010110101111010001000101010111101001001101001010001001010 on Sun, 31 Oct 1999 10:34:29 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Original or fake? For cyber-art the distinction is illusory

“Internet news”, n.10, October 1999
http://inews.tecnet.it/articoli/illatooscuro.html (updated once a month) 

Original or fake?
For cyber-art the distinction is illusory

Someone is erasing the borders between what is authentic and its copy,
between truth and lie. It strikes art but sinks reality. Who is this?

by Nico Piro

>From local to planetary

[...] His last actions on-line become a case in American web-art field, so
much that even the New York Times talked about it. And
0100101110101101.ORG decided to propagate it, amplifying the echo of the
episodes, with e-mails and announcements on web sites like “rhizome”, a
web-zine of digital culture.  The target of the sabotage were digital
artists and on-line galleries that are exploring new ways of
commercialisation of works of art. Immaterial works of art, and for that
reason sellable through the net, artistic bits transferable in real time
to the other side of the world with e-commerce systems. The first
“cyberbullet” was for Surface, the on-line exhibition organised by the
web-art centre Hell.com, site rigorously black and full of Java, on which
you can find anything but that exhibition, that is no more there now...
and to Teleportacia, the first gallery in cyberspace that tried to sell
through the web.  How did he succeed in striking them? Not with hackers
techniques or destroying their server, nothing of this kind: simply
0100101110101101.ORG connected like everybody else could do, and
downloaded the whole sites, to demonstrate how piracy is congenital to
cyberspace and for that can’t be considered a crime, on the contrary, it
is a normal action that belongs to a world with different rules from the
material one.  That’s all? Obviously not. 0100101110101101.ORG took the
works of art that he “found” in it’s cache and put them on-line on his
enigmatic site (usually it contains only a writing with the Url repeated
many times:  http://www.0100101110101101.ORG ). Besides, if a number is
the same as its copy, and it allow us to duplicate endlessly without
loosing quality or evident differences any part of cyberspace, why don’t
apply this concept also to web-art? 

Anti-copyright crusade

0100101110101101.ORG’s sabotage hit his target completely: to remove every
commercial value from the on line works of art. Immaterial works, for that
reason indistinguishable in any way, like it happens for pieces of art in
real world, characterised by the unicity of a brush stroke, the
unrepeatability of a chisel stroke in the stone or the unique physiognomy
of the artist sign.  Then, why paying if there is no difference between
the original, that you can get coughing out a lot of money and a copy that
everybody can have? A big dilemma that turns cyberspace in a huge “Chambre
Claire”, where theoretical thoughts like the ones of the French
semiologist Roland Barthes about reproducibility of art and the difference
between original and copy (at that time the object of the discussion was
photography) become weapons for electronic guerrilla and cultural
sabotage: principles that are capable of making collapse the architecture
of cyberspace.  But which was the point? Evidently, 0100101110101101.ORG’s
idea was the propagation, on a global scale, of no-copyright, the
manifesto of the enemies of copyright. An idea based on the belief that
information must be free and being of public property, accessible to
everybody.  The web, then, as public property and free space of
expression, and immaterial art as public art freed from commercial
mechanisms (directed or mediated by galleries).  In conclusion , another
trouble for the majors that try to treat intellectual property of digital
products like they did till now with that of physical objects, keeping
alive old rules and obsolete barriers that capitulate more and more under
commercial parity, hacking and cyberguerrilla. [...]

When reality is synonym of fiction

Now next target could be Richard Rinehart (or, at least, this is the fear
he confessed to the New York Times), the cyberartist who has sold for a
bit more than 50 dollars his piece (not very good indeed) “An Experience
Base - A Boolean Typhoon” through the big e-commerce site e-bay, the land
for everybody who want to buy something (everything) without leaving the
monitor.  Now the only doubt is not if Rinehart will be hit but if
everything described till now is true or false. All that is really
happened or is only an intriguing story of the secret alliance of a group
of artists (that share the role of victims an executioners)? Of a trick
widespread with art and of a journalist error?  It doesn’t matter, in
cyberspace questions like that loose significance, the important thing is
that all this story could happen. And this is enough to make people
understand how relative is, in cyberspace, the difference between true and
false, as much in art as in reality. 

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