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With or Without U2

By Rhizome

Even The Edge thinks it's cool to hear a U2 sample on a dance record, but more than a decade since Island Records' infamous suit against Negativland for the release of their mash-up featuring U2's music and legendary Casey Kasem out-takes ('these guys are from England and who gives a sh_t'), corporate patrollers of intellectual property still occasionally stir up bad press for themselves and provide polemic mileage to artists by targeting otherwise obscure artworks. With the advent of the iPod U2 Special Edition (which comes emblazoned with the band's autographs and a discount coupon for U2's digital box-set), artist Francis Hwang (who is also Rhizome's Director of Technology) created the 'Unauthorized iPod U2 vs. Negativland Special Edition' to commemorate the indie band's protracted tussle with big business. He preloaded the U2 iPod with eight Negativland albums and adjusted the package graphics accordingly. Apple Computer, citing copyright infringement, contributed to the poetry of the object when it instructed eBay to halt Hwang's auction of the piece. The iPod was eventually sold on the artist's website, and now a second edition will be included in Negativlandland, the group's 25th anniversary exhibition at New York's Gigantic Art Space, on view today through October 22, 2005. - Johanna Fateman

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