athanasios Anagnostopoulos aA 2013
Those who unknowingly contributed to the normal (or abnormal) course of research and writing of this dissertation were: Sotiria Dimonitsa Panos Papatheodorou Nikos Navridis And certainly knowingly, Katerina Apostolidou
.Table of Contents
New Media and Technological Utopias
The Internet as heterotopia and the political as antagonism
THE YES MEN
It could be said that the perception of reality is nowadays defined by the composition of the natural with the digital environment. Numerous structures and functions, at least in the western world, depend on technology and its continuous evolution. Artistic practice, itself dealing with perception, could not remain unaffected by everyday life, which has for decades been significantly affected by the emergence and spread of the Internet. The Internet, as the apex of the digital age, became a means of artistic practice already since the 1990s; but theorists in the field of new media were divided between ardent supporters of a digital revolution on the one hand, and on the other hand those who approached it critically, with sobriety and scepticism. The course of this research starts from this point, the not so neutral field of the theory of new media and technological reality, from Marshall McLuhan to Lev Manovich, Richard Barbrook, Paul Virilio and Jean Baudrillard. As it advances, the research focuses on the field of Internet art, net.art, which followed the emergence of the World Wide Web and often manifested as a result of the need to find alternative ways to deal with and circulate works of art other than the established mechanisms of the dominant market. It is here that we come across one of the first attempts to criticize corporate aesthetics and the commercialization of information through the paradigm of net.art’s pioneer, the Serbian artist Vuk Cosic. This will be the motive to trace a particular field of artistic-activist practice, that of Tactical Media, which have been closely associated with Internet art. The theoretical foundation on which Tactical Media was based is situated around the theory of French philosopher Michel de Certeau on the practice of everyday life, which is transformed into a political tactic. Through the examples of Heath Bunting, ®™ ark and Yes Men we will encounter practices which combine net.art with Tactical Media and develop as forms of critique towards neo-liberal hegemony. In the last chapter, the space of the Internet is proposed as another real space, according to Michel Foucault’s concept of heterotopia. Can we claim such a position and if yes, what would it serve? The following dilemma emerges; whether the heterotopia of the Internet will function as an illusory space which enhances the illusion of real space or whether it will manage to become another real public space, through its political constitution, which can also be a result of its contingent artistic treatment. We will follow the thought of theorists such as Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Julian Stallabrass, Rosalyn Deutsche and Oliver Marchart, in order to comprehend, through the theory of the political as antagonism and politics as hegemony, that it is not enough for a public space to be physically or institutionally defined as such in order for it to effectively perform its function. Can we after all refute those views, which regard Internet art as serving a technological stupefaction of a certain dismal digital reality? And if yes, how much do new media in general and the Internet in particular allow contemporary art to articulate a political discourse?
.New Media and Technological Utopias Since 1936 Konrad Zuse tried to manufacture a digital computer based on a relevant theoretical publication of Allan Turing’s research. In 1941 he assembled the first ever digital computer in Berlin, presenting it amid the Second World War, seeking to obtain state funding for its commercial release, but Nazi Germany did not consider the issue appropriate for its circumstances. This attitude causes wonder, given that the Nazi regime had for long used in its deadly concentration camps the technology provided by the American company IBM, a pioneer in analogue computing database systems of the time.1 We can thus see from early on that “the history of computers is inextricably linked with military history.”2 As we advance into media theory, we will see how it had actually started much earlier with Walter Benjamin’s essay on “The Work of Art in the Age of its Mechanical Reproduction.”3 But new media, up to then, were restricted to cinema, photography and the radio. The so-called digital age that began much later is that of digital telecommunication and interactivity. Up to today, it has managed to divide theoretical circles by creating contradictory viewpoints; on the one hand those who see in technology a positive promise and on the other hand, those voices that warn of a bleak future or those that attempt its sober deconstruction through data analysis. In 2001 Lev Manovich recorded a theoretical review and a systematic organization of new media in “The Language of New Media”4, approaching the contemporary computer in its relation to cinema and taking into account the McLuhanian medium as message. He speaks of the appearance and establishment of a “meta-medium”, the digital computer5 and the age when the digitization of the entire culture leads to the appearance of new forms of culture but also the redefinition of the existing ones6. He characterizes his method in general as a “digital materialism.”7 Marshall McLuhan wrote on new media8 before the advent of personal computers and the Internet, relating them to the greatest revolution in history since typography. Every medium is an extension of the human body just as electric technology is the extension of the central nervous system onto a global scale.9 For McLuhan, the final 1
The relationship of the company with the Nazi state is extensively explored in Edwin Black, IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation (Dialog Press, 2008). 2 Richard Barbrook’s comment (about whom we will discuss later on) at Warwick University during his lecture titled ‘Imaginary Futures’, accessed January 4, 2013. 3 Walter Benjamin, Essays on Art, translated by Dimosthenis Kurtovik (Athens: Kalvos, 1978), 9-39. 4 Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media (MIT Press, 2001). 5 Ibid. 6. 6 Ibid. 9. 7 Ibid. 10. 8 Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, translated by Spyros Mandros (Athens: Kalvos, 1990). 9 Ibid. 21.
