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<nettime> UBERMORGEN.COM manifesto, v1

dear nett_timers

our way too late contribution to the discussion which was ongoing  
some months ago with the following thread:

<nettime> Political Work in the Aftermath of the New Media Arts  
Crisis by Geert Lovink

attached & linked the updated version of our manifesto,

best regards

--- start ---

v1 28.07.2009 (RC1 10.05.2009) *


our work is curiosity driven research.
sampling is our basic principle of production.
it is visual. it is textual. we code recombinations.
we modify your plain-text.
The UM.BOOK**: we relabeled a peter weibel text as an hans ulrich  
obrist text. then we transformed a hans ulrich obrist interview with  
matthew barney into an interview by peter weibel with UBERMORGEN.COM.

we have no political agenda in our work.
this is true for our ideas, research and production.
the perception of our work is out of our control and we do not intend  
to control that either.
we have no intention, no goals. we feed our own curiosity
we are non-ideological.
our primary goal is research for our own interests. We experiment in  
the legal, technological, social, economical field; satisfying our  
own personal needs.
 From this independent perspective we can freely investigate into  
whatever we are interested in.

we understand the things that happen around us and to us. We analyze  
system configurations and we then recombine our findings, the facts  
and the fiction into false originals, foriginal stories. we  
contextualize technology with pseudo-politics, social messages with  

we are not bound to any medium. although in most cases the core of a  
project or a work is digital and happens online, it beginns as a  
small concept text, some images and some code. it is carried on in a  
huge cloud of research data.
the transfer of the digital to the physical transforms online actions  
into supercharged images (prints/photos), installations and sculptures.

our goal:
we impact your personal and individual experience
to look for the emotional kick and feedback,
to outsource responsability
to involve the audience emotionally

what we do is not pop art

it is rock art.

we are children of the 1980s. we are the first internet-pop- 
generation. we grew up with radical Michael Milken, the king of junk  
bonds and mythical Michael Jackson, the king of junk pop. during the  
1990s we loaded ourselves with technology, we call it digital  
cocaine, with mass media hacking, underground techno, hardcore drugs,  
rock&roll lifestyle and net.art jet set.

our neuronal networks and brain structures were similar to the global  
synthetic network we helped building up and maintained subversive  
activity within. and then they got infected: waves of mania and  
depression ran through the technical, social and economic structures.

contemporary high-tech societies deal with hardcore brains using bio- 
chemical agents to control the internal information flow, we call  
them psychotropic drugs.

but how can we treat a mentally ill global network?


we are not activists. we are actionists in the communicative and  
experimental tradition of viennese actionism - performing in the  
global media, communication and technological networks, our body is  
the ultimate sensor and the immediate medium.

we have enough free time to think. things happen. we do not control  
them. the thing that interests us supermassively is the concept of  
authority. be it corporate authority or governmental authority.  
totalitarianism, the way masses and individuals respond to a  
manipulative oppression and the psychotic mass belief in ?they way  
things are? always seems to catch our attention. we call it - citing  
William Gibson - 'consensual hallucination'.

some examples:
GWEI ? Google Will Eat Itself ? deconstructing the totalitarianism of  
shareholder value by creating a autocannibalistic model.
[V]ote-auction? commercialized democracy, cutting out the middle man,  
online transactions, directly selling and buying of votes as future  
business model.
Superenhanced? physical governmental oppression, NLP (neuro  
linguistic programming) and the fascism of newspeak in the area of  
war prisoners, enhanced interrogations, detainees, child  
imprisonment, Supermax facilites and extraordinary renditions.

we do not know how our work is contextualized and perceived in the  
art world or the real world. for that matter we do not appreciate  
reading articles, reviews or theory about our work. we  
programmatically avoid visting exhibitions in art galleries and  
museums, and online we rarely read or look at work. we leave that up  
to others. you categorize, qualify and contextualize us.

but in the so called real world our work has legal impact. We are  
always in a lot of legal trouble, professionally, personally and  
artistically. we learned that these issues were easy to resolve. we  
call it intended unconsciousness.

some of these legal controversies serve as precedents to demonstrate  
internet legislation. for example: during the vote-auction project a  
U.S injunction was sent via email to a swiss domain registrar. they  
then turned off our domain on no legal basis - U.S court orders are  
not valid in switzerland (sic!) - this case was used by the ICANN  
board and in various law publications to discuss domain legislation  
issues. our affirmative artistic reaction was to produce the  
Injunction Generator, a software that automatically generates such  
court orders and sends them to domain registries, owners, lawyers and  
journalists to shut down targeted domains.

in some other cases friendly police officers and state agents were  
happy to find out that they are not dealing with dark minded  
criminals but rather with ?interesting? artists - surely in some  
cases we do not state who we are or talk about our artistic  
intention, i.e. the Voteauction project where we positioned ourselves  
as perverted eastern european business people trying to exploit U.S.  
democracy - but usually governmental agencies perfer to have a nice  
conversation rather than a criminal investigation. this argument only  
goes for pretty much all of mainland europe ? the US and partially  
the UK are slightly more threatening.

but in all other cases, fuck them all!


our legal policy: anyone who wants to sue us, threaten us or what:  
have you get your court order or whatever the fuck you want, get in  
line and wait until we serve you. just be aware that there are about  
15 others waiting with priority, so your chances are very limited.

financially, we are deeply in debt, this is very helpful when people  
want to hot you with legal bombshells - they go after you in order to  
hurt you by taking money from you. but we ain?t got no money, so  
there is nothing you can take from us. blood from a turnip. we are  
not gonna get got. for this reason we rarely show up in court or even  
send a lawyer to represent us, we just let them do it by themselves  
and generate more documents which we then use for our work.

