section curated by Isabelle Arvers on

More informations about the exhibition

Curatorial statement

to NATHAN HACKTIVIST, February 2004


IA L’image interactive a t’elle un pouvoir de manipulation?
MC Oui, d’une certaine façon, si je songe au film interactif présenté dans lepavillon tchèque lors de l’exposition universelle de Montréal en 1967 (texte ci-dessous).
IAEst ce qu’interaction veut nécessairement dire participation de l’esprit?
MC Je suppose que si l’on nous envoie des décharges électriques, nous réagissons.
IAQui sont tes/vos monstres? Qu’entends-tu par monstre? Est ce que tu/vous te qualifierait d’entertainer?
MC Oui.
IAEst-ce que l’Etat a intérêt au savoir des masses?
MC En tous cas, pas son incarnation dans le gouvernement actuel. Est ce que vous vous sentez proche de l’idée d’artiste comme visionnaire. L’artiste est peut-être un visionnaire idiot.
IAEt à ce moment là est ce que vous pensez que le rôle de l’artiste est d’éveiller les consciences?
MC J’ai observé qu’il se sentait parfois investi d’une mission rédemptrice.
IAA l’heure des “républiques du divertissement” doit on utiliser les> stratégies du divertissement pour éduquer les gens? C’est quoi les gens?
Est ce que vous êtes d’accord avec anne marie schleiner quand elle écrit : “computer games are socializing younger generations of post-industrial citizens.” ?
MC Pourquoi pas.


KINO-AUTOMAT – Czechoslovakia Pavilion

The Kino-Automat film at the Czechoslovakia pavilion was a sociological andpsychological experiment with audience participation by just 127 people in anintimate theater. It was developed by cinematographer Raduz Cincera, whoreasoned that, just as children like to make Tinkerbell live by applaudingduring Peter Pan, an adult audience might become involved in a performancewith live audiences. Therefore, at five points in the film’s plot, the filmstopped and the audience was asked to vote on which way Mr. Novak, the hero,should act. Meanwhile, the actor appeared in the theater in person andappealed to the audience to help in solving his problems. Each viewer wasasked to either push the red or green button beside him at each decisionpoint. The votes were registered by seat number on a border around the screen,so each viewer could see their own vote counted.

The Kino-Automat film stopped five times for the audience to vote at variousdecision points in the story.

The film began with an apartment building on fire, and immediately theaudience was told that Mr. Novak held himself responsible. The actor then tookthe audience through a series of flashbacks describing the highly unlikelychain of events which brought him through carelessness and stupidity to hisconclusion. Although the audience was allowed to dictate some of his choicesin the actions with alternative film sequences, no matter what the audiencedecided, the result was the same – a burning building. Many felt, especiallythe cinematographer, that it was really a satire on democracy; everyone gets achance to vote, but voting never changes anything.

Mr. Novak’s problem began when, just before his wife was due home, heconfronted at the door of his apartment, a beautiful blond woman clad only ina towel. Somehow she had locked herself outside her own nearby apartment. Theaudience’s decision was whether he should let her in. Later when his wifearrived, and misunderstanding everything, ran away, Mr. Novak pursued her in acar. A policeman hailed him down. The audience had to decide whether he shouldbreak the law and keep driving. Later in the film, Mr. Novak believed that ayoung man who could help him lived in a certain apartment. The audiencedecided whether he should dash in and find the man despite being stopped by anapartment tenant that barred his way. Finally, a porter barred Mr. Novak’s waywhen he was trying to put out what at the time was a minor fire. The audiencedecided if he should hit the porter over the head and go about his business.

It was a study in group behavior with unexpected results. Audiences alwaysvoted for the adventurous course of action, whether it was prudent or not,moral or immoral. A typical audience would vote two to one for letting theblonde in the apartment and four to one for breaking the traffic laws. Theaudience in over 100 performances, except once, voted for Mr. Novak to hit theporter over the head. The film makers learned that people decided outcomes,not on a moral code but on what they like to see – essentially group fantasy.As an experiment it was great entertainment, perhaps the funniest forty-fiveminutes at Expo.

Martin le Chevalier, février 2004.

