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Electromagnetic spectrum Research code 0608

Considerations on audio-geographical dérives or how to listen to the electromagnetic spectrum

+ a Manual for the Construction of an electromagnetic aerial

Version 0.1 by Julien Ottavi (June 2008) translation by Hervé Gosselin & Jenny Pickett

Urban Dérive and electromagnetic spectrum

«What counts is not what is said (the content) or saying it (an action), but the transformation, and the invention of yet unexpected devices that nurture a multitude of new transformations…» Michel De Certeau «Inventing the everyday» Starting from one spot and walking across the city; meeting somebody by chance; getting lost; observing what is beyond the real; finding yourself once more at the point you started from. The Dérive - an approach to urban walking that has been widely developed by the Situationist movement, especially after Guy Debord's «Report on the construction of situations» in which he proposed that we «change the world» by outstripping all the artistic forms through the unitary use of all the the available contrivances that will revolutionise everyday life.

The Dériver: a body drifting across an urban space or area such as a street, a building, a park etc., without any preconception of where he/she is going to or what is going to happen along the way. As if flowing along an imaginary stream, beyond situations that cannot be foreseen. Since the original concept of dérive was developed by the Situationists, new forms of dérives have emerged with various new elements that have been conceived and realised by following specific constraints: straight lines, particular signs or maps; by revealing certain occasions noticed in passing, chance meetings, discovering hidden paths or stumbling upon an incongruous event. In other words, these dérives generate an informal game, with many facets emerging from within and outside of the context in which the walker participates, often leading him/her to a point of no return, modelling an abstract form where reality is reversed into countless and infinite results. Geography intervenes in this schema as a continuum of action, as a way to decipher or rather to inscribe the physicality, the movement – sketching our own movements with their intangible spans of unconscious gestures on asphalt – possilble routes unfold before our eyes – both physical and psychological transcriptions are revealed as an automatic writing of the space. «Our central idea is the construction of situations, that is to say: the concrete construction of momentary ambiances of life and their transformation into a superior passionate quality . We did not seek the formula to overturn the world with books, but by wandering. Ceaselessly drifting for days on end, none resembling the one before. Astonishing encounters, remarkable obstacles, grandiose betrayals, perilous enchantments […]. Psycho-geography is the study of the exact laws and specific effects of geographical environments, whether consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals. The new architecture will establish a sonic plasticity that will match the setting. […] That's when we'll discover heartbreaking climates.» (Guy Debord) The Situationist's movement also unfolded the concept of ambiance, encouraging us to transcend the rationale of urban planning and city architecture in order to read and to experience the urban space differently. «One of the basic situationist practices is the dérive [literally: “drifting”], a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances. Dérives involve playful-constructive behaviour and awareness of psycho-geographical effects, and are thus quite different from the classic notions of journey or stroll.» (Guy Debord) An in-depth study of the means of creating ambiances and of their psychological influence is one the tasks we (the situationist) are currently undertaking. Ambiance is the affect that influence us in any given location: the depth, height, width, lighting, walls, sound, all manner of things, all kinds of matter, and all the constituents that produce the context of that location: they act upon us, upon the body, play with our senses, enter insidiously our mind. What the Situationists ultimately propose is to disrupt the settings of built established ambiances, to rebuild other ambiances with the residents, tourists, passers-by and dreamers not only by virtually tearing down and rebuilding the townscape as it stands, but also by taking into account the way our mind perceives anunderstand these conditions. We need to free our subconscious, unbind our imagination… We are proposing to make the electromagnetic phenomenon an object of our dérive. Man has always been living in a natural electromagnetic environment: the earth magnetic field. But for over 40 years, we also have had to live with a multitude of machines that generated their own electromagnetic waves (EM). An EM wave is the combination of two «disturbances», one electric, the second: magnetic. These two disturbances, vibrating simultaneously, but also perpendicularly, travel at the speed of light. An EM wave can thus be perceived as a moving electric disturbance of matter. It is possible to create a magnetic field at any time, by respecting the basic laws of electricity: by building your own generators, amplifiers and loud-speakers; and by adapting the electromagnetic phenomenon: with copper induction coils, magnets, and surfaces that capture charge or vibrations. The combination of a magnetic field and an electric field, which may vary in time and expand in space, has the consequence of the waves being kept alive within an EM field.

In order to generate an EM field, you must simultaneously produce:

1. an electric field, out of electric charges

2. a magnetic field, by displacing these electric charges

EM waves come out of the combination of these two fields. In other words, an EM wave is a periodic variation of an electric and magnetic field. Such a wave can be absorbed by a dipole (a type of antenna) moment receptor. Submitted to a sinusoidal or oscillation attraction, a dipole will turn or vibrate. With higher energies however, the connection might get s evered. For instance, if we are dealing with an aerial, we choose to install a loop that will produce this dipole moment. When you test the aerial, you find out that you can detect waves via two poles and pick up the outcome from two different angles, but this reception may possibly be better from only one of the two. This is the electromagnetic phenomena, it creates two phases that could creates attraction if you place a magnet in the middle. Beyond this physical inference, there is a reality that can be uncovered by its use in our dérives: the vibration of EM waves and a resulting electromagnetic spectrum can be translated into the waves of a sonic vibration - a small electrically powered amplifier will make these vibrations audible. The dérive then becomes a listening walk - listening to the EM spectrum - and the city is perceived as a bottomless pit full of frequencies and noises generated by a multitude of electrical machines and apparatuses. A soundscape is created infact by any device that runs somehow on electricity and will find itself in the midst of an EM field and become part of this listening experience .

