[NetBehaviour] Dark Designs/Art, technology & conspiracies.

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Tue Sep 9 12:52:53 CEST 2008

Dark Designs
Art, technology & conspiracies


Symposium - Performances - Exhibition

Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland

14 October 2008

Exhibition - 15 - 24 October 2008

Dark Designs will explore the notion of art,
technology and conspiracies in a series of events
taking place in venues across Yverdon-les-Bains
in Switzerland.

Organised by Maison d'Ailleurs (House of
Elsewhere) - the museum of Science Fiction,
Utopia and Extraordinary Journeys - and the
University of Art and Design in Geneva (HEAD),
Dark Designs includes a symposium featuring
acclaimed science fiction writer, Norman Spinrad;
director of transmediale, Stephen Kovats;
philosophers Pierre Lagrange and Daniel Pinkas;
scientists Herbert Keppner and Je'ro^me Charmet
and many others. The symposium takes place in the
new wing of Maison d'Ailleurs - Espace Jules
Verne - which opens ten days before Dark Designs.

Dark Designs also includes an exhibition of
digital art by students, located in
Yverdon-les-Bains' historic 13th century Savoyard
castle, and an evening of extraordinary
performances by artists Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry
Gelfand and Gaspard Buma, hosted by the
picturesque theatre, L'Echandole, situated in the
caves of the castle.


In an age when technology is omnipresent, in a
society of flux, transparency and of widespread
surveillance and paranoia, the Internet seems to
have become the favorite support system for an
upsurge in rumours and wild conspiracy theories.
New media now give rise to the very same
controversies that surround Science Fiction and
scientific progress in general.
Dark Designs questions the current relevance of
conspiracy theories and their digital avatars.
The event takes a thoughtful and incisive look at
the concept's ambiguity, history and links to
philosophy, research, art and technology.

The event is a follow up to some of the ideas
explored at transmediale08 in Berlin.


14 October 2008

14:00 - 18:30 Pierre Lagrange, Daniel Pinkas,
Stephen Kovats, Laurent Schmid, Manuel
Schmalstieg, Anne Zeitz, Herbert Keppner, Je'ro^me
Charmet, Evelina Domnitch, Dmitry Gelfand &
Norman Spinrad

18:30 Ape'ritif and opening of exhibition

20:30-21:15 Gaspard Buma, Partition pour 8 muscles et 1 sampler

21:45-22:30 Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry
Gelfand, 10000 peacock feathers in foaming acid


Maison d'Ailleurs
Place Pestalozzi 14
1400 Yverdon-les-Bains
Telphone: +41 (0)24 425 64 38
Email: info at dark-designs.net


Date/Time: Tuesday 14 Ocbtober 2008, 14:00 - 18:30

Venue: Espace Jules Verne, Maison d'Ailleurs
Place Pestalozzi
1400 Yverdon-les-Bains

Entrance: free

Welcome Screening of Iconography of Conspiracy

I. History and philosophy of conspiracies

Pierre Lagrange, 'Qui ne croit pas aux the'ories du complot?'

Daniel Pinkas, 'Re'flexions e'piste'mologiques sur les the'ories du complot'

Stephen Kovats, Dark Space: tracing conspiracy beyond the depths of 
Jules Verne '20 000 leagues'

Laurent Schmid, Manuel Schmalstieg,'Fear, uncertainty and doubt' Discussion

16:00-16:20 Break

Screening of Iconography of Conspiracy

16:20-18:00 II. Art, technology and plots
16:20-16:50 Anne Zeitz, 'Le Point aveugle de la surveillance'
16:50-17:20 Herbert Keppner, Je'ro^me Charmet, 'The Lifter project'
17:20-17:40 Evelina Domnitch, Dmitry Gelfand, 'Light Harvesting'
17:40-18:00 Norman Spinrad, 'The Conspiracy: Only Chaos is Real'
18:30 Conclusion


Pierre Lagrange (F) Sociologist, specialized in
the study of science and controversies in
"para-sciences". Also an associate researcher at

Daniel Pinkas (CH) Philosopher, professor at
Geneva University of Art and Design, co-head of
the postgraduate course Immediat, and leader of
research projects in the field of new media.

