Kulturbotschaft BAK / Swiss politics on art funding

During the process of Swiss legislation, the executive presents the public with a draft for funding guidelines for 2012-2015. The total amount to be spent on culture remains stable at 633m over these years (compare with e.g. 12,000m for the Swiss military over the same period!).

From reading that document, it seems legislators largely underestimate the role of digital culture in general and perceive the "digital" as a threat rather than an opportunity. Vast sections in the document speak of conservation and digitization of content in order to keep and store existing cultural value. This is important. However, when it comes to fostering innovation and the production of new works, digital culture remains poorly understood and a placeholder called "GameCulture" needs to stand in for a deep-rooted and fundamental shift in production technology in the arts. This is deplorable to say the least.

Im Schatten der klassischen Kulturformen hat sich die erste rein digitale Kulturform entwickelt: das Computerspiel. (p. 76)

It is not surprising that experts on conservation look backwards and worry about digitization. What is surprising is that the central document to justify the funding of the arts of an entire nation reduces the information and knowledge-based means of production to computer gaming!

What does this imply for the bodies that support art today? Ideally, funding institutions understand that contemporary art involves software and hardware, music is made of code and strings, sculpture with CAD and clay, visuals with graphics software and printers, and so on. However, from reading the Kulturbotschaft, this does not seem to be where we stand today.

Eight years ago, the Swiss government started an initiative to support media and digital art: sitemapping. During these years, experts from funding bodies have come to understand how art production works and built a network of committees and juries to evaluate and understand quality and how to support quality and ultimately, hopefully, focus funding on potential impact.

etoy has always been critical of these "experts" not least because they failed to understand that long-term orientation in the production of digital art is not an oxymoron but a necessity to quality, much like in every domain of knowledge creation.

Nevertheless, we find ourselves defending this initiative and their proponents today. Reading the suggested legislature reminded us that even semi-competent funding initiatives point into the right direction and dropping all of this in favor of a narrow sub-field (computer gaming) is wrong-headed and irresponsible.

Funding art is difficult and etoy is not simply advocating a centralized, top-down funding body. The structures to evaluate impact and judge quality, however, require investment over many years as well as individuals with large networks and experience. A country such as Switzerland that relies on knowledge, education, and innovation speed needs a deeper understanding of how culture is produced today than what emanates from this Kulturbotschaft. It is fine to conserve but the emphasis is out of balance. Unless the Swiss government understands that shifting resources towards creation and innovation of contemporary art by current means, we will end up with more Ballenberg and Landesmuseum and Denkmalschutz rather than cutting-edge technology, innovation, and inspiration.

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etoy at ZHAW Zentrum Kulturmanagement

Social software changes the art world. A one day conference at ZHAW, the Zurich School of Management and Law invites art professionals to discuss the impact of blogs, wikis, online networks and communities. Agent HAEFLIGER represents etoy as an art organization that both produces art and integrates the art value chain from ideation to collection.

Join us in Zurich on Friday, September 24, 2010.

Conference flyer / Sign up here.


Cambridge UK

etoy agents meet at Peterhouse College of Cambridge University to discuss the ongoing work on the etoy.HISTORY and the book project that haunted etoy's recent activities like a fruit fly: wherever we went people asked for a book. Well then, we thought, let's go back to paper and write how we work, what we do, think, build, bury, admire and, most of all, what we're after.

On a field trip outside the confines of Peterhouse, agents TABEA, ALWIN, ZAI, ALBERTO, MAJA, and HAEFLIGER (not pictured) visited the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology and an inspiring show entitled Assembling Bodies, curated by Anita Herle.

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Printing Body Parts

Feb 18th 2010, The Economist

A machine that prints organs is coming to market

THE great hope of transplant surgeons is that they will, one day, be
able to order replacement body parts on demand. At the moment, a
patient may wait months, sometimes years, for an organ from a suitable
donor. During that time his condition may worsen. He may even die. The
ability to make organs as they are needed would not only relieve
suffering but also save lives. And that possibility may be closer with
the arrival of the first commercial 3D bio-printer for manufacturing
human tissue and organs.

The new machine, which costs around $200,000, has been developed by
Organovo, a company in San Diego that specialises in regenerative
medicine, and Invetech, an engineering and automation firm in
Melbourne, Australia. One of Organovo's founders, Gabor Forgacs of the
University of Missouri, developed the prototype on which the new 3D
bio-printer is based. The first production models will soon be
delivered to research groups which, like Dr Forgacs's, are studying
ways to produce tissue and organs for repair and replacement. At
present much of this work is done by hand or by adapting existing
instruments and devices.