There lies the difference with what the Situationists originally anticipated: no longer the diverse ambiances (or their deconstruction) will be showing us the way – rather just the movements will expose the invisible life of the city, the machines that play on our bodies, the underlying, unstoppable urban mechanics. The audio-geographical dérives and the listening of the EM spectrum may be viewed as a visitation to a parallel dimension within the day-to-day or as the hidden geography of an normally invisible, inaudible world: a world of mechinic forces in action, whose ubiquitous production and accelerated overdevelopment, has built new ambiances – new ways for us to experience the city Where Situationists considered social relations as the foundation of the urban space, EM detection gives us the power to investigate the relationship of man-machine. As we listen to new, unexpected, sonic products, we are thus introduced to a new ways to comprehend a machinic- city-architectural-body paradigm. A new game is established through this investigation and simultaneously a few cracks are revealed by the flux (the urban-machine). At this stage one guesses that, what he/she overhears, is a new entity - another living being speaking to us. However, we understand this to be a omnipresent being to which we also belong. This living entity constructs us, insidiously influencing us, from below and in the shadow of our own walls, locked in questionable certainty: do we really know what is going on? Armed with our aerial and a mobile amplifying system, we (our spectrometer group) are seeking an inaudible thing, made audible by upsetting the usual function of the aerial as a device for transmitting and receiving mediated data: The normal usage of the aerial is subverted when it allows you to hear, as well as create new situations – the resulting sounds surge from the device as it moves into any given public space. The city itself also undergoes a disassembly in becoming the transmitter of the EM spectrum, an inaudible temporality.

«constructed situation: A moment in life, physically and voluntarily constructed by the collective organisation of a single ambiance and a combination of events.» (Guy Debord) The resulting situations are then caught in an inbetween zone. On the one side, an unusual sound is perceived, disturbing the current sonic environment; then the captured phenomenon is described and made to be heard. The situation is subverted when something that we know about, but that we don't usually hear, is made audible with the singular production of a crude, unrefined, aggressive sound. The detected sounds come in an infinite variety of sorts, producing a wide range of timbres, from the highest pitch to the indistinctly lowest pitches, via an assortment of noise: white, brown, pink etc., repetitive and/or a-synchronic rhythm sections and frequency clusters. Every sound is then mixed into a combination that is never evenly distributed, this is because its constituents are dependent on the various individual electrical machines or devices that surround it, each with its own independent EM fields. This combination is organised according to criteria of utility rather than depending on the values measured by the sonic spectrum or an eventual musicality. When these (sonic) urban spaces are listened to, they tend to unveil the city, provoke some form of dissent, create a dialogue, and a break in the flux; a kind of poetry of the elusively rough - since the sonic result can effectively be raw. A dirty force evoked by a break in the day-to-day, by disrupting the routine, the habits, the habitus, the mechanistic usage of all these spaces etching its prescence upon a place, a street etc.,

Audio-geographical dérives and EM listening raise sensory perception to a poietic level inasmuch as the listener can potentially become active, in terms of transposition and sensation, motion and inversion. The listener re-creates for himself the blurred connection between the form: where the sounds are coming from and the physicality of these sounds themselves. There are no authors as such, of this research or these dérives; there is a smuggler, an initiator, a rouser of a substance behind our immediate understanding of the world. Let us consider Christina Kubisch, a German artist who has been using this phenomenon for a few years, both as a system of transmission of sonic pieces and as a way of listening to the EM spectrum in the city. In our view, transmitting the technique of capturing/recording, and understanding the related phenomenon, are both essential; even if we just want to think in terms of exploration, our approach to this is different from Christina's: in that she decides on the option of listening through a couple of earphones connected with a copper coil that amplifies the signal sent to a specific listener, while we broadcast to an 'outside', not just one person. Still, her work is captivating because she endeavours to expose a field that remains largely unexplored and to endow it with an understanding that is not only scientific, but also poetic and sensory, since she also uses wandering and dérive as uncategorised means to capture the sounds of our environment

Here is an example of what she has written about her recordings:

Invisible/Inaudible: Five Electrical Walks - Electromagnetic Investigations in the City «Electrical Walks is a public walk with custom-made sensitive wireless headphones by which aboveground and underground electromagnetic fields are detected, amplified and made audible. The transmission of sound is accomplished by a built-in set of induction coils which respond to the electromagnetic waves in our environment. The palette of these noises, their timbre and volume vary from site to site and from country to country. They have one thing in common: they are ubiquitous, even where one would not expect them. Light systems, wireless communication systems, radar systems, anti-theft security devices, surveillance cameras, cell phones, computers, street-car cables, antennae, navigation systems, automated teller machines, wireless internet, neon advertising, public transportation networks, etc. create electrical fields that are as if hidden under cloaks of invisibility, but of incredible presence. The sounds are much more musical than one could expect. There are complex layers of high and low frequencies, loops of rhythmic sequences, groups of tiny signals, long drones and many things which change constantly and are hard to describe. Some sounds are “global players”, they sound much alike all over the world. Others are specific for a city or country and cannot be found anywhere else. Electrical Walks is an an invitation to a special kind of investigation of city centres (or other locations). With the magnetic headphone and a map of the environs, upon which the possible routes and especially interesting electrical fields are marked, the visitor can set off on his own or in a group. The perception of everyday reality changes when one listens to the electromagnetic fields; what is accustomed appears in a different context. Sound can transport you to different time areas, sound can transport you through your knowledge of space. Your brain is trying to get together what you hear and see in new ways. Nothing looks the way it sounds. And nothing sounds the way it looks.» by Christina Kubisch, July 2007

