both projects, exhibited at a solo show, REALITYFLOWHACKED, which opened in Ljubljana on April 26th at the Aksioma Project Space, become an incentive through which analyzing the intersections between art and market, the contradictions and paradoxes of neoliberal capitalism, the artist’s role itself and, at the same time, the one of the user.
In the social media era, the relational dynamics and the information data flow become more and more part of the production processes, not often validating the utopian perspective assumed by Walter Benjamin in 1934. That is why it becomes central to reflect on such processes, imagining possible alternatives, provoking critical contradictions and producing new visions and experiences.
Read the interview with Paolo Cirio here.Tags: Artivism, Bazzichelli, Disruptive Business, Hacktivism, Paolo Cirio, Social media, Social networking, Web 2.0
Seminar on the Arts and Politics of Participation, April 2, 15.00h @ AHAcktitude 2011, Italy, Academy of Fine Art of Carrara, organised by Tatiana Bazzichelli, Loretta Borrelli, Simona Lodi & Vera Martini.
The program is very rich and participated. Conferences, debates, workshops and performances will involve students, artists, activists and professors.
On Saturday from 15.00-18.00, Loretta Borrelli, Simona Lodi, Vera Martini and I are organizing a collaborative seminar on the topic: Arts and Politics of Participation. All the members of the AHA: Activism-Hacking-Artivism network and new participants are welcome. During this seminar, we are investigation the meaning of participation in the context of capitalistic strategies in the field of networking practices and exchange.
Below is the text of my intervention, a critique of the concept of participation and artivism in the time of social media (language: Italian).
Racconto di un’esperienza: verso una critica dell’artivismo?
di Tatiana Bazzichelli
Il concetto di partecipazione è centrale per sciogliere alcuni nodi che riguardano l’evoluzione e le trasformazioni del concetto di “fare rete” nell’era dei social media. Le mie riflessioni sono la conseguenza di un percorso che sto portando avanti a livello universitario durante la scrittura del mio dottorato in Danimarca e sono anche la conseguenza di un percorso di diretto coinvolgimento nell’ambito della scena attivista (o meglio artivista) in Italia sin dalla metà degli anni 90. Quindi, il mio contributo va pensato come soggettivo, e di base si tratta di un racconto di un’esperienza, che citando Chiara Zamboni, “è allo stesso tempo dono ai presenti e desiderio di essere aiutati nel decifrarla” (Zamboni, 2009: 34).Tags: Activism-Hacking-Artivism, Disruptive Business, Hacktivism, moltitudine, Networking, Social media, Social networking
Essay published in Italian in the book RomaEuropaFakeFactory, edited by C. Hendrickson, S. Iaconesi, O. Persico, F. Ruberti, L. Simeone, Derive Approdi Ed., Rome, Italy, 2010.
English version: Tatiana Bazzichelli, Aarhus, May 2010
In 1981, writing about the concept of ‘ethnographic surrealism’, James Clifford referred to Lautreamont’s definition of beauty: “The chance encounter on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella” .
James Clifford described the ethnographic attitude as ways of dismantle culture’s hierarchies and holistic truths. Cultural orders are substituted with unusual juxtapositions, decomposition of reality, fragments and unexpected combinations; the objective of research is not really seen in rendering the unfamiliar comprehensible as part of the ethnographic tradition wanted, but in making the familiar strange “by a continuous play of the familiar and the strange, of which ethnography and surrealism are two elements”  .
Aesthetics that values fragments, and a methodology of revealing evident contradictions without solving them, but rather leaving them open to new interpretations, as a form of cultural criticism and a way to understand contemporary phenomena. This method, showing our present as a collage of incongruities which don’t just resolve in a dialectic of oppositions, give us input to think about future tactical strategies in the field of art and media.
The present essay deals with the concept of social networking and with the development of folksonomies through social media platforms. It reflects on the status of artistic and activist practices in the Web 2.0 analyzing interferences between networking and business. I will start referring to the dialectical perspective ‘Ästhetisierung der Politik – Politisierung der Kunst’ (aesthetization of politics – politicization of art) by Walter Benjamin , in the present context used to describe the development of social networks as an aesthetic representation of social commons, and consequently, to analyze possible strategies of artistic and activist interventions in the social media. Another fragment of my analysis shows how the endless cycles of rebellion and transgression coexist with the development of business culture in Western society, breaking the juxtaposition between art as an aesthetic form of collective representation and art as a form of political intervention by a collectivity. I will show how, since the Avant-gardes, critical art and business have had evident signs of interconnection, especially in the frame of the collective representation of the masses. In conclusion, I will develop the concept of The Disruptive Art of Business as a form of artistic intervention within the business field of Web 2.0, where artists and activists, conscious of the pervasive presence of consumer culture in our daily life, react strategically and playfully from within. The essay ends suggesting possible strategies of artistic action, as a result of framing open contradictions without wanting to resolve them through an encompassing synthesis.Tags: Bazzichelli, Disruptive Business, Siegfried Kracauer, Social media, Social networking, Walter Benjamin, Web 2.0
Conference and PhD workshops
12-14 January 2011
Aarhus University, Denmark
Kasernen, building 1584, rooms 124 & 120
Public Interfaces Conference brings together researchers from Aarhus University, University of Plymouth, and guests to address the broad theme of Public Interfaces as part of ongoing research in Digital Urban Living. It is organized by Center for Digital Urban Living and DARC (Digital Aesthetics Research Centre), Aarhus University in collaboration with Dept. of Aesthetic Studies.
