[ B l o g / / Archive]

Bacteria As Art: Biophysicists Grow Pretty Bacteria In Petri Dishes To Find Antibiotics 
Biophysicists are growing Petri dishes of different species of bacteria in order to develop new antibiotics. The bacteria are subjected to different temperatures and have limited food sources inside the dish. Despite these conditions, most colonies tend to communicate and reproduce. Their growth results in unique patterns of varying colors--a sort of "bacteria painting." Researchers are hoping to learn more about the strategies the bacteria use to thrive, in order to find weaknesses that new drugs could exploit.

There Are No Seven Stages of Grief 
You can even get over it quickly.
The idea that grief is work that we must do began with Freud. He believed that if you didn't labor at it, you would never recover the psychic energy you had invested in a person who was no longer there. Over time, psychologists developed ways to describe the various stages of this "work." Elizabeth Kübler-Ross' stages are the most familiar: Stage 1, denial--"This cannot be!" Stage 2, anger, followed by bargaining, then depression, then acceptance. The stages have great intuitive appeal, but, according to Bonanno, both Freud and Kübler-Ross were wrong. The way that grief unfolds for most people is almost nothing like the old model says it should. It is not work, and it doesn't occur in stages. It can be short-lived for some people and never-ending for others. Like breathing and consciousness and almost everything else about us, grief fluctuates. Our biggest mistake when describing grief, Bonanno writes in his deep and intelligent book, The Other Side of Sadness, is that we underestimate the resilience of the bereaved.

Modern scientists have by now thoroughly picked apart Freud and his idiosyncracies, but Bonanno says that Freud's pronouncements about grief were particularly incomplete. The father of psychoanalysis never really explained how "work" turned "grief" into "recovery." His statements were brief and preliminary, and he himself qualified them as pretty speculative. Kübler-Ross' stages of grief have been similarly accepted without any rigorous testing. It's also crucial to note that Kübler-Ross came up with her stages after observing people's reactions to the news that they themselves were going to die--not to the news that someone else had. Only later did she and colleagues apply "the five steps" to grief resulting from another person's death or to some other great disappointment.

1989? Why? Because capitalism is superior? 
The events of 1989 are most often depicted as the failure of socialism. It's a powerful interpretation that has served to discredit alternatives to the capitalist system, which is said to have triumphed, and to bestow upon capitalism an aura of legitimacy based not only on a reading of recent history but also on assumptions about the natural order, not least human nature. Capitalism, it is proposed, is the normal state of human traffic in what people make and value and need; socialism is the deviation. Capitalism responds to the nature of "man"--acquisitiveness, competition, egoism and the insatiable need for more. Socialism stands in the way of initiative, creativity and competition. Going by its nom de guerre, communism, it proposes radical equality in a world of unequals. Therefore, it can be maintained only by the coercive power of an entrenched elite and a repressive state. In the Eastern bloc, once that force was removed and party leaders lost confidence in their right to rule, communism naturally fell, and people's instinctual drives for material accumulation were liberated. Markets won out everywhere, even when democracy did not.

Kyle Machulis: new monochrom artist in residence 
monochrom content info
Our new artist in residence arrived! Hooray!

Kyle Machulis, aka qDot, is a researcher of alternate input mechanisms and haptics, which is really a fancy way of saying he breaks sex toys. Through his Slashdong webpage (http://www.slashdong.org), he uses the topic of teledildonics (remotely actuated sexual experience) to teach the basic concepts of software, electrical and mechanical engineering. He also tracks the convergence of sex and technological advances in toys and interaction, building on the idea that paradigms for interfaces people would use for intimate encounters on computers can be extended to other usage experiences.
He is one of monochrom's collaborators at Arse Elektronika in San Francisco.

UK Scientists Use Laser To Give False Memories to Flies 
A team of neuroscientists at the University of Oxford have discovered a way to trigger behavior in flies by selectively modifying neurons in their brain and stimulating them with a laser in order to simulate a learning experience.


monochrom's "Climate Training Camp" in Graz / pictures! 
monochrom content info
Pictures of monochrom's "Climate Training Camp" in Graz, last weekend.

Flickr Set / Link
Climate Training Camp

NYC Street Ad takeover 
I like that it is unclear whether the people arrested were artists or those illegitimate advertisers. But my money is on the artists.
The first wave of volunteers in nifty OSHA-approved neon vests, buffed the ad spots with white paint, followed by a second wave of artists who added their unique touches, turning the locations into temporary public canvasses and challenging the outdoor advertising company’s claims to legitimacy.

monochrom's "Climate Training Camp" @ Elevate 2009/Graz 
monochrom content info
Gear up for the future: with our DIY climate booths!