To start with, only simple tissues, such as skin, muscle and short
stretches of blood vessels, will be made, says Keith Murphy, Organovo's
chief executive, and these will be for research purposes. Mr Murphy
says, however, that the company expects that within five years, once
clinical trials are complete, the printers will produce blood vessels
for use as grafts in bypass surgery. With more research it should be
possible to produce bigger, more complex body parts. Because the
machines have the ability to make branched tubes, the technology could,
for example, be used to create the networks of blood vessels needed to
sustain larger printed organs, like kidneys, livers and hearts.

Organovo's 3D bio-printer works in a similar way to some
rapid-prototyping machines used in industry to make parts and
mechanically functioning models. These work like inkjet printers, but
with a third dimension. Such printers deposit droplets of polymer which
fuse together to form a structure. With each pass of the printing
heads, the base on which the object is being made moves down a notch.
In this way, little by little, the object takes shape. Voids in the
structure and complex shapes are supported by printing a "scaffold" of
water-soluble material. Once the object is complete, the scaffold is
washed away.

Researchers have found that something similar can be done with
biological materials. When small clusters of cells are placed next to
each other they flow together, fuse and organise themselves. Various
techniques are being explored to condition the cells to mature into
functioning body parts--for example, "exercising" incipient muscles
using small machines.

Though printing organs is new, growing them from scratch on scaffolds
has already been done successfully. In 2006 Anthony Atala and his
colleagues at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in
North Carolina made new bladders for seven patients. These are still

Dr Atala's process starts by taking a tiny sample of tissue from the
patient's own bladder (so that the organ that is grown from it will not
be rejected by his immune system). From this he extracts precursor
cells that can go on to form the muscle on the outside of the bladder
and the specialised cells within it. When more of these cells have been
cultured in the laboratory, they are painted onto a biodegradable
bladder-shaped scaffold which is warmed to body temperature. The cells
then mature and multiply. Six to eight weeks later, the bladder is
ready to be put into the patient.

The advantage of using a bioprinter is that it eliminates the need for
a scaffold, so Dr Atala, too, is experimenting with inkjet technology.
The Organovo machine uses stem cells extracted from adult bone marrow
and fat as the precursors. These cells can be coaxed into
differentiating into many other types of cells by the application of
appropriate growth factors. The cells are formed into droplets 100-500
microns in diameter and containing 10,000-30,000 cells each. The
droplets retain their shape well and pass easily through the inkjet
printing process.

A second printing head is used to deposit scaffolding--a sugar-based
hydrogel. This does not interfere with the cells or stick to them. Once
the printing is complete, the structure is left for a day or two, to
allow the droplets to fuse together. For tubular structures, such as
blood vessels, the hydrogel is printed in the centre and around the
outside of the ring of each cross-section before the cells are added.
When the part has matured, the hydrogel is peeled away from the outside
and pulled from the centre like a piece of string.

The bio-printers are also capable of using other types of cells and
support materials. They could be employed, Mr Murphy suggests, to place
liver cells on a pre-built, liver-shaped scaffold or to form layers of
lining and connective tissue that would grow into a tooth. The printer
fits inside a standard laboratory biosafety cabinet, for sterile
operation. Invetech has developed a laser-based calibration system to
ensure that both print heads deposit their materials accurately, and a
computer-graphics system allows cross-sections of body parts to be

Some researchers think machines like this may one day be capable of
printing tissues and organs directly into the body. Indeed, Dr Atala is
working on one that would scan the contours of the part of a body where
a skin graft was needed and then print skin onto it. As for bigger body
parts, Dr Forgacs thinks they may take many different forms, at least
initially. A man-made biological substitute for a kidney, for instance,
need not look like a real one or contain all its features in order to
clean waste products from the bloodstream. Those waiting for
transplants are unlikely to worry too much about what replacement body
parts look like, so long as they work and make them better.

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Collapsible shipping container

Mar 4th 2010, The Economist

Transport: A collapsible shipping container could help reduce the
environmental impact of transporting goods

OVERHAULING an industry of which you know little is not easy, but
neither is it impossible. In 1956 Malcolm McLean, a trucker from North
Carolina, launched the first "intermodal" shipping container, which
could be transferred easily between lorries, trains and ships. It
revolutionised the transport of goods by abolishing the traditional
(and back-breaking) system of "break bulk" loading, and thus helped oil
the wheels of globalisation. Now another outsider to the shipping
industry is trying to get a similar change under way.

Rene Giesbers, a heating-systems engineer from the Netherlands, has
invented a collapsible plastic shipping container which, he hopes, will
replace McLean's steel design. Because it is made of a fibreglass
composite, it weighs only three-quarters as much as a standard
container but--more importantly-- when empty, it can be folded down to
a quarter of its size. The composite is more resistant to corrosion
than the steel it replaces, is easier to clean and floats. It is also
greener to manufacture. Making one of the new containers produces 25%
of the carbon dioxide that would be generated by the manufacture of its
steel counterpart.

