Squatting Supermarkets @ Robot Festival, Bologna

Robot Festival 2010, Bologna, Italy

Robot Festival 2010, Bologna, Italy

Augmented Reality can create opportunities for critical reinvention of the world.

Squatting Supermarkets uses augmented reality to break open the codes of commercial communication on the products we use every day. By taking a picture with your mobile phone to the logo of a product, individuas can contribute to a global, disseminated relational discourse on ecology, sustainablity and social responsibility issues of the things we eat, wear and use every day.

The logo gets recognized with computer vision techniques and is used as a fiducial marker that can be used by the Squatting Supermarkets application to create a discussion space onto which people can write their thoughts and interact with other individuals and groups.

An interpretative layer on top of reality where we can express ourselves, bypassing communication control strategies enacted by corporations and governments. Augmented Reality as a new space for self-expression.

FakePress and Art is Open Source present:

Squatting Supermarkets @ RObot Festival 2010

from 15th to 18th September

Bologna, Italy

click here for more info about RobotFest 2010

click here for more info about Squatting Supermarkets

click here for even more info about Squatting Supermarkets

please link back to: http://www.artisopensource.net/2010/09/09/squatting-supermarkets-robot-festival-bologna/

Squatting Supermarkets in Mondovì – lecture and presentation

A photo report of the presentation and lecture we held in Mondovì to present Squatting Supermarkets, in joining the SMIR european project. The art performance, technological platform and research process have all been presented to the local audience and to a few invited guests.

more info here:






Squatting Supermarkets in Mondovì for SMIR project

Squatting Supermarkets in Mondovì for SMIR project

Squatting Supermarkets @ Mondovì

Squatting Supermarkets at Mondovì

Squatting Supermarkets at Mondovì

On Friday May 5th 2010 Art is Open Source , FakePress and The Hub Roma will be in Mondovì together with the Piemonte Share Festival and associazione Marcovaldo to present the next steps of the Squatting Supermarkets / iSee project.

Squatting Supermarkets is one of the projects included in the SMIR (Spazi Multimediali per l’Innovazione e la Ricerca / Multimiedia Spaces for Innovation and Research) project, an european project inolving the restoration of two ancient churches in Mondovì (Italy) and Embrun (France) to create a trans-frontier media research center that will investigate on the possibilities for digital arts to collaborate with the development of territories and populations.

We (as AOS and FakePress) are investing a lot on this project, as we feel that arts and social innovation go well together hand in hand in exploring new practices for a more sustainable world.

And we are not alone in this. The Sharing (the association behind the Piemonte Share Festival) and Marcovaldo (an association with a long history of territorial interventions promoting development, the arts, local economies and creativity) have been truly active, lately, on our involvement wih Squatting Supermarkets, and they are setting up an ecosystem of local producers that will form a first official experimentation base for the adoption of the practices designed with iSee / Squatting Supermarkets.

During the next few months we will add a layer of digital reality to the wonderful traditional cheeses, wines, vegetables, salamis and meats, through which producers will be able to inform people about their sustainable production and distribution processes, and people will be able to gather information on what it means for them and for the rest of world to consume critically, accessing informations, documentaries, global sources of information. Finally the products we eat and consume every day will have a story: we will be able to know who produce them, where, how and with what effects on our world. And we will be able to communicate with them and among ourselves, near and far, directly throgh the products that shape our daily lives.

So, we are really excited to get this part of the project going!

And “We” is growing by the minute, as you can read here about the recent collaborations with our friends and partners at The Hub Roma, the research group at the Tor Vergata University in Rome, the students that will produce end-of-course project works on Squatting Supermarkets and iSee at La Sapienza University in Rome. And there will be additions by the minute.

In Mondovì we will present a research poster (you can download the PDF of the poster here) that describes the current state of the research (titled “the Active Consumer“) and the planning we have set up for the next important date for Squatting Supermarkets, around the half of July 2010, back in Mondovì for the next steps of the project and a beautiful event in the medieval city square together with all the artists and initiatives of the SMIR project.

In Mondovì we will also present the new features of the iSee application for iPhone / Android that is at the heart of Squatting Supermarkets, including a new information visualization technology that will be released as Open Source.