Climate change tends to be seen as the result of failed politics. But the causes lay deeper: certain subjects of an economy act against each other's interests in international as well as in terms of the nation state. It's always the fault of the others who want to eat twice a day, as German chancellorette Angela Merkel rightfully stated.

'Climate machines' like portable heaters for example enabled humanity to adapt to any climate in the 19th century, creating 'climate-independent artificial man' (Friedrich Nietzsche). But the climatic challenges of the 21st century want to be tackled with a new generation of climate machines: adjusting the climate to man's needs is no longer the aim, it has to be the other way around.

In a workshop and with lectures the art group monochrom wants to convey the knowledge required to build climate booths enabling you to train your personal adaptability to the extreme weather conditions of the future, today. Success in your job and with your choice of sexual partners is guaranteed! On top of that you have the opportunity to get a whiff of tomorrow's climate in our climate booths 'sand storm' and 'snow storm', and to gain precious experience. There's a lot to endure, let's get started.

Next training:
@ Elevate Festival, Forum Stadtpark; October 25, 2009 in Graz.


monochrom @ Elevate Festival 2009: Pictures! 
monochrom content info
A couple of pictures of the gala opening we hosted on the first day of Elevate 2009 -- featuring guest stars as Pat Mooney and Amy Goodman...


Jason Scott @ Arse Elektronika 2009: The Atomic Level of Porn 
monochrom content info
Eddie Codel shot a video of Jason Scott's talk about digital retro-porn at Arse Elektronika 2009.

Jason Scott @ Arse Elektronika 2009: The Atomic Level of Porn from ekai on Vimeo.

io9: Kalle the LARPer, "Best Rant Ever" 
monochrom content info
io9 loves Kalle:
This wins the prize for Best Rant Ever. A German live action role player (LARPer) named Kalle yells at Americans for being poseurs when they LARP. It devolves into Kalle beating the photographer with a stick.

Arse Elektronika 2010: SPACE RACY / Call for Papers, Performances, Films and Machines 
monochrom content info
Love hotels. Swinger club design. Phallic architecture. The gentrification of Times Square, kicking out all the peep shows, and similar anti-sex gentrifications and battles. Kids making out in the back seats of cars, and people fucking in parks. Housing for unconventional family units. Augmented reality sex spaces. Furniture for sex. Room design. Creating new environments. Gendered spaces, and gender in the creation of space. Architecture by women, and the potential for the construction of a feminist architecture. Actively gender-segregated spaces, as both empowering and oppressing. Queer-segregated spaces, similarly. The acts of human intimacy, sexual intercourse, and procreation in weightlessness and the extreme environments of space. Erotic space tourism. The visibility of sex, genders, and relationship structures in various spaces. Spaces of sexual control and permissiveness. Sexual subcultures as spaces of social division. Spatial enforcement of relationship structures and gendered power structures. Geotagging as an expression for kinks. The sexual reading of architecture, especially around historical and modern styles and concerning ornament and detail. The eroticization of buildings -- architecture for whorehouses, the Las Vegas strip, people who want to sleep with buildings. What makes design "sexy" and the construction of "sexy" as an architectural category as a comment on late heteronormativity. The terabyte gloryhole. The space in which the male gaze occurs and the space it defines.

Heterosexism, misogyny, and heterocentrism reinforce the dominant cultural structure and contribute to the oppression of large sectors of society. Sexuality, sex, gender, and related constructs are heavily implicated in and reproduce space, and are also constrained and restricted by it and by heterosexism. Let's explore this space of interactions -- send us your ideas for talks, performances, films and machines.

Deadline: February 28, 2010.

Arse Elektronika page

Leben is LARPen e.V.! Kalle from Braunschweig challenges American LARPers 

Johannes/monochrom @ 2600 Magazine: "A Hacker Perspective" 
monochrom content info
You can find Johannes Grenzfurthner's text "The Medium is the Mess-Up. Or: How to Hack the World" in the phresh new issue of "2600: The Hacker Quarterly". Enjoy!


Arse Elektronika: Anthologies 
monochrom content info
Just to remind you: both Arse Elektronika anthologies can be ordered now!