IA Is there a manipulative power inside an interactive picture?
MW Yes – interactive mediums (as they exist today) reflect the author’s fixed set of possibilities. The “user” is offered the semblance of free will, but in fact he/she may only act within the confines of a matrix of predestined combinations. This illusion of choice is similar to that offered by advertising.
IA Does interaction mean necessarily mind participation?
MW No – one may “interact” – or trigger responses within a causal mechanism – without knowing it.
IA What are your monsters?
MW If “monster” refers to threatening agents of a certain chaotic or destructive capacity, one can identify many institutions and/or corporate interests that fit the description.
IA Could you qualify yourself as an entertainer?
MW If by entertainment you mean a kind of surplus activity as defined by current cultural values – yes.
IA Do you think that a state has an interest to give knowledge to the masses?
MW It depends on the type of knowledge. The American model, for example, seeks to provide its citizens with enough technological education to produce a reliable supply of information workers. Here, the “state” seeks only to secure and maintain economic dominance and domestic security (a prerequisite for maintaining a productive workforce). Although the US is a caricature of Machiavellian excess in this respect, even the most benevolent regime necessarily emphasizes pragmatic action – a position anathema to that of the artist.
IA Do you feel close to the idea of the artist as a visionary?
MW Yes, the artist is only an effective agent (or “cultural worker” – the model prescribed by the last 30 years of art theory) if he/she is capable of envisioning radical possibility. An artist is not just a problem-solver within a larger mechanism – he/she must be capable of operating outside of social reality.
IA you think that the artist has to enlarge people awareness? Is it your
role, our role?
MW A cultural agent who reinforces the consensus reality or dominant paradigm is not an artist – he/she is a designer – rearranging available forms for the amusement of the status quo.
IA At the “entertainment republics” time, is it possible to use entertainment strategies to educate people?
MW Yes, but a more expansive notion of entertainment is needed.
IA Do you agree with Anne Marie Schleiner when she writes: “computer games are socializing younger generations of post-industrial citizens.”
MW Yes, it’s a time-consuming activity with a fairly steep learning curve, so the notion that social relationships could be affected is probably valid. It’s also one of the reasons that we’re trying to create an alternative gaming model – one that engages extreme (dystopian/utopian) social phenomena in order to present the user with an escape “into” historical reality – in order to explore the very ideological positions that inform our notions of “entertainment”, “play” and “productive vs. destructive activity”. For example, what is Koresh defending and why can’t he be “reasoned” with? Why are his activities considered threatening to the dominant culture? What do they gain by destroying him? The violent core of Waco is irreconcilable ideological conflict – thus, the only effective tool of communication available to both sides is the gun.