phase towards which we are rapidly approaching is the technological simulation of human consciousness. In this “global village” that is being formed, one can not remain “aloof and dissociated”; instead, “we necessarily participate, in depth, in the consequences of our every action.”10 Thus “The medium is the message,”11 and the message of contemporary technology is a positive one. McLuhan speaks of a new scale, which formulates our hypotheses differently. It thus brings personal and social transformations, which are caused by every one of our new technological extensions, that is to say by every new medium.12 Therefore any personal and social – without making reference to political – change requires no more than technological progress, while every critique that deals with the use of a medium itself is in fact a delusion, for McLuhan, since “the “content” of any medium is always another medium.”13 The essence of electricity or the movies in McLuhan’s thought is the “transition from lineal connections to configurations”.14 McLuhan’s vision is among optimistic ones. In 1964 he published the popular book “Understanding Media”, which became a best seller, in the same year that the United States declared their hegemonic global presence through the International Exhibition of New York. It was there that the biggest American companies and corporations (IBM, General Motors, NASA, etc.) presented their technological propositions and innovations, thereby putting forward and attesting to the ‘American dream’. George Gilder, who is considered a techno-utopian, would write twenty-five years later of dominant states whose power does not lie in land ownership or in material wealth resources but in information and technologies.15 New technologies were to become the main field of interest for those with powerful economic and political interests. Himself an active collaborator of the republican party of the United States as well as author of presidential and vice-presidential speeches, such as those of Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller, became an enthusiastic supporter of digital technologies and the Internet during the 1990s, acknowledging that “The global network of telecommunications carries more valuable goods than all the world’s supertankers. Today, wealth comes not to the rulers of slave labor but to the liberators of human creativity…”16 It is clear by now that dominant states such as the US and China followed this “golden” rule in its essence. British artist and theorist Roy Ascott praises the Internet and digital systems as tools to a global spiritual awakening17. Through the term ‘cyberception’18 he describes the 10
Ibid. 22 Ibid. 25. 12 Ibid. 25. 13 Ibid. 26. 14 Ibid. 31. 15 George Gilder, Microcosm: The Quantum Revolution in Economics and Technology, First Edition [Free Press, 1990]. 16 Ibid. 18. 17 Stephen Wilson, Information Acts: Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology (The MIT Press, 2003), 479. 18 ‘We are all interface. We are computer-mediated and computer-enhanced. These new ways of conceptualising and per- ceiving reality involve more than simply some sort of quantitative change in how we see, think, and act in the world. They constitute a qualitative change in our being, a whole new faculty, the post- biological faculty of “cyberception”. Roy Ascott and Edward A. Shanken, Telematic 11
expanded perception that derives from the contact with technology, networks and telecommunications, an expansion in depth and perspective. He speaks of the fascination with the present and simultaneity, of the fascinating encounter within cyberspace, where interactive telecommunication and telepresence are the technologies of dialogue and transaction.19 For Ascott, the fear that new technologies lead to a homogenized, uniform culture is proved to be completely groundless. Others would appear more sceptical and take a critical stance towards a technological utopia, trying to comprehend the new digital environment and to approach it analytically. In the essay “The Californian Ideology”20 of 1995, Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron develop a critique on the technological boom and the hope laid thereupon, describing a new type of Californian ideology, which combines the “bohemian culture of San Franscisco with the cutting-edge technological industry of the Silicon Valley.”21 They see this “hybrid” of the “free spirit of the hippies and the entrepreneurial zeal of the yuppies”, this digital stupefaction, spreading across the whole western world, marked by lack of critique on a space – that of the Internet and telecommunications – which, instead of being an agora (in the sense of the ancient agora, a place of exercise of a democratic dialogue) becomes a competitive market (in the capitalist sense)22. For Barbrook, in his book “Imaginary Futures”23, the bright digital future, this popular McLuhanian dream, is supported by capitalist expansionism, which aims at elevating labour to a life value. Paul Virilio expressed similar views when he spoke of the “information bomb”24. This bomb that exploded with the technological miracle of the previous century that still grows, is what intensifies the practice of surveillance and control. Virilio sees the Internet as “a cybernetic control appropriate to domestic networks”, “the recently civilianized military network”25 to facilitate, together with the structure of the metropolitan meta-city, this surveillance. He does not hesitate to characterize it as “the most immense enterprise of opinion transformation ever attempted in ‘peacetime’”26. It seems certain that the Internet and digital space at large follow to a great extent Jean Baudrillard’s logic of the simulation of reality and its substitution by the virtual Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology, and Consciousness (University of California Press, 2003), 319. 19 From the website of the electronic magazine on art and technology Leonardo Electronic Almanac: ‘CONNECTIVITY: ART AND INTERACTIVE TELE-COMMUNICATIONS by Roy Ascott’, accessed January 21, 2013, http://www.leoalmanac.org/connectivity-art-and-interactivetelecommunications-by-roy-ascott/. 20 ‘The Californian Ideology’, accessed January 21, 2013, http://www.alamut.com/subj/ideologies/pessimism/califIdeo_I.html. 21 Ibid. 22 “Electronic Agora or Electronic Marketplace?”, Ibid. 23 Richard Barbrook, Imaginary Futures: From Thinking Machines to the Global Village (Pluto Press, 2007). 24 Paul Virilio, The Information Bomb, translated by Vasilis Tomanas (Skopelos: Nisides, 2000). 25 Ibid. 21. 26 Ibid. 105.
space of digital simulacra. Baudrillard offers us an “historical and structural definition of consumption”, which “exalts signs on the basis of a denial of things and the real.”27 The Internet is claimed by the dominant market and perhaps could have been its hegemonic tool from the beginning; but what is at stake may be the reverse manipulation of this “redundancy of signs”, something with which we will deal as we advance. Let us remember here McLuhan’s position about art: “The effects of technology do not occur at the level of opinions or concepts, but alter sense ratios or patterns of perception steadily and without any resistance. The serious artist is the only person able to encounter technology with impunity, just because he is an expert aware of the changes in sense perception.”28
From the anthology The Culture of Media, edited by Kostas Livieratos (Athens: Alexandreia, 1991), 264. 28 McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, 38.
net.art The 1980s were the decade of the neo-liberalism of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, of the bloom and bankruptcy of the markets, and that of the art market along with them. The much-celebrated revival of painting served the logic of the marketable artwork against its dematerialisation. The subsequent fall of the markets was followed by the decline of the art market. The introduction of video projections and installations, which prevailed during the next decade, managed however to renew the scene. As soon as the World Wide Web (or simply, the ‘Web’) was launched in the 1990s and the HTML code was developed, it gradually became more and more used in the sectors of communication, commerce, information and advertisement. It was thus associated from an early stage with artistic practice in such a variety of forms that it would be difficult to see them as one unified activity. It was used to create databases, composite digital audio-visual multimedia environments, telepresence, telecommunications, collaborations, or just to promote and digitally exhibit works of art29. It gave the opportunity to artists of the periphery, such as those in Eastern Europe, to approach a wider and more remote audience with a particularly low cost and no mediators30. For the same reason, it allowed those who wanted to criticize the established mechanisms of promotion to choose an alternative route and ignore the imperatives of the art market, avoiding censorship and compromise. The term net.art was introduced in 1995 by the Serbian artist Vuk Cosik31, who was also among the first involved in it. The art of new media had already ran its course for decades, although certainly not so popular, but even in this respect net.art was evolving in a different way, intensely decentred. The presence of artists (or nonartists) from the area of the former Soviet Union was particularly intense in the initial practices; as they experienced the transition from real socialism to the ‘free’ capitalist market, they were soon met by the privatisation of the web, the gradual integration of the whole financial and commercial world into the space of the Internet, the website market and the effort to protect intellectual property rights in the flow of the Internet32. Cosik was the first to appropriate a popular website – the CNN World Service – in ‘Net.art per se’ (CNN Interactive) in 199633. Keeping in place the original logos of the company, he added a news bulletin announcing a meeting by the same name of artists and theorists of the field of Internet art in Trieste in Italy. The involvement with mainstream media was a comment on mass culture and the transformation of information and media communications into a commodity, which would later become a subject for Tactical Media, as we shall see later on. 29
Mark Tribe and Jana Reena, ‘Art in the Age of Digital Distribution’, in New Media Art, edited by Uta Grosenick (Taschen, 2006), 6-25. 30 Rachel Greene, Internet Art (Thames and Hudson, 2004), 53. 31 Tribe and Reena, ‘Art in the Age of Digital Distribution’, 11. 32 Ibid. 33 Greene, Internet Art, 54.