Emerging from DARC’s ongoing research around interface criticism, the aim is to broaden issues to encompass the development of urban interfaces, and the changing concept of the ‘public’. What do we mean by public interface now?
Research questionsTags: aarhus university, Disruptive Business, hackers, Networking, Social networking, Web 2.0
Whilst experimentation and developments in the culture of free software reflects emergent and self-organizing public actions, how does this modify our understanding of public interfaces? Can the public interface be used as a useful concept for understanding changing relations between public and private realms within other fields? Does the public interface offer a way of further examining relational aesthetics, the cultural regeneration agenda and public art? Does the public interface provide new understandings of the relationship between creative production and the free market sphere? How does the possible dissolution of the public and private spheres relate to bio politics and contemporary forms of power? Does the public interface suggest new borders or even the dissolution of borders between the public and private, humans and machines, the centre and periphery?
In the recent article I wrote for the Italian IT portal Punto Informatico, “NetStArt/ I retroscena delle geografie digitali”, I presented the new project of the Italian duo Les Liens Invisibles: R.I.O.T. – Reality Is Out There.
Created for the Share Festival in Turin and presented during an outdoor workshop for the first time, the work “R.I.O.T. / Reality Is Out There” (here the website) is based on the concept of “augmented reality”. Through the use of smart phones in the urban landscape it is possible to access a parallel infosphere, and as Les Liens Invisibles point out, re-appropriate the public space. The various virtual data and geo-coded levels visible using smart phones become a geography to discover and reveal, but also an opportunity to invade and decompose consciously – and ironically – the everyday life. As stated in the website of the Share Festival, “the inspiration of the new Les Liens Invisibles project is the theme of Share Festival 2010: the error / smart mistakes, which the team plays creating an alteration of reality with the help of these technologies“. The workshop developed through a collective walk in the city of Turin, discovering the installations hidden in the virtual landscape (see the map).Tags: Art & Business, Artivism, Bazzichelli, Hacktivism, Networking, Social networking, Web 2.0
October 26th, 2010Bazzichelli PhD Research, Disruptive Business, Hacktivism, Social networking, Web 2.0
Panel hosted by DARC (Digital Aesthetics Research Centre, Aarhus University)
Presenters: Christian Ulrik Andersen (DK), Tatiana Bazzichelli (IT/DK), Geoff Cox (UK/DK), and Les Liens Invisibles (IT).
Share Festival, Turin, Italy. November 3, 2010. Regional Museum of Natural Science, Conference Hall, 2pm.
The panel investigates some of the interconnections between art, activism and business. Presenters examine how artists, rather than refusing the market, are generating cultural Trojan horses — social hacks, or “smart errors” — producing critical interventions from within. As the distinction between production and consumption appears to have collapsed, every interaction in the info-sphere seems to be a business opportunity.
The phrase “creative economy” is a perversion in this line of thinking. Therefore, the creative intersections between business and art become a crucial territory for re-invention and the rewriting of symbolic and cultural codes, generating political actions, attempts of social innovations, but also unexpected consequences and a deep level of irony. Errors or mistakes demonstrate the permeability of systems — that these can be reworked — and more so, that radical innovation requires modification of the prevailing business logic.Tags: Art & Business, Disruptive Business, Hacktivism, PhD Research Bazzichelli, Social networking, Web 2.0
We are not suggesting these are new issues — as there are many examples of artists making interventions into the art market and alternatives to commodity exchange — but we aim to discuss some of the recent strategies that have emerged from a deep understanding of the net economy and its markets. Examples derive from software development and net cultures, such as peer production, free culture initiatives, gift economies, extreme sharing networks or open source business models.
REFF. The reinvention of the real through critical practices of remix, mash-up, re-contextualization, reenactment.
The book by REFF RomaEuropa FakeFactory is out! I contributed with an essay for the section VOICES, with the title: The Disruptive Art of Business.
Foreword by: Bruce Sterling
Edited by: Cary Hendrickson, Salvatore Iaconesi, Oriana Persico, Federico Ruberti, Luca Simeone (FakePress)
Published by Derive Approdi, Rome, Italy, 2010. Language: Italian.
The fake competition RomaEuropa FakeFactory (www.romaeuropa.org) was an act of artivism, in favor of free culture and non-proprietary rights for authors. This network confronted the themes of art and hacking, political activism and technology, copyright and intellectual property and extended to access, cultural politics, crowdsourcing, open source models, peer-to-peer economic governance and the reinvention of the real.
The story begins with the section “VOICES”: a collection of more than 30 theoretical works on the themes of Free Culture, remixing as creative practice, the re-contextualization of urban spaces and knowledge sharing from international scholars such as Richard Barbrook, Andy Cameron, Stephen Kovats, The Yes Men, 0100101110101101.ORG, Jasmina Tesanovic, Massimo Canevacci Ribeiro, Antonio Caronia, Tatiana Bazzichelli, Marc Garrett, Francesco “Warbear” Macarone Palmieri and many others.
A catalog of the works presented by 32 artists, writers, designers, hackers and architects from all over the world follows in the section entitled “VISIONS”. These contributions give a voice to the unexplored scenarios of contemporary reality representing the worlds of innovation, appropriation and a continuous artistic and political reinvention bringing to light examples of new production models based on freely available contents, knowledge, connections and the possibility of reproducing, remixing and arranging contents, forms and objects; new technological practices, new forms social interaction; new opportunities for building unedited, self-determined imaginaries.Tags: Artivism, Bazzichelli, Disruptive Business, Social networking, Web 2.0