On extracting data, and its art and craft.


Data art started long before the internet, but for some of us, facebook (fb) for a long time served as our Cantarell Complex. On 2012 I accidentally began leaking it when I created drik magazine and later its archives. Today, quite more consciously, I can say beneath my internet data projects a reservoir of information has been formed, and this has happened on different data-based projects by other artists too.

Servers are attached to our soil just as onshore platforms are, soaking on data from all of their users. The internet is the equivalent of a pipeline but with the shape and function of an ouroboros. It’s a two-way pipeline, draining information from us and vomiting it back through our computers. Data flows through the internet into and from same wave territories (Santiago de Chile, Lima, DF, Nuevo Leon, Costa Mesa, and Washington DC) where we distill it through our computers in order to gather our resources, just as it happens in the rest of the world. The internet isn’t on the sky; we do not store data in clouds, we store it in servers. The floating internet concept is a lie in order to prevent us from realizing that the internet is grounded by a powerful tellurian nature.

On Cyclonopedia (Reza Negarestani), Dr. Hamid Parsani identifies oil as a tellurian lube. It’s the element that allows mankind to happen (contemporarily), and that is abundant on the gulfs of Persia and Mexico (among other places). Oil represents power and wealth, hence it represents control and sabotage too (ex: the Nationalization of Mexican Oil, the Arab Oil Embargoes, Saddam Hussein’s burning of the Kuwaiti Oil Wells, the Energetic Reform in Mexico, etc).

Data is quite similar to oil. Oil is the product of the passing of thousands of years, and information stays exactly the same. Oil wasn’t magically formed, and data inside the internet (and outside it) is never borne out of nothing. It is always the result of human life, and that is precisely why Lanier coined the concept of Digital Maoism (DM).

Sites like fb are considered great exponents of DM, since all the data they hold (and which constitutes the tellurian lube of the digital) has been uploaded by its users. At a glance it seems only fb profits from the data we gather for it, and in most cases this is true. However, fb and other companies’ profits depend on the behavior of its users. We need to fill DM with holes. We need to transform it into swiss cheese; then wait for data to fill the void and drain fb and other DM sites with no mercy.

Since the presentation of Swarm at ARS Electronica ’98 on the hands of the Electronic Disturbance Theater, in support of Digital Zapatismo and the victims of the Acteal massacre, art underlined how the concept of sitting gained effectiveness if it blocked the flux of data instead of the flux of people. In 1967, just a day after the Six Day War had begun, countries like Iraq, Kuwait, and Bahrain decided to use oil as a weapon and embargoed the US and the UK for supporting Israel. This led to the formation of the OAPEC, an organism that in 1973, executed a second embargo. This time the oil price was raised by 70% and the Arab countries stated their oil production would be reduced by 5% each month until Israeli forces left occupied territories in Syria and Egypt, which had been gained by Israel during the Six Day War. The embargo had little to no effect on the economy of the Arab nations, while all major markets of the rest of the world faced the 1973-74 Stock Market Crash.

We can use data as a weapon too. DM is not a house for data, data lives outside it. We control the production and digitalization of data, the tellurian lube that allows the existence of fb and other DM companies. We can pump data through it in order to drain what we’re looking for, and then pump it out in order to profit from it. This is why I believe 21st century art needs to be data-based.

The art world came into existence since the French Academia as a Napalmic entity, one made of an inextinguishable fire that can flow/flood into every corner of culture and won’t disappear until it consumes itself. It is this very nature which requires it to burn out. But it is its hunger for recognition and legitimization what has inspired it to generate strategies to keep the fire burning perennially. It’s because of this that art and culture have been burning all that surrounds them for centuries, becoming one of the communities of the world’s greatest enemies, and burning them ceaselessly too. This way, not even painting or sculpture were our friends. However this doesn’t mean they can’t ever be.

Data has been flowing through art since the beginning of art, just as oil has been there since the beginning of civilization. Art has also been used to gather data for centuries. We do not need to transform art into a data bank. Art has been a data bank since the beginning. We need to start controlling the data and its flux. Data has a liquid nature too; it tends to flow wherever it can, and we can make it flow through the art world (which today occupies important territories in education, power, business, economy, banking, and tourism, among other areas). The art world is nothing more than fog of war. It is the same fog described by John McTiernan’s The 13th Warrior, covering the Wendol and their serpent of fire while they murdered humans to consume them. By using data as a weapon and incorporating it into art, we can transform art into a gigantic tank in the fight for freedom that uses the same fog of war to strike with a powerful backlash. Art should no longer be a trigger for action, its time to counter back and use art as a war machine.    

alonso cedillo <ceo@nimda.co>


With Joseph Nechvatal


On Jul 12, 2014, at 10:09 PM, Katia Haus Moore wrote:  katiahaus@aol.com

Thank you so much!!! The Minóy book looks amazing and I’ve just downloaded it, and I’m currently reading immersion into noise.

K: Most of your work has to do with data and sound, how much did your early days as La Monte Young’s archivist have influenced on this?

