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The New French Hacker-Artist Underground (wired.com)
263 points by friggeri on Jan 23, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments

I wonder what train of thought leads the director of a historical institution like the Panthéon to fail to realise that he sounds monumentally stupid when he sues a group like UX for fixing the shit he should be maintaining, and then actually hires someone to break it again.

Don't be surprised by how much is all about huge ego and showing them who's boss. Setting example and so forth.

It's a shame, but at the same time it makes it easier to get noticed...

Tell it to the UX designer that got fired for answering to Dustin Curtis. http://www.dustincurtis.com/incompetence.html

Not that kind of UX. In this article UX stands for 'Urban eXperiment', not user experience. Have a look at it it is an interesting read.

Yes, not the same UX, but somehow the same principles seem to resonate.

It does seem crazy. One can play devil's advocate though...

In a museum situation there is always tension between preservation and restoration. The aim of a museum isn't to have a (boring) collection of items restored to brand spanking new condition. It is to record the story associated with each object, and that story can be lost by restoration. A particular bit of damage might be significant as a record of the events at the time, for example, marks on a building due to a record flood, a bullet hole due to a particular battle or a significant piece of graffiti. It gets complicated when one has to choose which story to tell, such as a painting with two layers. Which to display?

Granted that the description paints the clock as being in a state of decay, not preservation, so the above argument probably doesn't apply in this case. There's an argument though that UX shouldn't be blinding going around fixing everything!

Fantastique! Chronicling this group would make a great documentary, or even a much better film than the sorry dragon tattoo fodder. These guys are hackers in the true sense of the word.

On a tangent, there are many tunnels under Chicago, too, which has neen used during the Prohibition. Any local HNers who has been to these?

I was thinking just the same thing. This would make a great movie. This story is similar (in my view at least) to the spy/master thief movies from the '70's where they showed the audience how the spy/thief went about accomplishing their objectives.

I live in NYC... think this article may have just lit a fire of curiosity in me to track down this guy.


I like to think that there's something special about Paris that inspires these underground art movements. Back in '04 the group called themselves LMDP in a Guardian interview, and they didn't mention restoration. Maybe there are multiple underground hacker-artist societies. [ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/sep/11/film.france ]

There must be. I just got back from a trip to Paris and I went with a friend to visit the catacombs (a Parisian who had never been), and she told me that in high school (or lycee or whatever they call it in France) that her and her brother would go to underground parties where they'd have to enter through sewers. Seems like knowledge of getting underground is widespread if you know who to ask and where to look.

Thanks for the link!

A lot of people wander in the tunnels of Paris indeed.

In the 60's the young generation started organizing crazy parties (Especially in the famous "Salle Z" or "Z Room") with hundreds or thousands of people. It has been a widely illegal and famous way to organize hazing sessions for Paris schools and universities.

Now cataphiles are all over Paris which has more than 280km of catacombs. It takes hours to go from one place to another. Some are more visited than others and easier to access. It is a common (and fun) thing to do when you are young in Paris, you can also easily find the movie theaters and get the maps from internet.

People sometimes get caught, the police is patrolling but the risk (~60€) is low.

I doubt i'd suggest it for tourists unless you have a friend who knows where to go. It takes hours to find an entrance and sometimes more than 4hours walk to find "nice" and historical areas.

Actually, LMDP is the UX subgroup that used to organize projections.

Source: http://www.urban-resources.net/la_mexicaine_de_perforation.h...

I first heard of UX when I was looking for information on the secret society that maintains this quirky building in paris where Louis XVI used to hide. Anybody knows of this other secret society? P.S. Both are fascinating to me because of resonance with the Gibsonian.

this is possibly the first truly interesting and amazing article I saw on HN today.

These kinds of efforts are amazing! I am left speechless. This group represents the true essence of hacking.

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