Hacking passivity (and old hardware) for art

0 Posted by - March 15, 2010 - Blog, Design, Installations, Reviews, Screen, Sound

A circuit hacked children's toy

The consumer is supposed to do what they’re told, no? It is an old and well practiced arrangement. They make the stuff, and the rest of us buy it, eat it and use it. Especially, it seems, with technology where few of us have the know-how or courage for that matter to repurpose and reinvent the complicated digital gak that increasingly defines our lives.

Even the fun machines like video games and computers come to us with built in assumptions about how we are expected to behave with them, what we will do with them, and how our lives will be altered to integrate these objects into daily practices. We listen to radios. We play video games. We watch televisions. Just like we’re told.

But there are those among us who do it differently. Hardware-hacking is a growing movement to reclaim creative control of our relationships with technology. “Shape your tools, or you will be shaped by them”, so their motto goes. Televisions become oscilloscopes. Radios become synthesizers. Outdated video games become means of composing unique musical scores.

Foulab is a hardware-hacking collective based in Montreal. As the recently created short documentary “Repurpose” demonstrates (see below), it is an exciting world of scavenging and repurposing obsolete and abandoned technologies into works of art and creative tools.

Repurpose was created by Jack Oatmon. It is well worth the nine or so minutes it takes to watch – a nicely rendered mini-doc.

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