Johannes Grenzfurthner

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Johannes Grenzfurthner
Johannes Grenzfurthner at Museumsquartier, Vienna (2011).jpg
Johannes Grenzfurthner at Museumsquartier, Vienna (2011)
Born 1975
Vienna
Occupation Artist, filmmaker, writer, actor, curator, theatre director, lecturer
Nationality Austrian
Citizenship Austria
Spouse Anna Grenzfurthner (m. 2016)

Signature
Website
grenzfurthner.com

Johannes Grenzfurthner (German: [joˈhanəs ˈgrɛntsfʊrtnə]; born 1975 in Vienna) is an award-winning Austrian artist, filmmaker, writer, actor, curator, theatre director and lecturer. He is known as the founder, conceptualist and artistic director of monochrom, an international art and theory group. Most of his artworks are labelled monochrom.

He is one of the most outspoken researchers in the field of sexuality and technology,[1] and one of the founders of 'techno-hedonism' (see also: barbots).

Recurring topics in Grenzfurthner's art and writing are film, technology, political activism, contemporary art, performance art, humour, philosophy, sexuality, critical theory, robotics, postmodernism, media theory, cultural studies, popular culture studies, science fiction, and the debate about intellectual property.

Boing Boing magazine refers to him as leitnerd,[2] a wordplay with the German term Leitkultur that ironically hints at Grenzfurthner's role in nerd/hacker/art culture.

Career overview[edit]

monochrom[edit]

In the early 1990s, Johannes Grenzfurthner was an active member of several BBS message boards.[3] He used his online connections to create a zine or alternative magazine that dealt with art, technology and subversive cultures, and was influenced by US magazines like Mondo 2000. Grenzfurthner's motivation was to react to the emerging conservativism in cyber-cultures of the early 1990s,[4] and to combine his political background in the Austrian punk and antifa movement with discussion of new technologies and the cultures they create.[5] The publication featured many interviews and essays, for example by Bruce Sterling, HR Giger, Richard Kadrey, Arthur Kroker, Negativland, Kathy Acker, Michael Marrak, DJ Spooky, Geert Lovink, Lars Gustafsson, Tony Serra, Friedrich Kittler, Jörg Buttgereit, Eric Drexler, Terry Pratchett, Jack Sargeant and Bob Black,[6] in its specific experimental layout style.[7] In 1995 the group decided to cover new artistic practices[8][9][10] and started experimenting with different media: computer games, robots, puppet theater, musical, short films, pranks, conferences, online activism, which Grenzfurthner calls 'Urban Hacking'[11] or more specific: 'Context hacking', a term that Grenzfurthner coined.[12]

Context hacking transfers the hackers' objectives and methods to the network of social relationships in which artistic production occurs, and upon which it is dependent. In a metaphoric sense, these relationships also have a source code. Programs run in them, and our interaction with them is structured by a user interface. When we know how a space, a niche, a scene, a subculture or a media or political practice functions, we can change it and "recode" it, deconstructing its power relationships and emancipating ourselves from its compulsions and packaging guidelines.[13]

The group is known for working with different media, art and entertainment formats. Johannes Grenzfurthner calls this "looking for the best weapon of mass distribution of an idea".[14]

Grenzfurthner is the group's artistic director.

Johannes Grenzfurthner, keynote at Paraflows Symposium, 2012

Conferences and festivals[edit]

Grenzfurthner is head of Arse Elektronika[15][16] festival in San Francisco (2007 – ), an annual academic[17] and artistic[18] conference and anthology series that focusses on sexuality and technology. The first conference was curated by Grenzfurthner in 2007 to answer questions about the impact of sexuality on technological innovation and adoption.

