Technical Happiness


Technical Happiness Units Research Review No.1

URR is a design research journal. For her first issue, she explores the sensations of technical systems through contributions from anthropologists, historians, artists and designers.



What do the technical systems around us cause? From fear to fascination to fear or fantasy, strong feelings rub shoulders. The first issue of Units Research Review, Technical Happiness, probes the intersections between technique and joy.
Survival User Manual – Magda Skibinska & Jaap Smit [FRA & ENG]

Magda Skibinska and Jaap Smit offer a quirky manual. Here, the annoying information is replaced by the survival techniques of our ancestors that these objects have gradually ousted.


Technical pop – Jean-Yves Leloup [FRA]

Jean-Yves Leloup, writer, sound artist and curator, offers an insight into the imaginations that electronic music maintains with technology: from technological odes to collective utopias.


Sound Sculptures – Baschet Structures [FRA]

We visited the Grange, the former workshop of the Baschet Brothers which hosts their Sonores Sculptures. These exceptional instruments offer sounds and modes of interaction where the body comes to rub directly with the technique.


Technical Nights – Catharine Rossi [FRA & ENG]

Catharine Rossi, a design historian, talks about the evolution of nightclubs from the late 1960s on. These festive spaces, opposed to those of everyday life, implement technical devices to participate in our letting go.


Simplexity – Como Lart [FRA]

Como Lart, designer, gives us his vision of the technique through synthetic images accompanied by a text lifting the veil on a possible technical aesthetic.


The hidden side of technique – Benedict Redgrove [FRA & ENG]

Benedict Redgrove photographs behind the scenes of global space agencies, such as Nasa, through his work. At the same time, he tells us about his vision of the links between technique and aesthetics.


What happened to the future? – Nicolas Nova [FRA]

Science fiction generates an impressive bank of technical artifacts throughout its history. Using the example of the virtual reality headset, researcher Nicolas Nova looks back at the emergence of a form of "failure of technological imaginations".

If it seems to lack a renewal of technological imaginations, U.R.R asked Nicolas Nova to comment on 4 images of more or less well-known technical artifacts, in order to shed light on their scope and the history they carry.


Artificial Mechanics – Obvious [FRA]

Faced with technical systems capable of automating tasks, we find ourselves sometimes as amazed as frightened. We met Obvious, a collective of artists using algorithms capable of (re)producing images, in order to question their role in our societies.


Behind the scenes of "Extreme" – Mack Rides [FRA & ENG]

Mack Rides surely provides the most direct example of a synergy combining joy and technique. Mack Rides, a roller coaster construction company based in Germany, has revealed its history and creative process.


To the Happiness of the Waves – Emmanuel Grimaud [FRA]

Emmanuel Grimaud, anthropologist, takes us to India to meet Mr. Murthy. This engineer has designed a new scanner, capable of detecting the auras of the objects around us. What does this strange device say about our relationship to the invisible and the environment that surrounds us?


Technical Emotions – Units [FRA]