Cosik did a similar action a year later, on the occasion of the Documenta X of 1997, the first time that this large organisation included Internet art works, which were however separately exhibited, in special “stations” for Internet access as well as others in its official website34. A month before its end, the organisers announced the closure of the website and the sale of its content in the form of CDs after the end of the exhibition. Thus, Cosik copied the entire content of the website of Documenta X and developed his own ‘Documenta Done’35, a replica of the real one, in a new web address within his own server. On the closing day of Documenta X and with the assistance of net artist Heath Bunting, they sent to a host of journalist email addresses their own announcement, which confirmed the closure of the exhibition but pointed out that the entire content of the website would remain available36. He himself characterizes what became his own web space as a ready-made detournée37, which grew against the logic of commoditization of Internet content, challenging the Internet regime of free circulation and access to information. For many the web as new medium was critically viewed, and just as video art expressed itself against popular mainstream media – such as television – net.art would likewise appear against the surge of new technologies, telecommunications and the “global village”. In order to process the material that is required for the Internet, the knowledge of a single individual was often inadequate; it was for this reason that interdisciplinary teams were formed38. Many of these groups chose to present themselves as such in the actual presentation of their work as well, against the demand that the work is attributed to a maker-artist. Let us here remember, that “the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author”39 or creator, according to Roland Barthes, and the majority of artists who turned to the Internet doubted from the start their authority on the work produced. This was a conscious choice and served as a comment on the intellect and intelligence of individuals, while highlighting the value of interdisciplinary collaboration. Parallel to this logic, there often emerged practices of appropriation, as we saw earlier40. The Internet was from early on a place of circulation of ‘open-source’ software and open databases. The ‘copy-paste’ commands of computers allow the identical copying of files and data from any digital source and their pasting anywhere else. In this way one can appropriate material, and combine it with other material according to one’s will, thus creating a totality made of heterogeneous elements, 34
Paul Sztulman, ‘Hybrid Workspace’, in Documenta X: The Short Guide; Kurzführer (Cantz, 1997), pp 284-287. 35 ‘documenta X-Welcome’, accessed January 22, 2013, http://www.ljudmila.org/~vuk/dx/. 36 For more details and his own comments, I cite the source of the video of his speech as part of the festival ‘The Influencers’ in Barcelona, ‘Vuk Cosik – part 3 | The Influencers’, accessed January 22, 2013, http://theinfluencers.org/vuk-cosic/video/3. 37 Ibid. 38 Richard Colson, ‘Dynamic Exchanges’, in The Fundamentals of Digital Art (AVA Publishing, 2007), 18-23. 39 Roland Barthes, IMAGE – MUSIC – TEXT, translated by Giorgos Veltsos (Athens: Plethron, 2007), 143. 40 Tribe and Reena, ‘Art in the Age of Digital Distribution’, 13, 14.
which acquire different interpretations and readings from the original ones. The practice of post-production, as well as that of remix and sampling in art, which Nicolas Bourriaud41 explored in his theoretical work, are fundamental features of computer space and the Internet. Those who employed similar methods questioned the politics of intellectual property rights and appeared to re-evaluate issues of democracy and freedom. The Internet was widely regarded as a space of absolute freedom in terms of the circulation of data and ideas, as well as works of art, which allow all kinds of views and actions.
Nicolas Bourriaud, â€˜Globalisation and Confusion, The Art World at the Times of the Screenâ€™, in Outlook, International Contemporary Art Exhibition, curated by Christos Ioakeimidis (Athens: OPEP A.E. 2003), 18, 19.
.Tactical Media Various cultural groups were formed in 1993 in Amsterdam on the occasion of the first conference Next 5 Minutes (N5M)42. The theorists who participated gave it the thematic title ‘Tactical Television’43; its initial purpose was to discuss practices of critical intervention on the media of television and video, as well as the theoretical organisation of their structure. Its main interest centred on the political motives and tendencies to critically view and analyze media. The participants, originating from Europe and North America, were already active in similar practices in a wider field of media and networks. This would determine the need to reassess the subject and eventually to employ the term ‘Tactical Media’, already by the next conference of 199644, which summarized practices in various electronic media. Their motives and aims are partly specified by a critical use of new and old media, popular or not, in order to highlight and problematize current political affairs, as well as to achieve noncommercial goals and to promote relevant viewpoints45. At the same time however, there is reference to the dislike or awkwardness caused by such an organisation and eventually a definition of the phenomenon. Definitions can always be seen as restrictions that include or exclude. The consumer of a technocratic culture can use or express its given or imposed features for purposes other that the predetermined ones, and can thereby become him/herself the producer (or post-producer, in a post-modern view). These manifestations, within the fabric of everyday life, are articulated as subversive ‘tactics’ of controversy. The theoretical foundation, which gave the motive to use the term tactic, is traced in the work of French philosopher Michel de Certeau “The Practice of Everyday Life”46. Certeau’s proposition is based on the detachment from the model of the producer-product binary, focusing instead on the consumer’s use, who integrates popular culture and its by-products in the everyday practice and thus transforms it by individualising it47. In order to trace these practices, he distinguishes between strategy and tactic. I cite his precise definition48:
Critical Art Ensemble, Digital Resistance: Explorations in Tactical Media, 2001. Revised 2 (Autonomedia, 2000), 4. 43 Ibid. 4. 44 Ibid. 45 The term ‘Tactical Media’ refers to a critical usage and theorization of media practices that draw on all forms of old and new, both lucid and sophisticated media, for achieving a variety of specific noncommercial goals and pushing all kinds of potentially subversive political issues.’ Ibid. 5. 46 Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, translated by Kiki Kapsampeli (Athens: Smili, 2010). 47 ‘Consumers are ‘misrecognized producers, makers of their own hypotheses, inventors of paths in the jungles of their functional rationality […]’. Ibid, 140. 48 ‘I call a strategy the calculation (or manipulation) of power relationships that becomes possible as soon as a subject with will and power (a business, an army, a city, a scientific institution) can be isolated. It postulates a place that can be delimited as its own and serve as the base from which relations with an exteriority composed of targets and threats (customers or competitors, enemies, the country surrounding the city, objectives and objects of research, etc.) can be managed.’ Ibid. 143.