At this point, we effectively encounter a novel perception that separates what we see from what we hear. C. Kubisch's course implies that the listening follows an introspective, self-centred, path; in our case of audio-geographical dérives and the audition of the EM spectrum, the listening is outbound; reality comes in, even at the cost of provoking a rupture in the unfolding of space, as well as of the relations that may have developed inside that space. The object is to create a situation of disruption by listening. For example: in our dérives, we have come across cases where curiosity and a certain rejection of different things appear simultaneously, objectified in the form of EM waves, rather than scientifically defined within a legal series of constraints. In this example, the laboratory is the urban space and we are not talking about modelling and testing in a closet laboratory but about experiments in situation. In the course of one dérive in the city of Marseilles, we were listening to an (external) cash-point, playing it by inserting our banker's card and drawing cash or questioning our accounts. Some employees then asked us, out of curiosity, what we were doing. We explained why and kept playing. They asked us again, somewhat incredulously and pressingly. Then they realised what we were trying to do, that we were just exploring artists, indulging in an unofficial game of derivation, and they demanded that we stop, since we had no right to do that, pretending in an authoritative tone to be on the right side of the law, and thus exposing their fear, of an unknown oddity, like meeting a stranger who upsets somebody's tranquillity, the good order of things and the operations of a desiring, paper-spitting, machine, Reading and writing the city (reflections on the city as a manuscript to decipher?)

In the continuation of the reflection on the works of Gordon Matta-Clark who marked the architectural space by cutting up various buildings, on Jacques Derrida's 'Dissemination', on Stéphane Mallarmé's writings, on a page considered as an architecture to be lived in, de- constructed and rebuilt, out of a book of deveni (becoming). «A singular work which was and was not a book: «Un coup de dés…», by Mallarmé, about which Blanchot wrote his essay «The book to come», where he used this title/expression to evoke the ideas of binding, gathering, collecting, and particularly, welcoming (for Mallarmé, the reader is also an 'host'). What strikes me, and what I am leading to, is that through your choice of words, your masterly stratagem, we can mix, confuse (but this what lies at the heart of the difference) all these texts, under the one title: 'book to come'. But it does not really matter; what is important is not so much the text but what it designates (in vain, would have added Blanchot): exactly this thing that we do not know, that has no shape for the moment, does not exist yet, but that goes under the designation 'book to come'.» (POSOLOGIE DE JACQUES DERRIDA - by Benoît Vincent)

This research has to be considered in relation to another kind of writing: that of the invisible book of EM waves on urban space and machinic architecture. Writing that incorporates fixed signifers and poetry, where those signs are both static and maluable, meaning is inscribed through a multitude of senses. Urban space and architectures form the pages of this book that may at once be read as it is written. The movement of the dérive becomes a pen, a writing tool, EM waves – the ink as they put form to the writing. The EM spectrum/spectre (ghost or range) is both a script and a combination of signals that makes sense in audible terms, as well as in terms of machinery, an invisible machinic script that can be decrypted when focused upon with some kind of magnifying glass or a translation machine for a language that remains obscure. The city then becomes an open book where we can compose our own reading, as we pass through its streets and find areas with a high density of EM waves. We come across the symbols of a language full of timbres, rhythms and compositions of heterogeneous and diverse melodies. Such a language may be understood in different ways: from the nature of its machinic and mechinist soul that produces a specific audible extension, possibly with a certain musical charm, or deciphering its sense from its context: a supermarket, a car, a street full of jeweller's shops, a cross-road, a billboard, not to mention by its significant polar resonance of the earth itself. In one of our dérives, we encounter a form of writing that has sprung out of two different sources: the rough script of the event, as we listen to it, and a form of de-location. Listening and creating a context comes out of our past experiences. Raising questions such as: How does a context change a space? How is the mechanism of a space progressively modified as we write onto it? Are the meanings of the signs that we had previously read in a space is transformed into something else, has it acquires another sense? Yet, we are dealing here with a temporary, a vanishing script… the sound being the transcription, the urban or building space: the page, the EM aerial and the amplifying/magnifying pen: devices that write and read the context. The readers feel roused, whether they be guests, participants or passers by attracted by the movement/action they happen upon. We are writing the multiple story of our movements in one place; dérive opens up at random the book of motion and the city finally becomes the tangible space of our sensory subconscious, moving out of an informal status to a materiality that can be reclaimed. After some time, the time it takes to put things into words, we write (literally this time) on the locations where the EM fields are captured. We mark with signs that warn of the kind of sound that has been captured: frequency, noise, rhythm, pitch… and throughout our dérive, we leave traces on walls, asphalt, concrete, billboards, shops and various metal parts of buildings… These traces allow us to imprint a sign of our dérive onto the city, to convey the fact that an invisible object has been uncovered in a specific location, that an invisibility has been exposed or an inaudibility, a spectre… To imprint a sign of a spectral existence, an uncertain, possible, presence, suggesting to our subconscious that the existence of an entity that can be exposed outside of our common perception is always possible.

A short Manual for the Construction of an electromagnetic aerial

1- Get hold of a roll of copper wire of a diameter of about 0.25mm.

2- Prepare an object (approx. 40 cm diam.) around which you will wind the copper wire about 100 times. The form of the object must allow you to take the coil out of it in the end

3- Wind very tightly and closely the wire about 100 times for a better reception

4- When the coil is finished, you should end up with 2 easily accessible tips: the beginning and the end…

5- Think of a system that keep the wire coil together once it is removed from its support: gaffer, pipe, scratch…

6- Remove the outer sleeve at the ends of the wire with a lighter or a cutter so that you can connect one to an audio jack plug (3.5 or 6.5 mm.)

7- Connect the other end to the ground

8- Plug the jack into an audio amplifier to test the system. You should then hear various sounds, depending on how close you are of a mobile phone, a computer… an electric socket will produce a 50 Hz buzzing trail that can be followed around the various halls and studios.

