The Ecole des beaux-arts de Bordeaux and the CAPC museum of contemporary art of Bordeaux present Rosa b N°3

The Ecole des beaux-arts de Bordeaux and the CAPC museum of contemporary art of Bordeaux present Rosa b N°3

École des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux

June 21, 2010
The Ecole des beaux-arts de Bordeaux and the CAPC museum of contemporary art of Bordeaux present Rosa b N°3

Format Standard

Format Standard

Thinking about publishing norms, media and formats is usually the poor relative of investigations into technological innovation. Because graphic norms do not seem essential to the development of new technologies. Because norms, in general, are underestimated by thinking about technology and science. Suffice it to note the relative disinterest of researchers, opinion and the media in metrology (the science of measuring systems), for example, which, however, galvanizes the energy of hundreds of thousands of people around the world, and presupposes complex accreditation protocols, involving huge scientific, economic and political challenges. Norms question convention: for it is too often forgotten that a norm is a written document, defining technical specifications for goods, services and processes, which is different from the standard (Windows, for example), which in effect imposes the predominant person involved upon the market, because it is negotiated between the interested parties, and because its brief means that it must be accessible: a norm is a public asset. It is also an item of merchandise, produced by hundreds of certification agencies across the world. So it is an artifact. A norm is constructed, like the standard metre: a product of lengthy and tortuous formulation, and subject to periodical redefinitions. But who draws up the normative agenda? Who has access to the negotiations? Just industrial partners? Users? The powers-that-be?

These questions go well beyond the field of the sociology of science and technology. They stem from what Michel Foucault called “governmentality”: not “the law” or “power”, but those many and varied complex practices which proceed from rational forms, technical procedures, and instrumentation, and format the political arena. Today, normative regulation represents the essence of governance.

Within the realm of norms, graphics and graphic design have a special place. They are the medium of norms (norms are embodied in texts, signs, and formats), and they are themselves a norm. The production of standards and norms lies at the heart of digital innovation, the issue of formats is consubstantial with programming logic. To the various debates under way about standards and digital formats, to open and closed protocols and inter-operability, to what it is possible to perceive of the upcoming development of interfaces and information design, to the prospects opened up by the Open Source, a tsunami of innovations and new social uses (in less than five years, blogs, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Daily Motion…) brings a new urgency, and puts standards and norms to the test, in a climate of unprecedented tension. This issue of Rosa b., focusing on the international conference held in spring 2009 at the Bordeaux School of Fine Arts, is intended as a contribution to a much needed line of thinking.


Video archives, “edit! :”, international conference, march 05.06.07 2009.

Catalogtree, Delphine Gardey, Norm, Emmanuel Didier, Étienne Mineur, Alexandre Mallard, Integral Ruedi Baur, François Pelligrini, Annick Rivoire, Jacques-François Marchandise, workshop ” parallel publishing “, Bruno Latour…

Other works: texts, videos, audios, etc:
Michel Aphesbero, Thomas Boutoux, François Chastanet, Patricia Falguières, Harrison, Robin Kinross, Le Corbusier, Nicolas Maigret, Pierre Ponant, Steve Rusthon.

Ecole des beaux-arts de Bordeaux
7 rue des Beaux-Arts
France – 33800 Bordeaux
Tel. + 33 (0)5 56 33 49 10

CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux
Entrepôt Lainé – 7 rue Ferrère
France – 33000 Bordeaux
Tel. + 33 (0)5 56 00 81 50
[email protected]

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June 21, 2010

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