Grenzfurthner is hosting Roboexotica,[19] the international Festival for Cocktail-Robotics (2002–) which invites researchers and artists to build machines that serve or mix cocktails. V. Vale calls Roboexotica "an ironic attempt to criticize techno-triumphalism and to dissect technological hypes."[20]

Grenzfurthner is head of Hedonistika,[21] a "smorgastic Festival for Gastrobots, Culinatronics, Advanced Snackhacks and Nutritional Mayhem", an event dedicated to approaches in gastronomical robots, cooking machines, molecular cuisine and experimental food performances. The first installment was presented in Montréal at the 2014 'Biennale internationale d'art numérique'.[22] The second installment was presented in Holon, near Tel Aviv, at 'Print Screen Festival'.[23]

Johannes Grenzfurthner and Matt Winston talk about Stan Winston and special effects ("Traceroute", 2016)

Director, film producer[edit]

Grenzfurthner wrote and directed a range of theatre plays,[24][25][26] street theatre performances[27][28] and short films,[29] but also works as a movie producer.[30][31]

His first feature film as a director was the independent fantasy comedy Die Gstettensaga: The Rise of Echsenfriedl[32] (2014). His first feature documentary is Traceroute (2016). He is working on several feature films (e.g. Sierra Zulu,[33][34] Nothing to Hide[35]), but his current main project is Tycho,[36] a farcical film musical about the life and times of eccentric astronomer Tycho Brahe.

Johannes Grenzfurthner and Pedobear at ROFLcon 2010

Academia, writing, lecturing[edit]

Grenzfurthner lectures at different universities in Austria (e.g. University of Applied Sciences, Graz, Austria; University of Arts and Industrial Design, Linz, Austria[37][38]) and in the United States.[39][40] He works as a thesis advisor, for example for Georg Mir's ethical tabletop roleplaying game Michtim: Fluffy Adventures.

He has published numerous books, essays and articles on contemporary art, communication processes and philosophy including Mind and Matter: Comparative Approaches Towards Complexity, Do androids sleep with electric sheep?, Of Intercourse and Intracourse: Sexuality, Biomodification and the Techno-Social Sphere and Pr0nnovation?: Pornography and Technological Innovation.[41][42][43][44][45]

Grenzfurthner published the much debated[46] pamphlet "Hacking the Spaces", that dealt with exclusionist tendencies in the hackerspaces movement.[47] He extended his critique through lectures at the 2012 and 2014 Hackers on Planet Earth conferences in New York City.

He worked for various online/print magazines and radio stations (e.g. ORF,[48] Telepolis, Boing Boing[49]).

Johannes Grenzfurthner acting as a CDC official at a staged virus outbreak at Art Basel Miami Beach 2005.

Entertainment and acting[edit]

Grenzfurthner is a comedian and performs at various venues, e.g. Vienna's Rabenhof Theater.[50] Parts of his comedy show "Schicksalsjahre eines Nerds" form the basis of his documentary film Traceroute (2016).

He is a presenter and emcee for various events.[51][52]

Grenzfurthner is acting in theater plays[53][54] and films, for example Andi Haller's feature film Zero Crash.[55]

Community work[edit]

Grenzfurthner sees monochrom as a community and social incubator of critical and subversive thinkers.[56] An example is Bre Pettis of MakerBot Industries, who got inspired to create 3d printers during an art residency with Grenzfurthner at monochrom in 2007. Pettis wanted to create a robot that could print shot glasses for the event Roboexotica and did research about the RepRap project at the Vienna hackerspace Metalab.[57] Shot glasses remained a theme throughout the history of MakerBot.[58]

Grenzfurthner was one of the core team members in the development process of netznetz, a new kind of community-based funding system for net culture and net art together with the culture department of the city government of Vienna.

He started the "Hackbus" community,[59][60][61] a platform[vague] and movement for mobile hackerspaces.

