What do a Devo-esque, fame-hungry group of Swiss artists with little more than vague dreams and impressive discipline have in common with dot com entrepreneurs trying to outdo Toys R Us? More than one might think. 'Leaving Reality Behind' is an extremely well-researched book on the domain name dispute between Etoy.com and Etoys.com (Etoys.com, the dot com, wanted to buy the artists' domain Etoy.com. The artists didn't want to sell, and consequently their site was shut down by a California judge). Authors Adam Wishart and Regula Bochsler interviewed everyone from the Rtmark facilitators who led grassroots campaigns to defend Etoy to the Internet stock analysts and investment bankers who aided Etoys' venture to build *the* online destination for kids. The book ably describes the artistic arc of Etoy, the day traders who wanted them offline, and the intense networks of net art communities who came to their aid. If you missed 'Toywar' -- a decentralized online campaign to slow the Etoys.com site, and quash the lawsuits filed against the artists -- 'Leaving Reality Behind' is a page-turner that should top your summer reading list. -- Rachel Greene
Conferences. Artists, dentists and model train lovers all have them. Net.art and new media have certainly spawned their own, from the industry-focused Siggraph to the tactical media-oriented Next 5 Minutes. 'Open Cultures,' a project of Felix Stalder (founder of Openflows.org) and Konrad Becker (founder of World-Information.Org), is a gathering to discuss the state of networked culture and the 'free-flow' of information. Of particular focus is the endangerment of the 'commons' - those resources, like information, that should be accessible to everyone - by the development of restrictive technologies and laws. If you can make it to Vienna on June 5 and 6, you can participate in the flesh - if not, 'Open Cultures' invites you to take part anyway via an online repository of submitted ideas, organizations, and projects.-Ryan Griffis
VIDEOFOCUS 2014 - OPEN CALL FOR VIDEO - EXTENDED DEADLINE!