IA Is there a manipulative power inside an interactive picture?
OG Absolutely ! It is only a matter of degree depending on whether you scratch a Mormon or a Dud.
ED The question is impossible to answer with one thing; one could for instance say with some justification “the bottle bottom theory” but then that goes back to the microscope – otherwise no one would ever see the ship inside the bottle – and that to the lens, and eyeglasses may be as important as ships in bottles, and so on. But we’ll suggest the quantum theory, and include emphatically quantum field theory. The quantum theory forces a revision of our mode of thinking which is far more profound than Newtonian mechanics or the Copernican revolution or relativity. Note that the latter is really in principle impossible, for reasons which have little to do with the famous Uncertainty Principle and a lot to do with exponential explosions of computations.
CP i don’t understand.
IA Does interaction mean necessarily mind participation?
OG Well, a full turntable tour can show that in some cases, interaction does not even mean participation. But this is rare, and in most situations, the largest spectrum plaids in favour of reinstatement of the spirit into its genuine function. Of course, the situation is quite different depending on whether you scratch a Mormon or a Dud and is such case, the answer will be no.
ED We’ve had social software for 2000 years at most, dated from Plato’s Caveat system, and we’ve only had 10 years or so of widespread availability. Writing social software is hard. And the act of writing social software is more like the work of an economist or a political scientist. Prior to the Internet, the last technology that had any real effect on the way people sat down and talked together was the table. So it’s not like a cake recipe. We’re still learning how to make these kinds of things and of course they differ platform to platform. Still, you now can do soft forking and soft spooning. Social software is like that.
CP physical ones,.. not always.
IA What are your monsters?
OG As I said in the french version of this interview, there is a third way in which monsters practice the souple hand style on such high level that it is impossible to set them apart from the masters. But in the english version, things don’t go the same, while samples and masters produce a very expressive chiasma that shakes the premium quality value. Shapes look different, but in the end, it so happens that bifocal
spectacles become useless.
CP smokin’ bluntz in the car on the nextroute
ED Our monsters come in all shapes and sizes, they also fly. They have a role in any good scenario, and are not used unless they have a purpose. They also tells us that we really completely know the rules of the game which all particles and quanta are playing, so that we can understand
everything about ourselves and the world.
IA Could you qualify yourself as an entertainer?
OG is the Shahriar of the entertainment. Thus, most of the time, we provide the khalifat with belt drive trainings and petrolette licenses.
ED There is a lot of confusion surrounding our field. But we are rockers II.
CP who’s who.!.. you entertain me now . . .
IA Do you think that a state has an interest to give knowledge to the masses?
ED That hoary problem, as ever in the past, provokes discussion. Like the squaring of the circle it remains unsolved, but unlike it, continues to be the ever-burning question of the day. That is because the problem is not one of mere theoretical interest: it renews and revives in every-day life and presses ever more urgently for solution. This is the kernel of the problem, as we see it. This does not mean, of course, that we must think of waiting for the age of universal harmony.
CP in a transmition when the quantity of noïse is bigger than the quantity of information in a message , the noise became the message .. . another point is the vibes …
… and now close your eyes. ….
OG Generally, given knowledge has very bad teeth. On the other hen, ignorants don’t bite their dogs. Serious oral knowledge can help the deprived persons to feed with meat instead of mascarpone and thus to access to the status of vegetarian that is the ulimate state of the intelligence. After all, the bull always comes before the plough.
IA Do you feel close to the idea of the artist as a visionary? Then do you think that the artist has to enlarge people awareness? Is it your role, our role?
OG Actually, it is the visionary who is commonly regarded as an artist – there is only one step from Galileo to Cape Canaveral, Léonardo leads us in direct line to the Koursk. Giordano Bruno and the Mona Lisa is altogether chance mishaps due to an excess of visions and Vincent Van Gogh was probably never insane of Afflelou.
ED The artist no longer has to play the role of an visionary. The project, tactics and goals to be adopted are a matter for those who do the fighting. What the artist can do is to provide instruments of analysis, and at present this is the critic’s essential role. What’s effectively needed is a ramified, penetrative perception of the present, one that makes it possible to locate lines of weakness, strong points, positions where instances of power have secured and implanted themselves by a system of organisation dating back over 150 years. In other words, a topological and geological survey of the battlefield – that is the artist’s role. Thousands of men had seen oyster shells upon the hills. But it took Leonardo Da Vinci to realise that they showed the land had once been under the sea.
CP today the practice raises more the ballistique one than of the foil…
IA At the “entertainment republics” time, is it possible to use entertainment strategies to educate people?
ED As always with entertainment, one is faced with complex phenomena which don’t obey the Hegelian form of the dialectic. There is an extremely complex system of relations which leads one finally to wonder how, given that no one person can have conceived it in its entirety, it can be so subtle in its distribution, its mechanisms, reciprocal controls and adjustments. It’s a highly intricate mosaic. During certain periods agents
of liaison appear as entertainers. Take the example of intelligence since the early twentieth century: one cannot determine theoretically whether one propaganda is better than another. In other words, there is no ABC of propaganda. One can make propaganda, or one cannot. Propaganda is an art.
CP we need another drink , don’t you think. . .?
OG When a question induces a single answer twice, then it is time to
screen it through post-prométhéan philosophy prism : “No need fire to blow the lighter.” In other words, it is impossible to educate people on a Ducati without the science of Netotchka Nezvanovna.
IA Do you agree with Anne Marie Schleiner when she writes: “computer games are socializing younger generations of post-industrial citizens.”
ED To a sociologist, even the leisure activity of going out for a pizza with friends involves political process. The question of what goes on the pizza, for instance, often requires discussion and debate. And, as is the case in formal political institutions, those who supply the transportation or the money often have a disproportionate influence in the decision.
CP please mom buy me a computer. .. Mom : you want to be informatician ..?
CP No moooomm . . .. just citizen.. . clik ‘n choose, Rock ‘n folK ! ..
OG In its time, the Ford T defined the standards of the modern western society. Today, the lunar jeep definitively ceased nourishing the imagination of rising generation. One must thus content with concepts such as FishDrowning and openDoorSmash if one wants to circumscribe the communication territories within reasonably permeable limits. The way indicated by Jung to escape from it consists in carrying the glance towards the “depths” of Self, to integrate archetypic energies which it reveals. This “process of individuation” is the prerequisite which will in the long term open the ways of a “compromise between the individual and the society”. But as we all know, it’s a long way to Tipperary.


