A collaborative project realized by Jan M. Sieber and Ralph Kistler
The documentary film was made by Susann Maria Hempel

In the last decades, since the computers became portable and ubiquitous, the everyday life of people changed drastically. How we communicate and socialize, the way we gather for fun or work, the concepts of entertainments and occupations changed and are still mutating. The continual introduction of innovative interfaces as experiment or as product in the market impact thoughts and actions. The relations between the human and the non-human bodies are in a constant dialogue, re-discussion and contradiction. The facts and actions in the virtual world regulate and organize in a different manner the actions in the physical world. The digital appendices alter the life in the city and its fluxes. The control of the electronic extensions of our body increasingly involve the gestures of the natural body and cause its modification.
The fact is that these digital artifacts influence our behaviors and a critique of the trigger factors must be encouraged and increased. The focus of the 12 issue of Pad journal is on the interactions between digital artifacts and human behaviors. In specific on the relations, influences, modifications between these devices and the human body viewed as physical, virtual and/or social. The body of human relate with and through artifacts in a continuous extension of their potentialities, those abilities, possibilities of action, faculties of actualization{{1}}. The potentiality of the human-artifacts belongs to the two individuals as well as to their relation. The potentiality of talk to someone farther than our voice can reach, the potentiality of see farther than we otherwise could, the potentiality of recall to memory and so on; as much as the potentiality of functioning in mobility, the potentiality of being carried in a pocket, the potentiality of recognizing human movements. These that we can call technical potentiality can support greater potentiality for human-artifacts activities interfering in the social and cultural context as well as the identity of the now redefined individual. The technological innovations offer a constant expansion of tools to be applied for the creation of these potentialities and the role of the designer is to understand the how of the affection of these new tools on the potentiality of our bodies, being them physical, virtual or social.
The limits of the human physical body are challenged by artifacts and redefined. As an example the race of the Natural User Interface (NUI) or Tangible User Interface (TUI) or as we can say better today the touch and gestures based interfaces, brought great innovation in the daily technologies in the form of smartphones and tablets. Although defined for their use of tactility these interface rely richly on the vision and are in many cases bare of other feedback. The topic of vision-independent technologies is addressed by M. Bengisu “From screen readers to tactons: vision-independent technologies for accessible products”. A path that start from extended accessibility conditions can be proved fruitful in specific context of use (for example complex tasks, or sport activities) as well as in more generics daily applications. The use of auditory and brain interfaces, a technology today in vast growth and daily more accessible, is a step towards the critiques of consumer electronic standards in which the issue is not yet tackled. The negative potentiality of a not-to-see open to the many potentialities of hearing, touching and feeling.
The physical body and the concept of tactons, the tactile icons, meet with the materiality of artifacts that are becoming “active” and “changing”. The research on new materials with dynamic and interactive potentialities is explored by M. Ferrara in her “Smart materials based research for tangible user interfaces”. Smart material interfaces, responsive environment and communicative clothes are the three core topic discussed in the article. The body and its physicality is a crucial perspective on the actual turn in interaction design towards materiality. Materials are getting dynamic, changing, somehow computational, the next interfaces will be physical and tangible in a totally renewed and yet to define way.