Stephen Kovats (CAN) Architect, media researcher
and director of Transmediale, Berlin's festival
for art and digital culture, where the 2008 theme
was 'Conspire'.

Laurent Schmid (CH) Artist and professor at
Geneva University of Art and Design, co-head of
postgraduate course Imme'diat and Work.Master,
leading the research project Coldcenter.

Manuel Schmalstieg (CH) Executive director of the
multidisciplinary art collective N3krozoft Ltd,
who operate on the border between video,
performance and software art.

Anne Zeitz (D) Artist, and researcher
(Mouvement-observation-contro^le, Goethe-Institut,
2007), and member of the 'Esthe'tique des nouveaux
me'dias' laboratory at the University Paris 8.

Herbert Keppner (D) Physician, professor and
researcher in the field of microtechnologies
(HE-ARC, Le Locle), who works mainly with plasma
assisted effects and on industrial plasma

Je'ro^me Charmet (CH) Engineer in Microtechnologies
in the fields of semiconductors and sensors, and
since 2004, a researcher in Professor Keppner's
group at HE-ARC, Le Locle.

Dmitry Gelfand (RU), Evelina Domnitch (BY)
Artists and performers, who create installations
and sensory immersion environments that merge
physics, chemistry and computer science with
uncanny philosophical practices.

Norman Spinrad (USA) Science-fiction writer,
author of the acclaimed and controversial books
Bug Jack Barron, The Iron Dream, The Mind Game,
amongst many others.


Date/Time: Tuesday 14 October 2008, 20:30

Venue: The'a^tre de L'Echandole
Place Pestalozzi
1400 Yverdon-les-Bains

Entrance: Entrance: CHF 12 (free for participants of the symposium)

Gaspard Buma
'Partition pour 8 muscles et 1 sampler'
Gaspard Buma questions in his works the relation
of machines to the body and to intimacy, as in
the piece Home (2007), in which movement sensors
connected to computers transform into music a
group of dancers' movements. "I always wanted to
be a strong man, a perfect dancer, a super hero,
an amazing loverS( but I'm only myself (I'm only
what I am, with the body I have) So I invented a
machineS(". This performance uses the body as a
percussion instrument. A computer plays a music
score which is simultaneously transmitted to the
muscles through electro-stimulators. Each note,
provokes the contraction of a muscle, thus
producing and controlling the performer's

Ten Thousand Peacock Feathers in Foaming Acid
Dmitry Gelfand, Evelina Domnitch
Because there are not yet formulas to describe
certain invisible morphologies, scientists rely
on soap films as an unsurpassed means of
simulation. The artists scan the surfaces of
nucleating and dissipating soap bubble clusters
with a hyper-focused beam of laser light,
generating a live, large-scale projection of
invisible ionic streams and other mind-boggling
phenomena of non-linear optics. Bubble behaviors
viewed in such close proximity evoke the dynamics
of living cells. This performed installation also
uses the laser to inspect inaudible vibrations,
propagating through the reflective media of
bubble membranes, and entering the hearing
spectrum by means of a light-triggered
programming environment.

Artists' Statement
"A vacuum or semi-vacuum encased within a gravity
and temperature sensitive elastic skin - the
scenario of an early universe, a soap bubble, and
later, that of a biological membrane. By
researching the behavior of soap bubbles, a vast
variety of optical, mathematical, thermodynamic
and electrochemical discoveries have been made
since the time of the Renaissance.

The first ever computers were soap film
calculators (15th century), which tackled
geometric equations of minimal surface area. The
latest nanoscopic soft drives are being used for
blackhole and superstring modeling. Because there
are not yet formulas to describe these invisible
morphologies, scientists rely on soap films as an
unsurpassed means of simulation.