Together with Florian Hufsky, Leo Findeisen and Juxi Leitner, Grenzfurthner co-organized the first international conference of the pirate parties.[62][63]

He is frequently invited as a jury member for festivals and cons.[64]

Commercial work[edit]

Grenzfurthner is a professional creative consultant and offers coaching sessions for individuals and companies.[65]

He was behind an acclaimed series of viral marketing videos for Boing Boing Video, dealing with a mysterious packages full of Cheetos. The series is set in the alternative universe of Soviet Unterzoegersdorf.[66][67][68][69][70]

He conceptualized and co-built a robot installation to promote the products of sex toy company Bad Dragon.[71]

Personal life[edit]

Johannes Grenzfurthner lives and works in Vienna and Durango, Colorado.

He grew up in Stockerau in rural Lower Austria and talks about it in his stand-up comedy "Schicksalsjahre eines Nerds" (2014) and his semi-autobiographical documentary film Traceroute (2016).

If I had not grown up in Stockerau, in the boonies of Lower Austria, than I would not be what I am now. The germ cell of burgeoning nerdism is difference. The yearning to be understood, to find opportunities to share experiences, to not be left alone with one's bizarre interest. At the same time one derives an almost perverse pleasure from wallowing in this deficit. Nerds love deficiency: that of the other, but also their own. Nerds are eager explorers, who enjoy measuring themselves against one another and also compete aggressively. And yet the nerd's existence also comprises an element of the occult, of mystery. The way in which this power is expressed or focused is very important.[72]

Grenzfurthner uses his personal life as an inspiration for his art and activism. On his personal website he states that he deals with his claustrophobic tendencies by "occasionally burying people alive."[73]

As a kid and teenager, Grenzfurthner spent a lot of time at his grandparents' farm in the small village of Unterzögersdorf (a cadastral municipality of Stockerau). His grandparents' stories about Naziism, WWII and the Soviet occupation in allied-occupied Austria (1945-1955) influenced monochrom's long-term project Soviet Unterzoegersdorf.[74][75]

He identifies as a leftist and atheist.

He is married to filmmaker Anna Grenzfurthner.[76]

Awards[edit]

  • As the director of Udo 77 he won the 2004 'Nestroy Theatre Prize' (Vienna) 2005 (together with 'The Great Television Swindle' by maschek and 'Freundschaft' by Steinhauer and Henning).[77]
  • Won a special mention at the 2006 Videomedeja Awards (Novi Sad, Serbia) for Net/Software Category for monochrom's "Soviet Unterzoegersdorf/Sector 1/The Adventure Game",[78] and an honorary mention at the 2007 aniMOTION Awards (Sibiu, Romania) for Interactive Tales for monochrom's "Soviet Unterzoegersdorf/Sector 1/The Adventure Game".[79]
  • His short film "The Void's Foaming Ebb" got a special jury mention at the 2008 MEDIA FORUM/Moscow International Film Festival.[80]
  • Honoree at the 13th Annual Webby Awards.[81]
  • Won (as the artistic director of monochrom) the Art Award of the FWF Austrian Science Fund (2013).[82]
  • His feature film Die Gstettensaga: The Rise of Echsenfriedl won Best Foreign Horror Feature at the 2014 Indie Gathering International Film Festival,[83] won Best Hacker Feature at the 2014 PhutureCon Festival,[84] won Best Foreign Cult Movie at the 2014 Fright Night Film Fest,[85] won Best Narrative Feature at the Maker Film Festival.[86] The film was nominated for Best Feature at Colortape International Film Festival[87] and Best Foreign Language Feature Film, Best Director of a Foreign Language Film and Best Soundtrack at the 2015 International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema (London).[88] Microfilmmaker Magazine awarded the movie an Award of Superiority (9.5/10).[89] The Indie Fest awarded the movie an Award of Merit.[90] The 2015 'DIY Film Festival' in Los Angeles awarded the film a 'honorable mention'.[91]
  • His feature documentary Traceroute won Best Documentary Feature at the 2016 Phuture Con Festival (Denver, USA/Sapporo, Japan),[92] won the Award of Merit for Documentary Feature at the 2016 Accolade Global Film Competition,[93] won the award for Best Documentary Feature Film at the 2016 Subversive Film Awards in Los Angeles,[94] won the Award of Merit at The Indie Fest Awards in several categories (Documentary Feature, History / Biographical, Tourism / Travel, Contemporary Issues / Awareness Raising)[95] and won a Honorable Mention at The Indie Gathering International Film Festival 2016.[96] It was nominated for the 2016 Austrian Documentary Award (ADA).[97] The hackerspace Voidwarranties in Antwerp, Belgium awarded Traceroute the title of "Nerd Movie Of The Year 2016".[98]

