Johannes Grenzfurthner

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Johannes Grenzfurthner
Grenzfurthner at Museumsquartier, Vienna (2011)
Grenzfurthner at Museumsquartier, Vienna (2011)
Born (1975-06-13) June 13, 1975 (age 43)
Vienna
OccupationArtist, filmmaker, writer, actor, curator, theatre director, lecturer
NationalityAustrian
CitizenshipAustria

Signature
Website
grenzfurthner.com

Johannes Grenzfurthner (German: [joˈhanəs ˈgrɛntsfʊɐ̯tnɐ]; born 1975 in Vienna) is an Austrian artist, filmmaker, writer, actor, curator, theatre director and lecturer. Grenzfurther is the founder, conceiver and artistic director of monochrom, an international art and theory group. Most of his artworks are labelled monochrom. Grenzfurther is an outspoken researcher in the field of sexuality and technology,[1] and one of the founders of 'techno-hedonism' (see also: barbots).

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

Career[edit]

In the early 1990s, Grenzfurthner was a member of several BBS message boards.[3] Grenzfurther used his online connections to create monochrom, a zine or alternative magazine that dealt with art, technology and subversive cultures. His 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 interviews and essays, by e.g. Bruce Sterling, HR Giger, Eric Drexler, Terry Pratchett and Bob Black,[6] in its experimental layout style.[7] In 1995 the group decided to cover new artistic practices[8][9] and started experimenting with different media: computer games, robots, puppet theater, musical, short films, pranks,[10][11] conferences, online activism, which Grenzfurthner calls 'Urban Hacking'[12] or more specific: 'Context hacking', a term that Grenzfurthner coined.[13]

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.[14]

The group is known for working with different media, art and entertainment formats. Grenzfurthner calls this "looking for the best weapon of mass distribution of an idea".[15]

Conferences and festivals[edit]

Grenzfurthner, keynote at Paraflows Symposium, 2012

Grenzfurthner is head of the Arse Elektronika[16][17] festival in San Francisco (2007 – ), an annual academic 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, a festival for artistic food tech. The first installment was presented in Montréal at the 2014 'Biennale internationale d'art numérique'.[21] The second installment was presented in Holon, near Tel Aviv, at 'Print Screen Festival'.[22]

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

Theatre work, performance art[edit]

Grenzfurthner wrote and directed theatre plays[23][24][25] and pieces of performance and interventionist art.[26]

Film[edit]

Grenzfurther wrote and directed short films[27] and is the CEO of film production company monochrom Propulsion Systems.[28]

The first feature film he directed was the independent fantasy comedy Die Gstettensaga: The Rise of Echsenfriedl[29] (2014). Grenzfurther first feature documentary was Traceroute (2016), followed by Glossary of Broken Dreams (2018). Grenzfurther is working on several feature films (e.g. Sierra Zulu[30][31]) but his current main project is Tycho, a farcical film musical about the life and times of eccentric astronomer Tycho Brahe.

He is member of the Austrian Director's Guild[32] and the Association of Austrian Documentary Filmmakers.[33]

Grenzfurthner and Pedobear at ROFLcon 2010

Academia, writing, lecturing[edit]

Grenzfurthner lectures at art institutions,[34][35] symposions[36][37] and political events,[38] teaches at universities[39][40][41] and mentors students.[42][43]

He has published 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.[44][45][46]

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

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

Entertainment and acting[edit]

Grenzfurthner has taken a comedic turn and performed at various venues, e.g. Vienna's Rabenhof Theater.[47] Parts of his comedy show "Schicksalsjahre eines Nerds" form the basis of his documentary film Traceroute (2016). Grenzfurther is a presenter and emcee for various industry events,[48][49] and guest performer at events like Goldenes Brett. Grenzfurthner has had supporting and lead parts in several theater plays[50][51]. He performs in Andi Haller's feature film Zero Crash[52] and Michael J. Epstein's and Sophia Cacciola's feature film Clickbait.[53]

Community work[edit]

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.[54][55]

Together with Florian Hufsky, Leo Findeisen and Juxi Leitner, Grenzfurthner co-organized the first international conference of the pirate parties.[56][57]

Commercial work[edit]

Grenzfurthner conceptualized and co-built a robot installation to promote the products of sex toy company Bad Dragon.[58]

Personal life[edit]

Grenzfurthner lives and works in Vienna. Grenzfurther grew up in Stockerau in rural Lower Austria[59] 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.[60]

Grenzfurthner uses his personal history and upbringing[61] as a source for his work. In a conversation with Zebrabutter he names the example that he wanted to deal with his claustrophobia,[62] so he started a series of art performances where volunteers can be buried alive.