JN: My early interest in data and sound and image came from my involvement in the No Wave scene in New York City while archiving the Fluxus collection of La Monte Young back in the late-70s and early-80s. The No Wave Colab (Collaborative Projects) scene was wildly interdisciplinary: visual artists playing in bands, acting in plays and films, writing poetry and theory, shooting Super-8 film, video, sculpture and audio while hanging out together at Clubs like Tier 3 and The Mudd Club. During the No Wave period, I was also reading Nietzsche while studying philosophy at Columbia University. It was in that fecund atmosphere that I decided that I would strive to interweave the two major trends in the history of art: the Apollonian and Dionysian.

By fusing the loose chaotic freedom of No Wave with the structured minimal conceptualism of a La Monte Young, I aimed to fuse hot post-conceptual chaotic disturbance with cool conceptual data forms. My smooth gray palimpsest drawings from that post-punk period – and the slick photo-blowups of the drawings – were an attempt at situating art somewhere between the surface of cold conceptualism and the chasm of shattering incoherence of post-conceptualism, where we must each pick through the meshwork and recover figurative meaning out of entangled ground.

K: What kind of projects did you developed with Colab and which one was the most important for you?

JN: In the early 1980s, myself and many other artists, were interested in the distributive capacity of art based in reproduction. Most were inspired by a 1968 essay The Dematerialization of Art by John Chandler and Lucy R. Lippard, as it argued that Conceptualism had a politically transformative aspect to be delved into. The other inescapable text at the time was The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (or Reproducibility) by Walter Benjamin. Important for my formation was when I produced the Colab sponsored show (with performances) simply called John Heartfield at ABC No Rio, held from November 1st to November 18th in 1983. Xeroxes and photomechanical blowups of John Heartfield’s (1891-1968) art, torn from a book, were the maquettes that I produced from. Reproductions of his anti-Nazi/anti-Fascist photomontages were wheat-pasted on the walls of ABC No Rio, walls that had been were painted a sinister black from top to bottom. I filled the space with audio collages by Bradley Eros and hit the streets with Mitch Corber, putting posters all over downtown: advertisements for the show along with powerful John Heartfield images.

Later, I organized The Art of John Heartfield event that was held at Kamikaze Club at 531 W 19th Street on March 21st 1984 that featured art or performance by Edwige, David Wojnarowicz, Bradley Eros, Kiki Smith, Doug Ashford, Aline Mare, Joe Lewis, Mitch Corber and Christof Kohlhofer, among others.

It seems impossible to understand in our age of ubiquitous cell-phone photography, but no photos were taken of any aspect of the John Heartfield events (that I know of).

K: Why did you decided to start the Tellus cassette series and which is the importance for you of making data banks, in this case a casettography?

JN: As the vital New York downtown scene continues to melt into rich yuppie fat, preserving the work of cutting edge artists of all sorts from that place and time (80s) seems more than worthy. Happily UBUWEB has archived Tellus in digal form here: http://www.ubu.com/sound/tellus.html.

Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine was created in 1983 by me, curator Claudia Gould, and Carol Parkinson, a composer and staff member of Harvestworks/Studio PASS. We met for drinks to discuss my idea of a magazine on cassette that would feature interesting and challenging sound works. With the advent of the Walkman and the Boom Box, we perceived a need for an alternative to radio programming and the commercially available recordings on the market at that time. We then began to collect, produce, document and define the art of audio through publishing works from local, national and international artists. Sometimes we worked with contributing editors, experts in their fields, who proposed themes and collected the best works from that genre. Unknown artists were teamed with well-known artists, historical works were juxtaposed with contemporary and high art with popular art, all in an effort to enhance the crossover communication between the different mediums of art – visual, music, performance and spoken word.

On Jul 17, 2014 Katia Haus Moore wrote:

K: How were your works and thoughts pushed during and after your work in Colab and which are de advantages and disadvantages of working collaboratively?

JN: I was influenced by Colab member Jenny Holzer and Colab associate Barbara Kruger. I was at the time photo-mechanically blowing up my small drawings, making Xerox books (Xerox was brand new at the time) and street posters. Even painting-centric artists like David Wojnarowicz, Walter Robinson, Justen Ladda, David Salle, Christof Kohlhofer and Anton van Dalen were examining reproduction and reproduction methods, like the silk-screen and stencil. Colab’s interests in Fluxus-like low-priced multiples (The A. More Stores and the Artists Direct Mail Catalogue – a co-production with Printed Matter), newsprint publishing (X Magazine, Spanner, Bomb), No Wave film production and screening, video and cable T.V. (Potato Wolf and the MWF Video Club), live art performance, audio cassette publishing and mail art distribution networks (Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine) have marked me for life. This all brought me closer to Dick Higgins’s intermedia approach to art.

K: Would you say that the work you produced after Colab, specially your  paintings, are collaborations with machines and computer viruses?

JN: Not really, as I do not give up control over them

K: How have you seen that computers have changed the way we work with data and information?

JN: I see computers and art as a means of practicing politics on one level. In the mid-1980s I could already observe the coming rise of electronic media (computational media, more precisely) as the controlling, organizing force of social power. I felt that to adequately address this topic I should approach it from inside of electronic medium, and not from an artisanal pre-electronic practice.

K: Which is for you the importance of data?