IA Is there a manipulative power inside an interactive picture?
FI of course, even in interactive cinema most of the time there is an invisible wizard of os who decides what scenes get shot, and which get deleted. but at least there is a sense of participation of the audience/user. he gets to exercise choice, and those, he gets to exist within the actual plot of the movie. we have to remember that no matter how flexible and interactive real life is, it’s still limited among it’s choices. we still have to question if we really are free to choose, when options are not infinite. On the other side, there are interactive films whose continuity is based on random scripts… i don’t know about that, it’s scary, isn’t? to think some person wrote the script and one can only hope things come out ok. it kind of reminds me of the tragic drama, and how the ancient gods always decided the fate for humans. and it’s unbelievable to think even in computers we are coming back to such primitive structures, even though they are sometimes disguised as ultra evolved.
IA Does interaction mean necessarily mind participation?
FI no, not at all. au contraire, if somehow interactivity works it’s because it follows the logic of corporate capitalism. we actually think we are choosing, but we are only consuming what we prefer of whatever options there seem to be. in this way i side more with such thinkers/practicians as brasilian augusto boal who invented the amazing technique of the theater of the opressed and jean-paul sartre.
IA What are your monsters?
FI people who live their own life as spectators, of course.
IA Could you qualify yourself as an entertainer?
FI i believe so, as the city has become a stage where everyone is an observer.
IA Do you think that a state has an interest to give knowledge to the
FI not at all. they want to give the knowledge needed to keep things in order. they want to keep secret the fact that another world is possible!
IA Do you feel close to the idea of the artist as a visionary? Then do you think that the artist has to enlarge people awareness? Is it your role, our role?
FI i don;t think the artist has or can be a visionary. maybe sometimes visionaries can become artists. and really, people must learn to become responsible of themselves. if we can help in lending a tool, a technique, an idea, or inspiration, that’s great. one can only do what he must do. we are just ordinary human beings trying to break free.
IA At the “entertainment republics” time, is it possible to use entertainment strategies to educate people?
FI i think so.
IA : Do you agree with Anne Marie Schleiner when she writes: “computer games are socializing younger generations of post-industrial > citizens.”
F I thru all the ages of humanity one thing has remained true: the human must adhere to the program! hehehe. network games are as much of a space as a physical space, and those they are social. but other games can be as isolating as fiction books or tv, but still sometimes they can inspire don
quijotes all around the globe!


IA Is there a manipulative power inside an interactive picture?
NB All pictures can manipulate, meaning they can provoke response in a viewer and they take a position in what they include or leave out. Interaction exists in all objects and pictures outside ourselves that we are made to confront. Interactivity attempts to direct this confrontation, and thereby seeks to choreograph the focus of the viewer,
IA Does interaction mean necessarily mind participation?
NB Yes interaction invites, or rather, insists on participation. Sometimes this participation involves the mind, sometimes it is mindless.
IA What are your monsters?
NB I am experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of having been sliced through the front of my torso and back of my torso recently. At night I sleep on my back, for the first time since I can remember, to quell the monsters that try to attack my body once more.
IA Could you qualify yourself as an entertainer?
NB Only when I throw parties and dinners. Not in my art. That is not at all my intention. Engagement, yes, entertainment, there are many better ways.
IA Do you think that a state has an interest to give knowledge to the masses?
NB Less knowledge and more ideology and mythologies that construct the belief in the need for and solidity of a state as an entity.
IA Do you feel close to the idea of the artist as a visionary?
NB No. not at all. Artists are just those that spend time (some of us anyway) thinking hard about some things and then try to share that with others. We are no more special than any other, we just happen to have the luxury or the need to invoke or provoke thought, feeling, or cognition.
IA Then do you think that the artist has to enlarge people awareness? Is it your role, our role?
NB Yes, it is one of the roles I hope I can have in my work.
IA At the “entertainment republics” time, is it possible to use entertainment
strategies to educate people?
NB SUre. entertainment, pleasure, play, are all great and useful strategies to educate, motivate, provoke and dismantle staid visions, thoughts and emotions.
IA Do you agree with Anne Marie Schleiner when she writes: “computer games are socializing youngergenerations of post-industrial citizens.”
NB sure.


