Josephine Bosma on Sun, 15 Feb 1998 21:24:25 +0100 (MET)

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<nettime> "How Mr Net.Art Was Elected": the jury proceedings

         Edit from mails of the Mr Net.Art jury
         from Januari 28th till Februari 9th.

1-28-98  (from internal report concerning a jury chat)

So, as we were quarreling again about criteria and who is the best,
(x) came again with the juryadagium: JURY ABOVE ALL. The jury must
win. As (x) is not too fond of the latest rage online of male
fantasies made virtual flesh in numerous female idoru's, the idea
soon came to have a fake candidate, which we design.

After some to and fro's we decided to make this candidate, and to make
him the best ever. We realise he should not be
an obvious clone of Keiko, but after Keiko's kidnapping we had allready
discussed creating Keiko's brother. Also he should be TOP OF THE BILL.
He should have a history to say Mister to, or Your Majesty. To be the
winner, this candidate should have the best of all worlds.
He should have it all in him: a net.performer, a htmljavaetcwizzkid,
a poet, a mediatheorist, a good look, a salesman, you name it.

What we are going to do: we will steal webpages of from many
great places, mostly candidates. Our candidate has a name, which we
borrowed from one of the Serbs we keep meeting in the chatroom:
Hogar. We name him Hogar Herohito. He allready has an emailadress and
we can also make a site there, at


Generally I think it is a brilliant idea to invent our own mr.netart,
that means that out of a little, but good joke a big art project is
growing. This loose group of women is going to become an artist group
and has to work together for a longer time and also show responsibility
for mr.netart over the whole year.

Maybe some could start now and others take over for a while in
2 months or so???


I would rather a person (including entered contenstants) didn't win : perhaps a space, a server, a software should win. it's not
just that I am not thrilled by the gang who turned out, but that is part
of it. It is also that I prefer to go in another direction altogether,
for example, what would it mean if Webstalker was

I don't want it to mimic the whole Keiko Suzuki caper. I feel strongly
that this should depart from that experiment. To me, frankly,
appropriating identity is... sort of old. Though I admit that this would
be a new experiment, with a collection of women coding Hogar -- of course
it would be original in some ways.

What might end up being the most interesting direction for the project is
to retrieve someone/something from the outside of our the circle.
Someone/thing who would be up for experiment and play, and who doesn't
know all the names and possibilities.


I love that idea of not having a person or identity win. I can imagine
that your ideas to have software or a server win thrills some of us
very much (xx?), it certainly got my SF-glands working.

I don't think what you propose with getting someone 'innocent' in will
be interesting just like that. This needs guidance of some sort.
(Also) one not necesarely has to bring *literally* innocent blood in.
What we could also do is produce a solution, or way, that is so
open and inviting that it is inspiring new blood in.

It would be nice if somehow we could create a website/domain that is
a meetingplace/hotspot that is not so centered around two or three
net.artists, but centered around many: the mr netartcandidates, those that
should have been mr netart candidates and the jury. And newcomers of
course. I would like a mailinglist to be one part of that (my plan
was to come up with this once we had the mr netartsite for hogar).
It could also have a chatsection, like the one on Jeanne D'Arcs site
(the only female(?) candidate). It should maybe also have the possibility
to attach pages without restrictions. So people can boast about
themselves or show themselves and their ideas in the same free and
random way as it happened with the candidate submissions.


I can see you want an alternative to 7-11/amex and I have sympathy with
your desire to refocus away from the nauseous colonisation of netart
by a few, but should we compete on the same turf? Do we need more forums
for chat? A living project involving many does not have to exist as a
mailing list with webpages...

I like the idea of creating Hogar as an online database
attesting to issues about the boundaries of public and private


was just reading thru x-x-s summery of the chat I couldnt make
and it seems that a similar idea emerged at the chat,
only I want to emphasize that I am voting for more of a monster than
a master, a construction much more awful than awesome, and also filled
with contradictory charactor traits, selfish AND generous, vain AND self
effacing... etc..

--same day,  reply to website/hogar/stalker thread--

>online database
but not attesting to issues about public/private, with a strong
focus on art keeping the relevant mediatheory/net.socio-
logical/technical environment also, in which public/private are
embedded. Everchanging, evolving, with many opportunities to create
'unidentities'. The character of Keiko for instance, whom I DID like,
was far more complex then just some male fantasy, at least: if you
followed her in all her undertakings, on 7-11 mostly.
She even did webpages, eventhough we mostly know who really did them.
I like this vagueness, as if the net itself creates them. At the same
time different styles will become more clear.

There is nothing against more places. What is important is who makes
the place. Like it is important who uses that computer or who makes
the art, not that a computer is used or art is made.

--same day--

I vote NOT to have another mailing list at the moment. I don't think
it's the right time.
I agree with (x) -- a database is very interesting theoretically. I
don't want to rip-off natalie Jerimijenko and the Bureau of Inverse T.,
but maybe we could do an online sperm bank. Perhaps we should push a bit
farther into the future and make ours an online gene bank. Maybe we could
even use Webstalker technology...