9- With a mobile audio amplifier, you can start a derive in your area and chase the normally inaudible sounds!

le libre et les nouvelles pratiques de création : open source modular art-efacts

article FLOSS+ART

français - english (below)

version 0.1 (source : julien Ottavi)

le libre intuitif et la pratique du libre

. Le mouvement du libre apparaît dans la continuité de la philosophie GNU développé par Richard Stallman autour de la licence GPL et du systéme d’exploitation GNU et dans un deuxiéme temps GNU/LINUX. Mouvement du libre car au delà du logiciel et du code, le libre serait avant tout une attitude, un positionnement au sein de la société et dans le cadre des activités humaine, le libre comme mouvement peut s’envisager aussi comme un développement continu, en cours, dans un processus de devenir et de partage. Ce terme large peut aussi regrouper la question du sensible et de l’approche expérimentale et intuitive qui nous traversent en permanence. le Libre ne saurait être une pratique limité à son origine fondatrice, que ce soit pour les logiciels ou pour les pratiques artistiques…, il est avant tout une relation au monde, une relation à la production et à l’échange entre les humains. La notion de libre en tant que concept ne remonte pas aux années 70/80, il a traversé de nombreuses époques et à exister sous des modalités différentes selon les civilisations. « origine du mot libre ». Le conte, le mythe, l’apprentissage des techniques, les connaissances ont trouvé leur développement enrichi à travers l’échange et la circulation de leur contenu et de leur pratique dans le temps et entre différentes communauté d’intérêts ou de savoir. Ce n’est que à l’avènement de la société marchande, capitaliste que nous avons vu apparaître les concepts de propriété s’appliquer au savoir, à la connaissance et à la technique… avec notamment l’apparition de la notion d’auteur. Le libre dans bien des domaines est un concept très intuitif, il compose une approche sensible des choses, qui en passe par la transmission, le partage et la conscience de sa propre continuité dans l’histoire humaine. Continuité dans le développement des idées et des savoirs, au delà des générations précédentes, nos idées et pratiques se développent à partir de points de convergences autour de plusieurs niveaux de concentration d’autres idées. Nous ne sommes pas des individus coupés de leur histoire dont le langage et les idées apparaîtraient de nulle part, nous sommes inscris dans la continuité de nos ancêtres. Si l’intuition du libre passe par différentes situations de mises en lien, partage et échange, elle n’en est pas moins confronté aujourd’hui à la puissance écrasante d’une société du tout propriétaire, du tout breveté, de l’individu-roi, et de la marchandisation – objectivation de la moindre parcelle d’idée ou de production humaine. L’intuition du libre, quand cela en passe par une existence dans la société marchande – capitaliste s’en trouve confronté au cadrage systématique des concepts de propriété et de brevetage du moindre acte ou pensée. Pour que cela ne puisse pas disparaître dans cette machine à emprisonner le réel, elle se positionne au sein de cette moulinette stérélisante en utilisant et en renversant les cadres et concepts qui l’oppressent. En cela la GPL se pose comme un renversement de la notion de copyright, utilisant le copyright pour ouvrir à un nouveau processus de création, de partage et de distribution du code source informatique. Comment passe ton de l’intuition du libre à la pratique du libre? Il s’agit en fait de ne pas seulement se situer dans le contre ou dans la proposition disparaissante, fantomatique mais bien d’ouvrir des failles dans un système qui tente par tous les moyens de se solidifier alors qu’il est au bord de l’écroulement. On parle ainsi de pratiques du libre, qui se développeraient en parallèle des pratiques marchandes et fétichisantes de la société capitaliste, qui viendrait à la fois interroger ce système, le remettre en question (ne serait-ce que par sa propre existence), le faire muter mais aussi permettre à d’autres de faire exister leur propre idées, projets, pratiques au delà des schémas imposés par la machine du grand capital. Ces pratiques se situent à tous les niveaux de l’activité humaine, aussi bien sur le champ de l’immatériel (idées, données numériques, connaissances…), que de la production d’objets industrielles, agricoles, artisanaux ou artistiques. De plus en plus se développe une conscience que la praxis et la production peuvent exister sous différentes modalités, d’autres points de vue, que celui du tout propriétaire. Elle tente d’ouvrir les cadenas que nous nous imposons par la peur et dans l’ignorance d’une économie à sens unique, une frappe de terreur nous touche au quotidien à travers l’abrutissement massif de nos repères et modes d’existence sur cette planète.

Le libre et la création, au delà d’un modèle, une synergie, une mutation...