A collapsible shipping container would be useful for several reasons.
Patterns of trade mean that more goods travel from China to America,
for example, than the other way around, so ships, trains and lorries
inevitably carry some empty containers. If these were folded, there
would be more room for full containers and some vessels would be
liberated to ply different routes. If collapsed containers were bundled
together in groups of four, ships could be loaded more quickly, cutting
the time spent in ports. They would also take up less space on land,
allowing depots to operate more efficiently.

Mr Giesbers is not the first to invent a collapsible container. Several
models were experimented with in the early 1990s but failed to catch
on, mainly because of the extra work involved in folding and unfolding
them. There were also concerns about their strength. Mr Giesbers says
the Cargoshell, as he has dubbed his version, can be collapsed or
opened in 30 seconds by a single person using a forklift truck. It is
now undergoing tests to see if it is strong enough to meet
international standards.

There are currently about 26m containers in the world, and the volume
of goods they carry has risen from 13.5m "twenty-foot equivalent units"
in 1980 to almost 140m today. It is expected to reach 180m by 2015. Mr
Giesbers aims to have 1m Cargoshells plying the seas, rails and roads
by 2020, equivalent to 4% of the market.

Bart Kuipers, a harbour economist at Erasmus University in Rotterdam,
thinks that is a little ambitious, but he reckons the crate could win
2-3% of the market. He thinks it is the container's lower weight,
rather than its collapsibility, that makes it attractive. It will
appeal to firms worried about their carbon footprints--and if oil
prices rise, that appeal will widen.

Ultimately, the main obstacle to the introduction of the Cargoshell may
be institutional rather than technical. As Edgar Blanco, a logistics
expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, points out,
"Everyone is vested in the current system. Introducing a disruptive
technology requires a major player to take a huge risk in adopting it.
So the question will always boil down to: who pays for the extra cost,
and takes the initial risk?"



hard to choose a categorie for this post.
we need a wishlist, a meeting, a decision, a plan to finance, an isolated etoy.TANK as garage.


Book by Alexander Klose Das Container-Prinzip is out

Alexander Klose's new book looks suuuper interesting and i wonder when i get a few days off to study the 320 pages in detail!

Dieses Buch ist überfällig und notwendig. Es entziffert unsere Kultur des 21. Jahrhunderts, eine Container- Kultur , deren Prinzipien unser alltägliches Schicksal bestimmen. (Joseph Vogl)

the book is based on Klose's dissertation. in 2005 fabio gramazio represented etoy in a conference organized by klose and volksbuehne berlin because i could not attend (still regret that so much).

get the book here for 20 euro

an english translation hopefully follows


Heidegger, mortality, and technology

Having failed at "Sein und Zeit" before, repeatedly and miserably, I'm most grateful to Dreyfus and Spinosa's essay on Heidegger, Borgmann and technology. Everyday life and our understanding of being embedded in a specific context allows us to make sense of our environment and act sensibly. In the authors' terminology, practices focus around things that exude their own ways of dealing with them, or with the situation, and remind us that we assume a specific behavior and sense a particular connection to the situation (a local identity) instead of all other options that we have in life. Our mortality reminds us that we could do things differently because time is scarce and we choose.

When he speaks of death, he does not mean demise or a medically defined death. He means an attribute of the way human practices work that causes mortals (later Heidegger's word for people who are inside a focal practice) to understand that they have no fixed identity and so must be ready to relinquish their current identity in order to assume the identity that their practices next call them into attunement with.

To understand oneself as mortal means to understand one's identity and world as fragile and temporary and requiring one's active engagement. In the case of the highway bridge, it means that, even while getting in tune with being a flexible resource, one does not understand oneself as being a resource all the time and everywhere. One does not always feel pressured, for instance, to optimize one's vacation possibilities by refusing to get stuck on back roads and sticking to the interstates. Rather, as one speeds along the overpass, one senses one's mortality, namely that one has other skills for bringing out other sorts of things, and therefore one is never wholly a resource. Hence, because one has in readiness other skills for dealing with other styles of things thinging, one can relate to the highway bridge not just as a transparent device but in its specificity as a way of bringing the technological ordering out in its ownmost. But that is to say that the highway bridge can be affirmed as a possible kind of focal thing that calls to us as mortals, only if there are other focal things around that preserve other styles in which things can thing.

Freeing us from having a total fixed identity so that we may experience ourselves as multiple identities disclosing multiple worlds is what Heidegger calls technology's saving power. (Dreyfus and Spinosa, 2003)

The disclosing activity is the essential entrepreneurial activity and it takes a "thorough contextual sensibility" (Steyaert, 2007: 462) to change practices that we experience. In other words, only if we experience a specific context can we be motivated to contribute to it in disclosing ways that carry the practice forward, create better quality, venture into new markets, challenge the rules, or abandon the practice altogether.

