Artist commits suicide online as a work of art (well, sort of)

Posted by Eva_and_Franco_Mattes | Wed May 5th 2010 1:33 p.m.

May 1, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ARTIST COMMITS SUICIDE ONLINE AS A WORK OF ART (WELL, SORT OF)

Video and stills (explicit content): http://www.0100101110101101.org/home/nofun

image

Thousand of people watched powerless while a person was hanging from the ceiling, slowly swinging, for hours and hours. It happened yesterday, in the popular website Chatroulette, where people from all over the world can anonymously and randomly see each other through their webcams and chat with perfect strangers.

The hanging man was in fact Brooklyn based artist Franco Mattes, and the whole scene a set up. The artist recorded all the performance and than posted it online. In the video, titled "No Fun", one can see all possible reactions, from the most predictable to the most unthinkable: some laugh, believing it's a joke, some seem to be completely unmoved, some insult the supposed-corpse and some, more cynical, take pictures with their phones. Apparently, out of several thousand people, only one called the police. Watching the video can be a strange experience, at times exhilarating as well as disturbing.

Eva and Franco Mattes are already known for similar interventions done under the name 0100101110101101.ORG. What they wanted to achieve with this bizarre "online performance", as they call it, is not clear. "Since we live online" declared Franco Mattes "than we should get used to die online".

"I'm sorry if somebody was offended" commented Eva Mattes "Actually, I too was shocked by some of the reactions. And I'm not easily impressed".

According to New York University researcher Marco Deseriis "No Fun raises disturbing questions on the hyperreality of the contemporary mediascape as much as on the Orwellian spectacularization of daily life and death. But it would be simplistic to blame the Internet for the dramatic exhaustion of social interaction at a distance. What is more difficult to recognize is our own complicity and desire to be seduced by the latest technological wonders. In our daily obsession with media attention, frequently disguised as search for authentic communication, we end up being so narcissistically preoccupied with looking at ourselves that we can no longer recognize the other".

After the video circulated online the comments started spreading: "This is plain wrong" comments a YouTube viewer "you don't play with death, it may even push people most easily influenced to emulate it".

Science fiction author Bruce Sterling said: "I think it's nice that Franco took the trouble to so visibly hang himself, as opposed to just anonymously hanging his net-culture pseudonym of ones and zeros. This shows unusual personal warmth for a 0100101110101101.ORG project".

The Mattes are not new to this kind of black-humor-provocations: in 1998 they invented an artist, whose works were ultra-violent splatter-like sculptures inspired by atrocity images found online. After obtaining a certain following, the inexistent artist committed suicide to become a cult-figure of the '90s underground art as well as an allegory of media vampirism.
  • Matthew Williamson | Wed May 5th 2010 1:53 p.m.
  • Sam W | Wed May 5th 2010 3:14 p.m.
    So many fake suicide videos, or archived suicide videos are played on chat roulette on a regular basis that it's hard to expect any real reaction from it's viewers.
  • MANIK | Sat May 8th 2010 12:27 a.m.
    ...THAT KIND OF BLACK HUMOR IS NOW IN GREECE...ON ATHENS STREETS...ALL IS FAKE...YOUR LIFE IS FAKE...BLACK DISAPPEAR...AND HUMOR DISAPPEAR...AND YOUR LIFE DISAPPEAR...IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT PEOPLE SAID...ONLY EMPTY NAME HANG ON SCREEN...AND THAT DISAPPEAR...IN MOMENT OF IT'S OWN APPEARANCE...MANIK...MAY...2010...
  • karlotti | Sat May 8th 2010 10:23 a.m.
    Absolutamente estupido. Hay un mundo que se suicida a cada instante. Puta patologia del aburrimiento
  • karlotti | Sat May 8th 2010 11:39 a.m.
    Absolutely stupid. The world is committing suicide every minute. Puta pathology of boredom
  • karlotti | Sat May 8th 2010 11:52 a.m.
    [IMG]http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i203/karlotti_v/poesia%20salvaxe/cuervollorandoparapoesia.jpg[/IMG]
  • Dragan | Sun May 9th 2010 2:05 p.m.
    image
  • marc garrett | Sun May 9th 2010 3:42 p.m.
    Why isn't the suicide real ?
    • curt cloninger | Sun May 9th 2010 4:09 p.m.
      Strategy of the real

      Of the same order as the impossibility of rediscovering an absolute level of the real, is the impossibility of staging an illusion. Illusion is no longer possible, because the real is no longer possible. It is the whole political problem of the parody, of hypersimulation or offensive simulation, which is posed here.

