on commodification

Posted by Rhizome | Thu Oct 10th 1996 1 a.m.

last friday mr. Bunting from London and elsewhere gave a lecture at
Wolliner Str. 12. Mitte organzed by luxus-cont & netlab_berlin, a
semi-private place with around 50 visitors.

later Heath was asked "what do you do against _commodification_?" he
answered with a description of one of his projects which is running a
personal e-mail-postoffice. With one push button and a well designed
list of targetgroups he directly markets projects which invert
'corporate culture' on different levels. What once took a whole day of
printing, and stamping now is done by a cc:-field and the once military
info-magic of tcp/ip routing. You certainly heard that e-mail subverts
hierarchies in companies, you can often directly adress marketing
people, bosses and multiplicators by remaining relativly anonymous and
out-of-reach, without loosing a cent. Many companies pay teams of
'e-mail-butlers' which sort incoming mail to sustain an active presence
in the multinodal speed of e-mail-traffic. These 'doors of perception'
in the firewalls of the growing infranets are sensitive points for human
noise. Groupware geeks say that it becomes easier to programm social
behavior then investing in the algorithmic hermeneutics of digital
doorkeeping.

Bunting practises not only a reintroduction of mail art into the
circulatory logic of capitalism but often its direct invertation.
'Spamming is not by nature a bad thing, if you spam back companies..'
One of his last projects in this direction was the 'Internet Beggar',
which is part of the 'root96', Hull Time Based Art Festival this month,
where he simply uses e-guest-books to beg for creditcard transactions.
(www.irational.org/skint/)

Anotherone is more a part of a bigger corpus of projects dealing with
'presence' and the electronic erotic: With German and Japanese
businessmen as targets, it will once become an 'inversive business' to
start vague erotic contacts with the net-savy middle-men and travelling
salespeople, which seek for some 'human contact' on their lonely path
through the deserts of the corporate digital. Using the metaphor of the
'hostess' which serves with a range of small conversation to full sex,
the young artist- entrepreneur succeeds with a semiautomatic e-mail
flirt-bot targeting on compuserve, prodigy and GE-services, passing all
touring tests due to the logics of libidinal transaction. An early
investment in this market has the potential to hit the sensitive points
of abstract financial communication: The scarcity of intensive human
interaction, the thrill of pleasure waves, enhanced by vague flirt bots,
re-add the friction which was lost during gaining efficiency in the
network.

Bif, if you're tired with the false promises of Wired and the jerky
cynicism of suck.com or the hangovers of a false porno-memory get
yourself loose with some 'cyberintimacy'. But be careful on the internet
you never know if someone is a pimp or artist.
Your Reply