. Comment les logiciels libres et l’open-source influencent et ouvrent le processus de création, les pratiques artistiques? et vice-versa? Depuis plusieurs années, le logiciel libre à fait son apparition dans la pratique artistique à travers l’utilisation d’outils dédiés à la création, commençant ainsi à se libérer de l’hégémonie des grandes maisons d’informatiques propriétaire. Au delà des outils et de leur efficacité dans la construction d’oeuvre artistique ou de processus de création, on voit apparaître tout un champ de concepts que nous apportent les logiciels libres : la logique de l’ouverture du code source, le partage et la distribution ouverte, la possibilité d’intervenir sur ces sources et ces modes de partage, le travail de documentation et de connaissances des pratiques pour enrichir et développer les possibilités de connaissances et de ré-appropriation par un autre, les modes de travail en réseau ou collaboratifs, ainsi que la remise en question du droit d’auteur et son développement vers d’autres définitions. Les premières influences que l’on a pu voir apparaître au sein des pratique de création, se situe au niveau du concept d’auteur et sur les modes de circulation et de partage du contenu, notamment du contenu numérisé (audio, texte, vidéo, image…). Le questionnement sur l’auteur trouve sa place naturellement dans les pratiques de création, elle à déjà fait l’objet de questionnements et de remises en question à travers tous les groupes des avant-gardes artistiques que ce soit dada ou les lettristes, les situationnistes et ainsi de suite, ou par la création d’oeuvre sans nom, sans auteur ou par la multiplication de pseudo ou de personnages imaginaires. Mais dans la plupart de tous ces cas, l’auteur est revenu en force. Là où il y avait remise en question de cette notion par des créations collectives ou des processus partagés, à chaque fois, l’existence de l’individu et sa reconnaissance ont prédominé dans le temps, le besoin de reconnaissance est plus fort pour l’individu, et la société capitaliste nous y force depuis notre enfance à travers les différents dispositifs de formatage (famille, éducation, prison, armée…etc). Le libre ne remet pas en question l’existence d’un auteur, au contraire, elle le met en présence et le développent au delà de sa forme restrictive lié à la fermeture de tout partage et de toutes modifications. L’auteur-propriétaire que nous différencions de l’auteur tout court, est celui dont le travail est sous le contrôle d’une juridiction quelle qu’elle soit, dont le résultat en terme d’idées ou d’objets (livres, cds, films, sculptures, habits, mobiliers, architectures…etc) peut être soumis à une réglementation - restriction dans le partage avec d’autres, dans son utilisation, dans sa modification et sa circultation. Dans de nombreux pays, tout objet ou oeuvre est par défaut « copyrighté », c’est à dire soumis à une réglementation juridique qui le protège de toute exploitation, copie ou transformation. Nos sociétés bureaucratiques ont déjà pensé aux moindres détails pour nous, le cadre est posé dés le départ, vos créations, vos idées doivent appartenir à quelqu’un, et elles doivent être protégées et brevetées en conséquence. C’est à ce moment là que la notion d’oeuvre libre et de licence du type GPL prennent tout leur sens, elle permettent au processus de création et à leur résultante de pouvoir envisager un mode d’existence autre que celui du tout propriétaire et du tout cloisonné. L’auteur peut enfin devenir maître de ses propres idées, productions et décider enfin comme il souhaite dans le cadre de la société marchande - capitaliste, partager, distribuer et rendre libre de toute modifications modifications ses oeuvres-travaux-processus. On voit apparaître ainsi des modifications dans les modes de transmissions des travaux artistiques, sous la forme de plate-forme de partage, de portail et de lieux immatériel de circultation des oeuvres, des copies des oeuvres ou de leur modifications. Une conscience d’être un auteur prend tout son sens, il prend même tous ses sens, ou toutes ses ramifications de sens, car chacun de nous peut enfin envisager le rapport qu’il entretient avec cette notion, il n’y a plus seulement la voix unique de la grande machine capitalisante. Au delà de son approche générique, nous situons notre pensée dans une société de la reproduction, où tout devient multipliable à souhait que ce soit industriellement ou bien aujourd’hui numériquement, il n’y a plus possibilité de créer de l’unique, la copie est toujours dans l’ombre de son origine, elle est totalement inhérente à l’hétérogénéité des pratiques. Les objets, les idées ne sont plus uniques dans le sens où les modes de reproduction et de circulation se produisent en temps-réel, dans l’instant même, à la seconde prés, tout peut devenir immatériel, se transformer, se copier à la minute même où la chose est énoncée, révélée. Nous nous trouvons en présence d’une machine à ingurgiter et à multiplier le réel, une spirale infernale avalant tout ce qu’elle trouve sur son passage. Nous sommes les proies d’une fourmilière digitale. Dans la perspective de ce que nous appellerions « l’auteur libéré », il y a la notion d’ouverture du code source et de sa possibilité de modification. On peut la retrouver dans l’art à travers les différentes licences appliquées au champ de la création (creative commons, art libre, gnuart…etc), où l’oeuvre est clairement ouverte à la modification, ré-appropriation par un autre… Là où cette ouverture était intuitive, elle apparaît aujourd’hui comme un choix délibéré de l’auteur et non plus comme filiation inhérente à l’idée de création. On ne parle plus seulement d’influence, de citations ou d’autres processus de détournement, modifications de l’oeuvre qui ont précédé l’idée d’oeuvre ouverte (potentiellement contrôlable, monayable, capitalisable…) mais cela devient partie intégrante de l’oeuvre ou processus, elle apparaît comme une partie de la production, elle est énoncé au yeux de tout le monde. Cela permet à la fois à la communauté artistique de consciemment développer, pervertir, embellir, redéfinir, détourner…l’oeuvre, le processus, les idées d’un autre, les questions ne se cachent plus, la possibilité de dépasser l’auteur-génie et l’auteur-propriétaire devient de plus en plus commun. Mais aussi à la société dans son entier, aux individus dans leur inter-connections de se dire qu’il n’y a plus autant de fossés entre eux et la création, entre eux et la possibilité du devenir créateur, de l’art fragmenté à différents niveaux de la société, ramifications de nos quotidiens et de nos actes les plus banaux. On retrouve de plus en plus de projets partant d’un code ouvert au sens d’une base de départ qui peut être ensuite être modifié par des individus ou un groupe de personnes, on y retrouvent ainsi les bases ancestrales de la création mais avant tout un positionnement, une énonciation de ces pratiques vis à vis de la capitalisation de chaque molécule de notre environnement, de ce que nous sommes, cela prend corps dans un faire, dans un dire. L’influence du libre à ce niveau intervient sur le fait que nous pouvons envisager de nouveau à partager ce que nous sommes et ce que nous avons à dire sans avoir peur… la peur de l’autre, de celui qui va venir contredire ce que nous voulons dire, de l’autre qui va venir interroger ce que nous sommes et voulons devenir. Au delà de cette reconnaissance de soi pour soi avec ces filiation déterminé, nous en tant qu’objet marchandisable, récupérable, nous pouvons nous multiplier, devenir multi-cellulaire, envisager l’être-multiple dans l’oeuvre, dans le processus… . Il n’y a plus seulement les Grands de l’histoire, il y aurait plutôt un noyau de multiplication. Non pas seulement comme concept, mais aussi comme apparition effective dans le champ de la reconnaissance de pratiques au delà d’une fondation. Apparaît la notion d’auteur-multiple.

