t.whid on Tue, 9 May 2000 17:26:22 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> MTAA interview etoy.CORPORATION

this interview is to be published on http://www.artbreak.net, check
ARTBREAK for another exciting MTAA article on etoy's stay in manhattan,
with an interview with agent.NASDAQ, the glorious toy.WARRIOR. 


MTAA (M.River & T.Whid Art Assoc.) interview etoy.CORPORATION.

A warm May afternoon in New York City finds representatives of two virtual
art organizations meeting in the etoy.TANK. 

MTAA: What are the precedents for etoy art practice? 

etoy: etoy doesn't espouse any theory, we leave this up to other people.
Of course we are happy if precedents from art history can explain the
things that we do. But we are don't connect directly to other artists.
We're influenced, Warhol and Beuys are very important to us. But it's not
our discourse. We refuse the intellectualization of our discourse, it has
to stay strong and clean. Other people make these connections, but
etoy.CORPORATION would never talk about this directly. But the references
are there. 

MTAA: Regarding the TOYWAR, both the online artwork and the performance
action, it wouldn't have happened if it hadn't been for eToy's aggression.
What are your feelings toward eToy.com? 

etoy: I would say that we love to do business with them. This is the
reason that we are doing this exhibition. 

MTAA: When the etoy.CORPORATION was founded, was that a performative
action as well as a real world action? 

etoy: Of course, we had a lawyer on our team as an artist. We chose a
dot.com name, we spent money and time designing the www.etoy.com name,
these are all pieces that came together to make sense in the present. At
the time that we were putting these pieces together people didn't
understand how this corporate identity could make sense in the art world.
Now it is clear. And that's why we came to New York, the dot.com mania is
here, the bubble is here. 

MTAA: The real world action is simultaneously the performative action, the
actions exist in two separate contexts at once. That is what we see as one
of the interesting aspects of etoy. 

etoy: Yes, we are very much interested in this sort of thing. I believe
that that is why we won our case with eToys. We behaved like a
corporation. We are a corporation. We were more professional in our use of
the media and in designing our media statements. But at the same time we
were free to escape that very logic -- the business logic, because we
operate at this surreal level, so they could never... I don't think they
had the most intelligent people working on the case anyway. They could
never guess our next steps. I think they were confused the whole time. It
didn't make sense to them. They didn't have an enemy they could catch. We
were too similar to them. 

MTAA: eToys offered you over half a million dollars for the domain name,
yet you have shares for sale, could eToys have bought a controlling
interest in etoy? 

etoy: They were not willing to buy shares. We were not fighting against
eToys because they are a corporation like (r)tmark (the anti-corporate
activists), we are not online activists. We were open to doing business
with them. But only if it would fit into our art piece. We offered them a
merger. We said they could buy us out, then we could design the whole
merger together, a media design, an art product. We were very serious
about this. It would go to the next level and shock a lot of people. In my
opinion it would have been the best way to get out of the problem. eToys
would have been seen as the corporation that understands their market,
understands the internet, instead of being seen as stupid. They were
scared, they had no chance. 

We are designed so that half of the people hate us, and half of the people
love us. You either get it and are willing to invest in us, which is
risky. Or you hate us. 

During TOYWAR, we were seen as the good guys. That's our biggest fear. 

MTAA are a New York based conceptual art group with a strong internet 
presence. They are known world wide for their conceptual net art 
products. Visit them online at http://www.mteww.com.


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