The body digitized become virtual and so the space around it. How our surrounding affect us and how can we describe them using the tools of vision of memory, and of digital representation? P. Lee Lucas sets a three perspective picture on describing a place and its alterations in “Sense of place: sense of tele-place?”. In a google-map-mediated-world where a place it is because it can be digitally reached, leaving tracks of its past in the digital world is an increasingly interesting subject that sits next to the digital archives and digital museums and galleries that are populating the Internet. Can our architectural past be digitized? What will survive now the book, the architecture or the digital representation?
The world of past digitized places can be considered a world of abandoned realities that can be inhabited only by ghosts. Virtual ghosts of people that really existed in the place and that now are not there anymore, people that didn’t survive their digital representation, or at least the representation of their spaces. These ghosts of the past can lean next to other digital ghost: the render ghosts. The concept of render ghost presented by Antonio Palacios in “An Ontology of Render Ghosts” is that of people inhabiting render spaces. The render ghosts, defined by James Bridle, are unknowns citizens of places yet to come. In opposition of the ghosts of a past city these are ghost of the future, a future that does not exist other than in the virtual representation. They are potentialities of citizens, users of a digital space that if realized will enable physical people to act inside it replacing the rendered ghost. This short circuit define ghosts from a present registered in the blueprints of a potential future. People will realize their machine dreams, will substitute their avatars, citizens will replace their own props and reiterate their representations. The virtual lose its virtuality or shows its never-virtual-purity mixing with realities of different times.
The body of social interaction is a body that relate itself through and with technologies. The time is in fact the dimension of dynamism that more affect the computational objects and their different realities. The concept of “fourth dimension” is addressed by Chiara Lecce, starting from the work of Lucy Bullivant and her 4dspace, in “The Post-digital era: towards a relational and sustainable approach”. The so called dimension of digital technologies shapes our everyday life through the object we use or as we should say the objects we live with. This population of computational artifacts is growing exponentially in experiments and installations having a wide affection on our visions but still a limited impact on our houses.
For the cover of this issue we present the project “Monkey Business” by Ralph Kistler and Jan M. Sieber. The awarded project is constituted by a toy monkey that reacts to the movement of the person in front of it. The mechanical animal duplicates the human body creating a physical dialogue that start with a greetings and doesn’t finish in a dull imitation. As the designers state “In a subtle way, the monkey asks for another move, you have never ever performed before. Playing the game, you will lose control unconsciously”. The bodies of monkey and human start replicating each other and influencing each other to the point of reaching a seamless interaction and choreographed performance. The bodies becomes one, the machine becomes human and the human becomes a monkey.
The door of contemporary is open to computational things, ghosts and shape-shifters; a world of potentialities is ready and waiting, it’s time to make things that help us to think, it’s time to make things that make us do, it’s time to make things that make us, better.
Agamben, G. (1995) Homo sacer: Il potere sovrano e la nuda vita. Torino, Giulio Einaudi.
Bridle, J. (2013, February 27). Balloons and Render Ghosts. Domus. http://www.domusweb.it/en/architecture/2013/02/27/balloons-and-render-ghosts.html [1-12-2014]
Bullivant, L. (2005). Architectural Design, Special Issue 4dspace: Interactive Architecture. Academy Press.
Sieber, JM. and Kristler, R. (2011) Monkey Business in:

