snafu on 20 Oct 2000 22:15:24 -0000

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First International Competition of Net.Protest

Following the recent cases of the Roman Civic Network censorships - the
Luther Blissett's book "Let the little children..." and Francesca da
Rimini's interview - The Thing Rome and 0100101110101101.ORG launch the
First International Competition of Net.Protest.

All the e-mails of protest sent to the City Council of Rome at the
following addresses:

Mariella Gramaglia
Mauro Biddau
Claudia De Paolis

will be evaluated by an extraordinary international panel composed by
Natalie Bookchin (net.artist and teacher, School of Visual Art, Los
Angeles), Steve Dietz (Walker Art Center, Minneapolis), Matthew Fuller (:  
'artist and writer, London'), Tillman Baumgaertel (journalist and
critic, Berlin), Ricardo Dominguez (conceptual net-striker, New York).

The Jury have fixed the following criteria of evaluation for the messages 
of protest:

Text-only messages are evaluated on the following basis:

a) the coherence with the reasons of the anti-censorship protest.
b) the level of emotional charge.
c) the capacity to sublimate the emotional charge into an artistic form of 

Therefore, messages will be economically estimated in this way:

Argumentative: 0.50 dollars
Scandalized: 1 dollar
Aggressive: 2 dollars
Ironic/Sarcastic: 3 dollars
Paranoid: 4 dollars
Seductive: 5 dollars
Erotic: 6 dollars
Poetic: 7 dollars
Surreal: 8 dollars
Mytho-poetic: 9 dollars
Other: to be estimated
Original Ascii drawings get an extra bonus of 7 dollars.

Attached images, animations, movies and sounds will be evaluated on the
following criteria:

a) Level of coherence or "resonance" with the subject and the body of the

b) Capacity to drive the imagination of the censors in an uncensored

The value of each of the attachments is fixed between 1 and 5 dollars. A
maximum of 3 attachments per protest email will be evaluated.

Attached scripts, applets and software will be evaluated on the following

a) Conceptual interest of the anti-censorship interface .
b) Formal interest of dynamic anti-censorship pages.

Proprietary softwares are excluded from the competition. The value of
original scripts, applets and softwares is estimated between 10 and 100
dollars and will be proportional to the complexity of the code.

WARNING: Any message of protest should not be heavier than 1.5 Mb. This is
NOT an e-mail bombing campaign, but a competition. Each competitor
can apply with only one message. The Thing Rome and 0100101110101101.ORG
declines any responsibility for derogatory or offensive messages, which
will be excluded from the competition.

The Deadline for all the Net.Protest is fixed for the 30 of October.

All of the messages (including the ones already sent) should be sent in
BCC to mailto:PROTEST=PROFIT@0100101110101101.ORG

At the end of the competition the Jury will make a total estimation of the
e-mails and will establish a final price, as a result of the addition of
all the messages. This final price will fix the value of the net.artwork

On the basis of this estimation, The Thing Rome will make an economical
offer to the City of Rome, in order to buy the Inboxes and the Outboxes of
Mariella Gramaglia, Mauro Biddau and Claudia De Paolis, in the period
included between the 2nd and the 30th of October. An important cultural
institution, still covered, will buy the right to use the artwork, for a
major exhibition. The exhibition will be considered by no means a
collective event, whose success will be divided amongst all the

The money that will come from the exhibition will be re-invested in the
next protest. The authors (shareholders) of the artwork, will have the
power to decide in which kind of protest to re-invest their money. The
power of decision of each author will be proportional to the contribution
(the economical value of the protest message) that each of them produced.

In this way, at any new PROTEST, the PROFIT of the protesters will
increase, demonstrating that the only way to increase your capital is to
fight for it.


The Thing Rome



Censorship's history:

2 October 2000:

Following the umpteenth denunciation by Father Fortunato di Noto, the
priest President of the "Rainbow Association" , whose mission is to hunt
pedophiles and satanists on the Internet (he is also known for taking on
those pernicious cartoon characters Sailor Moon and the Simpsons), the
vicedirector general of the City of Rome, Mariella Gramaglia, decides to
obscure the pages of AvanaNet, an historical group of the Roman telematic
scene, threatening to denounce it "in civil and criminal courts to have
offended the honor of the City of Rome".

The crime that the group committed is to host on its site a book,
distributed in all the Italian bookshops called "Let the little
children...", signed with the pseudonym Luther Blissett.

"Let the little children..." is in fact a counter enquiry on pedophilia
and satanism that in 1997 sought to make some clarity in the ubiquitous
media hysteria and focused on the risk of a new level of limitations of
civil liberties. In the text there isn't the slightest exaltation of any
form of violence against minors or adults but, being a serious enquiry,
the book contains many citations from clinical studies that take into
considerations sexual experiences between minors and adults. In particular
the citations quoted by Father Fortunato di Noto has been extracted from a
book of psychology "Child and Sex", published by Little Brown and Company,
publishing house that is part of the multinational group Time Warner.

2 October Namir, an istitutional magazine of culture and philosophy is
shut down because of the publication of a provoking letter entitled "i'm a
pedophile", written by a deep handicapped man.

4 October The group of The Thing Roma realises that an HTML document on
their site containing an interview by Ricardo Dominguez with Francesca da
Rimini, alias doll yoko, (originally published on The Thing New York in
1996), had been removed. A letter of explanation from Mauro Biddau, member
of the Vice Direction General of the City of Roma and webmaster of Rete
Civica was received by The Thing on the same day. In this letter Biddau
admitted to having removed two images from the HTML document (but in fact
he had removed the entire document) because "they were not in line with
the rules of agreement between the City of Rome and non-profit
associations for the development of the Roman Civic Network". But in
reality this accord limits associations to not using the net to transmit
material which might be offensive to anyone.

The images in question - that you can see together with the interview (in
Italian) at (or a
slightly different version in English at - have been used in
"dollspace" , a well known work of internet art, financed by the New Media
Fund of the Australia Council, winner of two international prizes,
exhibited in numerous festivals and acquired by the University of

Furthermore, the GIF animations in question had been created from original
etchings by an artist using a Dutch printing press in 1789, one of the
first illustrations of the political/literary works of the Marquis de
Sade.  Other images from this often reproduced series, also capable of
provoking "scandal" and "offence", even if they were created 200 years
ago, can be found at

9 October The Thing Rome re-publish in solidarity with Avana the Luther
Blissett's book. The documents are immediately obscured. The City of Rome
sends a formal letter to The Thing Rome holding that what is pubblished is
"damaging and could be considered offensive for reasons of shamefulness,
the communal morals and good social behaviour."  The Thing Rome moves the
entire site on

9 October The City of Rome publish on Romacivica a fake Deal between the
City and the Associations, which give an unlimited right to the City to
obscure the pages of the association at any moment, without any public
discussion. The "New Deal" have never been seen or signed by any of the
associations which animate the Roman Civic Network.

11 October Another association, called The Observatory for the Rights of
Communication re-publish on Romacivica in solidarity with Avana the Luther
Blissett's book. The documents are immediately obscured.

... continues

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