Today the border between the digital world and the real world is decidedly fluid. Not only is it difficult to tell where one begins and the other ends, but perhaps it makes no sense even to try. It is much more useful to explore the new activities that result from their interactions: the hybrid forms in which digital is no longer synonymous with virtual, but has instead gotten back on the road that leads to the world of tangible objects. That is the activity of the Hyperwerk studio, a Swiss organization established in 1999 that offers courses on process design and interaction management. "Since we live in an economy that is no longer based on heavy industry but on services, we have decided to refer to the design that we practice as 'post-industrial' and to devote ourselves to phenomena such as innovation, entrepreneurship, technology, globalization, sustainability, teamwork, and the new forms of handicraft" (from the web-site www.acar2.org). An interest in these things gave birth to Acar2, which stands for the French "Académie pour l'avenir de l'artisanat" (Academy for the Future of Handicraft).
The project inspires creative and motivated people to dedicate themselves to research on a new category of products, exploring the processes that take shape over the entire course of a product's life, from concept to use to recycling, and which are based on the materials and methods of "intelligent" manufacturing. Given this type of research, it is no surprise that Ars Electronica, which since 1979 has been dedicated to the exploration of the digital arts and media culture on a world-class level, invited Hyperwerk to organize a meeting of various institutions at which common concerns would be addressed. This gave birth to Campus 2.0, an innovative platform for further study that was organized on a collaborative instead of competitive basis. "We are deeply convinced that our model can serve as an example for the future of academic institutions in an era of post-industrial globalization" (from the web-site www.acar2.org). The project was presented during the Festival Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, from September 5th to 11th, 2007. The festival that year was titled "Goodbye Privacy" and it examined today's boundaries between the public and the private. The program and the incredible projects presented that year (and in others) can be seen at www.aec.atNot to be missed are the photos of Mathias Stich at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/neuerordner/sets/72157601983328346.
Moleskine, proud of its role as an analog counterpart in the digital sphere, publishes the Acar2 catalog "From Artefact to Actefact."Tangible art, art that is useful, hybrid art ... and the search, always in motion, continues.