Proposals Due: December 15th, 2005
Final Decisions: Feb 10, 2006
The consumer electronic device has become the standard currency of technology in contemporary global culture. The light bulb and the home sewing machine have bred and multiplied to fill every part of our homes, offices, pockets and purses. They have colonized industry after industry: publishing, photography, music, film, communications, and entertainment. Consumer electronics have gradually colonized publication and photography, music and film, communications and entertainment. With the constant promise of increased efficiency, these devices may be seen as improvements over previous techniques. But for every measure of ease or efficiency there are secondary effects, artifacts, and renegotiations. Far from being neutral, consumer products are powerful arguments for norms and lifestyles, suggesting and facilitating specific ways of acting and being in the world. Made by researchers and marketers working for corporations, they form a sort of culture industry. And as Theodor Adorno suggested, their products serve the interests of this industry as much as they serve their users.
Artists and designers have tried to refigure the product, with varied results: Modernist painters, for instance, often incorporated coffee grinders or industrial aesthetics; Warhol even ran a factory. Electronic artists, though, are in a unique position to develop functional alternatives. Dunne and Raby have theorized a darker, more complicated "design noir," comparing traditional products to the banality of Hollywood film. Others have moved towards turning Consumer Off The Shelf (COTS) tools into weapons for activism and non-violent political dissent. Such projects acknowledge the importance of products to shape our lives, and then use the idiom of an "edgy" product to offer alternatives, stage critiques, or subvert market interests.
Edgy Products is a call for work by artists and designers who are manipulating, hacking, subverting, queering, hijacking, recombining, or reformulating the notion of product. We are looking for projects large and small, for gallery installation or public intervention, for showing, selling, or gifting.
Susan Joyce, Co-Chair
Chris Csikszentmihalyi, Co-Chair
EDGY PRODUCTS CALL COMMITTEE
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