"Designed in Norway"


As the  merchandise mark "Made in Germany" refers to production quality, beauty and design can be referred to the Scandinavian countries. Norway now even went as far as to announce a design competion to get their official passport to be redesigned. Oslo-based Neue Design Studio has won the competition and created a modern, sleek document, already winning praise from all sides. The design team worked withe the beautifully simplified depictions of Norway’s natural landscapes drawn with fine lines in pastel shades. “All Norwegians are so connected to nature, it’s a very strong part of our history and defines us as a country,” says Gørill Kvamme of Neue, who explains that the minimal concept came from seeking to find the “essence of something”. When shone under UV light, the landscapes within the pages transform to show the northern lights in the night sky, a magical touch that adds a deeper sense of intrigue to the already striking document. “It represents the vast variety of nature and landscapes you find in Norway … which makes it relevant to all of us whether you have always lived there or just received your citizenship.” The covers are coloured differently for standard, diplomatic and immigrant passports, which all feature gold writing in the bottom left corner and a simplified version of the country's crest above. The result of the competition was explained by the jury: “It both illustrates the Norwegian identity and makes sure the passport will be viewed as document of high value”. Now Neue will work closely with the National Police Directorate to find a way to balance the design with the complicated security expectations of a passport - something they are not currently able to discuss in detail. No date for the passport’s release has been set but it is expected to be within the next two years.

Passports aren’t the only national symbol the state has opened up to the country’s design teams. Last month - as a result of a similar competition - Norges Bank picked proposals from design studios Snøhetta and The Metric System for their new kroner notes. Pixelated and also featuring bold colours, the new notes are due to be released in 2017.

Along with the country’s new passports, they show how progressive design is tied in with the Norwegian way of life. As Kvamme says: “Design has a natural role in helping express what country or culture you are a part of.” Will there be soon the merchandise mark "Designed in Norway"?


For the first time in 2014, a BYOB (Bring your own Beamer) took place in Frankfurt. Initiated in 2010 in Berlin by Dutch-Brazilian Artist Rafael Rozendaal,BYOB is a series of one-night-exhibitions hosting artists and their projectors. Over the last couple of years these events took on their own spirits and evolved into an international platform that can be set up by anyone, anywhere. 
On Novemebr 8th, Indechs took the initiative to turn the old premises of the former „PULSE“ club, one of Frankfurt´s most famous nightlife locations, into a symbiosis of light, sound and moving images. 11 artist were invited to find a spot in the old vaulted cellar, the staircase or what used to be the bar area of the club and show their work, breathing fresh life into the neglected walls.
Many thanks to Morris Gouda, Constantin Hartenstein, Bert Jacobs, Philip Jannssen Saul Judd, Saori Kuno, Sarah Maple, Florian Meisenberg, Simon Senn, Alexander Tillegreen  and Claudia de la Torre, who made it a very special evening!

Sunday Read - Push Start – The Art Of Video Games

On the 14th of December 1948 the U.S. Patent 2455992 was issued and can be marked as the beginning of video games. This earliest example is from 1947 - "Cathode ray tube Amusement Device" by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann. Inspired by radar display tech, it consisted of an analog device that allowed a user to control a vector-drawn dot on the screen to simulate a missile being fired at targets, which were drawings fixed to the screen. The evolution took off and went via the famous OXA a tic-tac-toe Computer game in 1952, Tennis for Two in 1958 or already Spacewar! written by MIT students in 1961, all experiments at Universities, to games such as Pac Man, Space Invaders, Tetris or Super Mario Bros. which triggered a public video game mania in the 80`s & 90`s to the most common leisure activity of the 21st. century. On average every household has at least one video gaming device in the western world and North America will top that for sure. In Germany about 40% of the population are playing video games on a regular basis.  Ear Books has been inspired by these facts, the relevance of video games and of course every ones personal relationship to them and recently published a stunning encyclopedia like book "Push Start - The Art of Video Games" documenting the graphical evolution of video games. The title can be read in various ways and definitely one is the focus on the word art, which becomes very relevant when browsing thought the 220 Screenshots, Artwork prints and video game sequences printed inside. For all the real nostalgic ones; this Sunday Read comes with a 10-inch Vinyl (and a MP3 download Code for all the modern ones) with all inherent iconic video gaming sounds. So lean back, hear the tunes and travel in time.