‘’ By contrast with a strategy […] a tactic is a calculated action determined by the absence of a proper locus. […] The space of a tactic is the space of the other. Thus it must play on and within a terrain imposed on it and organized by the law of a foreign power. […] It takes advantage of “opportunities” and depends on them, being without any base where it could stockpile its winnings, build up its own position, and plan raids. […] It must vigilantly make use of the cracks that particular conjunctions open in the surveillance of the proprietary powers.’’49 We will subsequently see, in the close relation of the practices of those active in this field, that Certeau essentially composes their exact features. In any case, Tactical Media refer to politicized interdisciplinary collectivities and collaborations, with no linear discriminations and restrictions as to the professional or scientific status of the participants50. This allows different roles according to will and opposes the capitalist imposition of extreme specialization, which presupposes strictly delineated relations and suppression of the variability of personal interests 51. With no intention to strictly define their principles, Tactical Media however appear to be organized around three main characteristics. In addition, specialization recedes, leaving space to bricolage. It is impossible that individuals or groups of people would have a prior experience and know-how of every single one of a multitude of media required by every occasion. Besides, for many it was a relief52 to be released from officially approved knowledge or professional skills, which are moreover defined or involved financially in dominant institutions and their policies (intellectual rights, hierarchies etc.) These interventions are primarily tactics of an ephemeral nature. They move fast and mutate constantly, leaving little material evidence behind. The speed and adjustment to the demands of the occasion are essential since the tactic acts within the predetermined space of an existing system, run by its own laws. It has to use these laws – to appropriate them and to be ready, at each moment, to benefit from the shifts in interrelations.53
Ibid. 145, 146. Geert Lovink and Florian Schneider, ‘Virtual World is Possible: From Tactical Media to Digital Multitudes’, Journal de l’Archipel des Revues, November 2003, 12th edition, http://multitudes.samizdat.net/article.php3?id_article=1220. 51 “For a brief time there was and continues to be a relief from capital‘s tyrrany of specialization that forces us to perform as if we were a fixed set of relationships and characteristics, and to repress or strictly manage all other forms of desire and expression.", Critical Art Ensemble, Digital Resistance, 6. 52 ‘We had escaped the unbearable weight of being artists [...]’, Ibid. 53 ‘Lacking its own place, lacking a view of the whole, limited by the blindness (which may lead to perspicacity) resulting from combat at close quarters, limited by the possibilities of the moment, a tactic is determined by the absence of power just as a strategy is organized by the postulation of power.’ Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, 147. 50
THE YES MEN
Already from the first generation of net.art certain samples of tactics appeared through the work of artists, or rather those who make ‘tactical’ interventions. Heath Bunting is one of those, who would later be considered as a pioneer of the first wave of net.art. His activity was earlier restricted to graffiti, the practice of vitraux and the amateur occupation with the first personal digital computers54. Subsequently his enthusiasm for the Internet and the ‘presence of many different types of people’55 in his circles, led him to his Internet activity. It was another cheap medium that he used in his practice, together with pirate radio, the telephone network and a host of others, making it impossible to label him or to include him easily in a context defined by his use of media. He calls himself an artivist or an-artivist56, combining the concepts of activism, anarchy and art. After numerous projects and parallel to his participation in large-scale exhibitions such as the Documenta X of 199757, he publishes _readme.html58 in his website in 1998. It is the text of an article from The Daily Telegraph newspaper, where journalist James Flint sketches Bunting’s profile, but where every word is a hyperlink that transfers to the website formed each time by the word with the extension .com. In this way the text is transformed from a journalist presentation and critique to a sum of dotcoms. The title _readme.html, borrowed from the documents that accompany every software product, providing the instructions for its installation, perhaps refers here to the artist as a ‘product’. The appropriation of critique voices a comment on the selfpromotion of the artist, but it also unsettles the authority of the art critic and the traditional hierarchy. Art critics and curators became an object of his tactics once again when he published their e-mail addresses in his texts on Internet art.59 _readme.html could also be seen as a comment on the flooding of the Internet from corporate websites. Let us not forget that this was more or less the same time as when the mass ‘entry’ of corporations in the Internet for promotion purposes began, and its ‘privatization’ was already a bothersome phenomenon for some. It ended up in the socalled ‘dot-com bubble’ after the speedy surge of such companies’ shares, and the expectation of great profit was followed by their steep plummeting, even to the point of bankruptcy60.
‘Imogen O ‘Rourke Meets Terrorist Heath Bunting, The Guardian’, accessed January 25, 2013, http://www.irational.org/irational/media/guardian.html. 55 ‘Own, Be Owned Or Remain Invisible’, accessed January 25, 2013, http://www.irational.org/_readme.html. 56 ‘Imogen O ‘Rourke Meets Terrorist Heath Bunting, The Guardian.’ 57 Sztulman, Documenta X, 38. 58 Accessed January 25, 2013, http://www.irational.org/_readme.html. 59 ‘Imogen O ‘Rourke Meets Terrorist Heath Bunting, The Guardian.’ 60 The Dot-Com Bubble Bursts – New York Times’, New York Times, accessed January 25, 2013, http://nytimes.com/2000/12/24/opinion/the-dot-com-bubble-bursts.html.
For ‘@King’s X’61 in 1994, Bunting published the numbers of the phone booths of a train station in London through the Bulletin Board System (BBS) ‘Cyber-Café’, which he had already developed62. He proposed to the visitors of the website worldwide, to call these numbers on a specific date and time and to talk to whoever would answer, causing an unusual sound and telecommunication happening for the passer-by people or ‘guests’ as well as the station staff. In 1998 he decided to misguide the staff on London’s CCTV network63. He attached to the floor, within their visual range, silhouettes printed in paper in such a way that when transmitted on screen they looked like actual people. Later, in 2001, co-funded by the Tate Gallery, he launched ‘borderXing’64. He posted on his website ways and routes to cross the borders of some European states without official documents. The list of routes was gradually filled in up to 2011, as he and Kayle Brandon uploaded photographs and detailed instructions about the directions, durations and suggested equipment, weather or season65. They initially exhibited a handbook contesting national borders, state mechanisms and ideas around security and freedom within a union of states, the European Union, at a time when the pretext of war against terrorism imposed stricter controls and bans. But they also offered, whilst pushing the boundaries of the Internet, a tool to whoever wanted to use it. Apart from his projects in physical public space, Bunting also counts several tactics of sabotaging large corporations in his activities. Through his web space and in collaboration with his mother, they set up a website, identical to that of the large pharmaceutical corporation Glaxo (nowadays GlaxoSmithKline). With a fake announcement from their manager and his photo, signature and stamp, they asked the company’s employees to send their pets to the company’s labs for vivisection66. The website was discovered and the company went into legal action for its ban, which eventually went through. Similar practices were pursued with multinational corporations in target as well, such as the department stores 7-eleven67, Nike, Adidas68 and American Express69. In 1999 he collaborated with Rachel Baker for Superweed. They sold through Bunting’s website Superweed Kit 1.070, which included a mixture of natural and genetically modified crop seeds. By combining and cross-pollinating them the plants would become resilient to herbicides. Superweed, that is, is a weapon of destruction of genetically modified cultivations and a blow to the chemical herbicide production industries. In addition, later on, in collaboration with other teams, N55 was 61
‘Cybercafe Net Art Projects – Kings X Press Release’, accessed January 25, 2013, http://www.irational.org/cybercafe/xrel.html. 62 Greene, Internet Art, 34. 63 ‘CCTV sabotage, London, United Kingdom (UK) 1998’, accessed January 25, 2013, http://www.irational.org/heath/cctv_sabotage/. 64 ‘borderXing guide’, accessed January 25, 2013, http://irational.org/heath/borderxing/. 65 Mark Tribe and Reena Jana, New Media Art, (Taschen America Llc, 2006), 34. 66 ‘Imogen O ‘Rourke Meets Terrorist Heath Bunting, The Guardian.’ 67 ‘7-ELEVEN Infringement on the World Wide Web’, accessed January 24, 2013, http://www.irational.org/7-11/. 68 ‘Adidas Nike Pseudo Wars’, accessed January 25, 2013, http://www.irational.org/heath/realty/. 69 ‘American Express solicitors letter to IRATIONAL.ORG’, accessed January 24, 2013, http://www.irational.org/american_express/. 70 ‘Natural Reality SuperWeed kit 1.0’, accessed January 24, 2013, http://irational.org/cta/superweed/.
