Dimitris Skoufis
Since the beginning
Works in Athens Greece

BIO
Born in 1953, in Athens, Greece

MSc in Electrical Engineering.

Since 1994, published several articles in Greek magazines and newspapers and provided TV and radio interviews on social, cultural and theoretical aspects of Internet and hypermedia.

Since 2001, post-graduate programme tutor on computer-mediated communication in the School of Mass Media of the Athens University, Greece.

Founder, along with Anna Hatziyannaki of ART TOPOS, the first Fine Arts web site in Greece (http://www.artopos.org) in 1996 and member of the board of trustees of ART TOPOS non profit organization.

Provision of technical and web design assistance and consulting to many new media projects in Greece. Among these, the Art for Human Rights Festival (http://www.humanrights.gr).

Member of the organizing committee (along with Art Historian Anna Hatziyannaki and Film Director Nikos Giannopoulos)of e-magic events and new media festival, a branch of the International Film Festival of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Discussions (1) Opportunities (1) Events (0) Jobs (0)
OPPORTUNITY

Call for entries - illegal machines


Deadline:
Sun Apr 03, 2005 16:21

INTRODUCTION

ART TOPOS is a non profit organization, launched in 1996 in Athens, Greece aiming to promote contemporary art in Greece. We have organized many important events in our history and we are very proud to announce a new Internet Art section, which will be available in public the same day with the opening of our “illegal machines” online show.

We seek works specifically on the subject of artists’ copyright and intellectual property in relation to the authorities and the law. Our event as an online art space will be a juried show of works in many media (sound/writing/video/flash/java script/photography/etc.).
The selected works will be presented by ARTOPOS in ART ATHINA, the biggest Annual Art event in Athens, Greece.

CONTEXT

Since authorities have the power to decide arrests and proceed in suing people, many questions are rising about who has the right to arrest or sue artists for their art projects, or even why when an art project has a political, religious or social concept may cause negative responses or even become illegal. Perhaps more information and education on Internet Art would help laws to be constructed, so artists and artworks would be protected.

In response to the recent action in Greece against the work “DWG | Dirty Works Greece” of Dimitris Fotiou, artists, programmers have been upset from the insult of the artwork, the violation of intellectual property, the abuse of privacy and especially the unfair suffering and defamation of the artist.
As a minimum act for the above facts we call all net.artists to submit works.

BACKGROUND

According to the little history of Internet Art, many net.artists have been sued or held under custody when their online art projects were characterized as illegal or caused negative responses. While, at the same time, similar artworks of other artists were represented by institutions and major art organizations and exhibitions.

2004 Ars Electronica winner www.bushin30seconds.org is a website that critically confronts the policies of George W. Bush. The initiators' primary aim is to juxtapose a counterpoint to the US media system that is, in their opinion, not sufficiently critical of the president. The site is an outstanding blend of political commitment and entertaining content. While at the same time John Kinberg was arrested for his “Bikes Against Bush”, www.bikesagainstbush.com, project and he was accused for vandalism, when he was presenting one of the most remarkable interactive projects.

In 1999, etoy, a European art group, staged a two-month global art game called Toywar, toywar.com, which is described by the artists as "the single most expensive performance in art history: $4.5 billion in damage!" In 1999 etoy was sued by Internet toy retailer eToys, which claimed that Internet toy buyers might be confused and potentially offended by the artists' web site (a work of art itself) if they typed "etoy" rather than "etoys" into their Internet browsers. Etoy finally won the case against Etoys.

“DWG | Dirty Works Greece” was an online project satirizing political corruption in Greece: the site was virtually offering illegal services at low prices online, while those services are also offered as favors to citizens by politicians in exchange to votes. With the excuse that the artist was keeping visitors’ personal data for later use, (although the relevant order form of the site was completely inactive, and the hosting server did not offered such a service for a 0 $ hosting website) Dimitrios Fotiou was held under custody, now waiting for the appeal in court. It is noticeable that a similar form of the Skint 1996, www.irational.org/heath/skint/ of Heath Bunting is working properly and the Internet Beggar says to the one who offers an amount: ‘god bless you sir!’

CALL FOR WORKS

PLEASE READ before you e-mail!

