In collaboration with: Barbara Steiner, Rasmus Koch Studio
Year: 2003

Tools is a publication conceived as a workbook with examples and instructions as to how the SUPERFLEX tools might be used. The first section – primarily image based with brief texts – examines some of SUPERFLEX's projects. The second part is a collection of essays presenting various reflections on tools and their users written by Doris Berger, Charles Esche, Mika Hannula, Andreas Spiegl and Barbara Steiner. The third section focus's on SUPERFLEX's activities and the people involved. Edited by Babara Steiner in collaboration with Superdesign. Designed by Rasmus Koch. Published by Verlag Der Büchhandlung Walther König, 2003. Format: 210 x 270 mm, soft cover, 295 pages, offset. ISBN 3-88375-612

Photo: Superflex

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Introduction from the book

In their projects, SUPERFLEX provide tools that are based on their specific interest in social and economic commitment. The starting point for creating a tool is a belief in a heterogeneous, complex society. The set-up is developed in co-operation with diverse experts who, in turn, add their own specific interests. It can then be taken over and put into operation by various users. The tools invite people to do something: to become active. Tools are framed by and shaped in specific social and local situations and generate their meanings out of this specific context. Through the tools SUPERFLEX investigates communicative processes in which power, hegemony, assertion and oppression, the gain and loss of terrain become evident. Various parties, individuals or groups, enter the scene with strong personal and specific interests. They constantly influence how the tool is constructed and/or used. The set-up structures can be redefined by users, which can finally lead to changes in the tool itself. The resulting scenarios, a constantly changing succession of possibilities and meanings, are then continued as long as the interest remains alive. The use of the tools mirrors the contradictions and contentions of the users and their commitment in economic, cultural and political discourses. When SUPERFLEX assemble not only the project and development team, but also the users, they take into account the specific interests of individual groups, their different opportunities for articulation, their interests and projections. All tools share the aspect of empowerment: e.g. having their own energy supply, becoming an independent producer of energy, having their own channel, joining a political/economic discussion. Taken in this sense, artistic praxis means a concrete cultural intervention that mediates between different interests or at least, makes them visible. In their tools SUPERFLEX attempts to create conditions for the production of new ways of thinking, acting, speaking and imagining. To this end, they make as much use of their aesthetic proficiency as of their social commitment. This book consists of three main sections: tools, texts and activities. The first section, which is primarily picture based, contains brief descriptions of the tools and introduces some of the users. In the second section a number of authors present diverse reflections on tools and their uses. Finally the third section focuses on SUPERFLEX´s activities and the people involved in them. This book is intended as both a fund of information and a tool in its own right.

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The Editors

Related activities

Related tools

Related texts

Working within Contradictions

Author: Barbara Steiner, 2003

TOOLS and Manifestos

Author: Charles Esche, 2003

Interview with Jan Mallan

Author: Barbara Steiner and Doris Berger, 2002

Interview with Faustin Lekule

Author: Barbara Steiner and Doris Berger, 2001

Interview with Rasmus Koch

Author: Edda Hoefer, 2002

Interview with Sean Treadway

Author: Barbara Steiner and Doris Berger, 2001

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