(Picture by Scott Beale)

Order Link

And if you are a journalist and want to receive a review copy: please email office AT monochrom.at

Post-Arse Elektronika 2009 Drinkup in San Francisco 
monochrom content info
Arse Elektronika 2009 was a full success. It's time to cheer! So let's have a drink and talk about Arse Elektronika 2010.

October 9, 2009; 7:30 PM.
House of Shields
39 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-3438

monochrom in San Diego: Context Hacking: Some Examples of How to Mess with Art, the Media System, Law and the Market 
monochrom content info
monochrom in San Diego!
The term "context hacking"­ -- like its older mimetic sibling "communication guerrilla" -- refers to unconventional forms of communication and/or intervention in more conventional processes of communication. Context hacking is a specific style of political action drawing from a watchful view of the paradoxes and absurdities of power, turning these into the starting point for interventions by playing with representations and identities, with alienation and over-identification.

Johannes Grenzfurthner will present some projects by monochrom, a worldwide operating collective from Vienna dealing with technology, art, and philosophy that was founded in 1993. The group specializes in an unpeculiar mixture of proto-aesthetic fringe work, pop attitude, subcultural science, and political activism. Their mission is conducted everywhere, but first and foremost "in culture-archaeological digs into the seats (and pockets) of ideology and entertainment."
This talk was given as part of Google's Tech Talk series -- but was censored. Google statement: "Given the level of profanity, sexual content, and shocking images in it, I do not think it is appropriate for the Google Tech Talks channel on YouTube."
Friday, October 16, 2009. Where? 9255 Towne Center Drive, Suite 400, San Diego, CA 92121.

monochrom in Los Angeles: "Reach Out And Touch Face: A Rant About Failing" 
monochrom content info
Johannes will give a lecture performance at Machine Project, Sunday, October 11, 2009; 8 PM.
Hackers love knowledge. They try to find out how stuff works. And that's great. Experimentation is a major part of hacking. It is in the most philosophical sense a deconstruction of things.

A specific use is never inherent to an object, even though technical demagogues like to claim that it is. Just compare the term "self-explanatory" and the term "archeological find". It's a pretty hard task to find out what technology is and what it should do if you don't have a clue about the context. Usually the use is connected with the object through definition ("instructions for use"). Turning an object against the use inscribed in it means probing its possibilities.

Science and Technology Studies (especially Langdon Winner and Bruno Latour) have convincingly demonstrated that the widespread inability to understand technological artifacts as fabricated entities, as social and cultural phenomena, derives from the fact that in retrospect only those technologies that prove functional for a culture and can be integrated into everyday life are "left over." However, the perception of what is functional, successful and useful is itself the product of social and cultural, and last but not least political and economic processes. Selection processes and abandoned products (developmental derailments, sobering intermediary results, useless prototypes) are not discussed.

Well. What can we do?
We can fail. Beautifully.


Laughing Squid: First photos of Arse Elektronika 2009 
monochrom content info
Scott Beale posted first pictures of Arse Elektronika 2009.


monochrom's Johannes attending ROFLCon II 
monochrom content info
Yeah! Tim Hwang writes:
With all the ridiculous awesomeness that has been floating out around the webs from last weekend's Arse Elektronika 2009 festival in San Francisco, I figure it's an appropriate time to introduce the most recent featured guest at ROFLCon II.

To be explicit, we're extraordinarily happy today to announce that Johannes Grenzfurthner, founder of monochrom, will be attending ROFLCon II! For those who don't know already, I could talk at length about the sheer badassery this gent produces: from their slickly sold wares to the creation of crypto-fictional finicky, irascible art geniuses, but I'll pretty much let him speak for himself in his bio:

Johannes Grenzfurthner's worldly existence could be summarized as artist, writer, director, researcher and troublemaker. He founded monochrom (an internationally acting art-tech-theory group) — and as part of monochrom he is responsible for Soviet Unterzoegersdorf and other tour-de-farce intertube occurrences. He is head of Arse Elektronika (sex and tech) festival in San Francisco and co-hosts Roboexotica (the only and therefore leading festival for Cocktail-Robotics). He holds a professorship for art theory and art practice at the University of Applied Sciences, Graz, Austria. Tag cloud: crisis, language, culture, self-content, identity, utopia, mania, despair, powernapping.

Johannes actually sent me a photo of him being exploded in two by a landmine from Monochrom's homebrew adventure game Soviet Unterzoegersdorf 2 — but I think this recent one above from Laughing Squid will more than suffice.