·NO redirection or a jump pages.
·NO Work Attachments. All works and papers must be ONLINE.
·Only one project from each artist.
·No Portfolio or commercial sites.
·Brief CV and 1 photo attachment (100x100 pixels, 300 dpi resolution)
·Mail proposals and links to completed work to: d@artopos.org
·We are accepting collaboration/ exhibition proposals from institutions as well.
·Deadline 10 May 2005
Agreement: Since no printed documentation will be available, ART TOPOS will create a permanent reference to all works and artists on its website, including a description of the work, brief CV and a photograph. Please send a 100 words (maximum) text as your description for our website. All artists will be able to include this participation as an exhibition on their CVs.
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Organisers
Anna Hatziyiannaki,
Dimitris Fotiou
Dimitris Skoufis,

ARTOPOS
www.artopos.org


DISCUSSION

Greek net.artist Dimitrios Fotiou was held under custody


Greek net.artist Dimitrios Fotiou was held under custody

According to Greek Mass Media, many important people in Greece --including =
politicians, judges, church and police officers, etc.-- are accused for cor=
ruption. Among other alegations, there are many denouncing them for getting=
paid to do "favours" and to provide several "services" to Greek citizens w=
ithout following the legal procedures. Some of those favours refer to findi=
ng work in the civil service sector and transferring their children from on=
e University to another (the last is illegal in Greece, except in special c=
ircumstances). For someone to find a job in Greece is very tricky, as "CV =
format" applications are not assessed as they should. Moreover, the huge av=
ailability of highly educated young Greeks (a major part of which are MSc a=
nd PhD holders) has caused job hunting to become very hard.

But here comes the traditional "Greek" solution, having its roots in the ag=
es of Turkish domination, when masters did favors to good slaves. In a very=
similar way, VIPs in Greece (e.g. politicians who are in need of votes), o=
r those who have money to pay, have many opportunities to acquire some bene=
fits not accessible to ordinary mortals.

Dimitrios Fotiou is a sculptor who uses computers and the internet as a med=
ium for his artwork; he has been participating in many online events and ex=
hibitions. Following the practices of Tactical Media, he attempted to make =
a larger Greek audience more familiar whith net.art (since such projects ar=
e not so common in Greece). He has chosen a Greek topic and he used Greek l=
anguage. He created a net.Art website of a virtual company offering all the=
illegal services mentioned above at moderate prices. The company also prov=
ided to its potential "customers" the ability to order its "services" onlin=
e.

His aim was to satirize the political and social situation, as well as conv=
ey a critical comment to all Greeks who are desperately looking for a job i=
n the public sector of Greece. The site's name is DWG | Dirty Works Greece =
and its address is < http://www.dirtyworks-greece.info >. The work was sign=
ed by the artist (bottom right corner there was a link to a disclaimer) and=
also there was a link pointing to his personal website < http://www.fotiou=
.net > where he was explaining the concept of his artwork, and providing ot=
her exambles of similar net.art projects. The site was advertised in mailin=
g lists and, within a two months period, Greeks living all over the planet =
began to post its address and have fun with the site.

Nevertheless, the website is no longer publicly availble.

For many days newspapers were writing for the biggest electronic crime of t=
he century in Greece. Irresponsible journalists who had first discovered th=
e new kind of crime were boasting the "discovery" of a secret company worki=
ng online, while the artist's name was not mentioned at all, not even his e=
xplanations about his project. As a matter of fact, a good crime sells more=
than a funny website in the Mass Media market, but the result of all that =
"campaign" was that Dimitrios Fotiou was arrested by the Greek police and w=
as charged for fraud (a felony under Greek low), as well as for illegally c=
ollecting visitos's private sensitive data. It seems, in fact, that nobody =
even thought to check the site's online "order form", as it was so easy to =
find out that it was completely inactive and that data any visitor could su=
bmit on this website where never leaving the his computer to be stored on a=
server.

Dimitrios Fotiou stayed three days in custody, while there was no computer =
specialist or programmer available to examine the form or even have a look =
at the website's logs. The police has not even asked the hosting provider t=
o find out whether there has ever been in place an active dynamic data proc=
essing page or not. Finally. the Greek judicial authorities have decided to=
let him free, imposing a bail of 3.000 Euros and the obligation to appear =
to police once per month.

Many questions are rising from the above fact for the political and social =
situation in Greece. Were they all unable to examine the website's code or =
was the concept so annoying? Since simple internet users have many times se=
nt e-mails to D. Fotiou to congratulate him for his web project, including =
computer programmers who had easily found that the order form was not activ=
e, how could Greek police oversee this fact? Or maybe the spectacular "Gree=
k" reality was revealed once more, in this case online? Can humour be penal=
ized as a felony? What about intellectual property and human rights? What's=
going on with irresponsible journalism in Greece? While no laws are yet en=
acted to deal wit electronic crime in Greece, how can artists be taken in c=
ustody and asked to cope with a huge bureaucracy consisting of people who a=
re not even computer literate? Does Greece still belongs to Europe when, be=
sides the Olympics showcase, which looked like an nice event in a shop wind=
ow, the situation still remains as it has ever been?

Anna Hatziyannaki
Dimitris Skoufis

ART TOPOS
www.artopos.org