      For example: it would be interesting to see whether the repressive apparatus would not react more violently to a simulated hold up than to a real one? For a real hold up only upsets the order of things, the right of property, whereas a simulated hold up interferes with the very principle of reality. Transgression and violence are less serious, for they only contest the distribution of the real. Simulation is infinitely more dangerous since it always suggests, over and above its object, that law and order themselves might really be nothing more than a simulation.

      But the difficulty is in proportion to the peril. How to feign a violation and put it to the test? Go and simulate a theft in a large department store: how do you convince the security guards that it is a simulated theft? There is no "objective" difference: the same gestures and the same signs exist as for a real theft; in fact the signs incline neither to one side nor the other. As far as the established order is concerned, they are always of the order of the real.

      Go and organize a fake hold up. Be sure to check that your weapons are harmless, and take the most trustworthy hostage, so that no life is in danger (otherwise you risk committing an offence). Demand ransom, and arrange it so that the operation creates the greatest commotion possible. In brief, stay close to the "truth", so as to test the reaction of the apparatus to a perfect simulation. But you won't succeed: the web of artificial signs will be inextricably mixed up with real elements (a police officer will really shoot on sight; a bank customer will faint and die of a heart attack; they will really turn the phoney ransom over to you). In brief, you will unwittingly find yourself immediately in the real, one of whose functions is precisely to devour every attempt at simulation, to reduce everything to some reality: that's exactly how the established order is, well before institutions and justice come into play.

      In this impossibility of isolating the process of simulation must be seen the whole thrust of an order that can only see and understand m terms of some reality, because it can function nowhere else. The simulation of an offence, if it is patent, will either be punished more lightly (because it has no "consequences") or be punished as an offence to public office (for example, if one triggered off a police operation "for nothing") — but never as simulation, since it is precisely as such that no equivalence with the real is possible, and hence no repression either. The challenge of simulation is irreceivable by power. How can you punish the simulation of virtue? Yet as such it is as serious as the simulation of crime. Parody makes obedience and transgression equivalent, and that is the most serious crime, since it cancels out the difference upon which the law is based. The established order can do nothing against it, for the law is a second-order simulacrum whereas simulation is a third-order simulacrum, beyond true and false, beyond equivalences, beyond the rational distmctions upon which function all power and the entire social stratum. Hence, failing the real, it is here that we must aim at order.

      This is why order always opts for the real. In a state of uncertainty, It always prefers this assumption (thus in the army they would rather take the simulator as a true madman). But this becomes more and more difficult, for it is practically impossible to isolate the process of simulation; through the force of inertia of the real which surrounds us, the inverse is also true (and this very reversibility forms part of the apparatus of simulation and of power's impotency): namely, it is now impossible to isolate the process of the real, or to prove the real.

      Thus all hold ups, hijacks and the like are now as it were simulation hold ups, in the sense that they are inscribed in advance in the decoding and orchestration rituals of the media, anticipated in their mode of presentation and possible consequences. In brief, where they function as a set of signs dedicated exclusively to their recurrence as signs, and no longer to their "real" goal at all. But this does not make them inoffensive. On the contrary, it is as hyperreal events, no longer having any particular contents or aims, but indefinitely refracted by each other (for that matter like so-called historical events: strikes, demonstrations, crises, etc.), that they are precisely unverifiable by an order which can only exert itself on the real and the rational, on ends and means: a referential order which can only dominate referentials, a determinate power which can only dominate a determined world, but which can do nothing about that indefinite recurrence of simulation, about that weightless nebula no longer obeying the law of gravitation of the real — power itself eventually breaking apart in this space and becomnig a simulation of power (disconnected from its aims and objectives, and dedicated to power effects and mass simulation).

      - The Theorist Formerly Known As Baudrillard, 1985.
    • curt cloninger | Sun May 9th 2010 4:20 p.m.
      image
  • Diana Caswell | Sun May 9th 2010 5:58 p.m.
    I suppose I just don't get it... thankfully
    Diana
  • MANIK | Wed May 12th 2010 1:18 p.m.
    ...MATTES ALWAYS MAKE *ART*JUST LITTLE BUT ENOUGH OVER BORDER OF 'POLITICS CORRECT'...HE MAKE 'POLITICS CORRECT ART'...THAT'S WHY HE'S ALWAYS IN TOP OF ALL MNA LISTS...AND THAT'S WHY IS HIS +ART+-BORING...STUPID..PREDICTABLE...FASCIST...IN...IN ONE WORLD...HIS ART IS *CORPORATIVE ART*...MANIK...MAY...2010...
Your Reply