So, as usual: stay tuned!

please register at the Facebook Event if you’d like to inform us that you’re coming, and if you want to stay updated on the event:

Facebook Event

More info at:

Squatting Supermerkets – info
Squatting Supermerkets – artistic statement by Salvatore Iaconesi
iSee – info
Zero Impact Technology Prize offered by the EnviParc in Turin – Piemonte Share Festival ‘09
Presentation  @Faculty of Architettura “La Sapienza” May 4th 2010 – Rome

Site Reference

Squatting Supermarkets / iSee at La Sapienza University in Rome

Squatting Supermarkets at La Sapienza in Rome

Squatting Supermarkets at La Sapienza in Rome

FakePress, Art is Open Source and The Hub Roma

in collaboration with

the “Multimedia Technologies and Communications Experimentations” course at the “Ludovico Quaroni” Faculty of Architecture at Rome’s University “La Sapienza”, Industrial Design Department


the “Management of Non profit Organizations” course at the Faculty of Economics at the “Tor Vergata” University

are happy to invite you to the lecture:

Squatting Supermarkets/iSee

Artistic fundamentals, eco-sustainability, market: from Shoptivism to the Active Consumer.

Who: Oriana Persico and Cary Hendrickson (AOS/FakePress), Dario Carrera and Ivan Fadini (The Hub Roma/Faculty of Economics, Tor Vergata), Ilaria Bassi, Vanessa D’Acquisto, Piergiorgio Malfa, Vittoria Mauro (research group at the “Management of Non Profit Organizations” course, Tor Vergata), Salvatore Iaconesi (visiting professor)

What: lecture/workshop

Where: Faculty of Architecture “Ludovico Quaroni”, via E.Gianturco 2 (Rome) – room G 11 [ MAP ]

When: May 4th, 2010 – from 9am to 12pm

A radical version of a marketplace, a point of sale in augmented reality, Squatting Supermarkets tells the tale of the evolution of our daily realities, entering the live and pulsating heart of consumism. Looking at products on the shelves, choosing, paying, debts, persuasion and seduction, relations with logos, messages and other people. Buying is an experience that fills our daily lives, built through images, suggestions and strategies that are so complex that they systematically evade the perception of the final user. Technologies can be used to create new spaces for action/communication, and to overlay them onto our ordinary reality, thus creating new action/communication spaces, allowing new possibilities for interaction and fruition: ubiquitous, accessible, emergent and polyphonic, emotional and relational. Squatting Supermarkets narrates this possibility: an augmented reality space that is technologically layered to everyday life, an interstitial marketplace living in squat on the physical and immaterial infrastructures.

Presented for the first time at the Piemonte Share Festival in 2009, Squatting Supermarkets has two souls: a site-specific installation and an innovative technology, iSee. The installation reproduces an interactive supermarket in which the widespread interconnection network defining products’ histories and stories can become explicit and accessible. The techniques of traceability and control are transformed into their ecosystemic, narrative and poetic versions: information is not only for corporations anymore. By overlaying and integrating codes coming from barcodes, tags, RFIDs, credit cads, financial tranactions.
Grabbing a product becomes an immersive experience with its story, and the possibility of writing a part of it: moving hands, drawing gestures, exposing our points of view and our emotions. Products animate, becoming a space for expression, a network of relations, a domain for possibility and opportunity. Distributed storytelling practices in which the hidden stories of producers and consumers come in contact. The access door to these domains are the logos. iSee, the technological heart of the installation is a mobile application based on image recognition and computer vision techniques.
Framing the product on the camera, an image processing algorithm identifies the logo, allowing the user to access an additional set of information coming from a plurality of sources. Narrative galaxies (open, emergent, multi-author) connected to p2p thematic social networks layered over products.
Logos become wikis, open communication infrastructures, distributed social networks, p2p ecosystems.
The Project is based on the analisys of the contemporary technological/economic context. On one side, environmentalism and eco-sustainability are issues that are acknowledged as being among the globally most important drivers in piloting the shopping choices of large parts of the population. On the other side, statistics demonstrate that progressively large numbers of individuals search for information on social networks befre purchasing commodities and services, and that the users of last-generation mobile devices are steadily growing by the numbers.
In all this, enterprises start feeling the need to confront a globally interconnected communication and relation system, emergent, polyphonic, in which the acquisition and the maintenance of a “good reputation” goes through complex social and cultural dynamics that are progressively more chaotic. The “Company” is not the sole center of communication and of the shaping of its corporate identity.

On may 4th 2010, from 9am to 12pm,  FakePress’ interaction design lab will analyze the possibilities for expression and interaction enabled by the shopping based narratives offered by Squatting Supermarkets under an artistic/performative point of view and by iSee under the perspectives of technology and infrastructures.

Oriana Persico will confront the themes related to the installation, introducing the artistic statement,

Cary Hendrickson will focus on the themes of eco-susteinability, social responsibility and on the governance of related processes;

The research group of the “Management of Non profit Organizations” course at the Tor Vergata University coordinated by Dario Carrera and Ivan Fadini will expose the first results coming from the research titled “Active Consumer: from Movements to Shopping Based Publishing“.