Apparition de pratiques influencés par le libre : de nouvelles approches de la création?

. Depuis plusieurs années les logiciels libres se positionnent dans le champ des pratiques en réseau, c’est à travers les premiers réseaux que les codes sources ont pu circuler, qu’ils se sont partagés, modifiés, multipliés, c’est dans les techniques du réseau que les systèmes GNU/LINUX se sont fait reconnaître. Ainsi les notions de travail collaboratif sont dès le départ une manière de construire le logiciel et la possibilité de faire avancer son développement, les projets à multiples auteurs et multiples écritures, corrections, scriptages, bêta-tests… Le logiciel a ouvert dès son apparition les concepts d’internet et de mise en réseau au delà de leur sens premier. Sans les logiciels libres et les logiques des licences libres, on se trouverait encore dans une conception du réseau limité à des portails payant ou controlés par des sociétés spécialisées (que nous pouvons retrouver en partie sur les réseaux actuels), mais qui est largement contrebalancé par les techniques d’ouvertures et l’infinité de propositions du mouvement du libre (logiciels, contenus, pensées, documentation, distribution, communauté, entraide, forum et mode de partage…). Dans le même temps, de nombreuses formes de création utilisant les concepts de réseau, de partage, de collaboratif… se sont développées sur internet et hors internet. Elles ont plus ou moins, intuitivement, repris les concepts en cours au niveau du développement du net et des pratiques numériques, où les formes se multiplient, les couches de transformation s’accumulent, se déploient selon des principes de dissémination, où les notions temporelles s’étirent, deviennent vitesses, où les modes d’existence deviennent ubiquité, où l’auteur devient dizaines, milliers, où la machine, extension humaine devient créateur, s’autonomise et trouverait presque son mot à dire. N’ayons pas peur des mots où une nouvelle société prend forme, ou de nouvelles visions se croisent et se cognent, forment des amas, explosent en de multiples particules, où les désirs s’écrivent par milliers, où l’être humain va tenter de se faire muter, lui et son milieu. Mutation machinique, pensée chaosmique, artefacts et dispositifs de numérisation des corps, l’avènement de cette société est imprévisible dans ses conséquence à moyen terme sur le comportement de nos congénères. Nous avançons à pleine vitesse, aveugle, ne se fiant qu’à la peur qui nous étreint le ventre, qu’à la semi-conscience de notre fin, nous sommes les Icares fonçant sur le soleil, voulant devenir soleil. Quel est le rapport aux nouvelles pratiques artistiques? Peut-être celles-ci reflètent-elles une partie de nos irrationnels desseins, désirs, fantasmes… . Mais le désir a rendez-vous avec le devenir, nous sommes en proie à créer, à nous créer nous-même dans cette relation avec la machine, avec le réseau. Dans ses pratiques du réseau, de la machine, nous retrouvons ainsi des projets dont l’objet réside dans une oeuvre infinie qui se développe à travers les années et qui inclut de nombreux contributeurs, se multipliant tout le temps, où le réseau sert de transmetteur à plusieurs combinaisons. L’idée d’oeuvre infinie qui se développe sous le mode de la version, comme le logiciel permet d’envisager dans sa forme ouverte, des modalités où la notion d’oeuvre même éclate, le processus n’est plus pris non plus sous la modalité du concept mais devient pratique et expérimentation partagé et envisagé comme potentialité de développement artistique. Non plus comme mouvement, ou pris dans les cadres de l’histoire de l’art (art conceptuel par exemple) mais comme pratique au quotidien pouvant toucher différents milieux, différents types d’activité humaine. Dans la multiplication et l’ouverture de celle-ci, nous voyons aussi apparaître des formes de création inter-connectées à travers les réseaux, qui se nourrissent et échangent des informations physiques pouvant se trouver à des distances géographiques radicalement différentes, se développant sur le mode de l’ubiquité. I est partout, se multiplie tout seul comme des cellules. Les protocoles ouverts permettent au créateur d’échanger en temps-réel des contenus, processus avec d’autres, il s’ensuit une autre manière d’envisager son approche de la captation ou de la transformation, sachant que celle-ci va faire partie d’une entité multi-couches, à ramifications constellaires. On pourra envisager d’étendre l’expérimentation au delà du format, de s’ouvrir à des conceptions non développées jusque là. La notion de produit catégorisable, quantifiable disparaît au profit d’une forme imperceptible, intouchable, insaisissable dans son entier, échappant à toute tentative de définition à priori. Elle permet ainsi de s’envisager en tant que créateur à plusieurs niveaux, sur plusieurs échelles, temporelles, géographiques, sensibles…etc, de se mouvoir dans une masse informelle comme un passeur qui créerait du lien en touchant un point, il permet de développer des types de création qui nous échappe, qui pullulent, deviennent comme des virus, qui peuvent aussi bien disparaître, s’enliser, se fragmenter en des choses que nous n’avions pu envisager au préalable. La machine se poétise, elle devient sensiblement notre alter-ego. Nous sommes pris par notre propre tentative d’extension, de ce devenir machine qui nous habite, de ce fantasme cosmique qui transpire en nous, celui de devenir le ici et là bas, le maintenant et l’après. Le logiciel libre et les pratiques du libre au sens large libèrent des désirs que nous n’avons pas encore formulé, ils sont là, se matérialisent, se font récupérer, se communiquent, se développent, sont détournés, dématérialisés dans l’instant même mais ils se multiplient, s’envisagent comme des formes infinies, partagés et ouvertes à la remise en question dans leur existence, dans leur futur, dans ce qu’ils sont et ne sont pas. Le pirate n’est plus un faux (servant malgré les intérêts de trusts ou d’institutions), il devient navigateur de l’inconnu, car les pratiques du libre se développent au delà des définitions, au delà des schémas habituels. Le fait que l’on puisse partir de contenu libre, de pratiquer le partage où l’auteur devient multiple, nous amènent ainsi à repenser notre position vis à vis des différentes catégories d’acteurs impliqués dans nos modes de création : le concepteur, l’auteur, le technicien, le producteur, le diffuseur, l’artiste, le spectateur ou le participant…etc, nous sommes devenus tout cela à la fois et nous pouvons aussi l’envisager sous le mode de circulation sans aucune limitation de cadre juridique ou technique. Nous sommes bousculés dans nos propre repères sur la vision par catégorie et grille de lecture de notre environnement, la création se libère ainsi de sa charge historique, les modes d’existence s’envisagent sous différentes modalités : temps-réel, diffusion permanente, distribution sur les réseaux, multiplication des copies, dissémination en plusieurs points du réseau, fragmentation de la source-produit… . L’écriture même de ce texte n’est pas là où l’on pense qu’elle est, elle est déjà ailleurs, elle se trouve en de multiples points, elle existe pour vous là à l’instant où vous lisez mais elle à déjà pris des formes dont vous ne verrez peut-être jamais la forme, ou vous ne saurez peut-être pas qu’elle a un lien avec sa source… elle est en devenir, elle est déjà devenu et ne nous attend pas pour disparaître et se multiplier.

