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February 2009

I visited the South London Gallery on 25th February 2009, to see a new film by the Danish artists collective Superflex. Its entitled Flooded McDonald's. I've followed their work for sometime, because I'm interested in how they propose artworks as tools, capable of affecting change; with projects like Supergas, Free Beer - is a beer which is free in the sense of freedom, not in the sense of free (without a price) beer - its a FLOSS joke :-) - and CopyShop.

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At the invitation of Scott Lash and Götz Bachmann (cultural studies, Goldsmiths), philosopher Bernard Stiegler (Centre Pompidou) and Robert Zimmer (computer science, Goldsmiths), a diverse group gathered at Goldsmiths to consider the idea of economies of contribution.

The workshop included perspectives from media, art, design, software and theory. In their introduction, the organizers outlined the emergence of a shift from consumer capitalism to an economy of contribution.

I was in Cairo in November 2008 to shoot a short film for an exhibition entitled Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie. It's in a ‘reality’ TV style. A broadcast ‘trailer’, in fact a synopsis of a future programme. Its a copy of Faking It.

Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie explores issues of class in contemporary art. Faking It is all about class.

Thursday the 19th February, I went to listen to an interview at the Goethe Institute between the filmmaker Harun Farocki and artist Kodwo Eshun. Harun screened a rough-cut of a work-in-progress entitled Immersion. Immersion is based on a first-person shooter games engine developed by the US military to train troops for service in Iraq.

Clunky graphics pan, track and zoom to reveal pixilated deserts, palm trees, 'arab' avatars, explosions, smoke and ruined buildings. The games-engine, with head mounted display and (plastic) XM8 interface has been released to a consortium of software engineers and psychotherapists. Cut to a therapist. The therapist is using the software to lead a traumatized soldier back, back to a scene of explosion, mutilation and death, back to site of their trauma.

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