manufactured, a low technology and cost ‘distribution’ system for seeds through a rocket-launcher setup. They proposed, thus, to the buyers-activists interested to go into this action in case the law for the ban of modified cultivations did not go through71. As we carry on with the revision of artistic activism and in particular the practices of sabotage and the tactics of attack on big multinational corporations (and not only), we encounter the group ®™ ark. It was founded in 199372 in the United States, officially as a Limited Liability Company, and its members remained anonymous. As they state in their website ‘®™ ark supports the sabotage (informative alteration) of corporate products’73. ‘®™ ark /Barbie Liberation Organization’ was one of their early activities. They raised the capital that was needed for employees in the organization to change 300 sound/voice apparatuses of Barbie dolls with those placed inside G.I. Joe toy soldiers74. The modified toys were returned to the shelves of large department stores and toy store chains and their unsuspecting buyers were astonished by the gender confusion on the symbols of American femininity and masculinity; yet they declared that the kids themselves were actually enjoying it.75 The group’s target has always been the transmission of events through mass media, and this was one of the first times that they actually achieved it. As a Limited Liability Company, they claim that they employ and take advantage of the relevant favourable regulations of corporate law regarding the ‘limited liability’ of the partners, so as to perform their anti-corporate actions with low risk. Their investors provide resources in the form of mutual funds for works to be carried out by the company’s employees, but the company itself does not aim to achieve gains for its partners, but rather ‘seeks cultural profit, not financial’76. As selected artists for the 2000 Whitney Biennial, they were given a pack of invitations to attend a dinner by the organizers and to converse with curators, participants, dealers and collectors. They ‘uploaded’ them on an Internet auction on eBay and were thus sold, allowing them to raise funds for their next project.77 The website of the company rtmark.com contains all their materialized activities, information on future plans that need funding, and proposals for actions for those interested worldwide. But the site also functions as a database and an assembly space for other people’s projects, as well as the materialization of activist pranks in need of funding.
‘Manual for Rocket System’, accessed January 25, 2013, http://www.n55.dk/MANUALS/N55ROCKETSYSTEM/N55ROCKETSYSTEM.html. 72 Michael Rush, New Media in Art (Thames and Hudson, 2005), 216. 73 From the ®™ ark website, accessed January 25, 2013, http://www.rtmark.com/faq.html. 74 ‘RTMark: script | Bringing IT to YOU! | Video | Material’, accessed January 25, 2013, http://www.rtmark.com/bityscript.html. 75 Dan Ollman and Sarah Price, The Yes Men Do19umentary, 2005. 76 Greene, Internet Art, 94. 77 Julian Stallabrass, ‘Types and Prospects of Radical Art’, in The Political in Contemporary Art, edited by Yannis Stavrakakis and Kostis Stafylakis, translated by Nikos Iliadis (Athens: Ekkremes, 2008), 280.
They later turned to the tactic of ‘identity correction’, that is the appropriation of the identities of individuals, organizations, and institutions, in order to ‘correct’ them.78 At first this remained at the level of the Internet where they developed websites identical to those of officials, aiming to deceive the public. The first attempt was made in 1999, targeting the candidate for the U.S. presidency at the time, G. W. Bush. The website they constructed had the address GWBush.com, while the authentic one was GeorgeBush.com, which allowed search engines to display both in their results. Those who selected the fake one encountered a different focus on his career, that of the environmental decline of the state of Texas, his failed entrepreneurial career, his use of cocaine and his family’s connections with the Nazis.79 When asked about his opinion during an interview for a mainstream TV station, Bush replied that there ‘there ought to be limits to freedom’, a statement that was broadcast worldwide and triggered a backlash of negative critique. Their next ambitious project was the development of a fake website for the World Trade Organization80 [WTO], the former General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade [GATT]. Someone who already owned the domain gatt.org gave it to ®™ ark as a cultural investment. They used the page to upload information about how international trade functions in reality, without sugarcoating and idealization, building an honest profile of its policies and enterprises. The website went up two days before the WTO summit in Seattle, which led to one of the largest and most important demonstrations against the globalisation of the markets and of capital. Although ®™ ark neither summoned to the protest nor referred to it, the WTO published a press release against gatt.org, giving it the publicity it needed in order to respond to numerous journalists and be broadcast in the media, resulting in Internet search engines including it among their most popular results81. This also resulted in several emails being sent to its administrators by deceived users, among whom some requesting a spokesman of the organization to participate in conferences and lectures. This was a valuable opportunity; this is what generated the creation of The Yes Men group82, which was actually made up of the same members as ®™ ark and a few other collaborators. They seized the opportunity and began a notorious series of appearances and lectures in conferences, symposia, even TV channels, representing the WTO. In a conference about the future of textile trade, they made a proposal for a uniform for constant surveillance of the workers, with a built-in camera and screen transmitting in real-time to their employer. At the end of the talk they were congratulated and the ‘spokesman’ of WTO’s proposal was broadcast in the media. He subsequently took part in discussions in news programs as well as other conferences, expressing the overtly honest policies of the organization for maximizing their profit, with no one expressing any doubt about him. In the end, in one of his lectures in Sydney, he announced the closure of the World Trade Organization and his assistant documented the reactions, which were in some cases positive and optimistic. 78
The Yes Men, ‘Introduction’ (The Yes Men: The True Story of the End of the World Trade Organization, Disinformation, 2004, 7-18), in The Political in Contemporary Art, edited by Yannis Stavrakakis and Kostis Stafylakis, translated by Mandy Albani (Athens: Ekkremes, 2008), 370. 79 Ibid. 373. 80 ‘WTO | World Trade Organization: WTO / GATT’, accessed January 25, 2013, http://www.gatt.org/. 81 The Yes Men, ‘Introduction’ (The Yes Men: The True Story of the End of the World Trade Organization), 374. 82 ‘The Yes Men’, accessed January 25, 2013, http://theyesmen.org/.