Turkle, S. (2011). Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. New York, Basic Books.
[[1]]The concept of potentialities refers to the notion proposed by Giorgio Agamben in Homo Sacer.[[1]][:]

Editorial #11

PAD Issue #11 is online. This issue is completely dedicated to the Mediterranean design with interesting contributions coming from different authors living and working in the countries of this part of the world. Why are we addressing the topic of Mediterranean Emergency and Activism? Because the critical situation of the Mediterranean area, that in the… Continua a leggere Editorial #11

[:en]Number 10 of PAD is a special number. It is devoted to Sicily and, to those who, like us, come from this region of the Mediterranean or have spent there a part of their life; this number represents a moment of retrospective consideration, in the will of opening a “conversation” with the current situation, for a connection between seek of comprehension and real change of the practices.
After 10 numbers, PAD restarts from its origins. Born in Palermo in 2005, thanks to a group of researchers who have been working perpetually for the development of the design culture in Sicily, PAD has achieved an international reputation. It has left its original place in order to enter the web region, popular place that is being colonised by the Southern countries of the world, because of the possibilities of emancipation offered by the net. And nowadays PAD is immersed in a net of contacts that feed its Pages on Arts and Design.
After this premise, let’s go back to the question of this number. What is new in Sicily?
Back to the original places for a recognition of what is the current Sicilian scene of design and art, we cannot but highlight the fact that design, that until a few years ago was exclusively connected to the formation of the young at the Faculty of Architecture of Palermo, is now taking a full-bodied structure with branches in the whole region and several articulations. Industrial design courses are widespread in the Academies, with Palermo and Catania as driving forces, so are workshops, events, professional occasions, enterprises of new typology, whereas ADI Sicily, regional delegation of the Italian Association for the industrial Design, has become the reference point for the actions of design for the producing companies and the young professionals (as you will read in the interview of Alessandra Fazio to Vincenzo Castellana, President ADI Sicily).
There is also a flourishing of social enterprises (as written by Agnese Giglia) connected to creative activities linked to the territory resources, of art centres such as Farm Cultural Park of Favara (visible in Reportage) and Fiumara d’Arte in Tusa and of laboratories of ideas that help provide new ideas to the genius loci of whom Sicily is rich.
And then there is a young generation of artists and designers, born in the South but trained all around the world, that has left their home country in order to be fulfilled. They have learnt to travel, to be contaminated, they have achieved the right thinking necessary to be able to protest, to carry out a “cultural resistance”, thus spreading know-how and a new forma mentis. Willing to give a contribution to the future of their home community on location or at distance, this generation represents a new chance for a Sicily that is widespread, connected and global.
Also through their projects (as you will see in Young Sicilian design), Sicily becomes a place to be traversed and visited: destination for the cultural and enogastronomic tourism or for Pizzo-free tourism, with unique products that come in contact with their own environment, thus seeping authenticity. Moreover, one shouldn’t forget that there is also an image of Sicily that is conveyed by a product that has become global: the series Montalbano that Rai exports with the result that spectators have multiplied their visits to Sicily year after year.
In this overview that this number proposes, by presenting some case history of Sicilian design in order to reach modernity, we wish to prevent from exalting a reality that is still too complicated and contradictory. We will put our expectations into the hands of the young and of the strategic dimension of design within the Sicilian territory.
Design is a generative and epidemic activity.
The cultural tools of design and arts can give a substantial contribution to the creation of an “economy of culture”, the only economy that disposes of endless resources and potential, that can carry out projects for a sustainable and virtuous future.
Cover Photo by Sasha Vinci artist born in Modica in 1980. Today living and working in Scicli.
“Sicily…is the land where I came back voluntarily some years ago, the place where my instinct tells me to stay and work. Sicily is the centre, and it is like this that we have to imagine it. It is necessary to join forces against any kind of power obstructing the cultural evolution of this incredible territory. A real change can be triggered by the independent realities of art”. (S. V.)[:it]

Il numero 10 di PAD è un numero speciale. È dedicato alla Sicilia e, per chi come noi proviene da questa regione del Mediterraneo o vi ha trascorso parte della propria vita, questo numero rappresenta un momento di riflessione retrospettiva nella volontà di aprire una “conversazione” con la situazione attuale, all’insegna di una circolarità fra ricerca di comprensione e cambiamento effettivo delle pratiche.

Dopo 10 numeri, PAD riparte dalle sue origini. Nato a Palermo nel 2005, grazie a un gruppo di ricercatori che ha operato incessantemente per la crescita della cultura del design in Sicilia, PAD si è costruito nel tempo una reputazione internazionale. È uscito dal suo luogo di origine per approdare nella regione del web, luogo diffuso di cui i Sud del mondo stanno diventando attivi colonizzatori, grazie alle possibilità di emancipazione sociale che la rete può fornire. E oggi PAD si trova immerso in una rete di contatti che alimentano le sue Pages on Arts and Design.

Dopo questa premessa, arriviamo alla domanda di questo numero. Cosa c’è di nuovo in Sicilia?

