Art is open source. A new world created by Salvatore Iaconesi and Oriana Persico

It is hard to define the personality of Salvatore Iaconesi. If you google him, several projects are coming on the screen and probably you are going to get lost among them. Is he a hacker, an activist, an engineer, an artist, a teacher or a skateboarder? We can say that every definition is right for his multiple identity.

Together with Oriana Persico,  he is always experimenting new possibility on-line and off-line, but always with exploration of new territories as aim. Indeed we can read on his statement : “I truly believe that innovation and social evolution can only come out by emergent practices that do not obey to this logic by working in-between the codes, by acting in the interstices found between the coded spaces of our cities, the times that we dedicate to work or consumism, the practices that we enact in our homes, offices and public spaces.”

They are taking part in several conferences, talks and presentations all around the globe and it is almost like their definition of “ubiquitous” has become an aspect of their lives. Furthermore, everybody is able to follow their work through the Art is Open Source website ( and to be updated about every new work which is coming to their mind.

In contrast with the common opinion that hacktivists are particularly active only on-line, Iaconesi is perfectly inside the real world. It is like he is entering into the world from different layers to make aware people that it is possible to reach another reality. In support of my thesis he declares that: “Augmented reality, wearable computing, location based technologies, ubiquitous communications, pervasive media and interactive architectures are all tools that can be used to colonize physical spaces and bodies, turning them into something new and emergent.”

I really don’t want to take you off the pleasure to discover the world of Art is Open Source by yourselves, so you can follow the link and discover the different identities of Salvatore Iaconesi through his projects, his videos, his tweets, etc.

Alessandra Saviotti: After reading your statement, I realized  there is a tendency to get back to the past nowadays. When we talk about “squatting” intended as to claim space it comes to my mind the recent Occupy movement experience which could be read as a sort of re-evolution of Hacktivism. Today the internet is seen as a public virtual space that prepares people to the “real” occupation, while before occupying the virtual space was enough. What do you think about this?

AOS: We are in a time of fast transformation. In this several opportunities open up, enabled by technologies and networks. Power is enacted through codes, by encoding parts of reality into definable, controllable, embeddable items.

Now we are able to use ubiquitous technologies and networks to substantially provide our own codes for the world, freely reinterpreting, remixing, recombining, reenacting and recontextualizing places, objects and processes. For us this possibility establishes a continuous path of positive radicalization with the practices of squatting which already emerged in the past. Just as you could use street arts to transform grey walls into free spaces for expression and communication. Just like you could engage people into squatting buildings and factories to create new forms of housing, of social construction, of parties. Just like you could be queer to decode and reencode the body into new unexpected and uncontrolled forms. Now everything can be squatted: the labels of products, the processes of education, businesses.

The only limit we see in this is the danger of remaining stuck domain of “virtuality”. The common practice of “clicktivism” or “slacktivism” which see people basically involved in unengaged forms of activism (“i like”, and that’s it) is something to directly confront with. In this we propose a more active role for human beings, and a reversal of direction. Processes need to start in communities, in the streets, in homes, in schools, universities and work places.

What we propose is to bring up new scenarios in which poetics are deeply interweaved with politics, in a way which is inspired by Surrealism and Dada, and in which public space is a willing social construction, as suggested in different ways by de Certeau and Lefbvre. What we try to do is to enable the spontaneous, emergent creation of additional layers of reality which can sit on top of the existing ones, creating free practices which people can use to freely express themselves and operate along autonomously, collaboratively defined directions.

All our projects, artworks, are about this: creating new liberated spaces which can serve for the autonomous expression of human beings and communities, redefining the ideas of public space, of identity, of what it means to create a “sustainable business”, of knowledge and the possibility to share it and let it freely emerge, disseminate and recombine.

To do this, we create additional layers of reality which are tightly interweaved with the practices of our daily lives and which are designed to enable people to autonomously encode the world.

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