UFJF - Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora

SoftCult | The Techno-concepts | ISSN 2236-3181

Data: 15 de maio de 2011

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By Fernando Rabelo*

Inside of a intensive critical against the cultural aesthetic standards, industrials partners etc; the projetcs presented here try approach questions abouth concepts of artistic and tecnological “open” creation. In Brazil, as well as in some places of the world, the technology is created in the construction of that big spectacles, the most expansives, sometimes difficulting or hiding  the how to make it. If this form is consumed and accepted by all can be transformed into mechanism of social and tecnological exclusion, showed the final object and not the creative process. In a most of the cases provokes a kind of “magic” and creates a illusion of desires many times distant of our reality.

The idea is aks a sequence questions; Can be think that is a insdustrial game? Can be shure that principle omits another constructive principle where the technology widely is spread out, auto-renewed and commercialized as estereotype?

The short-circuit is created like a sparks of the neuron to think in what the consumed technologies represent for us. Therefore when desiring, buying, to discard, to need, to desire… i need the photoshop 10.4, 20.7, 106.10… external terrabytes, memory more memory… We enter in a continuous, invisible loop, most of times structuralized by the industrial consume ideal, where the art also is created to the spectacle and consume becomes one necessity to perpetuate and to naturalize its proper existence.

The knowledge of the concept of the black box theory, created by Vilem Flusser, is important to understand the dependence of the human being by the complex technician electronic objectcs where the man is a kind of machine employee. In a gadget age becomes necessary to escape of this worship state and try another forms of creation with the diverse techniques and logics (techné-logos) natural of the research, experience, creativity and science.

The technological trash, as objects generated by this society, are some times “invisible” in our eyes becose always seeing the  the new and the spectacle of have-it. It is necessary then showing these trashes to try one another reading, another vision abouth this process. One method where the code and the structure are opened and reconstructed to understood representing the intention to democratize the technological knowledge and to provoke the desmistification of the techno spectacle.

The creation with obsolet objetcs is not a new practical, carried through in another ages. The important is re-context this practical inside in this technological context to try breach with the “automata looping” of the consumism. The technological objects refused by the new society, can be bought the low cost and be found by the streets cities, contain metaphors  of the depreciation, uselessness, etc. The goal of these present works is try to show that is possible make new devices creation with mass critical and new aesthetic expression by the low cost principles and open process.

Knowledge freedom to all!


The ShortCircuit projects

Contato QWERTY  2005

FILE 2005 – São Paulo


It was a installation where the visitors controls, audiovisuals projections, through the touch in two pairs of cables (that have a steel sponge used to washing plates) functioning as body-contact. The cables are a kind of computer keyboard expansion created to change one of the firsts concepts of Human Interface – the keyboard QWERTY. The steel sponges are very used in Brazil to washing plates and amplifying the reception of the TV or Radio antennas. All these elements, considered of low technology, had been used to make ironic questions to the fixed idea of the industrial technology where we used all in only one method – learned in manuals.

Is the hands contact with the metallic sponges that closes the circuit of the hacked keyboard, making then, visible the process that was hidden in the industrial use of the keyboard. The assembly is opened, no are backstage, showing every cables and connections of the keyboard, the electric process (current open, current closed) appears when the visitant touched in the sponges.

When the circuit is closed by the body begin the projection. These images and sounds show daily actions, mechanical works, for times not thought and contained in the routine of the ours work (to stamp, to staple, to connect and to detach buttons from devices), contained in the routine ours houses (to open and close doors, to light and close fire, to place and take off pans, etc) or contained in city transit (buzzine, change the velocity, make pollution, etc). The perception principle of the projection starts by the imagens but the sound also obtain importance, in the measure that more people interact, magnifing it to becomes a strong element of the collective game bettwen the object interaction and the visitants.


The word QWERTY was used to characterize one of the first universal standards of keyboard layout that possesss as characteristic main the sequence of letters QWERTY. 14 located letters below of sequence QWERTY was used adding a total of 20 letters – 40 cables. What it was a simple and commom keyboard was transformed into a complex instrument of collective interaction interface, in a most of exibhition time, perceveid as new tecnology.