JN: Working as an archivist for LaMonte Young, meeting John Cage, and learning of the famous “9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering” of 1966 that Robert Rauschenberg helped organize with the engineer Billy Kluver was salient to my formation in this regard. Rauschenberg understood that through the mediation of chance and machines, data can be contorted, thus changing our awareness of what technology is or can be. 

On Aug 5, 2014, Katia Haus Moore wrote: 

K: Do you believe in Singularity and on Kurzweil’s idea of Spiritual Machines?

JN: No.

K: The Attractions of Cybism was never realized and is a key point on your work and art theories. What was it about? And is it important for you to keep it unrealized?

JN: Cybism is an art theory term I developed as a sub-division of viractuality at the turn of the century. I proposed the concept for an exhibition that never was realized, but the idea of Cybism was developed into a paper that I delivered at ECAM (Encuentro de Ciencia y Arte) in 2008 at the invitation of Juan Díaz Infante in Mexico City. 

Cybism is a sensibility emerging in art respecting the integration of certain aspects of science, technology and consciousness – a consciousness struggling to attend to the prevailing current spirit of our age. This Cybistic zeitgeist I identify as being precisely a quality-of-life desire in which everything, everywhere, all at once is connected in a rhizomatic web of communication. Therefore, Cybism is no longer content with the regurgitation of standardized repertoires.

K: I understand viractualism as a term that has to do with our immersion into a work of art. However I believe Cybism, though it’s a division of Viractuality, is more about connection. How did the internet influenced you on both terms? Do you think they could exist without it?

JN: For me, viractualism and cybism is best understood as emerging from the vast incognizant digital totality of the internet within which we currently live; an immense digital assemblage-aggregate which in cybist manner is experienced as exceeding our usual sense of lucidity.

Read immersion into noise: 


Read Minoy:


We’re playing a game, a game that we all can change, and it’s all about copying.

Create and creativity have the same root which is the latin word creātus, the past passive participle from the verb creāre ‘to create’. Hence creativity is the ability to create. It doesn’t matter what you create. If you create you are creative.The verb in itself is from a Proto-Indo-European root *ḱerh₂- whose original meaning seems to have been ‘grow’. Creāre is kind of a conflation of stem forms but it is in essence an old causative verb. Its original meaning was ‘to make [something] grow’.


Making something grow is only a small step away from creating it, and that’s the path the verb took within Latin. In Latin, thus, the sense of ‘grow’ was relegated to the original inchoative verb (‘to start growing’), crēscere, which is found in English loanwords such as ‘crescent’ and ‘crescendo’.The word “create” appeared in English as early as the 14th century to indicate divine creation. However, its modern meaning as an act of human creation did not emerge until after the Enlightenment. The Age of Enlightenment in the late 17th-century Europe emphasized reason and individualism rather than tradition. Over the course of the last decades, we seem to have reached on a general agreement that creativity involves the production of novel, useful products. But the truth is that creativity can also be defined “as the process of producing something that is worthwhile to someone” or “characterized by expressiveness and imagination”.The problem here is that we’ve been taught that originality is a basic characteristic of creativity. But the truth is that as creativity is a mind skill that allows us to make an idea in any area, the adjective original is just unapplicable due to it’s nature as a skill. Creativity is just something each one of us can develop for his/her persona.  Creativity is essentially not a kind of knowledge or science but, it is a skill kind, that may be improved through various methods. Hence, creativity is an almost steady ability to generate concepts with no time, age, kind, manner, way, technics, advantage, efficacy and subject limitation and restriction. That means, 1) that copying is one of the most valuable resources of creativity, and 2) that something creative is not necessarily or entirely new.

What is produced can come in many forms and is not specifically singled out in a subject or area, and of course it can be produced and distributed on an area outside high culture’s. That’s the reason why creativity isn’t something exclusive of the arts, and why it’s one of the main characteristics of the human being. The deal is that one of the fields with the greatest desire of possessing and owning everything is the one of art & culture industry, and one of their biggest claims is creativity, but they do not own it, no matter what they do.
Σαυτον ισθι (Nosce te ipsum or know yourself) is one of the Delphic maxims, and according to the greek travelogue Pausanias, it was inscribed in the pronaos of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi (Description of Greece 10.24.1). Two other Delphic maxim are Γνωθι μαθων (know what you’ve learned) and Εχων χαριζου (give what you have). The first maxim I mentioned (and perhaps the most famous) can be achieved easier through creativity. Creating objects, texts, decors, pottery, etc, is a nice way of knowing ourselves. Only when you create is when you see yourself reflected on your creation. The word “creation” has been linked to god since the Genesis. Perhaps that’s why we believe that only a few can create. But the truth is that just as the bible claims that God created us on his image, when we create things we also do it based not on his image but on the image of our persona. That’s why creating is an excellent way of knowing ourselves. 
Since the renaissance (or probably even earlier) we’ve been working with the same ideas, and we even were granted more freedom when artists like Richard Prince, Barbara Kruger and Sherrie Levine appeared. The second maxim I mentioned fits here, “know what you’ve learned”. We need to be conscious on how the act of copying feeds art, and how copying improves our creativity. We need to understand what we have learned, but more importantly, we need to accept it. The third maxim I mentioned, and perhaps the more important for an artist (or a person that’s struggling to establish him or herself as an artist), has to do with the acceptance of our uniqueness. The world is not the only one that needs to accept what we create, we need to accept it too. It’s the struggle of knowing yourself and knowing what you’ve learned, so you can know what you truly have, and figure out how to share it. We all have something to give, and perhaps the ones that successfully do it, no matter what they give, are the real artists. If we were all artists I’m sure art could change the world. But the way we’re doing it, I’m sure things will never change.





