What the Umbrella is about
The umbrella is a proposal for a new complementary communication strategy at DG CONNECT.
In the short-term (Fall 2012), it aims at creating a Web-Tv on Jive, the new internal platform of our DG.

Curious to know how this project will make your DG a better place where to work?
Click on the Umbrella: it will open!


Original image from Wikipedia

Mario Balotelli is not a pop-hero because he led his national selection to tonight’s Eurocup final.
Mario Balotelli is a European pop-hero because he gives the simple impression of giving a damn about nothing.

Would he appear so often on international newspapers if he weren’t so talented? Would he, if he weren’t so black?
Talking to a pop-icon (but not that heroic), Noel Gallagher, he states very clearly: all those people that talk about me don’t know anything about me. Most importantly, it must be said, they don’t care.

They tell Mario “you can’t waste your talent!” or “You have to be a model for young generations”.
And he is, teaching young kids, as another Italian pop-hero used to say, that conformism is always a language of power, which is always a lie: isn’t there always somebody telling you what the best for you is?

Now some Italian politics advocate approving a new law in favor of the citizenship of immigrants’ born-in-Italy children.
It’s amazing how brilliant not-100% made in Italy people have to be, in order to start being regarded as worthy of dignity.

Mario Balotelli probably knows that he has to score three goals in the final if he really wants to improve the life of thousands black-yellow-red non citizens in his hysteric country. He probably knows as well that, in case, such a gratitude by the supporters (perhaps the same Juventus supporters that use to sing “there are no black Italians!”) would not last.
Lucky him, he doesn’t care too much anyway.

A pop-hero never talks in the name of the people.
The people follows him/her, whatever he says, whether he talks or not.

[From the public discussion on the “Digital Agenda for Europe” platform]

Do you remember Marvin, the Paranoid Android from Douglas Adams’ famous fiction “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy“?
Marvin is a deeply depressed robot, whose highly performing potential is never given the chance to use.

Don’t you think that also the economic and technological potential of standards remains highly unexpressed?
Don’t you think that ICT standards might get depressed soon?

Don’t you think that the problem with an open and voluntary definition of interoperability lies upon the challenging communication of what standards are and why they are so important, with respect to the social challenges that the EU is facing today (here we specifically refer to standards in the fields of eHealth, eGovernment, Smart Cities, and IT Security)?

ICT standards might be able to solve many of the major problems of the Universe, except communicating such an extraordinary ability.

That’s why we need a magic, a magic square.

Unfortunately, the magic square alone is not sufficient.
The magic square is just the beginning.
Standards have to be built in an open, transparent, and consensual way.

That’s why DG INFSO invites you to a public discussion.
For you, we have few questions related to ICT standards in the mentioned fields.
Your feedback will allow us to write an intergalactic guide that might prevent ICT standards from getting depressed.

Just remember one thing:


DJ, play a song for the Lover, tonight” – Richard Ashcroft used to sing – “I don’t know when this train’s gonna stop..”
We, as trainees, don’t know much about the final destination either.
However, we are gonna be leavers soon, leavers again.

We make videoclips to remember that we have to forget about the time we have to spend together, in a work-social environment, in a big family such as the Commission. We have to forget to forgive the leavers. We make a video to tell them about it.

Credits:

Puff Daddy feat. Faith Evans: I’ll be missing you (Sting, Todd Gaither, Faith Evans – Bad Boy Records)

Think of something better than a sunny Sunday in Bruxelles.
Free chocolate leaking from trees? Maybe.
We were actually referring to Saint-Gilles’ “parcour d’artistes”.


Tens of artists meet ordinary people in their own house-atelier. They can sell (yeah, artists are part of the market in Northern Europe!) their works (the European Commission will guarantee competitive prices) but even show and explain them only.

Against a vision of arts as an elitist sector, in which mutual ignorance represents an added economic value, this public initiative, at its fifth edition (the first one in 2004), confirms the vitality of a curious neighborhood, Saint-Gilles.
Following the rise of the new Bruxelles as a whole, the little shop of Saint-Gilles mixed the so-called “ethnic” diversity with the “age” and “culture” diversity, developing those dynamic metropolitan codes that always anticipate new real estate price explosions.
It’s as if arts and social media, in the whole Europe, were forced to perform the dirty job that “free market” is not capable to manage: innovation.
The only problem is that when the first ones “steal” ideas from mainstream culture, they are called “pirates” and severly judged. When it’s the latter that steal grassroots innovation, mad men call it “crowdsourcing”.

The talent-seekers, of which Naomi Klein already talked in her “No Logo” more than ten years ago, will have a new chance to get some fresh ideas (for free) soon.
Among the members of Smart, the influential trade unions for arts, “Les Ateliers pARTage” and more partners organize “Festival art links – l’art crée du lien”.


