nettime's_digestive_system on Thu, 15 Oct 1998 17:43:03 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Re: Surprise Attack: Re-Routing Nettime (3 messages)

From: (Calin Dan)
Subject: predictable

my intuitions were confirmed. pg was supposed to come & tell us that he
was making art. and it came: its in my mailbox. looks great. 

let's take some distance from that Electronic Disturbance routine and see
it through its history. it IS an art piece, made by somebody who got a
claim to fame by recording police beatings in NYC and then extending the
relation with the forces into a long term project. pg is playing the
dangerous game of >me artist can be extreme, because me just artist<. so,
when it turns bitter, you can't be mad at the guy: it was an art project,
and somehow we should have known. the fact that we didn't does not mean
that maybe we think different - it means that we are ignorant. the other
way around, when people perceive that kind of activity as JUST art, then
the coin has to be flipped immediately, because just art stuff is too
limited, too bourgeois. and >me artist< becomes >me the savior knight of
internet<, or of other endangered domains. 

what is boring about all that is the too obvious and too simple. pg has a
very strong, and not even supressed idea that humans are inferior species
and therefore he doesn't have to elaborate much before taking action.
also, due precisely to their inferiority, humans have to be looked after.
big brother does it wrong, but pg knows better and, if allowed to, he will
do it right. 

because there is a big brother in this story. and the superiority complex
of somebody who insults people without blinking is harmoniously combined
with a strong belief that some members of the inferior species are in high
positions in order to supress him. I remember vaguely that this was voiced
before on the list: not that pg is wrong in [some of] his actions, but he
has a substitution problem. he makes his disinterested actions look too
much like being about him, his promotion, his voice, his ego. he is
basically killing good causes by embracing them. 

pg is an ok artist and an energetic organizer. he has qualities that could
make him happy, but somehow he isn't. which could be good if it would
imply progress. as far as I can see, it just implies restlessness and
total compliance with the superficial strategies of a world obsessed with
commodifying its own values, as they come. 

i am not interested in keeping myself and others busy with this subject,
but i am also concerned about human relations. nettime has faces behind a
lot of its e-mail addresses. i think this is good, it makes it more like a
village than like a >global< (?) community. in villages you just cannot do
whatever you consider right in disregard of the others. also, in villages
one has to make sometimes painful decisions in order to keep the relation

is what pg did an embeded aspect of the medium we operate with? fine, but
so is exclusion. i think that the first step pg should have taken in order
to make his art piece convincing would have been to unsubscribe from
nettime. predictably enough he didn't (i guess because he had to save his
undercover in the ED operation). 

but maybe it is time that the moderator(s) unsubscribe him. pg made his
tests, why shouldn't his subjects be allowed to test also on issues like
community cohesion, educated relations, modesty in ways of addressing big
topics, restrain in correcting the lost intellectos. 

we live in a world where intellectual capacity and creative skills became
rather common. and as a friend of mine, curator and writer said once:
there are a lot of good artists, too many for me to work with all of them;
so i always try to work with those who behave also. 

the only point still unclear for me is how can somebody be member of a
[virtual] community and address another member of the same [v] c with
speculations like >Ted Byfield = TB or other respiratory diseases< and
then get along with it because its an art project, an exercise in
disturbance, a cathartic way of pointing at our stiffened way of
perception. or because (mainly because) it is an unavoidable aspect of the

but we have a lot of other examples of anti social people: Cellini,
Carravaggio, Marlowe, Rimbaud, Lowry, Pollock etc. etc. etc. so, why not
paul garrin, for that matter? 


Date: Wed, 14 Oct 1998 15:46:55 -0500
From: "A. Cinque Hicks" <>
Subject: Open letter on the October Surprise

Mr. Garrin:

Okay, so you've played your little trick, and I'll even go so far as to
admit that it was an effective way to stir up discussion. Good discussion.
It got me posting, after all. 

Now you march onto the stage, tell eveyone it's okay now because, ha, ha,
it was just a big joke. Well, you are *not* in control of it anymore, if
you ever were. It is no longer yours to declare an end to. You've released
a poison and, man, it's out there. Nothing you can do about it. 

That, my friend, is the problem with such tactics: there is never an
ending to them. I'm sure nettime will continue on and grow, but it will be
in spite of these antics, not because of it. I've already gone through
several scenarios in my head: 1) You were never behind;
you're just using this opportunity now to make a point 2) The initial joke
was yours, but it's not over, this revelation just being the next phase to
prove some other arcane point 3) Everyone, moderators included, were in on
this from the beginning and it's all been an elaborate set-up. I lean
toward 2. But see, I'll never know. The list will never know. *You* will
never know. That's the problem with releasing toxins into the environment. 

The legitimacy of the entire Nettime project has been thrown into question
for me now. It has now even crossed my mind that Paul Garrin, Ted Byfield,
Pit Schultz, Josephine Bosma, Ricardo Dominguez, Fringeware, Geert Lovink,
Tilman Baumgaertel, etc., etc. might only be referring to a couple of
different people taking on different disguises. I wasn't in Vienna in
1995; how do I know? In any case, I'm now forced to write to everyone to
whom I recommended nettime and tell them: watch out, the whole thing could
be an elaborate hoax. It's possible. 

Arguably, this is a good thing to learn, and maybe the best lesson to come
out of this: in cyberspace, take the blinders off. Trust no one. Ever. But
it seems to me the whole stunt (if indeed that's even what it
was) has been the moral equivalent of shooting someone in the head and
saying, "See, as a friend I just wanted to show you how your enemies might
shoot you in the head if you're not ready." 

Yeah. Thanks pal.


p.s. Re-reading the "Columbus Day Outing", I now doubt even *its*
provenance. I mean, really, the liberal misspellings as though quickly
A. Cinque Hicks   writer * designer


From: (Lev Manovich)
Subject: December: Another Month without Internet Art

December: Another Month without Internet Art

no Internet art projects for a month of December, PLEASE

so we may think a little bit,
maybe even read
a book

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