Fran Ilich at Web 2.0 panel in ITESM
|Birth name||Fran Ilich Morales|
|Also known as||Ilich Sabotage|
|Origin||Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico|
|Occupation(s)||Activist, entrepreneur, media-artist, writer|
Fran Ilich Morales is a Mexican writer and media artist who principally works on the theory and practice of narrative media. Born in 1975, during the early 1990s he co-founded the Contra-Cultura (menor) collective and was involved in the independent media scene in Tijuana—mainly the cyberpunk scene—where he was known to be an eclectic producer working with literature, photography, comics, videofilms and electronic music. Because of this, he was identified as part of the Generation X of Mexican literature, with other writers like Guillermo Fadanelli & Naief Yehya. In 1995 he began publishing Cinemátik, a printed tabloid on urban electronic culture. In 1996 he was a screenwriter for Discovery Channel Interacción, a show produced by Beatriz Acevedo. In 1997 he published his first novel, Metro-Pop. In 1998 he was signed by Digital Entertainment Network as creator for a series of 6-minute shows targeting young Latino audiences. However, the series never was produced, as the multimedia dot-com company and internet pioneer went bankrupt. The same year, along with other members of Laboratorios Cinemátik, he produced Cinemátik 1.0, which is considered to be the first cyberculture festival in Latin America. He was part of the initial group of artists and producers who founded Nortec, though he distanced himself from this scene in 1999 and moved to Berlin. There, he became involved with Nettime, collaborating with Florian Schneider, Geert Lovink, Natalie Bookchin, Pit Schultz, Ricardo Dominguez and Alexei Shulgin.
In 2000 Ilich initiated the Borderhack festival on the Mexican side of the Tijuana-San Diego border wall. He then moved to Mexico City to become an editor for the magazine Sputnik Cultura Digital. In 2005, after attending the meetings of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle in Chiapas with Subcomandante Marcos and the EZLN, Ilich launched the autonomous server possibleworlds.org and its economic body spacebank.org. In 2007 the magazine he edited, Sab0t, was presented at Documenta 12 magazines. This same year his novel Tekno Guerrilla, a story about the HEM (Hecho En México) graffiti crew in Tijuana, was published by Verbigracia (Basque Country). His novel Circa 94 was published in Mexico in 2010 and won the Premio Binacional de Novela Joven Frontera de palabras/Border of words award for 2010.
As an artist, Ilich has presented his work as a media artist at cultural institutions and international art and media festivals throughout Europe and the Americas (e.g. Transmediale, Ars Electronica, Berlinale Talent Campus, Walker Art Center, InSite 05, Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, Streaming Cinema Festival, Antidoto at Itau Cultural, International Festival of New Film Split, Salón Internacional de Arte Digital de la Habana, among others. Ilich has also presented his work in other fora: In 2009 he was a keynote speaker at the EZLN's first Festival Mundial de la Digna Rabia (first World Festival of Dignified Rage) on a panel on "Otra Comunicación, Otra Cultura", along with Subcomandante Marcos, Comandante Zebedeo, Hermann Bellinghausen, Gloría Muñoz, Sergío Ramírez Lazcano, Francisco Barrios "El Mastuerzo" and Roco of Maldita Vecindad. In 2011 he presented his project Diego de la Vega and Spacebank at The Economist 2011 conference in Mexico City, "Change from the Bottom Up."
Since 2010 Ilich has focused on the cooperative media conglomerate Diego de la Vega and its virtual community investment bank Spacebank. Since 2011 he has been a Fellow at Eyebeam. Ilich is completing an M.A. in the Media Art History program in Donau-Universität Krems in Austria, where he holds the 2010 Leonardo Foundation scholarship. His most recent book is an extended essay on radical political imagination and narrative across media. Titled "Otra Narr@tiva es Posible: La imaginacion política en la era del internet" [Another Narr@ative is Possible: Political Imagination in the Internet Age]. It was published by Recovecos in Argentina in 2011 and is forthcoming from The Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam.
Since 2010 Ilich lives in New York City.