In the context of MISSION ETERNITY, this essay reminds us of two things: that to remember an individual requires capturing an extremely transient identity that only appears in time and in connection with a (local) practice. etoy's method of SCRAMBLING goes a long way towards capturing a moment and inscribing it into the global memory, indelibly and as an expression and disclosure of a mortal being at one particular moment in time.

Second, embracing technology is a valid and necessary strategy to characterize today's life and practices. Our dissolving and morphing identities that face the stand-by possibilities of access to infinite information make it ever more challenging to capture anything of our daily cyber-identities at all. Maybe, subversively, MISSION ETERNITY will end up bowing to the visionary and honest gesture of age-old burial cultures that reduce the memory of an individual to a time stamp simply because there is nothing more substantial of an identity that lasts.

War der Grabstein der Weisheit letzter Schluss?


harvesting April 1st hoaxes for future technologies

As in many years previously, on April 1st, a new RFC has been published:

Obviously, it's a hoax. "IPv6 over Facebook" is not something anyone is gonna actually believe in, or even implement. But wait: the idea behind this joke is actually quite a good one: define an ipv6 prefix and assign another computed value to the rest of the address. What the hoax doesn't provide is working routability and compatibility with the existing ipv4 internet.

If you think the idea is ridiculous, consider this:

Some men see things as they are and say, ‘why?’ I dream of things the way they never were and say, ‘why not?’"
- Robert F. Kennedy, after George Bernard Shaw

The concept of computing new, dynamic ipv6 addresses is actually available in practice through the Teredo standard. There are different implementations out in the wild, one of which is free: Miredo. Teredo provides both global addressability and routability! And it is compatibe to the existing ipv4 internet infrastructure.

So how to use this technology for a social network, wherein every user/participant will receive a globally unique, dynamic and routable ip address? Simple, just make miredo part of the peer-to-peer software and make sure to enable ipv6 in the operating system.

This is what etoy.CORPORATION has implemented in the ANGEL APPLICATION. The ANGEL APPLICATION NETWORK, an arcane network of computers, is loosely connected via the internet, safeguarding and sharing digital fragments of MISSION ETERNITY PILOTS. The individual ANGELS are technically routed over the existing internet via virtual ipv6 addresses, just as the RFC hoax suggests. This is loosely documented in the ANGEL WIKI.

This april fools hoax is very interesting in the sense that ideas, be it for jokes, can turn out to be real world concepts/products that help us find new ways for experiencing culture, emotions, rituals, belief, life and death.

Timothy Leary's last words are reported to have been: "Why? Why not? WHY NOT? Why not? Why not? Why not?" and later, "Beautiful."


Lancement du livre Les entreprises critiques a PALAIS DE TOKYO Paris

etoy in collaboration with Simon Grand contributed material for an interesting book that is now coming from the printing press.

Lancement du livre
en présence des auteurs

Les entreprises critiques
Critical companies

sous la direction de Yann Toma
avec la collaboration de Rose Marie Barrientos
le mardi 2 Décembre 2008 à 19h

à la librairie du Palais de Tokyo
13 av. du Président Wilson 75016 Paris

coédition CERAP  / Cité du design



La ligne de recherche Art & Flux a pour vocation de rendre compte, sous un regard critique et scientifique, des actions et réflexions portant sur ce qui lie l'art et l'économie. La relation entre les artistes et les entreprises est centrale dans l'activité de ses membres.

Art & Flux interroge les processus liant art et économie manifestes dans les démarches artistiques incarnées par les « entreprises critiques », ainsi que dans d'autres expressions de l'art comportant une dimension économique. Plutôt que de s'intéresser à des oeuvres matérielles, Art & Flux investie le territoire de l'immatérialité et de la migration énergétique entre objet et idée, entre société et art. Elle convoque les notions d'autonomie de l'art et de distanciation esthétique. Elle distingue l'idée d'esthétique relationnelle et communicationnelle des véritables objectifs esthétiques et politiques de partage et de sociabilité.

Art & Flux initie des projets et s'entoure de partenariats d'entreprises ou d'institutions nationales et internationales. Elle s'offre comme plateforme d'un réseau de réflexion sur les problèmes qui intéressent les « entreprises critiques ». La ligne de recherche se compose avant tout de chercheurs engagés dans des problématiques en relation avec la critique artiste. La plupart des membres d'Art & Flux sont impliqués professionnellement dans le monde de l'art.

Art & Flux est intégrée au CERAP, Centre d'Étude et de Recherche en Arts Plastiques de l'Université de Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne.

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