Interview for Neural magazine Issue #35
about Open Society Structures
and People Quote People
Neural: One of the formats you seem familiar with is diagrams that you used in GWEI and Amazon Noir, and as a stand-alone fulfilling concept in the algorithms triptych of Open Society Structures. What do diagrams represent for you and how do you approach them?
Paolo Cirio: I see diagrams as a fascinating medium for describing complex concepts and systems, and people really enjoy to read and interpret them by following the persuasive flux of mechanisms, I think it's rooted in the expressive human language. Diagrams drive imagination in a logical simplicity able to explain everything and hence to influence significance. I'm a fan of Mark Lombardi's diagrams, he really used them in a constructive way to weld art and information together. Specifically, the algorithms triptych of Open Society Structures combines the software design of the society organisation, and questions if we can outline a better civilisation by redrawing its architecture. The Microsoft model versus the Unix one is the tacit example. In the context of art history these algorithms can be seeing like an updated version of the Joseph Beuys' blackboards sketches. However I didn't use sources from anywhere other than my notes to draw these diagrams. I was surprised too when in less than a month I had the whole picture of them, I guess it's because I spent so many years thinking deeply about a better world.
Neural: In People Quote People you also deeply questioned the authors' role defining it as "social degeneracy", mixing quotes (that we abuse today through a mindless copy-and-paste) with their authors. In your perspective, is misquotation a form of cultural rebellion, or just an exemplary practice to highlight the fragility of the ultra fast global communication?
PC: It's a provocation, for sure a dangerous one, I never verified how many misquotations I caused by this project, I suppose many, because it has hundreds of vistors daily and I even sold banners on it. I may argue on the romantic figure of the genius that shaped our culture after the Middle Age, however it's in our time that the importance of names became a fixation for anyone. In fact, nowadays, building a reputation online that surrounds our name is professionally more important than our resumes, and at the same time there is an ultra fast mass production of ideas, content, and activities created by million of people interconnected that share everything (the so-called 'prosumers'). This phenomenon inevitably origins cases of homonymy, plagiarism, inaccuracies of credits and misquotations.
In this situation, if we try to leave behind the single author, the credits and so on, we can focus on a general wisdom that rises from the crowd in the network. I subtitled this project "The Death of the Author 2.0" (from the Roland Barthes' book) but actually it's about something that is coming into existence - but of course it's without name and surname, just people's ideas.
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