Posts for October 2003

Ready For Action

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Adding to FutureFarmer's stable of satirical digital commentaries on war, globalisation and the American government, is the Antiwar Game. Find out just how damn hard it is to run a war at the same time as keeping media and business interests happy, appeasing (or dismissing) peaceniks at home and maintaining popularity. Watch ratings soar when you send the military services overseas - then plummet as the troops turn into dope-smoking rebels. If you perform poorly you're at risk of internal rebellion, assassination, killer viruses, terrorists attacks and - well, I won't tell you how I eventually lost the game. But when it all turns to custard in this virtual world, you can retire gracefully to the links page and surf the interesting sites that inspired the game. - Helen Varley Jamieson

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Mob Magic

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Two weeks ago in London, a crowd of 'flash mobbers' arrived in front of magician-cum-performance artist David Blaine, who was in the midst of conducting a forty-four day starvation challenge in a suspended man-cage. The supportive mobbers paid tribute to the spectacle by raising their mobile phones in the air, letting them ring for a one minute duration, and then shouting, 'What goes up must come down!' The American-born 'Flash Mobs' are e-mail and cell phone driven experiments in group organization, during which strangers arrive unannounced in public places, interact according to a loose script, and then suddenly dissipate. The quasi-Dada events avert explicit political affiliation: mobbers instead orchestrate a circuitry of trans-national whimsy through networking blogs, websites, and listservs that announce and script the public events. Nonetheless, when mobbers in Mumbai, India were recently banned, their comrades in South Africa argued on their behalf that the peaceful performances signify the essence of democratic freedom. Neither artists, nor political activists, flash mobbers constitute micro-publics that for a brief moment magically assert the plausibility of revolution or at the very least a compact, weird party. - Matt Wolf

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Time to Come Up With a Really Smart Thesis about Friendster

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If you have an 'internet-related artwork' or 'research project on internet creativity' to develop, you can soon be in the running for a prize of either 20,000.00 Euros or 10,000.00 Euros (approximately $23,000 and $13,000). In collaboration with the ARCO Foundation (known for their annual Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid), the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology has just announced this commission/prize program, called ARANEUM. Submissions in Spanish and English are welcome, but must be submitted by 15 December, 2003. On February 14, 2004, the winners, chosen by an international group of jurors, will be announced in Madrid. While production value isn't everything, 20,000 Euros is the largest award for net art I have seen to date. -- Bee Wister

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Jenny Holzer meets Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

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Brazilian artist Giselle Beiguelman has a new public installation, 'Poetrica,' that is currently exploding on advertising billboards across some of Sao Paulo's busiest streets. Participate can submit messages for display on these billboards by web, WAP, or SMS. First, one writes a messages and converts it into a non-phonetic font such as Ewok or Alchemy. The highly visual messages are archived on the web site via web cams surveilling the billboards and in an online gallery section. 'Poetrica' will email participants when their messages are to go live on the streets, as well. Interestingly, like Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's 'Amodal Suspension' (November 2003, in Yamaguchi, Japan), 'Poetrica' offers participants a way to occupy urban space with a coded, semi-public, semi-private message. Replacing advertisements with internationally-authored coinages and aphorisms, 'Poetrica' represents another colonization of sorts: the invasion of information and communication technologies into advertising and commerce. This collaborative public project ends 8 November, so get your flicker in soon. -- Rachel Greene

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