As a child, 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, World War II and the Soviet occupation in allied-occupied Austria (1945-1955) influenced monochrom's long-term project Soviet Unterzoegersdorf.[63][64]

Awards[edit]

  • Won (as director of "Udo 77") Nestroy Theatre Award (2005).[65]
  • Won Coke Light Art Edition Award (2006).[66]
  • Won (as the artistic director of monochrom) the Art Award of the FWF Austrian Science Fund (2013).[67]

Filmography (Features)[edit]

  • Je Suis Auto (2019) – director, writer, producer, actor
  • Glossary of Broken Dreams (2018) – director, writer, producer, actor
  • Clickbait (2018) – actor
  • Traceroute (2016) – director, writer, producer, host
  • Shingal, where are you? (2016) – associate producer
  • Valossn (2016) – associate producer
  • Zero Crash (2016) – actor
  • Die Gstettensaga: The Rise of Echsenfriedl (2014) – director, writer, producer
  • Kiki and Bubu: Rated R Us (2011) – director, writer

Theater (examples)[edit]

  • Udo 77 (Rabenhof Theater, Vienna, 2004/2005) - director, actor, writer
  • Waiting for Goto (Volkstheater, Vienna, 2006) - director, writer
  • Campaign (Volkstheater, Vienna, 2006) - director, performer, writer
  • monochrom's ISS (Garage X, Vienna and Ballhaus Ost, Berlin, 2011 and 2012) - director, actor, writer
  • Schicksalsjahre eines Nerds (Rabenhof Theater, Vienna, 2014) - director, performer, writer
  • Steppenrot (komm.st, Styria and Theater Spektakel, Vienna, 2017) - director, actor, writer