Push Start – The Art Of Video Games

Prof. Dr. Stephan Günzel, Jos Bendinelli Negrone, Big Twice, Wolfgang Seidl

contains 200 images, texts, historical and artistic references and 10Inch Vinyl with iconic video gaming sounds
Publisher: earBOOKS
Language: English/German
Format: 28 x 28 cm
Hardcover: 380 pages
ISBN-10: 3943573095

Saturday Soundtrack – The Best in Film Music 1992 - Basic Instinct & Forever Young (both Jerry Goldsmith), Death Becomes Her (Alan Silvestri) and The Last of the Mohicans (Trevor Jones, Randy Edelman)

Max Peter on the best film music of 1991:

First of all: Alan Menken´s score for Aladdin won the Academy Award for Best Original Score 1992. It was his third win in this category within four years. Before, he had won the beloved trophy for his music for The Little Mermaid (1989) and Beauty and the Beast (1991). 

The music for Aladdin earned composer Menken not only an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his score, but also an Academy Award and Golden Globe for the song ´´A Whole New World“ - with lyrics by Tim Rice. The song became also the Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards in the following award season.  

Aladdin was a fine musical contribution to the animated genre, but it was not the only fascinating score of 1992. Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman composed music for the historical epic movie The Last of the Mohicans. Jones was the original composer for the film. He wrote the prominent main theme and other musical pieces for Michael Mann´s commercially successful movie. Edelman contributed additional cues for The Last of the Mohicans, but worked alone on the music for another box-office hit called Beethoven in the same year. The dog comedy about a Saint Bernard, who brings ´´turbulence´´ in the life of an american family, is pure fun and Edelman´s music captures the essence of the film with his charming soundtrack. For Robert Zemeckis´ black comedy Death Becomes Her, Alan Silvestri wrote a wry, macabre score that is one of his best. For The Bodyguard he created a great romantic suspense score. Especially its main theme evokes the musical style of the neo-noir thrillers of the 70s. Apart from other outstanding scores of the year, for example James Horner´s Patriot Games and Sneakers, Thomas Newman´s Scent of a Woman and especially Wojciech Kilar´s Bram Stoker´s Dracula, 1992 was the year of composers like John Barry, Mark Isham, Marc Shaiman and Richard Robbins. Barry wrote a melancholic score for Chaplin and got an Oscar nomination for his beautiful work. Mark Isham composed the soundtrack for Robert Redford´s A River Runs Through It. Marc Shaiman created the music for the courtroom drama A Few Good Men, one of the year´s major Oscar contenders, but didn´t get a nomination for his work. For the wonderful movie Sister Act the same musician created a good energetic score as well as song arrangements for the movie, which helped the film to become one of the hits of 1992. Richard Robbins did an amazing job in creating themes and cues for Howard´s End, too. But 1992 was also a special year for director Paul Verhoeven, because his thriller Basic Instinct, the most scandalous movie of 1992, premiered in cinemas. 

Even before its release in March, Basic Instinct generated controversy. The reason: the visual depiction of sexuality and violence. Despite a lot of public protest, Verhoeven´s movie became the fourth highest grossing film of the year and one of the most successful films of the 1990s. A few weeks after its release, it was regarded as a milestone of the genre. Today the thriller Basic Instinct is regarded as a classic. The clever storyline written by Joe Eszterhas, the catchy cinematography by Jan de Bont and the outstanding performances by Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone were all reasons for the big success of the film. And don´t forget Sharon Stone in the interrogation scene – one of the most famous scenes in the history of American cinema. The whole movie has a thrilling atmosphere, no other movie had in 1992. The original score for Verhoeven´s cinematic jewel was composed by Academy Award-winning composer Jerry Goldsmith, who worked together with the Dutch director on Total Recall in 1990. Goldsmith said about his work that it was one of his most challenging efforts. He worked hard to find the right musical tone for the film. He went musically under the surface of the story and, likewise, under the skin of the characters. The main theme is blistering, the atmospheric cues build the necessary tension and the action material belongs to the very best of the composer. Without question, the score for Basic Instinct is one of the best in Goldsmith´s long career. It is the perfect example how visuals can work in combination with good film music. 

