Pipes Bcn is a two year project leaded by Hangar in the framework of the European project PIPES (Participatory Investigation of Public Engaging Spaces) in collaboration with Ciant (Prague) and ZKM (Karlsruhe). During this time a team of researchers and collaborators organized seminars, workshops, reading sessions and a residence on the topic of interface criticism.
This collective research started with some questions like ¿How do the interface determines us? ¿What it can explain about human being in contemporary culture? ¿It is possible to build a dialogic interface? ¿How can the art explore, exploit and expose these issues?
This issues were discussed through an hybrid methodology, and a dialogue between praxis and theoretical approaches involving artists, programmers, designers, thinkers, scholars and university students.
The main outcomes of the project are:
-The Interface Manifesto
When we started this research we decide to write a Critical Interface Manifesto because as a manifesto is a political declaration of intentions or views it seem appropriate to us to use this kind of output that stress the “political” aspect. Talking in terms of interfaces, we would say that a Manifesto embedded in its shape its political intention. If the interface nowadays tends to disappear and to look like a neutral space, by doing an Interface Manifesto we are stressing the “ideological” aspect of the interface.
The experts and researchers that have work on the Manifesto are: JL Marzo, Tere Badia, Pau Alsina, César Escudero, Jara Rocha, Andreu Belsunces, Quelic Berga Laia Blascos, Mario Santamaria, Femke Snetling, Rosa LLop and Clara Piazuelo.
Read the manifesto here.
-The wiki, the actions and and the texts
In order to have different views that complete and enrich the discussion we invited our collaborators to write a text individually where they could develop the ideas that were just sketched out on the statements. The result is a compilation of texts that explore different aspects of Interfaces such as interface design education, data visualization and surveillance, or the tensions between archive/tracking, universality/subjectivity, transparency/concealment, privacy/publicness.
One of our concerns was that the Manifesto should have a real impact. To move from words to action, we invited our collaborators to think about. Finally it was agreed to put all the information on a wiki, as it is an open interface, and it is very useful for work in team and for disseminating knowledge. And we take each point of the manifesto and deploy a range of activities, attitudes and actions in order to develop an actively critical relationship with the interfaces.
-The results of MEMBRANA residency
The programme MEMBRANA – Residency For Artistic Interface Criticism aimed to provide support to a visual artist interested in developing an artwork based on the concept of interface, and at the same time participate in the investigation of the PIPES_BCN research group which involves the Critical Interface Manifesto..
The selected project for MEMBRANA residency grant was Scroller_Toy / Interfight by Cesar Escudero, a tangible Interaction for capacitive surfaces/screens. During a six weeks residency at Hangar César Escudero developed an artistic application that explores the boundaries between Interface-Interface, Interface-Human.
This project encourages a context where artificial life interfaces fight between themselves. Under the aesthetic of dysfunction, Interfight is a physical, kinetic Interface. It works by taking the human body capacitance as input, through conductive material, and interacts with another graphical interface on capacitive surfaces like touch-screens. The contact between both interfaces, cause a physical reaction (gravity, friction, vibration). The Graphic Interface is an Android App, which is developed duplicating the Android (GUI) itself. Desktop icons get animal behavior causing aggressive reactions against the physical interface.