How are consumers sensible to the environment and to critical consumism? How do they relate to the opinions generated on social media and on brand reputation created through User Generated Content? How widespread are smartphones? How many individuals would be willing to use a mobile application such as iSee? Who could finance it? What are the possible business models?

The theoretical and artistic premises, the analisys on eco-sustainability and the market scenarios will be used by the students of the course at the Faculty of Architecture to create a series of project works focused on the evolutions of the iSee platform and on the creation of a site specific installation to be implemented in a public commercial space, integrating multiple skills and points of view and, most of all, creating multidisciplinary and inter-university collaboration paths among students and faculties to achieve common goals.

The project works will be presented together with the research during the Open Day at the end of the course.

Entrance to the lecture is free and open to all.

Additional information

Squatting Supermarkets/iSee is a co-production by FakePress/Art is Open Source. Special project at the Piemonte Share Festival 2009, winner of the “Zero Impact Technlogy” prize offered by the Environment Park in Turin. Squatting Supermarkets/iSee is part of the SMIR project under the artistic direction of The Sharing:




http://www.smirproject.eu/ (site available next week)






please use the Facebook Event to stay updated:


teaching, education, interaction and real politics

At FakePress we have just started teaching 3 courses on Interaction Design at the Faculty of Architecture of Rome’s University “La Sapienza”. We will use these courses as an opportunity to enact what I can only refer to as “the most contemporary form of political action I can think of”.

We are building a specific strategy on these teaching activities, at several levels and from varied perspectives.

So, here it goes:

The objectives

We have several short-term and long term objectives:

  1. to create an education path that deals with cutting edge technologies and methodologies, producing and disseminating knowledge and technical skills that can represent real opportunities both for students and for society
  2. to research on possibilistic scenarios whose aim is to identify and propose the possible evolutions and mutations of publishing practices, along the paths of emergent, emotional, disseminated, multi-author, cross-medial, recombinant, informational narratives
  3. to create a pragmatic cultural process in which a true understanding of digital cultures is the key to understand the possibilities offered by a multicultural, tolerant, communicational, empathic world
  4. to create a process in which several languages and voices take part in a dialogue: the languages of creativity, anthropology, communication science, business, art
  5. to create tools that foster multidisciplinary collaboration and the perspectives, for students, to collaborate in ways that go beyond the classroom, learning how to open dialogues with researchers, academics, entrepreneurs, artists, and the people of the streets and of social networks
  6. to create a process that is focused on an ethnographic approach to design: understand cultures, populations and single individuals to create products, services, works of art and creativity that are truly sustainable, ecologic, tolerant and socially responsible, from points of view that are philosophical, environmental, economic, aesthetic, psychologic
  7. to enact true innovation processes, creating real opportunities for students
  8. to experiment new forms for education and for the sharing of knowledge, based on ethics; on liquid conceptions of education and of the roles defined among students and teachers; on the vision that knowledge and information – and its free access, sharing and dissemination – are today’s most valuable assets; on the idea of nomadic practices as tools that are usable to create liberated spaces in which to create, imagine, design and implement;
  9. to promote the possibilities offered by digital, ubiquitous technologies in terms of adding layers of information on ordinary reality, creating a multiperspective, poliphonic, interpretative views of the world; augmented reality and disseminated urban narratives as the key to reinvent reality and the present;
  10. to promote a design approach centered on experiences, emotion, empathic domains; the imaginary is possibly the most crucial factor in social change and the most fundamental force for creativity.

The courses

The courses are about “Multimedia Design”. The first step of our action will be to reinterpret this definition (which is quite old-fashoned) to promote innovative approaches.

Three courses are involved:

  • Multimedia Architectures held by Luca Simeone will be focused on a high level approach describing theories, methodologies and formal practices connected to Interaction design; here is the syllabus of the course.
  • Multimedia Graphics, held by Federico Ruberti will be greatly restructured from its original intentions, drifting away from being a “Photoshop course” and turning into a path along the aesthetic, historical and philosophical reasoning that brought us to the current state of the art of digital cultures and creativity. As you will see in the course syllabus, the focus will be equally divided between the teaching of the history of all the XXX-media (multimedia, intermedia, transmedia…)  and the formal framing of all of the practices connected to the invention, planning, design and implementation of cross-medial products and services.
  • Experimental Multimedia Technologies and Communications, taught by me, Salvatore Iaconesi, will be the place where the two high level, historical approaches will be put together. As you can see from the syllabus, the course’s program is centered on the enactment of theories and formalisms, through practice, design and production. The focus will be on classic web intraction design, on information design and aesthetics, on physical computing, on ubiquitous technologies, wearables, spimes and location based platforms, all on the idea of multiplatform environments (computers, mobile, devices, wearables, bodies, objects and architectures) along the ways described through our FakePress project.