Filmography[edit]

Publications[edit]

  • Editor of magazine/yearbook series "monochrom" (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010)
  • Editor of "Stadt der Klage" (Michael Marrak, 1997)
  • Editor of "Weg der Engel" (Michael Marrak and Agus Chuadar, 1998)
  • Editor of "Who shot Immanence?" (together with Thomas Edlinger and Fritz Ostermayer, 2002)
  • Editor of "Leutezeichnungen" (together with Elffriede, 2003)
  • Editor of "Quo Vadis, Logo?!" (together with Günther Friesinger, 2006)
  • Editor of "Spektakel – Kunst – Gesellschaft" (together with Stephan Grigat and Günther Friesinger, 2006)
  • Editor of "pr0nnotivation? Arse Elektronika Anthology" (together with Günther Friesinger and Daniel Fabry, 2008)
  • Editor of "Roboexotica" (together with Günther Friesinger, Magnus Wurzer, Franz Ablinger and Chris Veigl, 2008)
  • Editor of "Do Androids Sleep with Electric Sheep?" (together with Günther Friesinger, Daniel Fabry and Thomas Ballhausen, 2009)
  • Editor of "Schutzverletzungen/Legitimation of Mediatic Violence" (together with Günther Friesinger and Thomas Ballhausen, 2010)
  • Editor of "Urban Hacking" (together with Günther Friesinger and Thomas Ballhausen, 2010)
  • Editor of "Geist in der Maschine. Medien, Prozesse und Räume der Kybernetik" (together with Günther Friesinger, Thomas Ballhausen, Verena Bauer, 2010)
  • Editor of "The Wonderful World of Absence" (together with Günther Friesinger and Daniel Fabry, 2011)
  • Editor of "Of Intercourse and Intracourse – Sexuality, Biomodification and the Techno-Social Sphere" (together with Günther Friesinger and Daniel Fabry, 2011)
  • Editor of "Context Hacking: How to Mess with Art, Media, Law and the Market" (together with Günther Friesinger and Frank Apunkt Schneider, 2013)
  • Editor of "Screw The System – Explorations of Spaces, Games and Politics through Sexuality and Technology" (together with Günther Friesinger and Daniel Fabry, 2013)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Interview with Arse Elektronika curator Johannes Grenzfurthner in Kill Screen Magazine: "Stories about orcs and rape: the man behind Arse Elektronika"
  2. ^ "The story of Traceroute, about a Leitnerd's quest", Boing Boing magazine; April 14, 2016
  3. ^ Interview with Johannes Grenzfurthner about Traceroute, Boing Boing magazine; April 14, 2016
  4. ^ "CRE062 Monochrom"
  5. ^ Marc Da Costa, "Interview with Johannes Grenzfurthner of monochrom, Part 3", Furtherfield.
  6. ^ "monochrom print". 
  7. ^ "monochrom #26–34 Ye Olde Self-Referentiality", Neural, 15 June 2010.
  8. ^ Simulacrum Fisticuffs (interview with Johannes Grenzfurthner), Rhysophocles, March 16, 2011
  9. ^ Erin Kobayashi, "How to be buried alive", Toronto Star, 6 February 2007
  10. ^ Marie Lechner, "[1]", Libération, 4 March 2008.
  11. ^ "OtherZine". 
  12. ^ Context Hacking: Some Examples of How to Mess with Art, the Media System, Law and the Market, at O'Reilly ETech 2008, San Diego
  13. ^ "monochrom: CONTEXT HACKING – Essay". 