Arse Elektronika Anthology "Do Androids Sleep with Electric Sheep?" is out! 
monochrom content info
Our new Arse Elektronika Anthology is officially released! "Do Androids Sleep with Electric Sheep? Critical Perspectives on Sexuality and Pornography in Science and Social Fiction"...

Edited by Johannes Grenzfurthner, Günther Friesinger, Daniel Fabry, Thomas Ballhausen.

Featuring essays and stories by Rudy Rucker, Richard Kadrey, James Tiptree, Jr., Allen Stein, Sharing is Sexy, Jason Brown, Cory Doctorow, Annalee Newitz, Tina Lorenz, Reesa Brown, Karin Harrasser, Isaac Leung, Rose White, Mela Mikes, Viviane, Susan Mernit, Chris Noessel, Kit O'Connell, Jens Ohlig, Bonni Rambatan, Thomas Roche, Bonnie Ruberg, Mae Saslaw, Violet Blue, Nathan Shedroff, 23N!, Benjamin Cowden, Johannes Grenzfurthner, Daniel Fabry...

Publisher: RE/Search, San Francisco.

Buy it at Arse Elektronika 2009!

Prixxx Arse Elektronika 2009: And the winners are... 
monochrom content info
Ladies and Gentlemen!

Prixxx Arse Elektronika 2009!

The Golden Kleenes go to...
Ani Niow: Steampunk Vibrator
Jonathon Keats: Cinema Botanica: Pornography for Plants
Jason Scott: Historic research about and archiving of ancient online porn and digital erotic art / textfiles.com
Noah Weinstein and Randy Sarafan: Joydick
Uncle Abdul: Lifetime Award for his outstanding work in the field of electrostim
Rachel Lovinger: Costume Award

And -- by the way -- we really like this tweet.
#arse2009 recharged my faith in humanity. plant porn! weird euro-pop! robot slaves from the 25th century! sex of the future! machinima! (chariejane)

SFist about Arse Elektronika 2009 Festival 
monochrom content info
Arse Elektronika 2009, the annual conference on sex, technology and the future, kicks off tonight.

New: Arse Elektronika Discuss Mailing List: dedicated to sex and technology 
monochrom content info
We decided to create a new mailing list dedicated to sex and technology.

How to subscribe / unsubscribe:

Via web:

Via mail:
to listserv AT lists.monochrom.at
mail body to subscribe: subscribe AE
mail body to leave the list: signoff AE

List mail address: ae AT monochrom.at

SF Gate on Arse Elektronika: "Sex In The Future Will Be Weird" 
monochrom content info
We seem to be on the edge of life itself, making it no better time than to think that like any other time when there's a prophetic series of events leading toward world destruction, our sexually charged sci-fi future is just as close as ever. I mean, for frak's sake, didn't we learn anything from Battlestar? (Other than, disappointingly, Starbuck is not gay.)

The rule seems to be that if the end is nigh, someone must have had sex with a cylon and we're reaping the consequences. Yes, the sex and tech conference Arse Elektronika 2009 Sex and Technology Festival starts tonight here in San Francisco, so it seems that we have all the symbolic signs we need. And, we might be wondering when we're going to start having future sex already and musing about how totally amazing it will certainly be. And we'll all be thinking the world is lame that we're not already having hot replicant sex-on-tap right now. The closest we can manage is a good line on cheap used Victoria's Secret mannequins (the kind with the wonderfully obscene nipples.)

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monochrom is an art-technology-philosophy group having its seat in Vienna and Zeta Draconis. monochrom is an unpeculiar mixture of proto-aesthetic fringe work, pop attitude, subcultural science, context hacking and political activism. Our mission is conducted everywhere, but first and foremost in culture-archeological digs into the seats (and pockets) of ideology and entertainment. monochrom has existed in this (and almost every other) form since 1993.

Booking monochrom:

External monochrom links:
[monochrom Wikipedia]
[monochrom Flickr]
[monochrom blip.tv]
[monochrom GV]
[monochrom Youtube]
[monochrom Facebook]
[monochrom iTunes]
[monochrom Twitter]

Soviet Unterzoegersdorf / Sector 2 / The Adventure Game

Climate Training Camp

Krach der Roboter: Hello World!