The three courses will mutually synchronize and interact, acting as a single complex 360° course. Even the exam will be merged.

An online social network has been created for students and professors to constantly interact on the education process, to share materials, information sources and to establish continuous, emergent collaboration paths among all individuals involved.

The system itself will be completely rebuilt by the students. During the first lesson we invited students to imagine the shape, tools, information and interactivity of their ideal education digital ecosystem. We will gather all of their suggestions to (possibly) completely redesign the website, thus creating a complete learning environment that will have all voices represented. This process will be focal to many of the activities performed during the courses.

Furthermore, students will form groups to create a Project Work, which will be a fundamental tool that will allow us for the enactment of the strategy described in the previous section. While we will provide a thematic track to create a narrative flow along all project works, students will be free to give shape to their specific ideas, and we will only act as enablers in this process, discussing with them the feasability of their visions, the opportunities and possibilities offered by the different approaches.


All of this will be integrated into a wider process.

Together with The Hub we are creating a collaborative process in which different universities, faculties and disciplines cooperate in the creation of complete social innovation scenarios. Together with Dario Carrera of The Hub Roma we created a research path with his students of the course of Management of Nonprofit Organizations and Social Enterprises of the Faculty of Economics at the Tor Vergata University in Rome. Students will study and research on innovative projects such as iSee or on actions of social creativity and activist art such as Squatting Supermarkets to invent and formalize business models that are focused on the social innovations that are achievable using ubiquitous, mobile interactivity and disseminated, location-or-object based contents: mobile computer vision systems, natural interactions, accessible social expert systems, emergent p2p collaboration practices, critical shopping, ubiquitous communication practices for sustainable economies.

The basic models have already been produced and are currently in review: they will be used in the project works to design the economic feasability of the projects that will, thus, form a real-life scenario.

Each group of students will thus create a prototype or working version of an experience, product, service or cross media publication along the lines defined by FakePress, using ubiquitous technologies, location based information systems, mobile, wearable and standard electronic devices, or spime based ones.

Open Day and Exhibit

The results of the Project Works will be featured in an open day which will be freely accessible from any interested individual. We will have invited guests in the academic, scientific and artistic worlds of digital cultures. The exams will also be open for anyone to see.

We are coordinating with Rome’s Cultural Policies Council to provide a remarkable exhibition space for all of the projects to be exposed, and to have a final party to relax a bit and to promote student works and skills to enterprises, companies and institutions.

Selected projects will also follow a series of specific paths.

First of all, they will be featured in a selection of international conferences on design, sustainability, technology, digital cultures. We will specifically act towards the promotion of both the most innovative works produced, and of the process used in the education path, as an formal methodology for innovative education and its connection with the creation of significative opportunities for students, companies and institutions.

We will also select interested students to participate to paid stages with relevant parties among design and communication agencies, technological enterprises, cultural institutions, museums, digital arts and creativity festivals, research institutes and so on. We already have selected an international series of interested parties for this part, but we will disclose te list of partners as soon as we have formal confirmations. There will be many surprises here. :)

Students who will wish to continue along  research/academic paths will also be directed and assisted in the selection of PhDs and master courses in the best international colleges.

Project Works that will be deemed as being particularly significant will become actual FakePress cross-medial publications.


This is a complex scenario that we envisioned and enacted, and that will take time and effort to complete.

As a matter of fact, the three FakePress members are doing this for free.

For more than one reason.

We feel that innovation in education and cultural practices, with specific reference to the current situation found in most italian universities, is a fundamental tool for social evolution and for the creation of opportunities for the young individuals that often see their possibility for autnomy and self-determination deeply limited by a lack of perspectives that is only parti conjuntural.

Low investments on research and on the accessibility of higher level studies and appropriate technologies and methodologies; inadequate programs and formal tools; useless skills. And most of all a deep negative impact on peoples’ imaginaries brought on by a constant state of crisis that invades environment, mind, society, economy.

We feel that classic politics seldom approach and never confront these issues, claiming the themes of knowledge, innovation and education and turing them into propaganda that rarely finds pragmatic outcomes.

We feel that an alternative is possible, and it definitely passes through the offering of new practices for education, new roles for students and teachers and for the use of creativity and new imaginaries and languages to obtain resources, spaces, possibilities.

We don’t feel like complaining. And we  feel that solutions can be found by producing, acting, sharing informations and knowledge. And by creating economies that are, more than all, empathic and emotional. For a real ecosystem of the mind that allows us to embrace new collaborative, sustainable ethics.