The artists use laser light to scan the surfaces
of nucleating and dissipating soap bubble
clusters. Unlike ordinary light, the laser's
hyper-focused beam is capable of crawling through
the micro and nano structures within a bubble's
skin. When aimed at specific angles, this
penetrating light generates a live, large-scale
projection of normally invisible ionic streams as
well as mind-boggling phenomena of non-linear
optics recently discovered at the Lebedev Physics
Institute (Moscow). Without the use of a
microscope or any other magnifying devices, the
laser itself permits the tremendous leap in
scale. Bubble behaviors viewed in such close
proximity evoke the dynamics of living cells
(whose emergence and survival was made possible
through analogous membrane formation).

Technologically, this performed installation is
akin to Leon Theremin's eavesdropping device, the
"Buran" developed for the KGB in 1945. This
microwave scanner was used for the surveillance
of acoustic vibrations on the surface of
windowpanes and toilet water. Instead of
employing a ray of microwaves as the scanning
medium, a laser, which was not yet
instrumentalized at the time of Theremin's
invention, can far more accurately accomplish the
same task. As such, a vast variety of inaudible
vibrations can be inspected, propagating through
all sorts of reflective media - in this case,
that of bubble membranes. These inaudible
dynamics enter the hearing spectrum by means of a
light-triggered programming environment created
by Bas van Koolwijk.

In stark contrast to former bubble explorations
by scientists, mathematicians, and artists (the
likes of which have included Newton, Da Vinci,
Gauss, Chardin, Young and Murillo to name a few),
here, a warped, 'impossible' space-time is
invented: the laser's multi-angle paths through
numerous bubble surfaces project a dense layering
of diverse scales, speeds and vanishing points.
The title of the work stems from the Chinese
expression, 'the ten thousand things', signifying
the varifold of cosmic phenomena. Though it may
become as thin as a single molecule, all 'the ten
thousand things' are refracted through the
sensitive skin of a soap bubble."


Date/Time: Vernissage_ - Tuesday 14 Ocbtober 2008, 18:30
Open: 15 -24 October 2008 (Wednesday - Friday
14:00 - 18:00, Saturday - Sunday 11:00 -18:00)

Venue: Caves du Cha^teau
Place Pestalozzi
1400 Yverdon-les-Bains

Entrance: free

Conspiracies, the freely interpreted theme of the
event, is the guiding principle for a selection
of works either made especially for the occasion
or chosen from recent digital art works by
students in the postgraduate program Imme'diat -
arts and medias at the Geneva University of Art
and Design, and from the Cycle supe'rieur de
recherche cre'ation et innovation of the Ecole
Nationale Supe'rieure des Arts De'coratifs (ENSAD -
Paris). The works range from computer imagery to
programmed on-line works, videos, animations and
interactive installations.
Dark designs will thus appear through several
recurring questions on the everyday presence of
interconnected computers, immersion in digital
imagery and computer-generated flux and through
projects dealing with the fears, suspicions and
controversies that surround the development of

Works from: Benoi^t Billote, Samuel Dahan, Nicolas
Field, Victor Konwicki, Cheong Kwon, Oh Eun Lee,
Angela Marzullo/Renaud Marchand, Raphae"lle
Mueller, Israel Antonio Ospina, Mark Pasquesi,
Thomas Perrodin, Adriana Caso Sarabia, Laura
Seguy, Patrick Tschudi, Roman Urodovskikh (HEAD -
Gene`ve), with Emilie Brout/Maxime Marion,
Dominique Cunin, Mayumi Okura (ENSAD - Paris).


Maison d'Ailleurs: http://www.ailleurs.ch/
HEAD (Haute Ecole D'art Et De Design) - Gene`ve: http://head.hesge.ch/
With support from: l'Office fe'de'ral de la culture
- Sitemapping, la Ville d'Yverdon-les-Bains et le
The'a^tre de L'Echandole, Pour-cent culturel Migros
In partnership with: Transmediale (Berlin), Ecole
Nationale Supe'rieure des Arts De'coratifs (Paris)

NB: On 4 October, Maison d'Ailleurs open Espace
Jules Verne, a permanent exhibition in a new wing
of the museum. Also on that date, the temporary
exhibition 'Return to Dinotopia' opens. Both
exhibitions will be able to be viewed by visitors
to Dark Designs.


Telphone: +41 (0)24 425 64 38
Email: info at dark-designs.net

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