Slacking is killing the DIY industry (T-Shirt)

Carefully Selected Moments / CD, LP

Freedom is a whore of a word (T-Shirt)


International Year of Polytheism 2007

Santa Claus Vs. Christkindl: A Mobster Battle

Could It Be (Video clip)

Pot Tin God

Hacking the Spaces

Kiki and Bubu and The Shift / Short film

Kiki and Bubu and The Privilege / Short film

Kiki and Bubu and The Self / Short film

Kiki and Bubu and The Good Plan / Short film

Kiki and Bubu and The Feelings / Short film / Short film

Sculpture Mobs

Nazi Petting Zoo / Short film

The Great Firewall of China

KPMG / Short film

The BRAICIN / Short film

Soviet Unterzoegersdorf / Sector 1 / The Adventure Game

I was a copyright infringement in a previous life (T-Shirt)

Brave New Pong

Leben ist LARPen e.V.

One Minute / Short film

Firing Squad Euro2008 Intervention


A tribute to Honzo

Lessig ist lässig

I can count every star in the heavens above -- The image of computers in popular music

All Tomorrow's Condensations / Puppet show

Bye Bye / Short film


PC/DC patch

Proto-Melodic Comment Squad


The Redro Loitzl Story / Short film

Hax0rcise SCO

Law and Second Order (T-Shirt)

They really kicked you out of the Situationist International?

Death Special: Falco

Applicant Fisch / Short film

When I was asked to write about new economy

Taugshow #6

Taugshow #7

Taugshow #9

Taugshow #10

Taugshow #11

Taugshow #14

Taugshow #15

Campfire at Will

Arse Elektronika 2007, 2008, 2009 etc.

The Void's Foaming Ebb / Short film

Remoting Future

When you / Short film


Free Bariumnitrate

Toyps / Typing Errors

ARAD-II Miami Beach Crisis

The Charcoal Burner / Short film

Digital Culture In Brazil


Nation of Zombia

Lonely Planet Guide action

CSI Oven Cloth

Dept. of Applied Office Arts

Farewell to Overhead

Google Buttplug

Fieldrecording in Sankt Wechselberg / Short film

Dark Dune Spots

Campaign For The Abolition Of Personal Pronouns


Space Tourism

In the Head of the Gardener

Entertainment (Unterhaltung) / Short film

Cthulhu Goatse

Nicholas Negroponte Memorial Cable

Coke Light Art Edition 06

Experience the Experience! (West Coast USA/Canada Tour 2005)

April 23

Overhead Cumshot

Irark / Short film


Instant Blitz Copy Fight

A Patriotic Fireman

A Micro Graphic Novel Project

Noise and Talk

The Exhilarator


SUZOeG Training / Short film

The Flower Currency


A Holiday in Soviet Unterzoegersdorf

How does the Internet work?

Paraflows 2006 and up

Special Forces

Coca Cola

About Work

Turing Train Terminal

Me / Short Film

Massive Multiplayer Thumb-Wrestling Network


Some Code To Die For

The Year Wrap-up

Soviet Unterzoegersdorf Metroblogging

Project Mendel

Display, Retry, Fail

Manifesto of Ignorantism


Towers of Hanoi



Every Five Seconds an Inkjet Printer Dies Somewhere




We know apocalypses

452 x 157 cm² global durability

A Good Haul

Blattoptera / Art for Cockroaches

Minus 24x

Gladiator / Short Film


An attempt to emulate an attempt

Paschal Duct-Taping

Laptop Crochetication


Somewhere in the 1930s

Soul Sale

The Department for Criticism against Globalisation

Dot Smoke

Georg Paul Thomann

Nurgel Staring

War On

Let's network it out


Mackerel Fiddlers


Disney vs. Chrusov / Short film

Bulk Mail

Easter Celebrations

Mouse Over Matter

Condolence for a Crab

Force Sting

Turning Threshold Countries Into Plows


A Noise

A. C. A.

Hopping Overland

Achy Breaky Heart Campaign

Hermeneutic Imperative III

Holy Water / Franchise

Roböxotica // Festival for Cocktail-Robotics


Engine Hood Cookies


The Watch

Creative Industry 2003

This World

Cracked Foundation For The Fine Arts

Sometimes I feel

Fit with INRI

Growing Money

Catapulting Wireless Devices

Buried Alive

Illegal Space Race

Magnetism Party

Brick of Coke

1 Baud

Scrota Contra Vota

Direct Intervention Engine

Oh my God, they use a history which repeats itself! (T-Shirt)


Dorkbot Vienna