to NATHAN HACKTIVIST, February 2004

IA Is there a manipulative power inside an interactive picture?
NH The term interaction is so obviously problematic that it is hard to answersuch a question or for me to even visualize what an “interactive picture”might be. I think mostly of Erkki Huhtamo’s earlier writing on interactionand the question of interactivity, it’s levels, and degrees, etc. Is there amanipulative power? of course. Most interactions are designed around apresumption of human actions / movements / and motives. Humans are adaptablecreatures that simply compensate for poor design – and sometimes pay theprice in physical torment such as carpal tunnel syndrome. The designerusually must rely on a manipulation of audience or participant to accountfor the impossibility of truly passive interaction in a space such as agallery. Looking is the interaction, redirecting that look is themanipulation tactic.
IA Does interaction mean necessarily mind participation?
NH Not if you look at the category of interactive art currently modeled andexemplified at galleries and events. It might be ideal to consider that anecessity but even that would become a fatal flaw. There are levels of interactive engagement. I flip a switch and a light turns on is one level. A second level might be generative: I flip a switch in a certain pattern at acertain time and with a certain force a light turns on. Artists and designers rarely account for the specificity of their audience. More often than not, they need only a body – with little distinctions between bodies. Most interactive work does not account for the participants, sex, gender,ethnic background, likes and dislikes, styles, blood type, favoritetoothpaste, fetishes….these are all somehow unimportant as long as you cantrigger a sensor. So no interaction definitely in it’s current exemplification, mean mind participation – but perhaps the artist might usesome mind participation in devising experiences.
IA What are your monsters?
NH Being bored is my monster.
IA Could you qualify yourself as an entertainer?
NH Yes of course. Much of my works end up being delivered as lectures or workshops. These are performances and I hope in some way to remain at leastentertaining – we all want to be stimulated, sexually, intellectually,argumentatively. I am entertainer and entertained.
IA Do you think that a state has an interest to give knowledge to the masses?
NH A state has a deep interest in filtering knowledge. It is how you both exercise and showcase power. To maintain a power relationship you must demonstrate the ability to control the information and communication gates then you must place complacent guards at the doors. The artist must find ways to escape the filters and look to the periphery to find the hidden and obscured. The artist in many different ways and mediums, is a collector – of knowledge, of history, of objects. The artist presents the unfiltered research to an audience therefore upsetting the state.
IA Do you feel close to the idea of the artist as a visionary? Then do you think that the artist has to enlarge people awareness? Is it your role,our role?
NH I think I explained that above as best I can. I do not think it is a future visionary role but a peripherally visionary role.
IA At the “entertainment republics” time, is it possible to use entertainment strategies to educate people?
NH This I have no answer to right now. I think we will see after many more experiments. I am only working to educate myself – I do not claim to have any set of knowledge that might benefit anyone other than myself. My goal isnot to produce didactic work that teaches but rather exposes alternative ways of learning.
IA Do you agree with Anne Marie Schleiner when she writes: “computer games are socializing younger generations of post-industrial citizens.”
NH Computer games only scare those that don’t play them. It has always been this way with medias. I’m not scared yet – the TV is still killing me.