In the same year, two other films with Goldsmith´s musical contribution premiered: Medicine Man and Forever Young. Even though both films were not as successful as Paul Verhoeven´s Basic Instinct, both have amazing scores by the maestro. Medicine Man was directed by American director John McTiernan and stars Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco. Goldsmith wrote a romantic score, in which he combined the sounds of the orchestra with synthetic elements. His work on the movie was praised by critics. His score for Forever Young was romantic, too, but different from all the other scores the composer wrote in 1992. For the film´s finale, Goldsmith composed a triumphal piece of music, which combines all of the main thematic material of his score. The cue ´´Reunited´´ begins with stunning action music and leads to a majestic musical conclusion. When the protagonists (played by Mel Gibson and Isabel Glasser) meet again each other after years (at the end of the film), Goldsmith´s music gets more and more emotional and let us participate in their feelings. A majestic moment in film music!  

Theme Week - Participate - Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller integrate the viewer into her wrok on subtle level. While their sound installation can be referred to as audible paintings - something the viewer merely absorbs, they integrate the viewer in others, making him or her an integral part of it. The artist duo constructs stories in form of video walks in which the viewer directly dives into and thereby becomes part of the piece. The first of these kind of video walks, "In Real Time", (1999). It took place in the library of the Carnegie Museum of Art and beganswith the participant donning a pair of headphones attached to a small video camera. Upon playback Cardiff advices to watch the screen and follow along with what we see and hear for approximately 18 minutes. This piece relies on the discrepancies between what is seen on the video monitor and what is actually occurring in the library.  Cardiff and Bures Miller represented Canada at the 49th Venice Biennale with Paradise Institute (2001), a 16-seat movie theatre where viewers watched a film, becoming entangled as witnesses to a possible crime played out in the real world audience and on the screen. The artists won La Biennale di Venezia Special Award at Venice, presented to Canadian artists for the first time and the Benesse Prize, recognizing artists who break new artistic ground with an experimental and pioneering spirit. In 2012, they took in the Docuemnta, proposing two installations: the first one is an audio installation in the forest called «Forest (for a thousand years…)» of 28 minutes audio loop. The second one is a 26-minute video walk specially produced for Documenta and called «Alter Bahnhof video walk». Here, participants  were able to borrow an iPod and headphones from a check-out booth. They were then directed by Cardiff and Miller through the station. An alternate world opens up where reality and fiction meld in a disturbing and uncanny way that has been referred to as "physical cinema". The participants watched things unfold on the small screen but felt the presence of those events deeply because of being situated in the exact location where the footage was shot. As they followed the moving images (and try to frame them as if they were the camera operator) a strange confusion of realities occurs. In this confusion, the past and present conflate and Cardiff and Miller guided through a meditation on memory and reveal the poignant moments of being alive and present.

Theme Week - Participate - Tino Sehgal

One artists who has certainly gained a lot of recognition for its human interventions in the last couple of years is British-German artist Tino Sehgal. Last time, we mentioned him as a Turner Prize Nominee in 2013. In what he describes as "constructed situations", he defies the traditional context of museum and gallery environments by focusing on a lived experience rather than on material objects. He therefore relies exclusively on the human voice, bodily movement and social interactions. However, his works are no mere performances that are only visible during a specific period of time. They still fulfill all the parameters of a traditional artwork with the exception of its inanimate materiality. Thus, they are presented continuously during the operating hours of the museum, they can be bought and sold, and, by virtue of being repeatable, they can persist over time. Using his formative studies in dance and economics as a source of inspiration, Sehgal turns galleries, art fairs and private collections into his arena. He considers visual art to be a microcosm of our economic reality, as both center on identical conditions: the production of goods and their subsequent circulation. 
Seeking to reconfigure these conditions, Sehgal produces meaning and value through a transformation of actions rather than solid materials. As a result, he explores social processes, cultural conventions, and the allocation of roles in his works -  thereby not only redefining art production but also reconsidering fundamental values of our social system, including sustainability, originality, and ownership.
Furthermore, this way of production elicits a different kind of viewer: a visitor is no longer only a passive spectator, but one who bears a responsibility to shape and at times to even contribute to the actual realization of the piece, which most importantly underscores an individual’s own agency in the museum environment. Regardless of whether they call for direct action or address the viewer in a more subtle sense, Sehgal’s works always evoke questions of responsibility within an interpersonal relationship.

Theme Week - Participate - Simon Senn at Salon Kennedy

In the exhibition at Salon Kennedy this new work cycle "Salon Kennedy - 2014" (described earlier today) is fronted by two older works "Medowlands Zone 1 - 2010" and "Purlieus Tales - 2011". 