  14. ^ "Finding Your Weapons of Mass Distribution: A Conversation with Context Hacker Johannes Grenzfurthner", published on Narrative Design, September 19, 2015
  15. ^ Silverberg, David (4 October 2007). "Sex Meets Tech at Kinky Conference in San Francisco" Digital Journal. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  16. ^ Violet Blue, Special to SF Gate (4 October 2007). "Arse Elektronika 2007: Porn and Tech Conference / Violet Blue holds hope for the future of sex, despite the musical condoms". SFGate. 
  17. ^ "Prosthetic Fetishes and Fan Erotica: Sci-Fi Predicts Future of Sex". WIRED. 24 September 2008. 
  18. ^ 'Dirty Deeds Done Six Feet Deep', in Rue Morgue, January 2011
  19. ^ Jenna Wortham (12 June 2008). "Bot Bartenders Sling Drinks at Roboexotica USA". WIRED. 
  20. ^ Justin Page. "Sputnikfest 2012 Event Schedule". Laughing Squid. 
  21. ^ Hedonistika; official homepage
  22. ^ Hedonistika; information on BIAN homepage
  23. ^ Hedonistika at Print Screen Festival 2016
  24. ^ "Kritik Theater: Die Außerirdischen in Dir wollen nur Deinen Körper!". DiePresse.com. 
  25. ^ "Improv Reality 'Sitcom' Gets Spacy". DNews. 
  26. ^ Peter Mühlbauer (24 June 2011). "Kotze, Sperma und Inventur im Weltraum". Telepolis. 
  27. ^ ""Protestors" call games industry a "temple of sin," demand repentance". Ars Technica. 
  28. ^ "BBtv: Monochrom's Nazi Petting Zoo". Boing Boing. 
  29. ^ Laughing Squid: "Earthmoving, A Short Film by Monochrom (A Prequel To Sierra Zulu)", 6 February 2012
  30. ^ Producer of "Traceroute", 2016
  31. ^ Associate producer of "Valossn", 2016
  32. ^ "Die Gstettensaga" project page, film download
  33. ^ "Sierra Zulu". 
  34. ^ 'Earthmoving', A Sierra Zulu prequel, in Film.at, February 2012
  35. ^ "Nothing to Hide (2016)". IMDb. 
  36. ^ Tycho, official homepage
  37. ^ FH JOANNEUM Gesellschaft mbH. "Studium "Informationsdesign" – FH JOANNEUM Gesellschaft mbH: University of applied sciences". 
  38. ^ Faculty Page at University of Arts and Industrial Design
  39. ^ 'Carnegie Mellon Event Calendar – Johannes Grenzfurthner'
  40. ^ Karin Hodgin Jones. "Visiting Artist". 
  41. ^ "Guerrilla Comm?". 21 April 2009. 
  42. ^ Ingo Vavra. "Kroeger u.a. (Hg.) – Geistiges Eigentum und Originalität". 
  43. ^ A Short History Of A Collaborative Conspiracy, In: AC:Collaborative
  44. ^ "Every Five Seconds an Inkjet Printer Dies Somewhere". 
  45. ^ "inauthor:"Johannes Grenzfurthner" – Google Search". 
  46. ^ "Hacking the Spaces". 
  47. ^ Hacking the Spaces by Grenzfurthner/Schneider, 2009; in Textfiles.com
  48. ^ "Johannes Grenzfurthner – fm4.ORF.at". 
  49. ^ "Monochrom: 20 years' worth of Viennese art-weirdness". Boing Boing. 
  50. ^ Dorian Waller. "Pornos und tote Hühner". derStandard.at. 
  51. ^ Heise.de: "Scheiß-Internet"-Preis für PR-Kampagne "Kunst hat Recht", 21 February 2013
  52. ^ Elevate Festival 2013, Grenzfurthner hosted the opening gala
  53. ^ "national ANTHEMS" presented by Miki Malör, Vienna, 2005
