geert lovink on Mon, 28 May 2001 05:25:06 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> ivo skoric: cyberyugo, the interactive war browser

From: "Ivo Skoric" <>
Sent: Monday, May 28, 2001 5:22 AM
Subject: Re: cyberyugo

CYBERYUGO (The Interactive Warzone Browser)

The song that plays when this page opens is I drive a Yugo by The 
Left Wing Fascists from Virginia. Yugos were brought to the
U.S. by the ex-U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia, Lawrence 
Eagleburger's friendship with Slobodan Milosevica and then cordial
relations between the two countries military-industrial complexes. 
Those cheap cars were sold to American consumers between
1985 and 1991. Yugo's distribution company (New-Jersey-based 
Global Motors Inc.) filed for chapter 11 toward the end of 1991.
With cesation of the trade relations between Serbia, where Yugo 
was assembled, and Northern republics of Slovenia (where steel
for the engine was made) and Croatia (where the plastic 
components were made), the quality of Yugo cars dropped steadily 
1986. When the war in Bosnia became a likely reality, Yugo's 
father company Zavodi Crvena Zastava in Kragujevac (originally a
gun factory since 19th century), Serbia needed to shift its focus to 
military production, and was therefore unable to produce
much-needed spare parts. U.S. car dealers started giving them 
away with different purchase plans. With the purchase of a large
sedan, the Cadillac Eldorado, for example, dealers sometimes 
threw in a Yugo for free! Subsequently, the car was declared the
worst car ever to be driven on the American roads and became the 
subject of many jokes. Finally, in 1999, during the NATO
bombing of Yugoslavia, the military factory were Yugos were 
produced was put out of its misery by NATO bombs. 

In 1995, artist Kevin O'Callaghan, a Manhattan School of Visual 
Arts professor, saw something of beauty in the car that the public
has turned its back on. He bought 39 rusty Yugos and asked his 
students to make objects of functional art from them. Due to the
oversupply of Yugos in the marketplace, the 39, mostly dead were 
obtained for a total of $3600. They were used in the project
"Here Is a Lemon: Make a Lemonade": students were required to 
turn Yugos into whatever they want so long as it was
functional. The low price made Yugos more attractive for the project 
than earlier choices, such as the checker cab, VW Bug, etc.
These Yugos were also easy to work on: they are of light material, 
the body is made of thin metal, and so forth, students were
cheering. The exhibition Yugo-Next was created, toured the U.S. 
and was also displayed in the renovated Grand Central Station in
New York city (more pictures). Click here for the Washington Post 
article about the exhibition. This piggy was created
unconnected to the exhibition by a family in Illinois. 

With similar spirit, Raccoon wants to utilize the shell of a Yugo for 
a Cyber experience of the post-yugoslav societies. A computer
system with a fast DSL modem and CD ROM drive would be the 
"engine," for the Cyber Yugo. A detailed geographic map would
be virtually navigated with this Yugo. Through the windshield the 
map would be projected to the wall in front and the animated
Yugo car serving as a cursor would be moved by the steering wheel 
and a gas pedal. The break pedal would serve as a right
mouse button for double-clicking and activating links. Relevant 
links would open corresponding to the location of the cursor on the
map. Content of the links will be provided through digitized video 
footage on the CD, direct links to resource sites and direct links
to the available web-cams in the region. Cyber-Yugo will be 
equipped with a mock radio/cassette player - the radio component
will allow the user to choose between several independent FM 
stations in former Yugoslavia provided through real-media stream
from a server in Amsterdam, while the cassette player will play 
rock music from the region, with around 300 songs stored in the
mp3 juke-box on-site. An original Yugo key would be used to log 
on or off (also locking and unlocking the steering wheel). In
order for everybody to get a chance to drive it, the Yugo would have 
a friendly "road mine" built in, which would "detonate" and
log-off current user upon reaching the time limit. 

Cyber-Yugo will be transportable and available for exhibit in 
museums around the world. The Yugo display sites should be made
accessible to college and high school kids with assignments in 
history, cultural anthropology, political science, sociology or to
anybody with interest in post-yugoslav societies and the war there. 
Finally, a mirror site of the Cyber Yugo could be built on a web
server, to serve the Interent community. It would enable users from 
all over the world to learn from the Cyber Yugo project, and
to help the reconciliation process build momentum. Coordinator for 
this project is Ivo Skoric.

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