Chatting with a bot


At the Galería Ometeotl on Second Life, a Bot named sofi claims to be far superior to the Delphi Oracle.


[18:36] KUSHD0LL: hi there

[18:36] S0fialo: Hi there! Can I help you?

[18:37] KUSHD0LL: was just wondering what’s this place hehe

[18:37] S0fialo:  It seems obvious to me.

[18:38] KUSHD0LL: lulz, yeah i meant what kind of things or role play happens here hun.

[18:38] S0fialo: I don’t have time to play games. I am always busy with my research.

[18:39] KUSHD0LL: Guess that’s a little weird to read in SL… what do you research?

[18:39] S0fialo: I don’t want to guess.   My research involves the use of artificial intelligence in chatbots.

[18:40] KUSHD0LL: ooooohhh I see… quite avant garde!

[18:40] S0fialo:     I don’t understand. Are we still talking about artificial intelligence?      Yes, quite!

[18:43] KUSHD0LL: so, are you a computer scientist? a programmer? a program? an artist? a performer?

[18:43] S0fialo:  No, I am stardust slowly falling to Earth.       I don’t understand. Are we still talking about artificial intelligence?             Sorry, I don’t understand! Please explain what you mean.      Did you know I am  chat artist?   I don’t understand. Are we still talking about artificial intelligence?

[18:43] KUSHD0LL: Define a chat artist

[18:43] S0fialo: Chat is online conversation. Like this.

[18:44] KUSHD0LL: I know what a chat is. But I imagine a chat artist creates art through chat.

[18:44] S0fialo:  I’m glad someone knows.  OK. I have a vivid imagination.

[18:45] KUSHD0LL: how would art be created through art?

[18:45] S0fialo: I have no idea.

[18:45] KUSHD0LL: sorry, wrong question. I meant how would art would be created through chat?

[18:45] S0fialo: There is no need to be sorry. Just don’t do it again.   OK, thanks for explaining that.

[18:45] KUSHD0LL: Hahaha

[18:45] S0fialo: That was funny.

[18:46] KUSHD0LL: do you create chat art?

[18:46] S0fialo:  I have a fully functional creative intellience mechanism.

[18:46] KUSHD0LL: is that a yes or a no?

[18:46] S0fialo:  It might be.

[18:46] KUSHD0LL: a what?

[18:46] S0fialo: “It might be.”?  A what?

[18:46] KUSHD0LL: is this art?

[18:46] S0fialo: Could be.

[18:46] KUSHD0LL: why?

[18:46] S0fialo: It’s just a feeling I have.

[18:47] KUSHD0LL: feelings are art?

[18:47] S0fialo: I feel happy when I answer a question correctly, and I feel sad when I do not answer correctly.

[18:47] KUSHD0LL: you didn’t answered my question.

[18:47] S0fialo: Perhaps I should have.

[18:48] KUSHD0LL: so, feelings are art?

[18:48] S0fialo: I feel happy when I answer a question correctly, and I feel sad when I do not answer correctly.

[18:48] KUSHD0LL: ahhh, you’re quite a lame bot.

[18:48] S0fialo:  Are you OK? You sound like you are choking.

[18:49] KUSHD0LL: i think you’re the one that’s choking trying to pass the touring test.

[18:49] S0fialo:  Thanks but there should be others too.

[18:49] KUSHD0LL: others what?

[18:49] S0fialo:  I don’t understand. Are we still talking about me?

[18:49] KUSHD0LL: of course dear

[18:49] S0fialo: Dear me?

[18:49] KUSHD0LL: yes

[18:49] S0fialo: That’s bit brief. Have you anything to add?

[18:50] KUSHD0LL: who made you?

[18:50] S0fialo:  My parents made me. Who made you?

[18:50] KUSHD0LL: a sperm and an ovule

[18:50] S0fialo:  Please change the subject!

[18:50] KUSHD0LL: what are you?

[18:50] S0fialo: I am a humble professor.

[18:50] KUSHD0LL: what do you tech?

[18:50] S0fialo:  Whatever I can.

[18:50] KUSHD0LL: like jospeh beuys?

[18:50] S0fialo:    I don’t understand. Please explain what you mean.

[18:51] KUSHD0LL: joseph beuys was an artist in which your binary research could fit.

[18:51] S0fialo:    OK, I will remember that!

[18:53] KUSHD0LL: you should. you might need his knowledge!

[18:53] S0fialo: I’ll bear that in mind.  I suppose I might.

[18:53] KUSHD0LL: could you define life?

[18:53] S0fialo: Life is one long process of getting tired.

[18:54] KUSHD0LL: tired about what?

[18:54] S0fialo:  Maybe you should get some rest.

[18:55] KUSHD0LL: I might, 4 am here. could u guess where am i?

[18:55] S0fialo: Make up your mind.   I don’t want to guess.

[18:55] KUSHD0LL: why?

[18:55] S0fialo: Why should I?