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 Archived 14 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.: "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 Archived 17 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.", Furtherfield.
  6. ^ "monochrom print".
  7. ^ "monochrom #26–34 Ye Olde Self-Referentiality Archived 5 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine.", Neural, 15 June 2010.
  8. ^ Erin Kobayashi, "How to be buried alive", Toronto Star, 6 February 2007
  9. ^ Marie Lechner, "[1]", Libération, 4 March 2008.
  10. ^ Video documentary short "The Thomann In(ter)vention" by Hadas Emma Kedar
  11. ^ Interview with V. Vale in Pranks! 2
  12. ^ "OtherZine".
  13. ^ Context Hacking: Some Examples of How to Mess with Art, the Media System, Law and the Market, at O'Reilly ETech 2008, San Diego Archived 14 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "monochrom: CONTEXT HACKING – Essay".
  15. ^ "Finding Your Weapons of Mass Distribution: A Conversation with Context Hacker Johannes Grenzfurthner", published on Narrative Design, September 19, 2015
  16. ^ Silverberg, David (4 October 2007). "Sex Meets Tech at Kinky Conference in San Francisco" Digital Journal. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  17. ^ 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.
  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. Archived from the original on 2012-07-14.
  21. ^ Hedonistika; information on BIAN homepage Archived 25 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ Hedonistika at Print Screen Festival 2016
  23. ^ Der Standard, Ronald Pohl: "Das ist der Zuckerbäckerblues"; 2004
  24. ^ Peter Mühlbauer (24 June 2011). "Kotze, Sperma und Inventur im Weltraum". Telepolis.
  25. ^ Kurier: "Steppenrot: Der Sonnenkönig ist runtergefallen"; December 2017
  26. ^ ""Protestors" call games industry a "temple of sin," demand repentance". Ars Technica.
  27. ^ Laughing Squid: "Earthmoving, A Short Film by Monochrom (A Prequel To Sierra Zulu)", 6 February 2012
  28. ^ Producer of "Traceroute", 2016
  29. ^ "Die Gstettensaga" project page, film download
  30. ^ "Sierra Zulu".
  31. ^ 'Earthmoving', A Sierra Zulu prequel, in Film.at, February 2012 Archived 14 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  32. ^ "Profile Johannes Grenzfurthner". Austrian Directors Guild. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  33. ^ "Profile Johannes Grenzfurthner". Dok.at. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  34. ^ CCA Montreal, 'Come and Forget, with Johannes Grenzfurthner'; April 2018
  35. ^ Aksioma, Tactics&Practice, Ljubljana 2010
  36. ^ UtopiaFest 2104, Tel Aviv: "Robots in Human Society"
  37. ^ KUPF/Symposion about crowdfunding, Linz; 2012
  38. ^ Linkes Sommercamp, Wagrain; "Context Hacking"; 2014
  39. ^ Academic biography in "Kunst, Krise, Subversion", referring teaching positions at FH Joanneum Graz and art university Linz
  40. ^ Academic biography at Transcript
  41. ^ Sexual Cultures Conference 2012, Brunel University, UK (Onscenity Research, School of Arts and the School of Social Sciences at Brunel University)
  42. ^ "Keeper of Evil", 2014
  43. ^ Mir, Georg. Michtim: Designing a Pen & Paper Storytelling Game. Graz: FH Joanneum, 2012. p. 1.
  44. ^ "Guerrilla Comm?". 21 April 2009.
  45. ^ Ingo Vavra. "Kroeger u.a. (Hg.) – Geistiges Eigentum und Originalität". Archived from the original on 3 August 2016.
  46. ^ [https://www.sfsite.com/02a/as313.htm SF Site: "Do Androids Sleep With Electric Sheep? Critical Perspectives on Sexuality and Pornography in Science and Social Fiction. A review by Paul Graham Raven"]
  47. ^ Dorian Waller. "Pornos und tote Hühner". derStandard.at.
  48. ^ Elevate Festival 2013, Grenzfurthner hosted the opening gala
  49. ^ IT-Press: "Auszeichnung für innovativste Köpfe Österreichs: Zehn heimische IT-Projekte mit dem Open Minds Award prämiert"; 2017
  50. ^ Kleine Zeitung: "KOMM.ST 1.6 - Gasthäuser werden zum Wald", 23 May 2016
  51. ^ Heute.at: "Steppenrot bringt Musical-Schlagabtausch in der Bahnhofskantine"
  52. ^ Zero Crash, official website
  53. ^ Starburst Magazine, Clickbait
  54. ^ "Sur la route des hackers évangélistes".
  55. ^ "Mozilla Bildung: Jeder ist ein Lehrer – brand eins online". Archived from the original on 20 April 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  56. ^ Ben Jones: Pirates Gather at First International Pirate Party Conference, torrentfreak, September 9, 2007.
  57. ^ "International Pirate Parties Conference 2007 Wiki". Wiki.pp-international. 10 July 2007. Archived from the original on 5 June 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  58. ^ Philip Steffan (27 November 2014). "Wenn Roboter einschenken: 16. Roboexotica in Wien". Make.
  59. ^ Film Threat, "Johannes Grenzfurthner is kinda nerdy", March 21, 2017
  60. ^ Interview with Johannes Grenzfurthner about Traceroute, Boing Boing magazine; April 14, 2016
  61. ^ Higgins, Chris. "Nerds and Annihilation, Q&A with Johannes Grenzfurthner". Mental Floss. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  62. ^ Kaestle, Thomas. "Der Film Glossary of Broken Dreams oder: Im Schlachthaus Zum Goldenen Kalb". Zebrabutter. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  63. ^ "in soviet unterzoegersdorf, game play you", ERF_, 11 December 2010
  64. ^ FM4: "Kurzbesuch in Sowjet-Unterzögersdorf", 23 July 2002
  65. ^ Die Presse: Die Pioniere des wilden Worldwideweb
  66. ^ gast.at: "COKE LIGHT ART EDITION 2006 – Kultflasche wird zum Kunstobjekt"; May 31, 2006
  67. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 August 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2013.

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