In both works Simon Seen deals with human behavior and patterns of interaction, too. He explores group dynamics and individual responses take place in contexts defined by the artist, like for example at a South African housing project in the work "Medowlands Zone 1". Here Senn offered six random workers on the street to take part in a competition. The one, with the strongest, most intense and sensational anger to express his concern with the political situation within 20 seconds, will win. As often in Simon Senn`s works, incentives, in this case money, has been given for participants to act and follow the artists instructions. Through his deliberately candid filming technique and other interventions Senn reveals and heightens existing tensions within a given social setting like in the work "Purlieus Tales". The artist interviews two young residents of the Parisian troubled outskirt Clichy-sous-Bois and asks them receptively stereotypes associated with youth and are openly provocative, moralistic and pejorative until he has to run away with the threat of violence and first attacks while filming.

Simon Senn (*1986) is a swiss video artist currently living in Geneva. He studied at the HEAS Geneva University of Art & Design, at the London School of Journalism and graduated with a Master of Fine Art from Goldsmith College, London in 2013. His works have been exhibited at the ICA London, at the Liverpool Bieannual 2014, at the Centro d'Arte Contemporanea del Ticino Bellinzona, the Videodromo Atelier dell'Arco Amoroso Ancona in Italy, Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Basel or the Kunstmuseum Bern among others. Further he has received numerous grants and prizes like the Swiss Art Prize 2011, the Prix Suisse de la Performance 2011 or the Kiefer-Hablitzel Preis 2009 to name a few.

Theme Week - Participate - insight into the production of the work Salon Kennedy

Swiss artist Simon Senn, who talked to Indechs yesterday, already mentioned his current exhibition at Salon Kennedy in Frankfurt, Germany. For this occasion the artist created a completely new work in the space, which now also carried the title Salon Kennedy. 

Trough the desire to involve other people in his process of work, Simon Senn chooses also to share with them the demiurgic responsibility and invited 6 protagonists which were anonymous people to him and the exhibition space too. Simon Senn is looking for the limits of the participants, the limits of their involvement, and how far the play can last before becoming reality. His practice could be considered as the study of psychological, physical, and ethical resistance of the participants as well as the viewers.  In this journey to the human behaviour, Senn emerges himself into the experiment, always with an active role. There is no longer a difference between the artist and the cast. He sets the rules, and obstructions to build the context of the performance. This time the rules for the 6 participants were to be locked into one of the exhibition space at night with one polaroid camera each. Only when one had shot all 20 images on the film, he/she was allowed to leave the space. The most sensational photograph will win. 

These parameters influence the action and push it towards one direction and at the same time, give space for improvisation. At the limit between a sort of obsessive control and the impossibility to foresee the result, the work of Simon Senn finds its place on a thin margin of predictability. 

As mentioned in the interview yesterday the result at first seems flat and boring to the artist. Yet over time he realized how much intimacy the participants were showing and how the they revealed their personality through the process. Hence Senn decided to ask a psychologist to write psychological reports about each participant based on the pictures. Resulting in a series of 6 panels displaying the 20 images taken by the participant during the performance and the accompanying personality psychology report.

Theme Week - Participate - Interview Simon Senn

Could you tell us a bit about your practise, please?

My art projects deal with human behaviour and interaction patterns. I’m interested in exploring group dynamics and individual behaviour in a context I define. The specific contexts that I set up, seek to emphasise aspects of societal settings in such a way that behaviours are being accentuated and radicalised. For doing so, volunteers are gathered in a chosen setting, where they act and react, within prescribed guidelines. Those situations that I create generate images that are the content of my works.

You are recognised mainly as a video artist – however, all of your works evolve out of performances where you, as the artist take a step-back in and become an observer just like the audience in the end. How would you categorise your work?

In my practise, the decision-making happens before and after an event or a “performance” happens. Before, I set up the parameters of the situation; I choose the participants, a location and give instructions to the participants. Then something happens and I’m the first audience to witness the result. And then from that point I do a lot of editing, deciding how I want to eventually show this material.

Simon Senn & participants in action for the work "SALON KENNEDY"

One widely discussed tendency in contemporary art history is the term of relational aesthetics as originally introduced by Nicholas Bourriaud in the 90s. It describes the tendency to make art based on, or inspired by human relations and their social context. Your works tend to involve anonymous everyday people and your interest lies in the analysis of human behaviour and their interaction. Where does this interest stem from?