IA Is there a manipulative power inside an interactive picture?
PT Could you be more precise?
IA Does interaction mean necessarily mind participation?
PT Please define what you mean here? To come up with a clear definition of interaction I always define it as interacting that has to do with changing the physical state of an artwork. In this sense to me it’s a mistake to say that a picture can interact with a mindstate because it doesn’t change anything physical. If you want to relate interaction with a changing mindstate you’ll get a total meaningless definition because we are in this sense always “interacting”. So for me interactive arts are arts that let people change the physical state of an art work. Examples are amongst others works by the artist Rirkrit Tiravanija who for example puts things in a space and people can change the position of the things, play with them, etc. or Jodi’s untitled game, you can play and you can manipulate it directly.
IA By interactive picture, I mean all the images with which we can interact, in games, installations, networks, CD, DVD. The second question is about interactivity with artworks or with life. I was educated by cultural sociology that argues that everything is cultural and pre-determined, so what is the part of freedom or consciousness in our actions in life or in our interactions with artworks? The two first questions are related to each other.
PT I would define an interactive artwork as a piece in which you can change something virtual or physical, so that the piece stays changed after altered by a user. The implications you ask for are of course something different. In fact this brings into mind research of how people act or don’t, and for example how
they move through (virtual) space. Somehow I have to think of psychogeography and the ways people read information (in our western culture this is left right, in lot of other cultures it is right to left). Though aware of this kind things, and knowing that in the (interaction)design area there’s lots of interest in this kind of research I
never went deep into it. On the more practical level though, you can’t get around it. And with this I especially want to point to interactive installations or netart presentations in artspaces and museums. Here the problem is in my eyes even on another level and is not how people interact, but if they will interact with an artpiece at all. I have done a lot of experimenting with installations in which people could interact. And of course at openings everybody is always playing with them, but my experience is that after the opening hardly anybody touches the thing. Though there is I think a cultural difference with this. Especially in countries located in Northern Hemisphere the art audience is educated to have respect towards artworks and art is mostly a solitaire experience, this results in people hardly daring to touch or change artworks if they are confronted with them. And with technical stuff there’s of course also still the fear of a potential user that (s)he could do something wrong and damage the equipment. In the more Southern countries there’s a different attitude towards art. A lot of people visit artspaces always in small groups that discuss the things they see and probably because they are in groups are more open to try technical things out. So when confronted with something that needs interaction they will in most cases play with it.
IA What are your monsters?
PT Because the theme is mindcontrol I guess you aim here at monsters in the the
sense of spooks?
IA Could you qualify yourself as an entertainer?
PT No, I see myself as an artist.
IA Do you think that a state has an interest to give knowledge to the masses?
PT What is a state and who make up a state? Probably you mean here the people in power of a state… If this is correct, yes I think that the people in power have an interest in giving knowledge to the masses, but of course only if it is knowledge that fits the needs of those who are in power.
IA Do you feel close to the idea of the artist as a visionary?
PT No, I think the idea of the artist as a visionary is a idea that stems from the worn out classic idea of the avant-garde. As Peter Burger pointed out in his book “The theory of the Avant Garde” the only mission of the avant garde is to abolish art and to bring art in everyday life, a mission that from the beginning was set to fail because when everything is art, art becomes obsolete.
IA Then do you think that the artist has to enlarge people awareness?
PT No, I want to recall Marx here “the masses can only become aware of their position by themselves” I don’t believe in Leninist or Stalinist doctrines of an avantgarde.
IA Is it your role, our role?
PT For god sake no. I think art needs it’s space and freedom, it should not be invaded by social cultural theories and dogmas. History over the last 30 years has shown that importing those theories in the field arts in most cases just let to boring and predictable art. Please let people that make literal translations of this theories into art go and do something else and become for example theorists. BTW this doesn’t mean that I hate social engagement, but just that it shouldn’t become a dominant and or dogmatic factor in the arts or production
of art. What artists on the other hand could do is be more critical about the context in which they show their work themselves or better be aware what organizers or sponsors aim at with festivals and competitions. A good example of this is El Mundo’s (Spanish rightwing newspaper) that did a netart competition and presentation at Arco (Spanish art) back in 2001. Nearly the whole netart community jumped on this occasion without realizing that netart could be used by this newspaper to give it a progressive image.
IA At the “entertainment republics” time, is it possible to use entertainment strategies to educate people?
PT Here we go again… As said above I don’t see any sense in educating people with art or art entertainment strategies. Most of the art that is made that way is more boring than the latest version of… Quake. Also I think that the only people who are interested in this kind of work are
people that are already engaged.
IA Do you agree with Anne Marie Schleiner when she writes: “computer games are socializing younger generations of post-industrial citizens.”
PT Really nothing to add here because though I understand Anne Marie Schleiner point and I think it’s interesting, for me it’s really far away from my practise as an artist. To bring it back to a more practical level that’s of more interest to me, I think computer games and game modules but also things like cell phones do not only shape a new kind socialization for younger generations (think of sms). But make handling these technological devices for them much easier. For example: where I see children easy reach out to a mouse in exhibition space and immediately start to try out and play with a piece of software, a lot of “older” people often think twice before they start to play. Somehow this last question made me aware of underlying premises of the
earlier questions of your interview. And probably I would have answered some different when I would have started with the last question. Though I really think that new technology changes all kind of behaviour and the way we
think, most of it’s implications are really still in the phase of speculation. What I said somewhere earlier, there’s lots of research going on how people go through pages or navigate through games especially in the field of (action)design. Artists working in this field often don’t have or use this knowledge, and what they in a lot of cases simple do is reverse of better subvert standard ways of navigation or for example hacking characters out of a game. All this gives interesting opportunities to show how we already are used to deal with ways the industry delivers ways of interaction. But if you relate it to art, most of this work doesn’t seem to get rid of the games aesthetics and besides that the work is of course using aesthetics of failure (see also Michelle White’s “Aesthetics of failure”) which is nowadays becoming more and more a kind of well known and wide applied strategy that seems to go dead end. Somehow it strongly reminds me of deconstructivist discussions that in fact you only can deconstruct and deconstruct because meanings will always become coagulations and therefore totalitarian. So deconstruction became a goal in itself which delivered in the end nothing new.