There is a project called dream map which uses database
technology and allows people to organize their dreams... there is the new
filemaker which is Web friendly... ugh... I don't know.

Finally, I guess my vote is for a project that either is the web stalker
or uses it -- perhaps in the construction of an online gene/sperm bank.
I have fuller rationale for my choice == but suffice it to say for now
that the web stalker seems to me the most dashing, glamourous,
intelligent, dynamic, complex and sexy net.entity.


You seem to not read my plea about a more lively webplace.
Why have a database -or a mailinglist -or a chatroom -or a website
it all seems so restricted and confined to me.. (..)

The only thing that is interesting about a database is what you
put in. A spermbank or genebank I really do not understand, such very
specific and specialized (even if meant humorously) topics.


I think databases are interesting because they confine choices into
categories. that becomes interesting to me when they address human
choices, like sperm banks.

But also, point taken: perhaps sperm/gene is too specific and perhaps a
database is too static. But what if the database were open to the Web?
Moderated? Sort of like a mailing list, but dynamic in that people enter
things into fields...? I mean it would be locally held, but could contain
urls, addresses, and who knows what else...


I vote against (Webstalker) because I am against giving the award to
one male, and this would be in effect, doing so, as the work was done
by matt f. I think giving it to one wo-man would be just as uninteresting.
I would rather like to question the notion of making a single hero of net
art for the year. Alternatively, I love the idea of constructing a
fiction, an meta-body, not software made by a male body (webstalker) but
maybe one made OF the male bodies who are entered in our contest.

>net.identity construction was and is a popular thing to do
>but i never came across any distinct male creations

EXACTLY!!!! look at the old 7-11 hostess-- female exotic with a
smattering of colonialism mixed in and now a new hostess once again
on am -ex. This time a tough bitch but a babe all the same.

Anyway I am happy to participate in this discussion, and give in to web
stalker...  I really dont care that much.


-I'm against Webstalker, cause it is a too serious and too good art
project. selecting it (him/her) would mess up the idea of the contest too
much. Furthermore you definitely get the artist with the work. Don't want
him to be related to mr. It already became very confusing, and
many ideas are not properly thought through. (hogar is enough!)

--reply to hogar/webstalker/database debate--

We could do both
but I say less chat, more creative code
Hogar will be an amalgamation of contestants
But Hogar should be a method not a result

well like (xx) I am fascinated by databases
( --, didn't you make a database?)
defining fields, the process of categorising, cataloguing..
A database is a kind of community, reductive though...
Challenge for me is to abduct: data abduction


Here are our results:  1. HOGAR           18 points
                       2. WEB STALKER     15 points
                       3. ZUPER           5,5 points
just missed the boat
                       4. cosic           4,5
                       5. tilman          3
                          shulgin         3
                       7. dasilva         2
                       8. superbad        1,5
                       9. pit             1
                       10.murph           0,5


I would like to withdraw my vote, I do not vote for hogar anymore.
Nor does (x), she votes for:
1)webstalker 4pts
2)superbad    2pts

-- pressrelease, final results, same day (feb 4th) --

____ 1. WEB STALKER     20 points
____ 2. HOGAR           15 points
____ 3. BEN BENJAMIN     5,5 points
____ SHARED WITH MICHAEL SAMYN       5,5 points


I'm confused and have no idea what to write about the competition as I
think there should be a winner who is something different from a
project. Hogar would be fine cause he is at least an online personality,
what stalker is NOT.

I also find it problematic to
1. change vote after the deadline
2. to vote for "someone" who did not apply and is not in the candidates list

Looking forward to a discussion and real arguments for Stalker (I cannot
think of any)


Seems like its too late for chat/meeting as winner was announced.
I find it disappointing that no dissenting voices were heard in the


if you look at the entry form you'll see that

1. contestants were asked "personalities" questions. and they played
this game.

2. no one named web stalker answered these questions

If the majority is for webstalker and it wins, I'm not against it. But
I'm sure it'll be better to find another case to advertise.
What does it give to stalker? To this competition? What should webstalker
do with domain and how to chat with it? :)


Why webstalker?
It makes it sexy

What does it add to the competition?
I like the idea of sabotaging our own competition

What should webstalker do with domain....
use it to distribute stalker


>why not to announce that is easylife/xxx or vuk/dx   or
that is all self -expression which is great but... webstalker is the
opposite of that, so opposite that it has a personality born of itself,
not imposed by the makers.. it has a life of its own.

Voting for product in a competition about personality is THE PERFECT
comment about all personality competitions, which are absurd. We set up
a personality competition and sabotage it by voting for product not
personality. Personality is an implicit by-product of MAKING that should
not be judged.
Personally I do not want to stir up any more envy then already is.

For my part I was more interested in the jury's personalities (profiles)
and the power we bestowed upon ourselves to Judge and from the beginning
tried to foreground that by expanding the original jury.