One of Yes Men’s subsequent actions was based on a similar method. They developed a mock-website83 of the multinational chemical corporation Dow Chemicals in which ended up, again, unaware visitors coming into contact with its ‘honest’ positions concerning its activities. Yes Men stressed the issue of the toxic gas leak from Union Carbide’s chemical plant, a company taken over by Dow in 2001, in the city of Bhopal in India in 1984, resulting in 5,000 deaths at the time and another 15,000 later, due to the high toxicity in the area. According to the Yes Men, after Dow bought the company over, it also took over the responsibility for the compensations that were pending within the U.S.A., but not those of the Indian people. After a period of great disturbance, the company managed to shut down a part of the website; but a letter was addressed to the remaining part by the BBC World network in 2004. Without having realized that the website was fake, they asked for a spokesman to take part in a discussion on the occasion of the completion of twenty years since the tragic accident. They thus seized the opportunity once again and a spokesman appeared who stated that, on the occasion of the commemoration, the company has reviewed its policy and has decided to take full responsibility for the incident, covering the sum of 12 billion dollars for the pending compensations as well as the restoration of the polluted area. The announcement caused the most positive response among the interlocutors, without raising any suspicions, and the news went out for two hours on channels and the mainstream news sites on the Internet. But the financial effects were different, as the CNN reported that in the short period following the announcement, the company’s share dropped to a two billion dollar loss in the German stock exchange! When Dow found out about this incident later84, the Yes Men were summoned to apologize to the BBC World, as they did, revealing their plans and speaking openly about their standpoint on the issue. They describe how common sense seemed to be blatantly incompatible with economic interests, since investors did not seem to appreciate at the very least the sincere and ethical position of a company85. Besides, even in their next talk in a bankers’ conference in London, after another invitation that they received on Dow’s fake website, when they proposed a calculation system to “weigh profits against costs in human life or health”, no one seemed to be disturbed. The system was called Acceptable Risk Calculator™86 and it calculated the acceptable number of deaths in proportion to the expected profit of the investment; certain entrepreneurs in the audience even expressed their interest to acquire it. The Yes Men continue undismayed with their provocative activity, and structure their websites according to a similar logic with ®™ ark. There they display information and documents of their actions, speak of their upcoming projects and call for crowd funding for their materialization. They also express their openness to proposals and collaborations, inviting those interested to become a part of their network of collaborators.
Dow – A Chemical Company on the Global Playground’, accessed January 24, 2013, http://www.dowethics.com/. 84 ‘Routledge Just Says ‘Yes’ To Dow’, accessed January 7, 2013, http://theyesmen.org/downtext/. 85 Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, The Yes Men Fix the World Documentary, 2009. 86 ‘Acceptable Risk’, accessed January 25, 2013, http://www.dowethics.com/risk/.
Their political views run through their entire practice, from the level of tactics of flexible-adjustable attack and highlighting of issues up to their funding and materialization. Their process are always in favour of collective action and collaboration, and do not encourage heroic delusion or messianic charity. They act as an open group of a cultural and activist nature, which plans blows against neoliberalism and its dominant structures, not aiming to the negligible wound that such a blow could cause, but aiming to publicly reveal their hidden mechanisms. This is achieved mainly through the use of media themselves, which are employed deceptively anyway to serve this cover up. Julian Stallabrass, referring to the Yes Men, speaks of “one model of radical politics and cultural activism coming into synthesis”87. He speaks of a form of ‘cultural propaganda’, or anti-propaganda as we could say, to achieve political aims through the use of cultural means. He does not hesitate to claim that this is a response to the practice of street demonstrations, in which he sees features relative to performance, environmental art and installation.88 Let us note at this point Chantal Mouffe’s view, which we shall examine as we continue, that “to grasp the political character of those varieties of artistic activism we need to see them as counter-hegemonic interventions whose objective is to occupy the public space in order to disrupt the smooth image that corporate capitalism is trying to spread, bringing to the fore its repressive character.”89
Stallabrass, ‘Types and Prospects of Radical Art’, 280. Ibid. 89 Chantal Mouffe, ‘Artistic Activism and Agonistic Politics’, in The Political in Contemporary Art, edited by Yannis Stavrakakis and Kostis Stafylakis, translated by Alexandros Kioupkiolis (Athens: Ekkremes, 2008), 294. 88
.The Internet as heterotopia and the political as antagonism What is then the relationship between these art forms and public space, and any political activity within it? With a simplistic reflection as a starting point, one could claim that given the mere fact that the Internet is organized as a virtual public space that mirrors the physical one, every action that manifests within it becomes integrated within the sphere of the public; but this point seems inadequate. We could view the space of the Internet in relation to physical space, as another place, a heterotopia. For Foucault90, after sites and utopias, heterotopias are spaces which are real and active within society, which reflect and refer to all other real sites, representing each of them in their interior. They are after all anti-sites, ‘quite other’ but certainly locatable, between which and utopias “there might be a sort of mixed, joint experience, which would be the mirror”91 – or the computer screen in our case – which, in turn, is a utopia and a heterotopia at the same time. Foucault regards the formation of heterotopias as a given in every culture, but speaks of a principle of change in their function and form through time. He continues by pointing out the possibility to juxtapose incompatible spaces in a single real place but also the principle of their heterochrony towards real time. Perhaps, then, through their compatibility in so many points, the Internet and its digital space can be seen as a heterotopia of contemporary society after all. A point of major interest is what Foucault formulates as the last feature of heterotopias. The function of a heterotopia presents a strong polarity. It is capable of creating an illusory space that creates an even greater illusion about the totality of real space. In other cases though, it allows the creation of another non-illusory, real space.92 If the Internet is a heterotopia, can it be used in such a way that would generate another real public space, or is every practice within it bound to structure a space of illusion, deprived of political discourse? The aforementioned artistic actions have largely contradicted this assumption. Given that the Internet is yet another real space, let us shift the question to whether art within this space is rendered public by the mere fact of it being in open view. Perhaps it is not enough for a space to be public, in a physical or institutional sense, in order for it to perform its function in essence. According to Oliver Marchart, “[…] the public comes into existence only – and always anew – in the moment of conflict and dispute. Where there is conflict, or more precisely antagonism […] the public is that “bond of division” which connects through the conflict.” But it “is not the “product”
Michel Foucault, Of Other Places: Utopias and Heterotopias, translated by Tasos Bentzelos [Athens: Plethron, 2012]. 91 Ibid. 260. 92 Ibid. 268.
of this clash; the public is the clash itself.”93 It is after all the space where antagonism manifests. The political as antagonism and politics as hegemony, among other issues, were developed as a critique and evolution of Marxist theory in ‘Hegemony and Socialist Strategy94’, where Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe develop a post-Marxist analysis, from a post-structuralist viewpoint. Taking into account Gramsci’s concept of hegemony, their thinking will be based upon the Lacanian subject, the ‘“subject of the unconscious…inescapably divided, castrated, split” as a result of his/her entry into language’95. Let us summarize a few points: Identities develop from processes of identification and are discursively structured, without ever being entirely pre-defined. For this reason, “public spaces are always plural and the agonistic confrontation takes place in a multiplicity of discursive surfaces”96. At the same time, neo-liberalism represents a rationalistic logic of pluralism that involves an intersubjective consent and overall agreement, within a world with a variety of different views and values. It is because of this that neoliberalism denies antagonism, which aims to highlight the breaking point of consent, proving that conflict between different hegemonic projects does not contain any possibility of final reconciliation.97 Each hegemony, when excluding alternative possibilities, is articulated by hegemonic practices, which have managed to dislocate the pre-existing state of order and to impose the new hegemony. And every agonistic approach must bear in mind that “the terrain in which hegemonic interventions take place is always the outcome of previous hegemonic practices and that it is never a neutral one.”98 Therefore, going back to the role of art, the degree to which artistic practice renders a space public has to do with highlighting whatever is concealed by the dominant appearance of consent. We have seen this in the examples that we examined in the previous chapter. Among other issues, they raise the question about the extent to which Internet space is effectively public and reply through their own practice in it. We have thus seen practices active within the heterotopia of the Internet, which manage to divert it from the point of view of an illusion by creating another real public space. They manage to do so by opening up fields of discussion and confrontation in which the audience of art becomes a public audience. It is what Rosalyn Deutsche articulates as:
Oliver Marchart, ‘Politics and Aesthetic Practice: On the Aesthetics of the Public Sphere’, in The Political in Contemporary Art, edited by Yannis Stavrakakis and Kostis Stafylakis, translated by Alexandros Kioupkiolis (Athens: Ekkremes, 2008), 103. 94 Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics (Verso, 2001). 95 Claire Bishop, ‘Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics’, in The Political in Contemporary Art, edited by Yannis Stavrakakis and Kostis Stafylakis, translated by Alexandros Kioupkiolis (Athens: Ekkremes, 2008), 249. 96 Mouffe, ‘Artistic Activism and Agonistic Politics’, 291. 97 Ibid. 98 Ibid. 290.