Ritornati nei luoghi di origine per una ricognizione di ciò che oggi è la scena siciliana del design e dell’arte non possiamo non evidenziare che il design, attività che solo qualche anno fa era esclusivamente legata alla formazione dei giovani nella Facoltà di Architettura di Palermo, sta assumendo una struttura corposa con ramificazioni nell’intera regione e varie articolazioni. Si diffondono i corsi di disegno industriale nelle Accademie, con centri propulsori Palermo e Catania, i workshop, gli eventi, le occasioni professionali, le imprese di nuova tipologia mentre ADI Sicilia, delegazione regionale dell’Associazione italiana per il disegno Industriale, diventa per le aziende produttrici e i giovani professionisti il punto di riferimento per le azioni di design (come leggerete nell’intervista di Alessandra Fazio a Vincenzo Castellana, Presidente ADI Sicilia).

C’è anche un fiorire di imprese sociali (ne scrive Agnese Giglia) connesse ad attività creative legate alle risorse territoriali, di centri per l’arte come Farm Cultural Park di Favara (visibile in Reportage) e Fiumara d’Arte a Tusa e di laboratori di idee che contribuiscono a impollinare di nuove idee i genius loci di cui la Sicilia è ricca.

E poi c’è una giovane generazione di artisti e designer, meridionali di nascita ma cosmopoliti di formazione, che ha lasciato i luoghi di origine per potersi realizzare. Ha imparato a viaggiare, a contaminarsi, ha acquisito lo spirito critico necessario per poter protestare, per operare una “resistenza culturale”, diffondendo know-how e una nuova forma mentis. Decisa a contribuire al futuro della sua comunità d’origine in loco o a distanza, questa generazione costituisce una nuova chance per una Sicilia diffusa, connessa e globale.

Anche attraverso i loro progetti (come vedrete in Giovane design siciliano), la Sicilia diventa luogo da percorrere e visitare: meta per il turismo culturale ed eno-gastronomico o per quello Pizzo-free, con i prodotti unici che entrano “in risonanza” con il proprio ambiente, trasudando autenticità.

E non dimentichiamo che c’è anche un’immagine della Sicilia veicolata da un prodotto divenuto globale: i telefilm di Montalbano, una sorta di brand della Sicilia che la Rai esporta con l’effetto che gli spettatori di anno in anno hanno moltiplicano le visite in Sicilia.

In questa overview che il numero propone, presentando delle case history del design siciliano per giungere all’attualità, vorremmo evitare di esaltare una realtà ancora troppo controversa e contraddittoria. Affidiamo le nostre speranze ai giovani e alla dimensione strategica del design all’interno del territorio siciliano.

Il design è un’attività generativa ed epidemica.

Gli strumenti culturali del design e delle arti possono contribuire in maniera sostanziale alla creazione di una “economia della cultura”, l’unica economia che ha risorse e potenziale infinito, che può mettere in atto progetti per un futuro sostenibile e virtuoso.

La foto di copertina è di Sasha Vinci, artista nato a Modica nel 1980. Oggi vive e lavora a Scicli.

“La Sicilia … È la terra in cui anni fa sono volontariamente ritornato, il luogo in cui l’istinto mi dice di restare a operare. La Sicilia è centro, è così che dobbiamo immaginarla. Occorre schierarsi contro ogni forma di potere che ostacola l’evoluzione culturale di questo incredibile territorio. Dalle realtà indipendenti dell’arte può innescarsi un vero cambiamento”. (S. V.)