The 'Free' and New Creative Practices : Open Source Modular Art-efacts

version 0.1 (source : julien Ottavi

The Intuitively Free and the Free as Practice

The free software movement came into existence with the GNU philosophy, originally developed by Richard Stallmann, through the GPL licence and the GNU operating system, and later, through GNU/LINUX. It was called 'Free' from the beginning, already an attitude, a choice for a certain kind of society and human behaviour, even before involving software and encoding; which should be considered in terms of continuous development, an in-progress operation, a sharing process. Gathered under this name the enduring questions of the sensible, intuitive and practical approaches to reality frequently arise. The 'free' movement cannot only be thought of as a practice limited to the realm of computing and art, since its origin was the result of a relation to production and to social trade. The concept of 'free' was not born out of the 70/80's, but had previously travelled through various periods, various processes, feeding on the all sorts of cultures. Tales, myths, the learning of techniques – all new knowledge enriched through the exchange and circulation of their content and of their practice in times and communities which shared the same interests and the same wish to understand. However, with the onset of capitalism the notion of property – the ownership of knowledge and of technology, dominates the processes by which knowledge is handled and obtained, especially with relation to the invention of copyrights. Yet, contrary to this the 'free' movement is an intuitive and deeply engrained attitude that has traversed the centuries. Rather than being detached from an extinct tradition, the 'free' movement continues to enlarge those ideas of its ancestors – which, recently replaced by a new language and new ideas, is now confronting a society where everything is bound by the concepts of property and the licensing of individual rights and commodity trading – objectifying every beginning of an idea or a product. GPL aims to overturn such a perspectives by upsetting that infamous right not to copy and instigating a new process of creation, of sharing and of the diffusion of source codes. But how do we move from the intuition of the 'free' to implimenting its practice? By opening the faults that undermine a system, such as those cracks created beneath the capatalist structures, by practices contrary to those structures pretending to reach a new kind of stability in a society whose systems are crumbling, the 'free' movement is begining to get a foot hold. Practising the 'free' signifies exiting the spheres of trade and fetichist capitalism; questioning the system (even its reality), organising its mutation, allowing others to develop their own ideas, projects and practices beyond the schemes imposed by the corporate machine. The practice of the 'free' can be found at all levels of human activity, be it immaterial (ideas, digital data, knowledge) or industrial, agricultural, manual (craft) or artistic. It becomes ever more obvious that praxis and production can exist under different guises, outside the notion of property. The 'free' unlocks the doors of fear or ignorance of dead end economics.

Free software and creation: beyond models, synergy and mutation

How do free software and open source influence each other and encourage creative processes and artistic practices? For a few years now, free software has participated, through creation-oriented tools, in artistic practices which could then be set free from the domination of large proprietary data processing corporations. But we now discover a whole field of concepts through free software: the logic of source code, of sharing and open distribution, the freedom to modify sources, new modes of sharing, new ways to learn or to transform other people's work, working in a net or a collective, questioning copyrights and other property rights… The first effects of the 'free' on creation were felt against the notion of copyright in addition to the invention of new modes of distribution and sharing content or knowledge - especially digital content (audio, text, video, image). Questions concerning authorship had already been raised by previous avant-garde artistic groups, such as Dada, Lettrists, Situationists, as well as through unclaimed works and imaginary names, and so on. Yet the concept of authorship eventually came back with a vengeance; the individual's wish for recognition prevailed, programmed into us by the system and its formatting devices (family, school, prison, army, media…). The 'free' movement does not negate the existence of an author; on the contrary: the author introduces him/herself and allows us to develop his/her work beyond any denial to share and transform. What we call 'author-owner', as opposed to plain 'author', is controlled by jurisdiction, his/her ideas or products (books, cds, films, sculptures, clothes, designs…) would remain restricted or regulated. In many countries, all works of art or of the imagination, are « copyrighted » by default, i.e. their use is regulated and they are legally protected from free copying or transforming. The red tape of the bureaucrates has already decided what is best for us, we are entwined from the start; new concepts must necessarily belong to somebody; hence, they must be protected and licensed. At this stage, the notion of 'free' comes onto the scene, and licences such as 'GPL' become essential, allowing again the creative process to be developed outside of the rigid proprietary rules that binds it. The product is now set free from the world of traded commodities, ready to be shared, distributed or transformed. The author can now let his/her work proliferate and generate new processes. In a world of (almost) costless reproduction, the outmoded notion of the 'unique' has no reason to subsist; objects, concepts are no longer irreplaceable. We now live in a time of proliferation, of (digital or industrial) diffusion: when production can be multiplied, in different modes, from different points of view – not just the perspetive of the originator, the « owner's ». The doors of fear and ignorance of one-way economics may be set ajar. Things can now be copied at will and immediately, as soon as they have been created or expressed. Reality now confronts the great propagating machine which can swallow anything and regurgitate so many of its replicas. More and more ants stream out of a digital planetary ant-hill. The author has now been 'liberated' through the opening of source codes and by the possibility of their modification. This trend can be observed in the artistic arena, thanks to many kinds of licences that have been chosen specifically for creation (creative commons, art libre, gnu-art etc.), and including works open to transformation, modification or re-appropriation… Where this opening had previously been intuitive, now it has becomes the conscious choice of the original author; there is no more talk of 'influence', 'quotes' or other ways to modify works (previously considered as 'assets', liable to be 'controlled'). When governed by these new licences, works become part of an on-going process, they are 'in progress', part of a multi-layered product. In this context, any member of the art community may consciously develop, disrupt, esthetize, redefine, divert a piece of work, a process, an idea, originated by others; questions can now be openly raised, the author/genius can be upstaged and the author/owner becomes rather run-of-the-mill. Everybody can now believe that that part of the gap that separated them from creativity has been filled and that art can penetrate our most trivial actions. More and more projects are using the concepts of open codes as a basis to push and engourage later transformations by individuals and groups. This means we may now imagine sharing what we are and what we mean without fear, fear of the other, of whoever might contradict us, question us or our project. We can now proliferate, become multi-cellular, imagine a manifold entity in each work, each process… History is no longer made of Great People only, but of multi-generational nuclei. We contemplate the renaissance of the collective author.

