t.whid on Tue, 9 May 2000 06:21:00 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] MTAA interview etoy.CORPORATION

this interview is to be published on http://www.artbreak.net, check 
ARTBREAK for another exciting MTAA article on etoy's stay in 
manhattan, with an interview with agent.NASDAQ, the glorious 


MTAA (M.River & T.Whid Art Assoc.) interview etoy.CORPORATION.

A warm May afternoon in New York City finds representatives of two 
virtual art organizations meeting in the etoy.TANK.

MTAA: What are the precedents for etoy art practice?

etoy: etoy doesn't espouse any theory, we leave this up to other 
people. Of course we are happy if precedents from art history can 
explain the things that we do. But we are don't connect directly to 
other artists. We're influenced, Warhol and Beuys are very important 
to us. But it's not our discourse. We refuse the intellectualization 
of our discourse, it has to stay strong and clean. Other people make 
these connections, but etoy.CORPORATION would never talk about this 
directly. But the references are there.

MTAA: Regarding the TOYWAR, both the online artwork and the 
performance action, it wouldn't have happened if it hadn't been for 
eToy's aggression. What are your feelings toward eToy.com?

etoy: I would say that we love to do business with them. This is the 
reason that we are doing this exhibition.

MTAA: When the etoy.CORPORATION was founded, was that a performative 
action as well as a real world action?

etoy: Of course, we had a lawyer on our team as an artist. We chose a 
dot.com name, we spent money and time designing the www.etoy.com 
name, these are all pieces that came together to make sense in the 
present. At the time that we were putting these pieces together 
people didn't understand how this corporate identity could make sense 
in the art world. Now it is clear. And that's why we came to New 
York, the dot.com mania is here, the bubble is here.

MTAA: The real world action is simultaneously the performative 
action, the actions exist in two separate contexts at once. That is 
what we see as one of the interesting aspects of etoy.

etoy: Yes, we are very much interested in this sort of thing. I 
believe that that is why we won our case with eToys. We behaved like 
a corporation. We are a corporation. We were more professional in our 
use of the media and in designing our media statements. But at the 
same time we were free to escape that very logic -- the business 
logic, because we operate at this surreal level, so they could 
never... I don't think they had the most intelligent people working 
on the case anyway. They could never guess our next steps. I think 
they were confused the whole time. It didn't make sense to them. They 
didn't have an enemy they could catch. We were too similar to them.

MTAA: eToys offered you over half a million dollars for the domain 
name, yet you have shares for sale, could eToys have bought a 
controlling interest in etoy?

etoy: They were not willing to buy shares. We were not fighting 
against eToys because they are a corporation like (r)tmark (the 
anti-corporate activists), we are not online activists. We were open 
to doing business with them. But only if it would fit into our art 
piece. We offered them a merger. We said they could buy us out, then 
we could design the whole merger together, a media design, an art 
product. We were very serious about this. It would go to the next 
level and shock a lot of people. In my opinion it would have been the 
best way to get out of the problem. eToys would have been seen as the 
corporation that understands their market, understands the internet, 
instead of being seen as stupid. They were scared, they had no chance.

We are designed so that half of the people hate us, and half of the 
people love us. You either get it and are willing to invest in us, 
which is risky. Or you hate us.

During TOYWAR, we were seen as the good guys. That's our biggest fear.

MTAA are a New York based conceptual art group with a strong internet 
presence. They are known world wide for their conceptual net art 
products. Visit them online at http://www.mteww.com.


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