[:en]PAD #9, the first issue in 2013, deals with matter very hot to young designers, researchers and design scholars: the evolution of design-production relationship.
In the digital era, the world travels at a very high, yet sometimes uneven, speed, and finance introduces turbulence shaking markets with unseen violence, while technology offers unbelievable opportunities of communicating and producing. How, in this context, does design practice and its relationship with production change? How does production innovate?
We put these questions to our network of correspondents throughout the Mediterranean world, and they came back proposing interesting cases, each peculiarly meaningful of a changing reality.
Many of them replied: Ely Rozenberg reports about the numerous start-ups phenomenon in Israel; Teresita Scalco about projects presented at the AdHocracy exhibition, recently held within the Istanbul Design Biennial, and their relationship with technologies; Gianni Di Matteo enters the discussion about the ‘adhocracy’ concept and its roots, telling about ‘adhocism’ as ‘the art of improvisation’ and the makers community in Africa, especially in Egypt; Ana Perković reports about design self-production in Croatia.
In the From section we also publish some interesting explorations, like: C. Bissas, V. Asfi and L. Angelou, from Greece, propose the Inaugural Flight of the papairlines sharing platform; the academic research taking place between Turkey and Italy, aimed at contributing to sustainable evolution of the agro-industrial system, which is, as known, one of the most important production systems for the development of the Mediterranean area and the whole world, as per directions of Horizon 2000, the EC tool supporting research and innovation in the 2014-2020 timeframe.
The Close Up sections offers a pragmatic reading of design-industry relationship in Italy, by means of a chronicle and three interviews to as many famous designers working in Italy, in order to understand the meaning of current situation and the re-emerging of self-production (more akin to design in Italian) phenomena.
The Reportage section, besides the usual appointment with Fabio’s eye, places some graphic and photographic readings of current events side by side with topics covered in the issue.
As a due comment, the answer to the questions we asked ourselves about the evolution of the design-production relationship comes mostly from the young design people. I say people because it’s a more and more numerous and global group, giving life to a digital and connected community, sharing tools, rules and values as well, informing social, collaboration and creative practices.
The world of internet and technologies, and their potential, is the preferred place by young people for experimenting, sharing open systems and co-working. This is perhaps such a difficult world to understand, for those who don’t live in it, but it-s the which will give a shape to the near future.
Young designers, self-producers, post-industrial craftsmen, makers, hacktivist, backyard inventors show an attitude to opening and sharing knowledge revealing a significant difference with recent traditions, in contrast to the design-firm world, which generated in Italy from the 80’s, after denying the ’68 ideologies.
Within project practice, young designers don’t restrict their competence to the aesthetical, morphological, typological and functional perspective of products, instead they open themselves to contaminations with different techniques, arts and disciplines. In this way, they carry on spontaneous processes of continuing experimentation rather than wait for the customer. This way if working in nowadays technological scenario stimulates the capability to redefine production strategies, as well as trigger self-organized and interactive processes, where the idea of process itself and the contribution of different skills become a new, flexible content, meeting to the needs of the preferred counterpart: society.
Young designers prove to drive change and innovation in all cases we’ve explored, although not always they are champions of entrepreneurship, enterprise or social-at-large development.Vision and design abilities is not enough anymore, management skills are required. And on this wish goes our greeting for the new year!
Cover photo: Studio mischer’traxler, Gradient Mashrabiya Sideboard. Photo © Fabio Gambina[:hr]

Apriamo il nuovo anno con il numero 9 di PAD, il primo del 2013, che affronta un argomento che sta molto a cuore ai giovani designer, oltre che ai ricercatori e  ai teorici del design: l’evoluzione del rapporto tra design e produzione.

Nell’era digitale il mondo viaggia a grandi, seppur differenti, velocità e la finanza crea turbolenze che scuotono con violenza inedita i mercati, mentre le tecnologie offrono incredibili opportunità comunicative e produttive. In questo contesto come si trasforma la pratica del design e il suo rapporto con la produzione? Come si rinnova la produzione?

Abbiamo posto queste domande alla nostra rete di collaboratori e corrispondenti sparsi nel mondo Mediterraneo, che ci hanno proposto dei casi interessanti, ciascuno diversamente significativo di una realtà in cambiamento.