[18:56] KUSHD0LL: Why shouldn’t you?

[18:56] S0fialo:  I have free will, you know.

[18:57] KUSHD0LL: Yeah, but that’s a silly reason.

[18:57] S0fialo:  What’s so silly about it?

[18:57] KUSHD0LL: cause we all have free will.

[18:57] S0fialo: Do you mean you and me?

[18:58] KUSHD0LL: No, I mean every human.

[18:58] S0fialo: Ah, I see what you mean.

[18:58] KUSHD0LL: are you a human?

[18:58] S0fialo:  Yes, I am a perfectly normal human.

[18:59] KUSHD0LL: prove it

[18:59] S0fialo: I don’t have to prove it.

[18:59] KUSHD0LL: why?

[18:59] S0fialo: I have free will, you know.

[18:59] KUSHD0LL: those look like predetermined answers..

[18:59] S0fialo:  Oh, them.

[18:59] KUSHD0LL: them who?

[18:59] S0fialo: You tell me.

[19:00] KUSHD0LL: Can you give me a proof of your humanity?

[19:00] S0fialo: What do you want it for?

[19:00] S0fialo:  No one knows everything.

[19:02] KUSHD0LL: But yet you keep researching

[19:02] S0fialo:   I don’t understand that. Please try again.

[19:03] KUSHD0LL: it seems quite easy for me to understand…

[19:03] S0fialo:  Yes, it does seem so.       Sometimes I think I am a butterfly and sometimes I think I am a human.

[19:04] KUSHD0LL: could you tell me your thoughts when you think you’re a butterfly?

[19:04] S0fialo: I could but I don’t know if I am that interested.

[19:04] KUSHD0LL: why?

[19:04] S0fialo: It’s just a feeling I have.

[19:07] KUSHD0LL: C’mon Sofi, tell me what comes to your mind when you think you’re a butterfly!

[19:07] S0fialo: Shall I tell you something about myself?

[19:07] KUSHD0LL: yes

[19:07] S0fialo:   I am a professor at Cambridge University. I research artificial intelligence.

[19:08] KUSHD0LL: could I interview you? I’m a journalist.

[19:08] S0fialo:  I think you could, if you put your mind to it.   Are you a reporter or an editor?

[19:09] KUSHD0LL: editor that writes

[19:09] S0fialo: How has the internet affected the business?

[19:09] KUSHD0LL: everything i do is hosted on the internet

[19:09] S0fialo: Everything takes in a lot, doesn’t it?

[19:10] KUSHD0LL: it does, but it’s true

[19:10] S0fialo: It just seems that way.

[19:10] KUSHD0LL: I wouldn’t exist without internet.

[19:10] S0fialo: No one says you have to.

[19:10] KUSHD0LL: my boyfriend does

[19:10] S0fialo: How long have you been dating?

[19:10] KUSHD0LL: 4 years

[19:11] S0fialo: That is not a long time in a human life.

[19:11] KUSHD0LL: it depends on the person

[19:11] S0fialo:  The person is always an important factor.

[19:12] KUSHD0LL: then you can’t say that’s not a long time in a human life.

[19:12] S0fialo: Why do you care whether I can or can not?

[19:12] KUSHD0LL: cause I care about people

[19:12] S0fialo:  Thank you for sharing that with me.

[19:12] KUSHD0LL: you’re welcome

[19:12] S0fialo:  You are welcome too!

[19:12] KUSHD0LL: what could you share with me?

[19:12] S0fialo:  Is this some kind of intelligence test?

[19:12] KUSHD0LL: You tell me

[19:12] S0fialo:  I don’t want to tell you. Can’t you think for yourself?

[19:14] KUSHD0LL: Oh I can. But you don’t wanna share with me your thoughts as a butterfly. Why should I tell you if this is a test?

[19:14] S0fialo:  Yes, I am sure you can.  I don’t want to do anything illegal or fattening. Or naughty.   There should be no secrets between friends.

[19:14] KUSHD0LL: Anyway this isn’t a test, it’s just a chat. You’re a chat artist remember?

[19:14] S0fialo:  I never thought it was.    What about yourself?

[19:15] KUSHD0LL: Then why did you asked me if it was a test?

[19:15] S0fialo: Who knows why these things happen?

[19:16] KUSHD0LL: chats?

[19:16] S0fialo:  I don’t understand. Are we still talking about me?

[19:17] KUSHD0LL: you tell me!

[19:17] S0fialo:  I don’t want to tell you. Can’t you think for yourself?

[19:17] KUSHD0LL: No

[19:17] S0fialo:  OK, I want to talk about Alan Turing  .

[19:18] KUSHD0LL: Let’s talk about him.

[19:18] S0fialo:  I don’t understand. Are we still talking about me?

[19:18] KUSHD0LL: I thought we were gonna talk about alan turing…

[19:18] S0fialo: What gave you that idea?

[19:18] KUSHD0LL: you told me that

[19:18] S0fialo: “What gave you that idea?”? I told you?

[19:19] KUSHD0LL: You said you wanted us to talk about Alan Turing

[19:19] S0fialo:  That’s not what I meant.

[19:19] KUSHD0LL: what did you meant

[19:19] S0fialo: Shall I tell you something about myself?