on the real life level it is a love-hate relationship: on the  
individual level, users and recipients usually react very strongly to  
our stuff. we welcome all kinds of reactions: fan-mail, hate-mail,  
legal mail.

as artists we see it as our responsability to communicate. to talk  
about our research findings, to contextualize images, texts, etc.  
communication is part of our 8-5 job but it is not our priority or  
passion. this is different if it concerns our media hacking  
activities, where multi-layered communication is an integral part of  
the performance.

on the art market we are happy to hold one of the digital art and  
actionism positions where content is random and not random, where  
concept is important but at the same time the surface is queen. we  
develop new ways of showcasing our real new media art - new ways that  
are rather low-tech than high tech superendeavours.


our relationship to mass media.

we have no respect for news-journalists, thats for sure. most of them  
are real scumbags and very unreliable and highly unethical. but, to  
our favor, they are very easy to manipulate - or as we call it ?work  
with?. so for us the press release is an artform.

. television is the best conventional mass medium. they are closest  
to what we call a shock marketing channel - pumping information into  
users brains causing a short shock after which the channel to the  
brain is open and unfiltered.
. newspapers are boring.
. magazines are usually not interested in our work.
. books are heavy and eternal. but they are an art medium not a mere  
information transporter.
. the internet is real-time. that helps coz the faster the wheel is  
spinning, the easier it is to turn a complicated issue into a story  
made out of slogans and a couple of images.

our media hacking strategy is scalable - with media hacking we mean  
the intrusion into massmedia with lo-tech means and a good story, so  
only courage, intelligence and some technological know how is  
required. from an estimated 500 million eyeballs audience worldwide  
for the Vote-auction project to 0/zero mass media audience for our  
Net.Art piece Black n White, it is all in the game. and we dont work  
with expectations, we dont depend on audience. the days when a large  
audience was a thrill are long gone. it does not help, it does not  
kick, the only real artistic production happens with input-feedbacks,  
when you send out information and you know you will not be able to  
control it anymore, the information lives on in mass media, it gets  
manipulated and opportunistically used by journalists, politicians,  
lawyers and business-people and other artists. then through the media  
the story comes back to you and you can spin it, kick in abstract or  
surreal content and send it out again to a huge audience. this works  
best if the audience is very large, this quarantees the attention and  
focus of the journalist and the publishing house. this is the media  
hacking performance, this is acting in the eye of the mass media storm.

so on different scales we perform. we experiment. we develop and use  
a new media strategy for each new project. during the EKMRZ trilogy  
we used a combination of attacks:

with GWEI ? Google Will Eat Itself we targeted about 30-40 opinion  
leaders. then we waited three months until the story made it?s way to  
the top mass media outlets and then down again to the blogosphere,  
schoolbooks and documentaries. this process is still ongoing.

with Amazon Noir ? The Big Book Crime we used official press-releases  
by third parties and our own release. this was the classical way by  
intention, although unintentionally one third-party pressrelease was  
published 6 weeks before the official date, this created chaos and  
confusion on both sides and turned out to be nice for everyone.

for The Sound of eBay we worked with only lo-level media art scene  
promotion. only our core audience was informed about the project and  
they know about it. no fuss, no exagerations. we are still waiting  
for feedback.


awareness and the effects of our work on politics and society..

we are not interested in awareness, and we are not interested in  
having a direct impact on politics, society, military, business or  
technology. though we do think that our research might have a long  
term impact. but this is so out of our reach and it is purely  
speculative, so we dont think about that much.

maybe our projects have scientific and educational value. this would  
explain all the scientific articles, legal studies, dissertations and  
master thesis.

knowing or learning about the actual impact of our work would present  
us with borders and boundaries of how far we can go or what we can  
actually achieve. it could become role-model art. we dont want that.

the people can change things in a political or activist way, not the  
art or the artists.
we have to focus on our work and give up on the rest. we chill, relax  
and take it easy. we have done our job. we are artists, we need to be  
free of responsability, to not have to think about consequences, to  
not limit ourselves just because it could have an effect on this or  
that, or could be used for us or against us or other people. we  
learned that very early. hacking optimizes the attacked system, we  
accept that, and we learned to not give a fuck about it.

again awareness and political affairs.

if art and art production politicizes itself, it becomes politics and  
ceases to be art.

awareness really sucks because everybody knows about a certain topic,  
but still they are not doing anything about it and neither give a  
fuck really. if there is impact of a story or a project of ours, we  
dont neglect it, but they are simply a sideproduct which we learned  
to accept and tolerate. but it is most def. interesting to talk to  
and communicate with people emotionally, directly, personally, fake- 
personally and right into the core.

this is still why we love working with the net. doing stuff like the  
Generators. they are pieces of software that generate foriginal  
documents - forged originals. for example: court orders, drug  
prescriptions, bankstatements or rendition orders and enhanced  
interrogation scripts. this gives us the chance to target every  
single inividual, be it enemy or friend, on a pseudo-personal basis.  
we get them in their home, in front of their laptop or at their  
workplace looking at their workstations. this is when a user is  
vulnerable. this is when they are a good target.

people using our generators from their homes have no reason to lie to  
our software. they welcome the infiltration and produce their own  
reality tv show. at least that is what they are interested in. we  
never lie. we work with research, fact and fiction, recombinations of  
these and with artistic surplus values.
we lure users into being interested in finding out if what they are  
being sucked into is real or not, we mirror their interests and watch  
them through the invisible mirror.

Vienna / Amsterdam / Frankfurt, May/August 2009

* RC1 ?Positions in Flux? Symposium, The Netherlands Media Art  
Institute Amsterdam, 8.5.2009
" v 1 release, Vienna, 28.7.2009

Alessandro Ludovico (Ed.), Christoph Merian Verlag

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Alessandro Ludovico (Ed.), Christoph Merian Verlag


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