Afraid of White and Blue?

Last Friday (March 3, 2012), Tobias Leingruber issued IDs. The number was limited to 100. As expected one had to stand in line in order to get one, after all standing in line has at all times been an essential part of any interaction with administration.

Unlike other artists and activists before him, Tobias does not claim to start his own state and his critique is not aimed at the state as such, but at what he believes may replace the state some time soon: Facebook


Artful Gentrification

Last night I was at an opening at LoBe art space, at a small project space in Wedding. After closing the gallery we went to a pub across the street. Some of the kids running the place asked me whether I was conscious of we were accelerating gentrification. By showing art that is of no interest to the people who live in the neighborhood we would attract people with money who would start moving there. Well, probably true. They explained to me that they had bought the house with the pub and were running it as an alternative space and that that they were showing art too, but only art produced by locals. They pointed out that the neighborhood management had communicated in flyers that they were trying to “improve” the neighborhood by giving cheap space to (non-commercial) art galleries. In other words: The clueless artists are being used. Point made. However, I thought that the place with the alternative kids did just as much to make the area attractive for people like myself. More so anyway, than some of the other establishments in the neighborhood, like the gambling place next door, which again are probably a lot more popular amongst a majority of the neighbors, than a bar with windows covered with wooden panels and a lesbian band playing in the back. Catch 22.

Note: The space of LoBe is actually not rented but privately owned and–while probably very welcome–not funded or aided by the neighborhood management.

Google by Johannes P Osterhoff

After playing around with Windows and Mac OS interface elements for quite a while, the infamous interface artist Johannes P Osterhoff is now messing with Google. This time his experiment goes beyond repurposing GUI elements in order to create new images and narratives.

In his work “Google by Johannes P Osterhoff” he documents all his Google search queries between January 1 and December 31, 2011 on a website. He is probably not the first person to do that and maybe not even the first person to do that as an artistic project. But there is more to it.

1. He does not simply list the query string and links them to the result page, but he actually displays each query string in an input field that is designed after Google’s search field. To see the result one can click the search button. After all Osterhoff is an interface artist.

2. Each search field is accompanied by a Paypal donate button and by a Flattr button along with the Flattr Counter.

3. At the top of the page one sees the latest query in Google design (including Google’s logo) followed by a word cloud of the most recent search terms and a brief mission statement


Why Take A Photo…

of what you can see with your own eyes in front of you? Taking a photo often means trading the actual moment against some moment in the future when you might want to impress friends or bore grandchildren or, worse, impress yourself with your past. Taking other people’s photos is much more positive. Rather than self affirmation it can only be motivated by actual interest and curiosity and playfulness. “What is a complete stranger doing at this moment?” or “What kind of photo did a complete stranger take it this place?” may seem arbitrary questions. But a photo showing just that has the potential to add something to your own life as oposed to recycling it.

At a Pecha Kucha Night in Berlin in 2006 Sascha Pohflepp presented his first prototype of a device that takes photos from Flickr which were uploaded the exact moment one pushed the button on the device. It was called Blinks & Buttons and resembled a compact camera from the 70s without lense and with a big orange button. As a hardware device it was an art oddity, but very visionary. weiterlesen