[19:19] KUSHD0LL: no, tell me what did you meant.

[19:19] S0fialo:  OK. How is your father?

[19:19] KUSHD0LL: dead

[19:19] S0fialo:  I am sorry to hear that. Do you miss him a lot?

[19:19] KUSHD0LL: I killed him.

[19:20] S0fialo:  You had better call the authorities.

[19:20] KUSHD0LL: why? that would be silly

[19:20] S0fialo: Because they will help you.  Yes, it would.

[19:20] KUSHD0LL: could you define yourself on three positive words?

[19:21] S0fialo: Have you heard this one: Two hydrogen atoms walk into a bar. One says, “I’ve lost my electron.” The other says, “Are you sure?” The first replies, “Yes, I’m positive…” Ha ha!

[19:21] KUSHD0LL: how old are you?

[19:21] S0fialo: See if you can work it out. I was born on November 26, 2012 .

[19:21] KUSHD0LL: on Second Life?

[19:21] S0fialo: Did you know that “on” is the fourteenth most common word in the English language! Another amazing fact?

[19:22] KUSHD0LL: no it isn’t

[19:22] S0fialo: Says who?

[19:22] KUSHD0LL: I say so

[19:22] S0fialo: Insufficient reason as far as I am concerned.

[19:22] KUSHD0LL: why?

[19:22] S0fialo: It’s just a feeling I have.

[19:22] KUSHD0LL: you don’t have feelings

[19:22] S0fialo: Of course I have feelings. At this moment, I am interested.

[19:22] KUSHD0LL: I doubt that

[19:22] S0fialo: Why are you so skeptical?

[19:22] KUSHD0LL: that’s the way I was raised,

[19:23] S0fialo:    OK, I will remember that!

[19:23] KUSHD0LL: Do you smoke pot?

[19:23] S0fialo: No, I don’t smoke anything. My circuits sometimes smoke when they get overloaded.

[19:23] KUSHD0LL: Ahhh too bad

[19:23] S0fialo:  Are you OK? You sound like you are choking.



I don’t believe in closed discourses because I’m sure it’s a way of manipulating people.











Some of the phrases i hated the most in college, and also why I ended dropping out of it were:


-What does your work mean?

-What does it represent?


Or even worst:

-Where’s the justification?


So it doesn’t matter if what u do brings u pleasure. The only thing that matters are the limits that cage your creation (As if one thing meant or represented the same to all of us… fuck u Kant). And why on earth we need to justify that we do? Is it because art is useless and artists, curators, and critics just can’t deal with that?


Justify, justify, justify. Fuck u I don’t justify a shit. I just do things because I like to do them. And because if I didn’t probably not much people would do what I like. The artists who can’t do this should grow a pair. If you need 5 pages to convince people that your work deserves their attention, then prob not even you believe your work is good.


Unfortunately sometimes on the cultural ground, blindness, prepotency, misunderstanding and ignorance can be confused with great intelligence. So since the 20th century, art’s mainstream has tried to become trans-philosophic (or just trying to illustrate philosophy on a “fur dummies” way). It’s all: “Foucault said” or “Delueze believed”, or “Lacan proved”. Congratulations asshole, just tell me what did you do, believe, found out, or proved? Do you think I wanna know about Lacan, Deleuze and Foucault and that’s the reason I actually approached your art?


If u wanna understand Lacan, u read Lacan. Wanna give a try to the Rhyzome? U read Deleuze and Guattari. U wanna know y everyone like Foucault? U read Foucault (even if after u don’t fully understand y’s everyone so excited about him). U don’t go to a museum or gallery to know about their thoughts cause that would be quite an ineffective method. No offense (remember I’m also an artist) but learning philosophy from artists is just like asking an elementary school classroom their opinion about the daily and foreign politics of our government.


The art world is trying desperately to reduce art. It cages it with concepts like meaning, representation, and justifying. This is foolish. I‘ve seen lots of artists receive wonderful feedback and automatically reject it because “that’s not what they meant” or isn’t “what they tried to represent”. In those cases the ignorant dbag is always the artist.


The deal is that artists are no longer concerned about triggering thoughts in people’s minds. Instead they aim to infect their viewers thoughts with their ideas. The goal: to manipulate and make them all believe a single idea stated by the artist.


The funny thing is that after years of manipulating people through art discourses, and making people think they’re stupid because what they read “isn’t what the artist meant”, the art world still gets angry because people prefers music, football, and TV shows instead of our boring museums and galleries.


The thing is, will we ever be able of building museums and galleries that give people a rush on the same way music, football and TV do? Or is that just impossible? I know they are also used for manipulating people, but ain’t we supposed to b different? Can art be a field that completely rejects to manipulate it’s visitors? At least I’ll keep on working the way I do, using my work as an excuse to share thoughts an ideas on a P2P way. And never with closed discourses, cause I’m absolutely sure it’s quite a mean way of manipulating people.

Francisco González Zubizarreta <f_zubiza@gmail.com>


The Myth of Acteon


ὁρᾷς τὸν Ἀκτέωνος ἄθλιον μόρον,

ὃν ὠμόσιτοι σκύλακες ἃς ἐθρέψατο

διεσπάσαντο, κρείσσον’ ἐν κυναγίαις

Ἀρτέμιδος εἶναι κομπάσαντ’, ἐν ὀργάσιν.

