100 more terrible ideas at France’s 1st stupid hackathon

Poppal, a cup of popcorn that lights up to annoy people around you at the movies. © Hackacon

Welcome to the stupid age of innovation. At the first “Hackacon” (a play on the words hackathon and “con”, or stupid, in French), organized by the Stereolux Arts and Technologies Laboratory in Nantes on October 29, 30 participants let their imaginations run wild to produce idiotic prototypes and totally useless apps. Directly inspired by Stupid Hackathon, its Stateside cousin, which has been going strong in New York since 2014, this sprint session of ironic prototyping is aimed straight at the world of hackathon-obsessed start-ups. In the bull’s eye: IoT and the proliferation of applications supposed to revolutionize our lives.

The idea for this moronic hackathon came about as designers Bastien Kerspern and Camille Azam were chatting over a beer. “The concept of Hackacon is about critical design, to encourage companies to step back and think more reponsibly about what they call innovation,” Kerspern explains.

Hackacon may be stupid, but it still requires brainstorming, complete with paperboard, Post-its… © Hackacon
…as well as authentic, albeit useless, tinkering. © Hackacon

As a warm-up, this first Hackacon made in Nantes launched on October 28 with a night of brainstorming around themes that ranged from hilarious (“Uberizing gastric problems”) to grating (“Putting our children in debt”, “Design Sinking”). These inspired six prototypes, including an erection detector, a stool extruder to eject elegant coils, a cup of popcorn that lights up when you reach into it and a translator bot riddled with obscene tics.

Bot with Tourette syndrome. © Hackacon

“In total, we saw over 100 stupid ideas that we will document on our website, so that others can appropriate them,” says Kerspern. To add to the festivities, they asked participants to build a “Fatal Business Canvas”, in order to push their prototypes through a “totally irresponsible business model” and sum it all up in a “pitch exquis”, “somewhere between a Pecha Kucha and a cadavre exquis”, over a background of random images lifted off the Net, alternating portraits of Charles Pasqua and photos of cheese graters… What’s next? “No idea,” Kerspern confesses. “But why not counter-programs during start-up weekends?” Very dada indeed.

Hackacon website

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