nettime.mailing.list on Fri, 6 Mar 1998 00:09:48 +0100 (MET)

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<nettime> Re: Leading Art Site Suspended - Samyn, Weil, Garrin, Byfield

[Due to the amount of traffic on this topic - which is welcome - for ease
of use it has for tonight anyway, been compounded into one message./m]

Date: Thu, 05 Mar 1998 11:05:36 +0100
From: Jeff Koons <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Re: Leading Art Site Suspended


>Therefore, are we to
>conclude that we should all lie down and accept the" inevitable" march of
>history over our dead bodies towards the greater glory of capitalism in
>this best of all possible worlds?

I do not think that was what Mr. Weil meant to say.
His point of view is a practical one. When the world was young people had
to cope with how nature was treating them. Fighting nature was not the
solution, they had to accept nature and try to get out of it what they
could use. Nowadays culture, society, capitalism have become our 'nature'.
It's our environment. Ignoring it is not revolutionary. It's silly and
there's no point in it. You can fight nature but you cannot win form it.
Your best option is to try and make it more comfortable, maybe even fun.
Marginality equals non-existance.

>Make your own website.

I _have_ made my own website with Group Z, Belgium and thanks to adaweb's
hospitality and the work of the ada crew, there were actually people
looking at it. Making 'art' is one thing, getting people to look at it

Adaweb may not fight capitalism but they sure made my life within it a lot



Michael Samyn

Zuper! [ ]
Group Z, Belgium [ ]
Heaven & Hell [ ]
The Posi-Web [ ]


Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 12:27:14 -0500
From: (Benjamin Weil)
Subject: Re: <nettime> Leading Art Site Suspended

In reference to Keith Sanborn posting:

1/ in regards to my supposed incapacity to establish a difference between
 individual, corporation, and state, i believe there is a misunderstanding
 here:  the point i was trying to make is that funding, whichever pocket it
 is coming from, has always been assumed to have a price.  Whether it is to
 sustain the sign of individual "achievement", whether it is to ascertain
 the image of good citizenship in the case of a corporation, or whether it
 fulfills the need for a state to promote a specific image, all funding does
 come with strings attached.  that was my point.  there is a context for art
 making, it's not just functioning within a vacuum.  and if it is, let me
 then question the validity of such production.  one may object this
 position, call it "neo conservative" or "undergraduate", but my viewpoint
 is informed by experience, and i know for a fact that one can always decide
 to forego any funding because it is always "dirty" and starve.  Robin
 Murphy from ARTnetweb interestingly points out how there is in fact an
 alternative, which is to produce "work for hire" projects.  that is another
 form of economy, and it is another constructive way to approach the
 transactional aspect of any cultural production.

2/ i do not believe that recognizing a certain number of contextual evidence
 has immediately to be equated with accepting a catastrophe scenario, as
 described in mr Sanborn's posting.  there is such thing as reformism, and
 that, i believe, is at least as valid a position  as the moribund
 revolutionary model.  i would also be inclined here to say how fascinated i
 am by the perpetuation of the myth of a good state and a bad evil
 corporation.  the main difference being that corporations are more clear
 about their agendas, most of the time! (read my winks!)  in europe, it has
 been widely recognized that the state tends to support what they believe is
 appropriate, even though it may attempt to maintain a certain image of
 disinterestedness.  but please, how can anyone in this day and age believe
 in the reality of such image!

3/ i obviously do not believe attempting to leverage a position that would
 eventually have fostered a better exposure for art on line is a crime (read
 my winks again!).  while i am completely convinced that the net should be
 an open enough place to have a lot of independent projects thrive, i also
 have to point to the fact that many of those independent sites have closed
 because they lacked support, and that their creators may eventually have
 gotten a little bored with the charms (sic) of "real" bohemia, with "real"
 tin cups.  contrary to what mr. Sanborn seems to think, the adaweb team has
 never attempted to pretend they were bohemians, nor do any of the people i
 was given to meet who were trying to resolve the economic equation of
 working creatively online, or producing creative content.  in the united
 states at least, there is effectively no state funding, very little or no
 funding from foundations (at least until now, as things seem to change for
 the better, which is great), and one has to rely on the dynamics of the
 market.  refusing that reality is basically being in denial.  but then
 again, maybe this is neo-conservative!
; )

