| From: Luther Blissett (email@example.com)
[...] Net.art, born just some years ago, is becoming *the* new art form,
the ultimate one, and the most absurd thing is that net.artists
themselves seem to expect nothing else. Everyone with his own site,
everyone with his own domain, everyone with his own gallery, they are
throwing themselves into the trammels of traditional art, completely
ignoring what net.art could/should be and misunderstanding the real
power of the web.
The point under discussion is always the same: how to sell a net.art
work. In other words: how to make net.art regress to the status of
traditional art. And the answers come, oh yes they do. New galleries and
collections of the biggest contemporary art museums thrive, articles on
glossy reviews increase, the most absurd offers of commercialization
spread. All of it dictated by one and only ideal: the circled "C".
Result? Within two years net.art will be in all museums and art history
handbooks, with the names of the "protagonists of the heroic period",
dates, movements, influences, generations and so on, tons of the same
shit we have been eating all the times. But this is not what we
expected. We hoped that something else would come out, at least in the
web. The web is the paradise of no-copyright, plagiarism, confusion and
exchange, why the hell are those people trying, by any means, to create
a copy of the real world?
The difference between net.art and every other form of art seems to be
"interactivity", at least this is what we got used to hear. Well:
"interactivity", as it's usually intended, is a delusion, pure
falsehood. When people reach a site (net.art or not, it doesn't matter),
by their mouse clicks they choose one of the routes fixed by the the
author(s), the only decide what to see before and what after: this is
not interactivity. It would be the same as stating that an exposition in
a museum is interactive because you can choose from which room to start,
which works seeing before and which ones after, or because you can turn
around a sculpture and seeing it from different points of view. If
net.art is interactive then Canova is interactive as well, otherwise
none of them.
But recently something's changed. We're talking about
0100101110101101.ORG, come into the limelight for having hacked
hell.com. In fact, 0100101110101101.ORG is trying to show that art in
the web can really become "interactive ": the public must use it
interactively, we must use an artwork in an unpredictable way, one that
the author didn't foresee, to rescue it from its normal routine
(studio/gallery/museum or homepage/hell.com/Moma) and re-use it in a
different and novel way. When this happens in "real life" people are
sent to prison or to madhouses. Even the web is going towards such a
situation, all the paradigms of traditional art are imposing themselves
The first files appeared in 0100101110101101.ORG are what we'll call
"hybrids", in absence of other names: pages by other net.artists all
mixed in a random way. This section of the site is centered around a
random concept, so that the interface changes every time you visit it.
The toolbar becomes useless, the "back" command loses its logical
function: every page is set in the unpredictable sequence of chance.
0100101110101101.ORG downloads the websites of the most popular
net.artists and then s/he/it/them manipulates them as "it" wants, using
them in an interactive way.
The "open_source_hell.com" affair happened about one month ago. In spite
of all the things that have been said about, since it seems that very
few people have said something interesting, we report here a press
release circulated on those days:
+ + +
www.HELL.com was born in 1995 as a conceptual art piece, an anti-web
that sold and promoted nothing and was not accessible to the public: a
sheer b(l)ack hole of the web. For almost three years, HELL.com, a site
with no content, never listed in any directory nor linked anywhere,
averaged of a million hits per month from people typing the name in
search engines. Then it became a container for net.art sites and art
galleries which you could access only if you were invited, and whose
list of members was kept secret; something they themselves called "a
private parallel web." The idea behind HELL.com was to create a
launching pad for cyber-artists extremly elitist and with badly hidden
venal ambitions... a fuckin' museum! During february 1999 HELL.com
organized "surface": a show with several superstar net artists like
zuper!, absurd, fakeshop and many more. Like all the events by HELL.com,
this one was not available to the public either - it was opened
exclusively to RHIZOME subscribers. During the 48 hours opening
0100101110101101.ORG downloaded all the files of the site; the clone has
been put on line, this time as anticopyright, visible, reproducible and
freely diffusible material and, thanks to some technical devices, even
more easily downloadable. The convinction that information must be free
is a tribute to the way in which a very good computer or a valid
program works: binary numbers move in accordance with the most logic,
direct and necessary way to do their complex function. What is a
computer if not something that benefits by the free flow of information?
+ + +
The night of 9th june, it was the turn of "Art.Teleportacia"'s.
"Art.Teleportacia" is the first net.art gallery to have appeared in the
web, and also the first attempt to sell works of net.art. The exhibition
we're talking about was "Miniatures of the heroic period", and consisted
of some pages by five of the most known net.artists in the world - Jodi,
Vuk, Irational, Easylife and Lialina - for sale at 2000 $ each.
0100101110101101.ORG cloned the gallery, manipulated the contents and
uploaded it in a new "anticopyright" version, obviously without asking
permission to anyone and violating the copyright of the original site.
The exhibition changed its name into "Hybrids of the heroic period", and
the five "original" works were replaced with as many "hybrids", files
obtained mixing pages by net.artists with some trash of the web.
The theoretical pillars that hold Art.Teleportacia are mainly three: - 1
A work of net.art can be sold as well as any other work of art - 2 Each
net.art work must be covered by copyright and nobody, except the artist,
can download it or even link to it without the permission of the author
- 3 The "sign" of a net.art work is in the "Location bar", so the url is
the only guarantee of originality.
Cloninig Art.Teleportacia 0100101110101101.ORG brought down all the
presuppositions of the gallery, the contradictions which this way of
thinking runs into became evident. Technically, whoever visits a site
downloads automatically, in the cache, all the files he sees. In fact
s/he already owns them, therefore it is nonsense to sell pages already
being in the hard disks of millions of people - it would be more useful
to tell the public the fastest way to download the whole website. We
must keep in mind that net.art is digital, it is binary code, everything
is reproducible to infinity without losing quality... just numbers! -
finally, we entered the "age of its technical reproducibility" - and
every copy is identical to the "original" one. The concept itself of an
"original" is now meaningless, and even the concepts of false and
plagiarism don't exist any longer. If it's obsolete to talk about
"originals" in the real world, it becomes absolutely paradoxical in the
web. This seems to be the thread between the so called "hybrids",
Art.Telepoetacia and open_source_hell.com.
There is no Genius isolated from the world and inspired by the Muse -
culture is made by people exchanging information and re-working on what
has been already done in the past, it has always been like that. Culture
is only a big, endless plagiarism in which nobody invents nothing,
people only rework, and this reworking happens collectively; nobody
creates nothing alone. This happens also in "real life", but the web is
the best place to show it. It's no longer necessary to deface paintings
(Alexander Brener) or to put mustache on postcards of Monalisa
(Duchamp), now art can be downloaded, modified and uploaded again, with
We wish to see hundreds of 0100101110101101.ORG repeating sites of
net.artists endlessly, so that nobody realizes which was the "original"
one, we would like to see hundreds of Jodi and hell.com, all different,
all original, and nobody filing lawsuits for copyright infringement,
there would be no more originals to preserve. "WebDevil" will be the
brush of a new generation of artists?