New practices influenced by the free movement :

For a few years, free software has been engaged in network practice. Through these first networks, source code has been able to circulate, it has been shared, modified, copied. GNU/LINUX first met recognition when it engaged in network technology. Free software could only be developed out of collaborative work, multi-authored projects, programming, corrections, beta-tests… From the outset the 'free' project participated in the Internet project and the practice of net-working. Without free sofware and the options of out-of-copyright licences, the notion of digital networks would have found itself limited to paying sites, or sites controlled by specialised companies. Whilst these companies are visibly present in the current system, they have to compete with more open techniques in addition to a mass of products stemming from the free movement, such as; software, texts, ideas, documentation, distribution, community, mutual aid, forums, modes of sharing etc. Many forms of creation implicating contemporary notions of networks, sharing and collaboration have been developed in and outside of the Internet. They intuitively borrowed concepts from the net and the digital, and from the resulting multiplication of forms and layers, the deregulation of time (stretched), the new ubiquity of our way of life. When the author is multiplied tenfold, thousandfold, when the machine (prothesis of the human) becomes creator, autonomous and almost unbound: we could see a new society being born where new visions mingle and get bruised, pile up and explode, new hopes are arise leading to mutations. Machinic mutations lead to chaos, the unknown, and unexpected behaviour. We are now running into darkness with fear as our only light, maybe toward our termination, like Icarus aiming for the sun, trying to disappear into the sun. However, what has this got to do with artistic practices? Maybe these practices only mirror our scopes, desires, phantasms? Maybe desire is necessary for our transformation, and we need to create, with machines, through networks. to participate collectively in an inconmmensurable and endless work of art, with networks acting as multipliers in a myriad of permutations. The continual production of a work, forever ongoing in its actualisation, can now be considered – with so many layers or versions, temporary endings and pauses, as a new process that explodes the myth of the completed work of art, of achievement – work that is perpetually in progress is no longer the dream that was previously imagined, rethorically invoked : it can actually be realised. Relayed by many craftsmen, artists, technicians, who modify the very concept of work of art are no longer caught up in a 'movement', nor prisoners of the framework of Art History (as in Conceptual art), but free to shift within an on-going practice, across diverse milieus and activities. New creative forms can connect, through networks, feeding and exchanging data from afar, ubiquitous. New forms of creation everywhere, reproducing like organic cells. Creators can now exchange in real time, exchange content and/or processes, as well as receive some form of instant feedback; they can imagine catching or transforming things differently, and hope that their own contribution will participate in a gigantic constellation. Any experiment has the potential to continue beyond any pre-defined framework, following directions never conceived previously. The notion of a categorised, quantified product could sometimes disappear, being replaced by undefined forms destined to evolve unexpectedly. The machine becomes poetical, almost human. Or we are becoming our own prosthesis, the cosmic phantasm that we exhale, integrating the here and there, the now and after. Free software and the practice of the 'free' in general liberates the desires that we have not yet expressed. Here they appear, suddenly realised, developed, diverted, recuperated and they communicate, but they dissolve as soon as they are born, and multiply to an infinity of forms, shared and open; their mere existence is questioned as much as their future and their definition. The pirate does not depend on the fake, the faux (remaining a prisoner of corporations or institutions), he explores the unknown, beyond definitions, beyond routine.

By developing from a free content, by sharing with multiple authors, we can reconsider the various co-actors or co-producers of a collective work, who are no more prisoners of a specific role: the conceptor, the author, the technician, the producer, the distributor, the artist, the spectator, the participant… : we can now become all or anyone of these. And we know our (and their) work can now be distributed without any legal or technical constraints. With gratitude, we are lost. We have derailed the beaten path of easy categorisations and obvious histories, new modes are open : real-time, permanent diffusion, network distribution, countless copies, ubiquity on the net and the division of product-source. Even this text has not been written where you/they think: it's here and it's there, everywhere, you read it in one form but, maybe, it has already been copied and modified in ways you can't imagine. It is becoming something else, it has become already, it does not wait for us before it dissipates or proliferates into the universe.

Original text written in french : translation by Hervé Gosselin

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theorical_texts.txt · Last modified: 2015/08/28 00:36 (external edit)