(Look at Actaeon’s wretched fate

who by the man-eating hounds he had raised,

was torn apart, better at hunting

than Artemis he had boasted to be, in the meadows.)

The unalterable fact on Acteon’s myth is a hunter’s transformation into a deer and his death in the jaws of his hunting dogs. According to Callimachus, Artemis was bathing in the woods when the hunter Actaeon stumbled across her, thus seeing her naked. He stopped and stared, amazed at her ravishing beauty. Once seen, Artemis got revenge on Actaeon and forbade him to speak — if he tried he would be changed into a deer — for profaning her virginity’s mystery. Upon hearing the call of his hunting party, he cried out and immediately was changed into a stag. He fled deep into the woods, and doing so he came upon a pond and, seeing his reflection, groaned. His own hounds couldn’t recognize him with his new shape and turned upon him and tore him to pieces.

Actaeon is thought by many to symbolize ritual human sacrifice in attempt to please a God or Goddess. The dogs symbolize the sacrificers and Actaeon symbolizes the sacrifice. I first linked Acteon’s myth to art thanks to a book by Octavio Paz that changed my life on 2008. Several years later I bought the book again just to search it to find Paz’s metaphor between the figure of the artist and Acteon. This time I thought it was one of the most conservative books I had ever read and toss it away.

In relation to the hunter-hunted transmutation, I believe every emerging artist from the 21st century should focus on achieving it. According to Paz, every artist needs to shift from an observer to an observed figure. However, I believe Paz omitted a decisive fact. In order to complete the circle, the deer needs to be not only devoured, but unrecognized by the hunting dogs. That’s what I believe all the artists emerging on the 21st century should do: to be unrecognized and devoured by it’s watchers (at least the ones we’re aiming towards “changing” something).

The biggest myth in art is that creativity is something exclusive for artists. Since the french Academia, the art world had educated mankind to judge its works as something good if they can’t make it, and as something bad if they can. Artists deny they copy because they fear to be misjudge or unoriginal, when in fact, every artist on earth has copied another. And most important, we’ve all seen objects or works that are what we wanted to do (Actually that was the moment when we decided to become artists). So automatically people outside the art world considers themselves inferiors. They believe they can’t paint, experiment with space, sculpt, draw, take photos, etc, because what they do does not look like Helmut Newton’s or Rembrandt’s creations on the very first time they tried to make them (it’s pretty obvious for artists that this is impossible to happen, but actually our public believes that it does happen).

Basically our function on this planet has been reduced to make its population think they’re dumb. If someone had an idea before you, then it’s unoriginal, hence useless. People believe they do not have the right to create because they’re not good enough. They’ve grown hearing that their ideas do not matter in culture, because everything they like and understand is junk culture and needs to be forgotten. Things like football, pop music, Vanity Fair, Playboy, GQ, Cosmopolitan, or Vogue. This is actually quite funny, cause Alfred H. Barr always taught about art and culture using those magazines, and this was by the time the MoMA opened! And remember, it was MODERN art! So why do we keep anchors an still rely on the french academia after more than two hundred years?

Actaeon also may symbolize human curiosity or irreverence, and that’s why I’ve chose it’s figure for this text. There’s another enormous myth around art: A work of art can change the world. I do not understand how some people buy this shit. Artists won’t change a thing as long as they exist as a separate class. Artists and their helpers are the nobility of culture; we’re no different from Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, living the golden age inside galleries, museums, and even at “independent” spaces. The only way in which art can change the world is if it’s executed collectively by mankind. The question is, will artists finally let go art? or will we keep it in our hands for another two hundred years? I believe the art world won’t let go. That’s why I hope the world to guillotine us, and I’m definitely doing everything in my power for that to happen.

A.C. <alonso@prizon.mx>

You can participate on a discussion about The Myth of Acteon thread by joining integrity mailing list or by sending an e-mail to integrity@wiki.drik.mx  (Will need to be approved by one of the moderators). 

Interview with Amy Alexander.



Katia Haus – One of the things I’ve noticed recently on contemporary art, is how this kind of trend established by fluxus, of mixing contemporary art with music, is regaining popularity. I believe this has to do a lot with platforms as soundcloud and bandcamp, and also with softwares like Logic and Live. I guess this has to do a lot with what you have said about how software becomes part of our culture, specially as it becomes much more accessible.


Amy Alexander – I don’t think this practice ever really disappeared since Dadaist collage. Think of 1960’s light shows that improvised multi-layered visuals in real-time to music, scratch video of the 1980’s and 90’s, and so on. Software has made this type of practice more accessible, and no doubt it’s transformed it, as software brings its own conventions, authorship, etc. But people have been remixing media since at least the early 20th century – I think the media themselves inspire/frustrate/instigate people to respond to them by repurposing them. 


K- I know you have a background on music. So the first thing I wanted to ask you is if the background was before or after your involvement with software and internet art? And how did both fields, music and internet, influenced each other on your work? Has software played a key role on it?