This meaningful initiative in the little shop of Saint-Gilles will allow arts specialists and common people to meet and share expositions and discussions, in particular about the most important and popular form of arts nowadays: the networking.

Close to the first BILLION of views of their channel, the American trio “Lonely Island” gave an official interview to Youtube.

The guys were asked about the genesis of their greatest hits, from “Jizz in my pants” to “Dick in a Box” (feat. Justin Timberlake), from “I just had sex” to “Like a boss“.

Most importantly, they were asked about the difference between web and TV success.
Simple, banal: TV gives money, on condition that you have an extraordinary success on the web before, which gives you all freedom but no money.

Not differently than any form of mainstream power, TV doesn’t like to take any risk: let’s have success with what has already succeeded.
What are the reasons of “The lonely island” success, though?
We believe that, not differently than in most cases of life, it lies upon smartness.
The trio gets their communicational power from the contrast between a “serious” mise en scène and popular (gross) linguistic expressions.

As our favorite track – “Ras Trent” (“A reggae song about the plight of being a white, upperclass, Ivy League Rasta”) – testifies, it might even be easy to analyze contradictions in a consumerist society. Nonetheless, what is astonishing, to the point to call it “talent”, is the ability to give back this complexity through a simple (therefore, effective) image.

The reduction of (political-social-cultural) complexity through audiovisuals is what we intend by “v-ideology”.

It grows

May 6, 2012

Espace Blanche“, contemporary art gallery, hosts a new young talent every month, in the open space you find behind the Grand Place, rue du marché au charbon, Bruxelles.
For the whole month of May “Espace Blanche” will give the floor to Sebastien Gairaud, Beaux Arts student from the South of France, who exposes in the capital city for his first time.


“‘Croissance’ (growth) here defines not only the organic state of these drawings that develop on leaves, but also the way ideas flourish and interact to each other in order to shape new figures and forms”, his presentation reads.

This exploration draws its raw materials from natural sciences, but also maths, physics, geography, digital technologies, and so on. As many dimensions that are connected to each other as well as to Arts (because of a continue questioning of the world around us, a world that we are keen to know from different angles), as possible points of view around the same object.”

Image

It’s interesting how contemporary communication follows similar patterns of development, until it seems not possible anymore to distinguish the roots from which the leaves (a mass message) originated.
Multimedia-popular-street-institutional-visual-info communication grows up and never dies because it was never actually born.

3D Infovisions

April 29, 2012

Last Saturday, 28th of April, My PixHell organized an “Adobe After Effects users” meeting at l’École Supérieure des Arts SaintLuc de liège. They invited François Grassard to give a speech about 3D technologies in general.


Two things need to be stressed, such as a good and a bad news. The good news is how these powerful softwares (a good percentage of which are released under open source and/or free licenses) allow young techno-artists to produce even more powerful info-visions (it was interesting when Grassard explained how he got used to turn a limit within the software development into an opportunity).

The bad news deals with how muc time you have to dedicate to the (self)learning of these tools (sorry guys, you cannot have it all and for free): Grassard told his audience that he began to use AE fifteen years ago.
Nonetheless, the real barriers to a so-called “democratic” development of info-graphical knowledge lie utterly beyond the single individual’s time and will.

Info-visions don’t intend to ignore material obstacles to a free flow a crea(c)tivity: they just help people to pretend that ideas will save us.
That’s why we legitimately speak of (v)ideology, the science of video ideas.
Being ‘video’ the latin expression for ‘I see’, (v)ideology clearly becomes the science of ideas that I can see.

Still don’t know if what I can see deserves to be trusted.

Invaders in Bruxelles

April 22, 2012

Friday night Brussels hosted a major event: the vernissage of a well know street artist, “Space Invader”.
This is why the European Union capital has been recently covered with this original, still old-fashioned, form of graffiti.

Photo by Alessandro Cozzutto
Further example of the dynamism of Bruxelles D.C., Space Invader has become more famous than ever thanks to his participation to Banksy’s film “Exit through the gift shop”:


Moving fast in between political engagement and smart acceptance of the rules of the capitalistic game (which Banksy’s 2011 Academy Awards nomination for best documentary testifies), as it has often been the case for contemporary popular art in general, these artists are gaining more and more mainstream acclamation.

Do we think that the EU institutions can learn something from such a communication strategy?
Ask the Simpsons..


Speaking at the 2012 World Wide Web conference (Lyon, France), Commissioner Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, delivered an important speech, whose title reads “What does it mean to be open online?“.

It appears more and more clear that innovation is not just a matter of hardware and software, but requires, first of all, a strong engagement toward change, both at an organizational and intellectual level.

On the same Commissioner Kroes Youtube channel, it is possible to find an inspiring animation.
The inspiration sounds like: will EC trainees change the world?