  54. ^ Kleine Zeitung: "KOMM.ST 1.6 - Gasthäuser werden zum Wald", 23 May 2016
  55. ^ Zero Crash, official website
  56. ^ "CONTEXT HACKING: How to Mess with Art, Media, Law and the Market". 
  57. ^ "MADE IN MY BACKYARD / BRE PETTIS". 
  58. ^ Brandon Griggs, CNN (9 March 2013). "Startup unveils 3-D scanner at SXSW". CNN. 
  59. ^ "Site Offline". 
  60. ^ "Sur la route des hackers évangélistes". 
  61. ^ "Mozilla Bildung: Jeder ist ein Lehrer – brand eins online". 
  62. ^ Ben Jones: Pirates Gather at First International Pirate Party Conference, torrentfreak, September 9, 2007.
  63. ^ "International Pirate Parties Conference 2007 Wiki". Wiki.pp-international. July 10, 2007. 
  64. ^ Flying Robot Film Festival, judges 2016
  65. ^ "Johannes Grenzfurthner / Coaching". 
  66. ^ Michael Learmonth. (11 February 2009). "Frito-Lay Puts Cheetos Brand in Bloggers' Hands". 
  67. ^ "Cheetos and Boing-Boing: The Orange, Cheesy-Smelling Future of Advertising?". i C P G. 
  68. ^ "Media As Creative Agency: Boing Boing Does Cheetos". PSFK. 9 February 2009. 
  69. ^ "Cheetos Arrives in Soviet Unterzoegersdorf". 
  70. ^ so2/rhizomatic architecture, 2009
  71. ^ Philip Steffan (27 November 2014). "Wenn Roboter einschenken: 16. Roboexotica in Wien". Make. 
  72. ^ Interview with Johannes Grenzfurthner about Traceroute, Boing Boing magazine; April 14, 2016
  73. ^ Johannes Grenzfurthner. "Johannes Grenzfurthner – about.me". about.me. 
  74. ^ "in soviet unterzoegersdorf, game play you", ERF_, 11 December 2010
  75. ^ FM4: "Kurzbesuch in Sowjet-Unterzögersdorf", 23 July 2002
  76. ^ Johannes Grenzfurthner. "Johannes Grenzfurthner – about.me". about.me. 
  77. ^ Nestroy Theatre Prize 2005; German Wikipedia
  78. ^ "VIDEOMEDEJA". 
  79. ^ "aniMOTION". AltArt. 
  80. ^ "MEDIA FORUM 2008 >>> We Are The Users – МЕДИА ФОРУМ 2008 >>> Мы Пользователи". 
  81. ^ "The Webby Awards". 
  82. ^ Press release: Art Award of the FWF Austrian Science Fund (2013)
  83. ^ "20th Indie Gathering International Film Festival & more! – 2014 Winners". 
  84. ^ "Die Gstettensaga: Best Hacker Feature 2014 at "PhutureCon Festival" – monochrom". 
  85. ^ "Home". 
  86. ^ Maker Film Festival, Durango, official homepage
  87. ^ Awards listing for Johannes Grenzfurthner on IMDb
  88. ^ "Hacked By AnonCoders". 
  89. ^ "Die Gstettensaga: The Rise of Echsenfriedl (Straight Shooter Review)". 
  90. ^ "Deadline April 22, 2016". 
  91. ^ ""Die Gstettensaga": We got a honorable mention at 'The DIY Film Festival 2015' in Los Angeles – monochrom". 
  92. ^ Phuture Con Festival 2016
  93. ^ Accolade Global Film Competition, Awards of Merit 2016
  94. ^ List of winners of 2016 Subversive Film Awards in Los Angeles
  95. ^ The Indie Fest Awards, Awards of Merit 2016
  96. ^ The Indie Gathering International Film Festival, official site
  97. ^ Austrian Documentary Award (ADA) nominee list 2016
  98. ^ monochrom blog about Voidwarranties Nerd Movie Of The Year 2016

External links[edit]