On the seventh day God created e-commerce and you could smell the artists wince, peeling the scabs off old heartwounds, to try and do it again. Would art and money ever be happy? Designers – if you’ve ever felt confused waking hungover beside ethical responsibility, after a particularly good product launch, then jump into bed with Jean Poole and Josh from futurefarmers.com/theyrule.net for their breakfast discussion.
Explain the Future Farmers to your grandkids in 2050?
Futurefarmers is a small design company started by Amy Franceschini in 1995, oscillating around a small collective of people who work with her on various web, print and art projects.
Your party blurb for explaining what u do within that?
I do a lot of the programming on the flash side of things and help with 3D animation, although most design is done by Amy.
What won you a residency with the farmers, and any tips for budding Australian design prodigy wannabe farm-hands?
Send us your URLs. If we’re excited by somebodies work and we have time we usually start emailing the person. If we have the resources then we can offer them an internship.
What do you think about the increasing shift to software based artistry?
Yay, more media to scribble on! I think it’s great, and there is unique potential for new artistic investigations. As we become more familiar with the technology both the potentials and limitations of the media will be found, although the limitations of capitalism will be discovered more quickly than the limitations of this medium. Napster being an obvious example.
What media do you enjoy using? What software is interesting to you?
I like open source software. Though not everything that I want to do is easy to accomplish through what is available now. I enjoy using flash and ph because together they provide a powerful set of tools for making interactive information visualizations.
As the creator of ‘They Rule’, how do you reconcile Futurefarmers working with the likes of Levi’s, Nike, NEC and MSNBC?
They Rule is an interesting project, but the real task is helping to build a movement that has the confidence, size and will to end the madness of this profit driven system for good. I am involved in a socialist organization and spend much of my time helping out in this process.
For me the question is what can we do build a world in which decisions about what gets produced and how it is produced are decisions made by everyone democratically? At the moment these decisions are made by the market. Proponents of capitalism like to say that the market is driven by an invisible hand, well now that hand is so stained by blood it should be visible to everyone. It’s going to take more than a few clever websites to bring this beast down.
Futurefarmers is some of the least alienating work I could find. I hope that we’d draw the line at greenwashing, or nuclear power companies etc. On the whole I can have a more effective political voice through the united actions of a party than the singular withdrawal of my labour from the work on the website of a multi-national.
Web design seems to mesh the artistic and commercial spheres like never before. Is it eating or feeding the avant garde?
Nothing escapes the alienating force of commodification. We can make art that is reflexive about this, and we can make art which is didactic, but can we can’t make art which escapes this condition.
Net nostalgia laments the shoppingmallisation of cyberspace – what’s keepin’ it real 4u?
The real potential of the web, the ability to search all the text in the world for a certain string of text, to locate any piece of music, are hampered by private interests. The sites that I enjoy are those that try and resist this, or comment on it.
How do we avoid a cubicled future? (where we chew nasa vitamin pill hand me downs and data dripfeeds )
I think the we in the statement is the crucial term. The ‘we’ has to be as broad as possible. It can’t be an elite few intellectuals, nor for that matter a few well meaning ‘culture jammers’. The ‘we’ will have to be all those people and their neighbours, their children, their parents and their posties. etc. There is a growing confidence amongst everyday people in society that we can have some sort of say in how the world is run, and that it seems to be about time that we do.
An untouched area of design u’d like to X-plore?
I’d like to continue doing interaction design that involves people communicating with other people rather than them interacting with something I have made – chatroom like spaces that facilitate live communication probably themed around an issue.
A large client requests a 2 line proposal for a FutureFarmers genetic engineered artwork. Your ideas?
I don’t think it would be possible to do gentetically engineered artwork right now. I consider Kac’s rabbit to be a genetically engineered PR stunt. My reply would be:
Make a tree that grows US $100 bills, throw in some genes from some tenacious weeds, make it round-up ready; distribute this through the so called third world and poor areas. Include a terminator gene that kicks in after ten generations so that after the US economy collapses we aren’t swamped with the detritus of its ugly currency.
Josh & Bookmarx
I check www.commondreams.org almost everyday. I read www.socialistworker.org, www.indymedia.org, www.nologo.org, www.corpwatch.org and others for political content. I enjoy flazoom, blogdex, k10k, metafilter, www.ntk.net, www.blackbeltjones.com/work/ for my links…
Exploring the increasingly concentrated and cross-connected ownership of wealth within multinational corporations with a range of interwoven flash pieces.
Cute flash & plenny of it. Likely if you’ve read any contemporary design mags, u.v scene soma this work.
Electrofringe (Sep 27 – Oct 1 )
Open source software, copyright of the image, manipulating the web for fun and controversy, the influence of technological changes over ideas in design, how to break into the gaming industry, free workshops, forums, screenings,turntablism and much udder audiovisual experimentally ill stuff.