“[…] the public sphere replaces definitions of public art as work that occupies or designs physical spaces and addresses preexisting audiences with a conception of public art as a practice that constitutes a public, by engaging people in political discussion or by entering a political struggle.”99 The same thing is locatable in numerous practices, among others from groups such as Critical Art Ensemble, Electronic Disturbance Theatre, Etoy, 0100101110101101.org. In this last one we actually encounter a typical example of agonistic re-activation, which Mouffe herself evokes100, which is attempted in the actual, physical public space this time, with “Nike Ground-Rethinking Space”101. Eva and Franco Mattes (who present themselves as 0100101110101101.org.), set up in 2003 in a cetral square in Vienna, in Karlsplatz, an information kiosk called Nike InfoBox. There they promoted the ostensible campaign of the multinational to rename the square as Nikeplatz. Imitating the modes and aesthetic of similar advertising endeavors, this mock campaign includes the installation of the kiosk on the square, an accompanying website102, and the presence of the artists and their collaborators to inform the passers-by. In the kiosk citizens were asked to learn about this international initiative, which would involve several cities around the world, but also to look at models of the proposal which involved the erection of a gigantic monument, which would be the sculptural depiction of the famous Nike logo, situated on the square. The process aimed at citizens, their comments and reactions which were recorded were sometimes negative and sometimes not. On the fake website, the slogan next to the company’s name read ‘You want to wear it, why shouldn’t cities wear it too?’103. The real, underlying question involves the extensive privatization, the abolishment of public space and raises reactions through provocation, set against reactionary tendencies of consolidation. Through these practices we discover that “[...] political art is a form of antagonistic reactivation of social and cultural sediments; it stands with one foot in the field of art and with another in that of (macro-) politics.”104 Not too daunting a statement, if we think that “[a]rt is never outside of or above the dynamic field of social change, it never develops in a purely autonomous manner.[…] There is no bridge that connects art and politics. Bridging is part of the politics of art.”105
Rosalyn Deutsche, ‘Agoraphobia’, in The Political in Contemporary Art, edited by Yannis Stavrakakis and Kostis Stafylakis, translated by Nikos Iliadis (Athens: Ekkremes, 2008), 157. 100 Mouffe, ‘Artistic Activism and Agonistic Politics’, 293. 101 For further information, see ‘Eva and Franco Mattes, Nike Ground (2003)’, accessed January 24, 2013, http://0100101110101101.org/home/nikeground/index.html. 102 ‘NikeGround.com’, accessed January 24, 2013, http://0100101110101101.org/home/nikeground/index.html. 103 ‘You want to wear it, why shouldn’t cities wear it too?’, Ibid. 104 Marchart, ‘Politics and Aesthetic Practice: On the Aesthetics of the Public Sphere’, 111. 105 Nikos Papastergiadis, Spatial aesthetics, art, place, and the everyday, Theory on demand 5 (Amsterdam: Institute of network cultures, 2010), 19.
.afterword With the field of new media theory as a starting point, as well as the critique exercised on the dream of technology, we find ourselves in front of questions around the role that artistic practice can claim, when it enters such terrain. The need to answer these questions derives from present-day reality and nowadays, its inextricable relation with digital space. From McLuhan to Manovich, namely from the 1960s up to the first decade of the 21st century that we are currently in, we encounter a multiplicity of voices which agree in one thing; it is the force with which technology affects the formation of human perception, including the formation of political thought. But the main question concerns the way in which artists and theorists situate themselves within this context. McLuhan urges us to grasp the medium itself as a message, without dwelling on the messages carried on the surface of each, and dares to identify the digital age as the greatest revolution after typography and electricity, suggesting that every technology is an extension of the human body. We saw Gilder and Ascott agree with McLuhan’s optimism, the former also adding the remark that possession of information means power and sovereignty, the latter the view that technological achievements are able to expand human perception to a considerable degree (cyberception). We could partly agree with these views, but as we go further we encounter more critical ones, such as those of Barbrook and Baudrillard. In the capitalist hyper-consuming reality, the praise of technological achievements keeps the path of the sustained growth of the multitude of consumer goods open, and maintains the myth of its success, disorienting attention from basic needs. The digital utopia appears adequate to support the replacement of the real and its denial for the benefit of the redundancy of signs. The Internet is the main tool to turn towards that direction. But here I propose that the concept of Foucault’s heterotopia is taken into account, so that we recognize the Internet as the heterotopia of contemporary society, which allows us to arrive at further relevant assumptions. The demonization of the Internet seems naïve; instead of producing an even more illusory public space, which enhances the illusory aspect of reality, it becomes another real public space, in accordance with the characteristics of heterotopias as described by Foucault. We are accustomed to abusing the notion of the public, without reaching for its essence. The public stops at the point where a hegemony imposes its domination and excludes disputes and dissent within its self-prescribed limits. Deutsche and Marchart’s views enlighten us in this respect, as they indicate that it is not enough for a public space to be physically or institutionally defined in order to perform its function, but needs conflict and antagonism through which it is rendered public. Taking into account the post-Marxist theory of Laclau and Mouffe, based among other ideas on the Lacanian subject of the unconscious, which is inescapably divided and castrated after entering into language, the concept of the political as based on
hegemony and antagonism becomes clear. This is what gives us the tools to redefine the role that artistic practice can play in reformulating the political in art. Since the emergence of Internet art in the 1990s, the political dimension of the Internet has stood out against the attempts by private corporate aesthetic to dominate it, relentlessly trying ever since to commodify information and to tame its free flow. I have looked for ways in which the Internet actively operates as a public space, especially through presenting Tactical Media and the artist groups that operate within them. With these artists we encounter both a questioning of art and a challenging of its boundaries. Here we find tactics that challenge the image of normality that neoliberalism promotes, and which also manage to confront corporate absurdity. These tactics use the existing hierarchical structures of neo-liberalism and move flexibly within the field predetermined by the â€œenemyâ€?, just as Certeau describes. In view of all this, it is possible to recognize the existence of political art today, or rather the political in contemporary art practice. Those views that spoke of a neardeath of political discourse in art since the institutional critique of conceptual artists, as well as an accompanying technological stupor, prove to be rather groundless. The Internet and new media in general, through an appropriate use that would be driven by a critical and political thought, prove to be a fertile ground in order to articulate a political discourse. Eschatologies are, after all, always a by-product of conservatism. Furthermore we can now move away from the illusion that every artistic practice that uses the Internet or new media in general should be considered as radical. Questions around art that uses the Internet run in the same vein: does every kind of web practice automatically become art of the public sphere? An affirmative answer seems unrealistic. Nowadays, the concept of a radical artistic avant-garde may have become extinct, especially on the part of artists themselves; but this does not entail the extinction of their political discourse, and in particular their ability to contribute to the formation of novel political subjectivities within the space of dominant neo-liberal hegemony.