Sounds beautiful, and sure creating a browser is a new level, new step,
its different to experiments with/in browsers, but in no case it's
opposite to selfexpression. Why? It's selfexpression in a cube.

And they don't hide their names. Their pr politic is a politics of
personalities. Enough to read what m.f. and i/o/d say to journalists,
their pressreleases.

>personality competitions, which are absurd
You are right, absurd, of course, as all other art  competitions.
The announcement of the competition WAS THE PERFECT comment
on it. Voting for product adds nothing to it, I guess..

> i  like the idea of sabotaging our own competition
Me too, but if it is a real sabotage. Web Stalker winning is not a
sabotage, but simply a decision of the jury...

Again, web stalker is nice project, the best, let it (but in fact its
creators) win. But reasons that it's not selfexpression or that there is
no personality or selfpromotion in it I don't find attractive.


Well, I guess you could argue that anything created is form of
self-expression and webstalker contains the sensibilities of its
creators. It CONTAINS self-expression, implicitly, but is not
explicitly about selfexpression. It CONTAINS its creators but is not
ABOUT its creators playing with webstalker you don't learn about Matt,
Simon or Colin, you learn about the materiality of the web.
Webstalker succeeds in being more than the sum of the personalities that
made it, it allows for a personality to emerge independent of the
personalities that made it.

pr is fascinating area,
products have to have personality imposed in order to sell...
In this contest  we turned candidates personalities into product
and a product into personality!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is personality and promotion involved in the SELLING of webstalker,
but not intrinsically in the product itself. The fact that it is vacated
of personality, a machine, makes it easier and more pleasurable to impose
personality, in which case, it is the perfect winner of a personality


I still don't agree. you learn about the materiality of the web as well as
about matt, simon or colin.
> it allows for a personality to emerge independent of the personalities
>that made it
it's easy to say this about a lot of projects, when you like something it
inspires to invent advantages and high words. Webstalker is a smart,
perfect idea, a perfect realisation. It's different to other projects
(I already wrote why on my point of view), but giving the prize to it
we only show our opinion that the best art project of this recent time
belongs to iod, even if we write an elegant pressrelease about

Some paragraphs before you didn't want contestants to win because they
are personalities and in their works there is only their personalities,
now appears that they have not enough personality. Maybe I misunderstood.


Most people supported Hogar the anti hero, mostly because the idea of
a piece of software winning was not well thought through yet, and thus
hard to support. On the other hand constructed personae are now well
enough known for all of us to be able to play with them more freely.
During the weekend of the deadline, I was very worried about the
pressure on mostly (x) to create Hogars website. It became slowly clear
that this was too much work in too little time. Not much later, after
the votes were counted, (x) decided she did not like Hogar, and
Webstalker should win. Understandable considering the circumstances.

I thought about what is the difference between a constructed person and
this piece of software. I agree with (xx) that Webstalker inevitably
shows signs of its creators. With IOD this is even more inevitable I
would say. But that is not a problem for me. Problem is how to approach
this winner. Why did it have to win?

We wanted to construct a personality. What is the difference really
between Webstalker and Hogar? (Looking at it from a theoretical point
of view, as Hogar was never really constructed, of course.)
Constructed personalities offer most things for instance Webstalker
offers us as well, if handled in an original way. The software or an
other technical approach winning is actually just a more packaged and
prefabricated version of the constructed candidate. We don't need to
work for that at all anymore. Now that is of course something all of us
like to hear: no more work, we are done! The biggest difference is
however, that Hogar would be OUR construction, and Webstalker is the
construction of some very nice outer jury Londoners. What Hogar had
was a mixture of possible innovation (if we had taken time to let it
grow) and personality. The closest Webstalker gets to personality is
an alternative artifial lifeform.
I can understand well the argument that personality is uninteresting
and even old fashioned (even if that was not the exact word used).
Personally I love the die hard cyborgian posthuman scifi approach of
the net, and if it is that what we want, it should be a clear choice.

It would be a positioning outside of reasonable discourse to force a
distinct and clear development of a theory and culture that is without
precedence, and which is unwilling to slow down to explain its efforts
or take responsibility for harming very sensitive souls. Even in that
position there is awareness however, and knowledge of context/history
is more then just interesting there.

Are personalities that outdated though, I wonder. It sounds a bit to
me like declaring the body obsolete. What is interesting about working
with the personality metaphor when constructing a new creature, is
the power of identification this object then gets. Though alienation
can also be a powerful tool to communicate certain ideas, I think
identification has more possibilities. It is simply because we are human
and working with a human audience.

--------edit mails ends here--

(the discussion is still not finished, the announcement of the winner,
in the case of this contest and this jury, does not equal the results
of the jury: the results of the jury is not it's elected winners, but
the process towards and around the election and future products coming
from this process. Webstalker is definitely our winner though, in the
context we think Webstalker to be in, and we aim to reward Webstalker
seperate from its 'creators'.)


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