Piksel participated in this years Transmediale on the topic of Open Hardware.
One of many events bundled under this year’s theme: Deep North.
A theme grounded in the climate changes of our time, and the mystical aspects of a North. Several of the speakers during the opening of the festival were urging artists and the audience alike to get involved in fighting the climate changes of our time through our art and work.
The call is noble, yet it still seems a bit too easy. What kind of actions are we talking about? How can art and digital media fight global warming?
And after the opening the audience was lead to the exhibition space and presented to the exhibited works of this year’s Transmediale artists, and I can’t shake the feeling that I am looking countless pieces involving ice, ice cubes, sounds of ice, ice bergs, polar bears etc, and there is nothing new there. I am instantly transported back in time where when introduced as a Norwegian, was asked if there are polar bears in the streets of Norway.
Deep North is bordering on becoming a cliche. The north should be more than just a place assosiated with ice and global warming melting that same ice, and borders existing under the ice, and even though the speakers at the opening suggested a stronger mystical association with the choice of theme – I am left with a feeling of flatness, what mysteries are you talking about?
A silent visual comment was presented the following day - the classical t-shirt protest – quote generously borrowed from the KLF.
Piksel and Fair Trade Hardware
Piksel’s involvement in this years Transmediale was centered around a discussion panel on open hardware at Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt.
The host, Aymeric Mansoux (GOTO10) , had put together a diverse group of tinkers and thinkers invited to contribute to the somewhat ambigous subject of Fair Trade Hardware:
Massimo Banzi (tinker.it, arduino)
Martin Howse (XXXXX)
Matthew Ratto (critical making)
Reto Wettach (fritzing)
Adam Somlai-Fischer (kitchen budapest)
Gisle Frøysland (piksel)
With 1,5 hour in total to cover introduction of subject, presentation of the work of the participants and discussion it is clear that many important topics are only mentioned briefly. And in this case the subject of the brand of Arduino as an important element in a business case, was a repeating theme throughout the session, which somehow made equally important aspects of Open Hardware fade into the background. Such as the lifecycle of hardware and how individual tinkering with obsolete hardware parts can offer new and innovative reuse, how general knowledge of hardware components and circuitry can make technology less ubiquous and more participative, and lastly, the very important question of how to make hardware open through licensing.
Underneath you find graphical recordring of the session which is left rather uncommented, in the hope you as reader can create your own image of the session taking place. Comments on how to improve this medium for use in this blog is highly welcomed.
FairTrade Hardware Salon Setup and Introduction
Tinker.it, XXXXX, Critical Making, Fritzing, Kitchen Budapest and Piksel
Salon discussion: Business models and licensing