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Tribe, Mark, and Jana Reena. ‘Art in the age of digital distribution’. In New Media Art, edited by Uta Grosenick. Taschen, 2006. Virilio, Paul. The Information Bomb. Translated by Vasilis Tomanas. Skopelos: Nisides, 2000. Wilson, Stephen. Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology. The MIT Press, 2003. Zurbrugg, Nicholas. Art, Performance, Media: 31 Interviews. U of Minnesota Press, 2004. Athanasiou, Athens. ‘Ethnography in the Internet or the Internet as ethnography’. Social Research Review, 2004. http://www.grsr.gr/pdf/115_50-‐74.pdf. Dragona, Dafni, and Mark Amerika. Mark Amerika, UNREALTIME. Athens: EMST, 2009. Ioakeimides, Christos, επιμ. Outlook, International Exhibition of Contemporary Art. Athens: OPEP Α.Ε., 2003. Yannis Stavrakakis, Kostis Stafylakis, edit. The Political in Contemporary Art. Athens: Ekkremes, 2008. Collective. The Culture of Media. Edited by Kostas Livieratos. Athens: Alexandreia, 1991.
‘-‐ -‐ -‐ W A X W E B -‐ -‐ -‐ D a v i d _ B l a i r -‐ -‐’. Accessed January 9, 2013. http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/wax/. ‘7-‐ELEVEN Infringement on the World Wide Web.’ Accessed January 24, 2013. http://www.irational.org/7-‐11/. ‘Acceptable Risk’. Accessed January 25, 2013. http://www.dowethics.com/risk/. ‘Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters | Journal of the mental environment’. Accessed January 24, 2013. http://www.adbusters.org/. ‘Adidas Nike Pseudo Wars’. Accessed January 25, 2013. http://www.irational.org/heath/realty/. ‘American Express solicitors letter to IRATIONAL.ORG’. Accessed January 24, 2013. http://www.irational.org/american_express/. ‘Art & Research: Colophon’. Accessed January 24, 2013. http://www.artandresearch.org.uk/v2n1/v2n1colophon.html. 30
‘borderXing guide.’ Accessed January 25, 2013. http://www.irational.org/heath/borderxing/. ‘CCTV sabotage, London, United Kingdom (UK) 1998’. Accessed January 25, 2013. http://www.irational.org/heath/cctv_sabotage/. ‘CONNECTIVITY: ART AND INTERACTIVE TELECOMMUNICATIONS by Roy Ascott’. Accessed January 21, 2013. http://www.leoalmanac.org/connectivity-‐art-‐and-‐interactive-‐ telecommunications-‐by-‐roy-‐ascott/. ‘Critical Art Ensemble’. Accessed January 24, 2013. http://www.critical-‐ art.net/books/digital/. ‘Cybercafe Net Art Projects -‐ kings X Press Release.’ Accessed January 25, 2013. http://www.irational.org/cybercafe/xrel.html. ‘documenta X -‐ Welcome’. Accessed January 22, 2013. http://www.ljudmila.org/~vuk/dx/. ‘Dow -‐ A Chemical Company on the Global Playground’. Accessed January 24, 2013. http://www.dowethics.com/. ‘Eva and Franco Mattes, Nike Ground (2003)’. Accessed January 24, 2013. http://0100101110101101.org/home/nikeground/index.html. ‘Imaginary Futures’. Accessed January 24, 2013. http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/knowledge/themes/virtualfutures/richardb arbrook. ‘Imogen O ’Rourke Meets Terrorist Heath Bunting, The Guardian.’ Accessed January 25, 2013. http://www.irational.org/irational/media/guardian.html. ‘Manual for Rocket System’. Accessed January 25, 2013. http://www.n55.dk/MANUALS/N55ROCKETSYSTEM/N55ROCKETSYSTE M.html. ‘Multitudes Web -‐ 12. Virtual world is possible: from tactical media to digital multitudes’. Accessed December 27, 2012. http://multitudes.samizdat.net/article.php3?id_article=1220. ‘Natural Reality SuperWeed kit 1.0’. Accessed January 24, 2013. http://www.irational.org/cta/superweed/. ‘NikeGround.com’. Accessed January 24, 2013. http://0100101110101101.org/home/nikeground/website/index.html. ‘Own, Be Owned Or Remain Invisible.’ Accessed January 25, 2013. http://www.irational.org/_readme.html. ‘Routledge Just Says 'Yes' To Dow’. Accessed January 7, 2013. http://theyesmen.org/dowtext/. ‘RTMark: script | Bringing IT to YOU! | Video | Material’. Accessed January 25, 2013. http://www.rtmark.com/bityscript.html. ‘The Californian Ideology’. Accessed January 21, 2013. http://www.alamut.com/subj/ideologies/pessimism/califIdeo_I.html. 31
‘The Dot-‐Com Bubble Bursts -‐ New York Times’. New York Times. Accessed January 25, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/24/opinion/the-‐ dot-‐com-‐bubble-‐bursts.html. ‘The Yes Men’. Accessed January 25, 2013. http://theyesmen.org/. ‘WTO | World Trade Organization: WTO / GATT’. Accessed January 25, 2013. http://www.gatt.org/.
Suggested Films and Videos Ollman, Dan, and Sarah Price. The Yes Men Documentary, 2005. Blair, David. Wax, or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees , 1991. Bichlbaum, Andy, and Mike Bonanno. The Yes Men Fix the World Documentary, 2009. [video] Jean Baudrillard -‐ Murder of the Real. 1999. Accessed January 24, 2013. http://www.egs.edu/faculty/jean-‐baudrillard/videos/murder-‐of-‐the-‐ real/. ‘Vuk Cosic -‐ part 3 | The Influencers’. Accessed January 22, 2013. http://theinfluencers.org/vuk-‐cosic/video/3.
The reference of footnotes and bibliography followed the Chicago Manual of Style For the layout and listing of the bibliography the ‘open software’ zotero was used [http://www.zotero.org/] And for browsing the Internet the ‘open software’ browser Mozilla Firefox 18.0.1 [http://www.mozilla.org]