For awhile I thought that sassy artists & web designers working for sassy festivals and galleries were into brutalist, hard to use web pages because they want to challenge their audiences (See: brutalistwebsites.com ). It seemed there was a design movement which opposed the production of passive audiences. But I’ve now understood that these styles are not rebellious, they are compliant: Artists and organizations have messy web pages only because they rely on social medias. They can afford complicated, even artistic sites – Because they reach their audiences primarily through facebook events.
I’ve been thinking about style and ecology during the past weeks. I’m shocked by the amount of usable stuff I can find from the streets (clothing, electronics, tools and furniture etc.) and the amount of plastic they use in shops (orange juice is sold in solid plastic cans, which are as sturdy as flower watering pots I use in Finland ). In Finland I can imagine having an ecological impact by recycling and wearing second hand clothes. In NYC I understand that my environmentally conscious decisions do not have any impact.
In this city, ecologically steered design and arts, are reduced into mere fashion statements. Ecological orientation serves as a class signifier.
How to formulate this critical observation into a style and a movement? I currently think the most equalitarian and ecological style is to have NO-STYLE. Pickup, wear and use anything you find from the streets. When you see a person who is wearing ecobrands: Inform them that they are misguided (possibly by vomiting, like one of my favorite artists Kristofer Paetau during the artforum incident in 2005). The only sustainable way forward is to have NO-STYLE. To go forward we need to consume toxic stuff, learn plastic crafts and listen to algorithmically generated playlists on youtube. Pietari suggested the hashtag #deathhack for these efforts. More reading on class, looks and hiding your class with looks: So You Think You’ve Got Class? (2017) Charlotte Shane (Also related: Sebago docksides rant).
I’ve made a functional and novel sound pedal. The circuit is based on the Dwarfcraft Great Destroyer but I made some mistakes in the assembly, which cause the circuit to behave oddly. It doesn’t work like a bitcrusher, which the DGD is supposed to be. It self-oscillates and creates tunes which are affected by the level of the volume input and potentiometers, it also plays the radio and works like a distortion. A very interesting device (powered with a 9v battery / pedal power supply). As I understand the CD4049 (Buffered) is not grounded and I think the weird behaviour is caused by the signal & voltage working their way to the ground, through the potentiometers. It works great with drums, and creates changing melodic synth and bass lines which follow the rhythm. I added a LM386 amplifier (as an integrated circuit) to the effect to make it louder (The LM386 can also be powered independently so that it acts as a “clean” boost).
The circuit is housed in a Civil Defense V 750 (Model No. 5B) Dosimeter Model No. 5 Charger (C2-2). Serial No. 0005296. Which has been manufactured by the Industrial Electronic Hardware Corp. in New York City (Brooklyn!). The device was intended to reset radiation dosimeter values. If I understand it correctly these kinds of devices were available in fallout shelters during the cold war era in the city. This particular device was manufactured ca. 1962. I repurposed the potentiometer (10k) of the V 750 and used it controls the LM386 output. I’m currently waiting for potentiometer knobs and I’ll make a video of the device after I receive them. I call it the Civil Defence Crusher. It goes well with the Berlin Wall Distortion. Together they form the Sound of Cold War Infra custom guitar pedal series (Ore.e Ref.).
Redistribution via Appropriation: White(washing) Marbles (2018) iLiana Fokianaki.
There has finally been the addition of much-needed voices and positions from outside the Western canon. Nonetheless, these voices are usually framed not only by white people but by white logics. Institutions, biennials, and mega-exhibitions attack colonial pasts, but not presents. They are quick to be politically correct and “host” the Other—while often maintaining an all-white staff, and a clearly rigidly Western approach as to how to institute.
Before attempting to address what is to be done, one must first understand the limitations of the contemporary art institution and the mega-exhibition. These forms fail to escape the mechanisms of power they wish to condemn, since they cling to a notion of “civilization” with roots in modernism that continues to structure particular modes of discourse.
When departing on a quest to define the Western and the white, one needs to take into account that the notion of “white” carries socioeconomic and political weight. The propaganda of the WWW (White Western Westphalia) order has always counted on including as many countries as possible in the definition of this Western whiteness, “modernizing” and “civilizing” them throughout the centuries, via globalization and capitalism, but simultaneously exploiting them.
Nonetheless, a clear trajectory belongs to particular countries that have always been part of the West, and another trajectory belongs to others that have hopped in and out of the Western wagon. They are not equally “white.” […] One thing is clear: whatever defines White Western Westphalia today, its de facto imposition of a supposed superiority is certainly to blame for the current socioeconomic and political realities of Europe and the world.
Music Thing Modular – Mikrophonie Berlin Full Kit (Limited Edition) is an eurorack module that has a circuit board element based on the map of Berlin. Feeling proud about the Berlin Wall Distortion! Also noticed that using green-screens for pedal demo videos is a thing now.
Response for the Berlin Wall Distortion has been great! The demo video has received over 1000 views in under 24h and the response on Reddit has been warm. Rasmus Hedlund shared the video on his Facebook and Kristian said he’d show it to students at the National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad) where he’s teaching.
The Berlin Wall Distortion build was successful. Unfortunately my schematics had a critical error which took the better part of the day to figure out. All of the components are soldered on the board, potentiometers, buttons and switches are in place. Sounds works but one of the diode pairs is still causing issues. I’ll try to find potentiometer hats tomorrow and attach the window.
Giovanna guided our Neighborizome group as a consultant over the weekend. The discussions were very fruitful and I feel way more confident about the project.
Preparing for Porin Juhlaviikot performances (should be writing texts for it already but I’m too tired due to a day of breathing solder gas).
The Truth about ‘Cultural Appropriation’ (2017) Kenan Malik for ArtReview. Too strong arguments for me..
What is really being appropriated, in other words, is not culture but the right to police cultures and experiences, a right appropriated by those who license themselves to be arbiters of the correct forms cultural borrowing.
A randomly triggering Automatonism (virtual modular) song recorded in Pd (using recorder delivered in 2.1 update).
My first Berlin Wall Distortion circuit board etching failed. I’m using a halogen lamp to transfer the circuit and I think the heat is causing the positive photoresist to stick to the board. My old natriumpersulfat might have been exposed to moisture etc. So I’m investing in ferric chloride and a new batch of developer agent. The Berlin Wall Distortion is a relatively costly project… I’ve used 40-60€ in components alone.
“Writing is the physical hope of a counternarrative” says Frances Morgan in Technology Now: Sonic Feminisms from ICA London.