Answer of Isabelle to Natalie and Nathan :

What is funny is that each person has its own way to appreciate words. For example, the idea of monsters, we see that it is very subjective and also that there is a difference between Anglo-Saxon culture and Mediterranean culture. If you take the Latin root of monster – monstrare – it means something very closed to the myth and also to the star, to the genius…

And I may be wrong but I am not sure that Americans have the same meaning for this word.

Then, concerning the difference between to entertain and to educate, you have really different ways to appreciate it, but If I asked these questions it was because I had a problem with the idea “lack of entertainment create monsters” seeing what’s happening in “entertainment republics” right now (Italy, usa…) so I was looking for a manner to take the word entertainment in a positive perspective.

Sorry for the question about the artist as a visionary but I just met Michael hart from Gutenberg project and he was repeating “I am a visionary”… and I was amazed by his project that is still independent after 30 years… After that point, of course artists are not special persons or above the mass, you are right, but artists have just a particular sensibility and I also like the idea that art as science are a way to best understand the world.

Then, the encounter between hackers and artists and the idea of activism inside game culture really seduces me as a way to socialize young generations with a more wide open view. We were the TV generation, I was lucky it was forbidden for me at home… so I could say that I belong to the books generation, but I see children around me, I listen to the artists who experienced workshops with children and computers or new media : they all say “they can learn us a lot about softwares, computers, games…” So my first matter is to try to give them sort of a better content in order to prepare not some future good soldiers or citizens or dealers (I don’t have anything against drugs, but I just think to all of these guys who are playing the role of the state staying in front of their building instead of doing a revolution or something more interesting for them…)

Inside the free gaming room of villette numérique there were a lot of children, and boys from the hoods… they were so surprised to be in and not to be evicted and just to push this idea, even the security team was “down” with this exhibit and there weren’t only consoles or network games, there was also your work, Jodi, GuerrillaNewsNetwork, Article 30 from les Virtualistes,

It is why I am running around these ideas of entertainment, games, education.

Answer to tita :


Here are the answers of Fran Ilich, i like his interpretation, he seems to have the same references when he speaks about entertainment, he refers to guy debord, situationists…

from the point of view of Pascal, entertainement is also negative, because it kills the concentration and our capacity to think, from the point of view of romans who were giving games to people in order to stop any kind of revolution, in our days with reality shows, tv reality and the mascarade of politics…

then, of course, i love entertainment but it depends on who is diffusing and for which aims… there is a difference between the first rave parties and the “sarkoval” nowadays, there is a difference between independant movements and their recuperation by the establishment

talking with my sister who is a theater critic and also with a friend of mine who is videast and litterature professor, we came to the conclusion that entertainment which just remain things as they were before (everybody in his own ghetto, culture for some happy few, galeries for the others, games for young teenagers, knowledge for the elite……) is negative entertainment
my monster is the ghetto