Benjamin Weil
executed curator, ada 'web | | 212 620-7288 ext. 104

new on adaweb:
"blindspot", by darcey steinke, at


Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 05:45:50 -0500
From: (MediaFilter)
Subject: Re: <nettime> Leading Art Site Suspended

>Paul Garrin wrote:
>--->This is just another example of "disappearance"
>>that I wrote about in 1995.
>>Guess it takes a cruel dose of reality before
>>people get a clue that autonomy is necessity,
>>corporate sponsorship is ultimately censorship,
>>and subsidies from the government are short lived
>>at best.
>Next time you get caught off guard and lose your
>"free" net resources or your sponsorship....
>Don't be surprised!  There is no free lunch.  everything has it's price.

[...verbosity deleted for clarity...]

>wake up and smell
> the coffee: its the 90's, not the 60's!
>Benjamin Weil
>executed curator, ada 'web | | 212 620-7288 ext. 104

Which 90's?  1690's?

Just wondered.

Paul Garrin


Kudos to: and
for their independence, creativity and
home-grown economy, and the artists
who support them with their living works.


sucking the corporate teat
centers of culture dominated by centers of wealth
museum curators who think they understand the internet
self-appointed curators who think they understand the internet


Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 13:15:18 -0500
From: t byfield <>
To: Nettime <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Re: Leading Art Site Suspended (Wed 03/04/98 at 06:29 PM -0500):

> Although I am not acquainted with the details of the suspension
> which is precisely what we demand of the individual. This line about wake
> up and smell the coffee, it's the 90s, not the 60s is precisely the smug
> "end of history" rhetoric of a Fukuyama or Bloom. Therefore, are we to
> conclude that we should all lie down and accept the" inevitable" march of
> history over our dead bodies towards the greater glory of capitalism in
> this best of all possible worlds? We should make a deal with our perceived
> pupeteers instead of asserting our own political agency and establishing
> our own channels of resistance and communications, though they be in the
> margins of the digital juggernaut? <...>

Hm. First of all, it's inappropriate to say that what Mr. Weil wrote is
"precisely" identical with Fukuyama's work or Bloom's work; that's just
not so. You may detect a similar smell, but that's not very precise now,
is it? Second, this either/or approach--yer either with 'em or agin 'em
--relies on a certain naivete, a radicalization of rhetoric that's very
far from the complexity of the lives we *all* lead: as people stretched
thin between contradictions not solely of our own making, and across de-
sires and necessities of loyalties, resources, specific histories, hard-
ships, and so on and so forth. In saying that, I speak the Truth, plain
and simple. So, third, to adopt this apocalyptic tone wherein we either
align ourselves with the Forces of Light (the Corporeal Individual), or
with the Forces of Darkness (Legalistic Soluble Metaindividuals), is to
impose upon us--you, me, everyone on Nettime and everyone else--a moral
obligation that we cannot hope to fulfill. Let me ask you this question:
I know a lot of people think there's such a thing as "dirty" money, but
is there therefore such a thing as "clean" money? In your either/or mod-
el, the one implies the other; in a continuist model, though, there are
subtle gradations and proximities--hence, I suppose, all kinds of trans-
actions and relations that serve if not to "clean" money, then at least
to provide a structure within which we can incrementally choose to keep
our distance from the things we oppose and to involve ourselves in what
we support. But this is a world of complicated and messy choices, which
is a little different from putting on the armor of G?d and tilting with
windmills. If you want to read this as a clever tap dance whose purpose
is to obscure a justification for being a Tool of the Man, feel free to
do so, maybe it is. But your implied claim, that anyone who chooses dif-
ferent ways of working than you is a collaborationist...that's just sil-
ly overblown rhetoric. And it relies very explicitly on a spatial model
that should go away right now: the "margins," the sidelines, those wide
open spaces of alleged otherness where money can be clean and alliances
can be simple and we can all stand tall and proud and watch "the system"
from a safe distance. Feh. And this talk about our "dead bodies," bitte.
Sorry, but that's inevitable, and no truculent posturing will change it.
Don't go trying to corner the market on corpses that smell like flowers.


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