starrs on Tue, 6 Oct 1998 09:30:40 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> I was a paranoid corporate artist in the belly of the beast

I was a paranoid corporate artist in the belly of the beast
Josephine Starrs

<<you're invading my computer>>

The day I began my artist residency at Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research
Centre), Xerox sacked 10% of its workers world wide. "Is the company not
doing too well financially?" I asked my group leader. I was told Xerox was
doing better than ever.........actually the corporation has a turnover
bigger than the whole US entertainment industry. U.S. companies just seem
to be in the grip of downsizing fever at present......they say it's an
efficiency also makes them look tough and the shareholders
love that

<<my flatmate is trying to get rid of me>>

Palo Alto boasts some of the most expensive real estate on the planet but
I was staying in a cheap and cheesy motel at the trashy end, just over the
road from the trailer park....still expensive for me as the Australian
dollar is worth about a piece of string at present. I have a website where people anonymously send me their paranoid
thoughts......the paranoia was steadily coming in when I was living in
silicon valley.

<<my computer is talking about me>>

Tech culture and car culture rule in the valley and walking to PARC along
Page Mill then Mountain View, past the slick corporate buildings
surrounded by manicured lawns and hedges the semiotic messages were
obvious. I disliked especially the corporations which forced me to walk on
the road...walking on wet lawns was no fun, but it was better than being
hit by some young software designer in their new silver Pontiac.

<<why do they all hate me?>>

"So you've gone to work for Big Daddy Mainframe?", my daughter said to me
on the phone. I replied no, I'm a spy, infiltrating the databanks of
BDM........remember the cyberfeminist manifesto?...yeah, whatever.
Corporate artists have to sign nda's (non disclosure agreements) as soon
as we walk through PARC's doors so conversations at silicon valley parties
often went something like... "What do you do?........I work at Interval,
but I'm not allowed to tell you what i'm working on, how about you?......I
work at PARC....can't tell you either....nice weather we're

<<my dead grandma sees me masturbating>>

Invitation to typical silicon valley party.....

"Gathering of the Tribe....This Saturday
yes another holiday has arrived...
Time for Halloween in Spring
Come as the new you..shedding all old
beliefs, judgements and commitments that
no longer serve you..releasing the true you.
6pm Saturday to 6pm Sunday.
Celebrating the Mystery of Life...
Food song and dancing all night..
Dancing floor addition by the roaring fire
Smoking room Upstairs on an upper balcony
Hot tubbing not to be forgotten"

<<the whole room is looking at me>>

PARC is famous for it's ubiquitous computing research and I was hoping to
be electronically tagged along with the best of them.....but it seems the
big brother implications have put the researchers working at PARC off
using the technology and the only manifestation of ubicom I saw was a
hallway fountain whose rate of water flow indicated whether Xerox shares
were up or down...............'augmented reality' is the buzz word in
computer interface research these days.

<<they are reading my mail.......i know they are>>

Silicon valley is saturated with stories of start-ups making their rush mentality......but without the wild abandon of
the west..........PARC wont even allow alcohol on the premises and it's
not pc to flirt. But it's a great place for bright young geeky smart is assumed by most that technology will save the planet,
that the valley is utopia and if the rest of the world become good
capitalists and embrace the new technology-enhanced lifestyle they can
reach utopia also.......even the homeless in Palo Alto push hi-tech baby
trolleys and wear discarded Gortex.

<<i'm not wearing clean underwear>>

So I roamed the empty corridors of PARC at night, feeling like the guy
from the movie Solaris.......I was working with these images of deformed
foetuses in jars I'd illicitly shot in a medical museum in berlin....
making large colour prints.....wondering if my obsession with these little
mutants had anything to do with the scary feelings I got passing by the
many biotech corporation buildings every day. If I wanted to stay
overnight at PARC I could haul a few of the ubiquitous blue corduroy bean
bags into my office to make a bed.....very cosy in a seventies sort of

<<my neighbour is psychic>>

PARC is known for the ones that got away..........the mouse and graphical
user interface were developed there, but Xerox never got a financial piece
of that......this might explain the rigorous patent/charge/sue mentality
that exists there today.........I never came up with an idea that was
worth patenting.

<<everybody is sucking on my intellect>>

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