Ci hanno risposto in molti: Ely Rozenberg ci riferisce del fenomeno delle numerose start up di design in Israele; Teresita Scalco dei progetti esposti alla mostra Adhocracy, che si è recentemente tenuta all’interno del programma della Istanbul Design Biennial, e del loro particolare rapporto con le tecnologie;  Gianni Di Matteo si innesta sul concetto di “adhocrazia” e sulle sue radici, per parlare di adhocismo come “arte dell’improvvisazione” e delle comunità di makers in Africa, in particolare in Egitto; Ana Perković ci riferisce delle auto-produzioni di design in Croazia. Anche nella rubrica From pubblichiamo alcune interessanti esplorazioni su ciò che avviene: in Grecia ad opera di C. Bissas, V. Asfi e L. Angelou che propongono l’Inaugural Flight della piattaforma di condivisione papairlines; ad Izmir, in Turchia, nell’ambito della ricerca accademia tra Turchia e Italia, impegnata a contribuire all’evoluzione sostenibile del sistema agroindustriale. Quest’ultimo, com’è noto, è uno dei più importanti sistemi produttivi per lo sviluppo del Mediterraneo e per il mondo intero, secondo le indicazioni di “Horizon 2020”, lo strumento della Commissione Europea a supporto della ricerca e dell’innovazione per il periodo 2014-2020.

La sezione Close-up, invece, propone una pragmatica lettura del rapporto design-industria in Italia, attraverso una cronistoria e tre interviste ad altrettanti noti designer che operano in Italia, per comprendere il senso della situazione odierna e il riemergere dei fenomeni di autoproduzione (parola più affine al mondo del design nella lingua italiana).

La rubrica Reportage, oltre all’appuntamento fisso con Fabio’s eye, affianca agli argomenti sviluppati nel numero, alcune letture grafiche e fotografiche dell’attualità.

Un doveroso commento: la risposta alle domande che ci siamo posti sulle evoluzioni del rapporto design-produzione viene innanzi tutto dal giovane “Popolo del design”. Parlo di Popolo perché si tratta di un gruppo di persone sempre più numeroso e globalizzato, che configura una comunità interconnessa e digitale, che condivide strumenti, regole e anche valori, che informano le pratiche sociali, collaborative e creative.

Il mondo della rete e delle tecnologie, con le loro potenzialità, è il luogo prediletto dai giovani, per la sperimentazione, per la condivisione di sistemi aperti e per il co-working. Forse è un mondo difficile da capire, per chi non lo vive, ma è quello che darà forma al prossimo futuro.

I giovani designer, auto-produttori, artigiani post-industrial, maker, hacktivist, backyard inventors dimostrano una predisposizione all’apertura e alla condivisione del sapere che palesa una differenza significativa con la recente tradizione e si contrappone al mondo della design-firm generato in Italia dal “riflusso degli anni ’80”, dopo aver cancellato le esperienze ideologie del ‘68.

Nella pratica del progetto, i giovani designer non limitano le loro competenze agli aspetti estetici, morfologici, tipologici e funzionali dei prodotti, ma si aprono alla contaminazione di tecniche, arti e competenze disciplinari diverse. Così, piuttosto che attendere la “committenza”, portano avanti processi autonomi di sperimentazione continua. Questo modo di lavorare nello scenario tecnologico odierno, sviluppa potenzialmente la capacità di ridefinizione delle strategie produttive, l’innesco di processi auto-organizzati e interattivi in cui l’idea di processo e l’apporto delle diverse competenze diviene il nuovo contenuto, vario e flessibile, che si conforma alle esigenze dell’interlocutore preferito: la società.

I giovani designer si confermano un motore di cambiamento e innovazione in tutte le realtà che abbiamo esplorato ma non in tutti i casi sono anche fautori di imprenditorialità, di sviluppo dell’impresa o della società nel suo complesso. La capacità di immaginare e progettare non è più sufficiente, servono capacità manageriali. Su questo auspicio va il nostro augurio per il nuovo anno!

Cover photo: Studio mischer’traxler, Gradient Mashrabiya Sideboard. Photo © Fabio Gambina


Editorial #07

This issue of PAD presents the results of the second edition of the Mediterranean Design prize. The winning and mentioned projects in the various categories are commented by texts written by the authors themselves. The exhibition of projects and the related conference was organized in 2009 in Istanbul for the first prize edition; this year… Continua a leggere Editorial #07