I’m not a big fan of Bourriaud’s relational aesthetics theory because it sort of claims in a sense that art can save people from social misery in a world where everybody stopped interacting. I’m very interested to explore human relations exploring dissensus and antagonism and that seems to be ignored in Bourriaud’s text. I remember when I was in art school doing a one week workshop with Rirkrit Tiravanija, I lost interest when he explained how his works were facilitating “high moments” for the participants as opposed to “not that high moments” that they have in daily life.

A common critique of this notion is that of becoming a voyeur rather than merely an observer and thereby almost showcasing the people involved. It is a fine line, especially when highlighting critical social imbalances like you do in some of your works.  What is your opinion on this and how do you keep the balance? Do you try to keep a balance?

In my practise when I have and idea, I try not to stop doing something because of an alleged political incorrectness. No I don’t necessarily try to keep a balance as I think it would compromise my work. I don’t want to hide critical social imbalances because it is there anyway and I think it is important to address this specific issue.

Still from the work: "MEADOWLANDS ZONE 1", 2010, high definition video, video installation, 12 min.

The work Meadowlands Zone 1 is set in a Soweto township in South Africa. A storyline is established in which young men are induced by the offer of a cash prize to participate in a competition to find the youth best able to express his anger and demands in a 20-second take to be filmed against the townships hostels. What role does the reward play? How do you evaluate money as an incentive?

In Meadowlands Zone 1 money plays a very important role because everything evolves around it. Using money was a strategy that boosted the way the participants behaved in the video.

You leave a certain amount of freedom to the performers to act, yet after providing some guidelines and defining the context. Thereby you arguably lead them in a certain direction, rather than for instance just providing a topic or theme.  Do you often have a certain outcome in mind and are therefore sometimes disappointed if it goes in a different direction? How do you deal with such a situation?

When making a project, I do have a specific outcome in mind. But it is not a question of the actual content but rather a question of having tension in it. In order to accept the outcome, make it function and validate it as one of my artworks it has to have this tension in it.

How do you choose the different contexts? Are they site-specific?

The choice of the location is made quite spontaneously based on the randomness of life. Then the different parameters of the situations I set up are always site-specific.

Still from the work: "GULBERG", 2013, video, 11 minutes

What does a typical production process look like? How do you go about finding participants?

For each project I adopt a different strategy. For example for Meadowlands Zone 1 it was a long process. I had a contact working in an ONG in Soweto that told me that a local soccer team was looking for a coach. I took the job and was coaching the kids every afternoon and then little by little and week after week I was trying to be part of the community. For this project I knew that the choosing of the main character of the video was a crucial decision. Then the minute I met Dre (the person I chose for the role), I knew he was the right guy for the project and when I told him about it he was super motivated. Then from that point the project was made in one day.

On the other hand for Purlieus Tales when I went to the Paris suburbs in Clichy-Sous-Bois, I made the entire project in less than two days. I was simply approaching strangers in the street and was asking them if I could interview them.

For your most recent work, showing at Salon Kennedy, Frankfurt you casted a group of six people, equipped them each with a Polaroid Camera, left them in a room and asked them to capture the most “sensational moment.” What did you expect from this project and did the outcome meet your expectations?

It was really interesting process because when I first saw the resulting pictures my first impression was that they were rather flat and boring. So from that point I had two options; either I could make another performance happen or find a way to present it that would put tension in the work. After spending some time with the pictures I realised how much intimacy they were showing and how the participants revealed their personality through the process. So I decided to ask a psychologist to write psychological reports about each participant based on the pictures and to display them with the pictures in the exhibition.

"18H15" , 2012, performance, 720 pictures

"JUST LET GO", ongoing project, multimedia installation, 40 seconds

In this work as well as in previous works, you aim at exploring group dynamics and individual responses to a given set-up, testing out people`s boundaries, how far they are willing to go as well as how far the game can go.  What are experiences you have made so far and what are you planning to do with all the information you collect?

So far each performance ended up being a specific artwork. With all this material I gathered I don’t try to understand something or to be able formulate a thesis. It is more a fascination of creating images by giving an impulse and see what answers I get.

2014 is slowly coming to an end. What`s next?

Among other projects, I’m currently working for a solo show curated by George Vasey at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art. And I have a residency planned in Lima at El Galpon Espacio. Also I’m working on an artist book to be released by Miami Books, a publishing house based in Geneva.

Simon Senn arranging and framing one panel of the work "SALON KENNEDY"

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