Tecnocheap – 2007

FAD – Festival de Arte Digital


The use of the elements of low cost, as well as considered obsolete, bought technologies in electronic store downtown, aims at to approach to know the stack of necessary basic components by the construction of authorial and critical technologies in relation to the world contemporary of imported objects. It is necessary to become accessible the experiment (process) and demystify the technological object while closed product by the industry.

Tecnosheap was a creation with wood piece + a broken radio + obsolete speakers and cheap light sensors (LDR). This object was created as example process in a workshop abouth circuitbeding, bricolabs and creative tecnological constrution. Its works with one light (lanterns, ambient, etc) over the LDR sensors that are conected in radio resistors that send noise in a radio speaker and are amplified in another, and more powered speakers. The user can made a noise or compose by the tonal bass and treble sounds.

In one performace the wood was put in a black room with doors and windows closed, and the sound modify depending of the aumont of light inside by the doors or windows when open-it.

In another time was exibhit in the FAD – Art Digital Festival where the visitors controled the sound with lanterns. The sound was sent by the radio out (in a cable p2 / p2)  conected in a computer that controlled imagens by the frequence. Was used the Isadora software that allowed make one automatic program where the sound and image interactive betwen its.

Ocuppy Spaces – 2007/ 2008

Oficina de Imagens – project



The “Ocupar Espaços” (To Occupy Spaces) project works towards increasing the access to digital production technologies for resident populations of low-income community areas of Brazilian cities. The project’s development unrolls thru audio-visual artistic experimentation and results in video installations carried through simultaneously in two public spaces in low-income communities. The final works and format of the video installation are the result of a creative process involving local inhabitants of different communities where the project takes place creating a dialogue between the two places. The installation is composed of: 5 image projection and sound spaces and also involves internet live exchange between inhabitants of the two communities. The idea is building an environment that dialogues with the circumstantial space in which the installation is set up where the public is invited to participate and discuss possible ways of occupying and participating of the city: connecting the social space, rearranging the geographical space, experimenting with the esthetical space by learning about the virtual or digital spaces.

The people are differently involved through out the unroll of the process. One involvement way is creating a collective creation group formed by people that are already liked to cultural and social groups of the communities involved. These groups participate in Audio-visual production workshops where the experiment basic interaction possibilities with the local population. Another involvement way is a video exhibition circuit on the streets of the two communities showing workshop productions. The exhibition of the videos in public televisions and in the internet increase the project’s public. As final event and exhibition of the produced material the video installations that involve a greater number of inhabitants of the community and of the formal city is set up.

The differential of the project is the proposal to mount through an experimentation and formation work, audio-visual installations in public spaces of slum quarters that create image projection environments without use of screens but using as “screens” walls of houses, buildings, the soil and abrupt declivities of land. Another differential is the Internet connectivity proposal for the simultaneous and live dialogue using the videoconference resource between the inhabitants of the different places. The ones image is magnified and projected in the space of the other at the moment of the conference. Generally this type of experimental work is carried through in closed spaces of galleries and museums with little access to the population. In this direction the project “Ocupar Espaços” (To occupy Spaces) innovates by democratizing the access the artistic and technological experimentation and by having as substance the particular views of world, the artistic expression and the memory of the periphery population.

Another innovation is the collective creation group that is composed by inhabitants of the low-income communities and n”Pontos de Cultura” becose that are already linked to the cultural and social areas, artists of others parts of the city and the team of the “Oficina de Imagens”(Images Workshop). This group digs deep into the city living and circulates throughout the city in search of other references that go beyond the space of the community (museums, cinemas, contemporary art exhibits, etc) together with the critical creation laboratories that involves possibilities in the art culture and technology fields.

This project was made in 2007 with two communities and now conected two groups inside historical cities. Diamantina and Sabará (Minas Gerais State in Brazil).

* Fernando Rabelo is a professor at the Universidade Federal do Recôncavo da Bahia and is a digital artist and researcher of art & technology. His works have been exhibited in many festivals of digital art in Latin America and Spain. Fernando was an artist in residence in the MediaLabMadrid.

Laboratório de Software Studies (Estudos Culturais do Software) (SWS)