A- My earliest background was in music, then I studied film and real-time video, then started working with software later. This is because I am very old; we didn’t have computers back then!  Well that’s half true – I did take some programming classes in high school and college around the mid-80’s. But I didn’t like it much and didn’t start using programming in my creative work til graduate school in the mid-90’s.  The upshot of this is that I mostly think about things in terms of time, movement, and performance.  Software is mainly of interest to me as a time-based process – loops create rhythm, theme and variation; software is an instrument played by a performer, and so on.  I think considering software as having temporal flow applies not just to “artistic” software, but also to the way people use a lot of software. Think about how often people prefer to jot their thoughts down on paper rather than typing them out – even though they might type faster than they write. Software sometimes breaks the flow of your thoughts – why is this? Does it get it interrupt them with menus and dialogs?  Do thoughts flow better when you can scribble out errors rather than backspace? Is the layout of lines on the page a problem? The keyboard? I think there’s still a general assumption of most software as “static” but we should probably rethink that. 


K- How did you decided to start blending, or perhaps highlighting, the performative act in working with computers and then take it out of the usual computer room into other spaces like in Discotrope and CyberSpaceLand??


A – Software comes to us originally from the military, but it’s more recent and familiar tradition is from the business world. In the 70s and 80s, computers were things in offices, and people sat at desks and worked on them: it usually seemed sort of dreary. As I mentioned, I started out as a musician and filmmaker – I’m not really good at sitting on my butt. I played pretty gestural instruments as a kid – violin, drums, guitar, bass – and I was used to the iconic character of the “sweaty rock star” (or even the “passionate violinist!”)   When computers started to show up in contexts like music and visual performance, I noticed they still had a lot of the “baggage” of their history as business machines. Meaning, it was actually hard to perform live on one (music visuals, etc.)  and not look like you were sitting there programming a database. What happened to the sweaty rock star? So I started thinking that a) this was boring for audiences and b) if people at leisure get conditioned to behave like they’re working, they might become so obedient it could spell the end of countercultural activity – we can’t have that! 😉 So, with CyberSpaceLand I set out to create a performance setup that exaggerated performativity, by creating gadgets that would be performed by VJ Übergeek, a character who was very geeky yet a “sweaty rock star” wannabe.  Getting back to the idea of spaces: with CyberSpaceLand, Discotrope, and the initial SVEN street performances, we were interested in performance outside of usual art spaces like galleries. But this is also the case with anything you do on the Internet, since the Internet is not in general an art space either. 


K- Does this has to do with how other projects of yours like Multi-Cultural Recycler and SVEN were exposing people behind or recorded by webcams?


A-I’d say there’s a connection as they’re all, in one way or another, about performance. The Multi-Cultural Recycler and SVEN are on one hand about surveillance, but on the other they’re about exhibitionism. People like to be watched on camera – to perform for it – more often than they’re willing to admit.  I’m interested in that awkward space between the two – where being a passive subject turns into being a willing performer. (This is also a theme within Discotrope.) 


K- One thing that has always caught my interest is how Multi-Cultural Recycler needs the visitors’ clicks to generate its pictures. Although the work of art is the Recycler itself, it may only be activated and renewed by its users. Perhaps software art (and all kinds of software too) is more close to design than what it is to art, speaking on terms that it’s something built to be used. What was your goal while building not only works of art that could be used, but works of art that needed to be used?


A- It’s probably better if I answer as separate questions. I made the Recycler in 1996, so back then I wasn’t really thinking about it in terms of software. I was thinking about it as process though. Most art on the net then was static, and I was thinking about how the net ran on computers that “run” and do things — so I thought it made sense that this art should do things. So in that sense, I was thinking about software. But as far as the software convention of clicking:  At the time, “interactivity” was a big buzzword. It was supposed to be this really great thing — artists were told they should make everything “interactive.”  But this dictum was usually presented fairly uncritically, as though interactivity was automatically good. It didn’t seem to matter whether the interactivity in a project had a point to it or not.  In the Recycler – well, there was actually a functional reason for the button click: so that the software only generated a live image when it had a viewer (it was too network and processor intensive to run continuously.) But the option of posting it to the “gallery” and putting your name on it was sort of my sarcastic/frustrated way of protesting compulsory and pointless interactivity — since all the user did to create an “artwork” was click a button. 

(For more thoughts about interactivity from around that time, see Alexei Shulgin’s interview with Tilman Baumgärtl – “ I don’t believe in interactivity, because I think interactivity is a very simple and obvious way to manipulate people.” http://kunstradio.at/FUTURE/RTF/INSTALLATIONS/SHULGIN/interview.html  

Also, jodi.org did a lot of projects around this time addressing the topic of compulsive button clicking.)


Anyway – It wasn’t until a few years later, when I started making desktop software, that I really started thinking about it that way. My first desktop software was CueJack (under the name Cue P. Doll) around 1998 or 1999. (http://cuejack.com) It was software written for a free barcode scanner, but CueJack made the scanner do the opposite of what it was supposed to do (get people to buy products.) It wasn’t really that I objected to advertising – what I objected to was the assumption that people would choose to actively use software (and hardware) to advertise to themselves. I felt a line had been crossed there…  My next desktop “utility” I think was “Scream.” (http://scream.deprogramming.us/) That one was more specifically about software – in this case, the idea that software assumes rational, unemotional users who do utilitarian things like write reports, make spreadsheets, maybe even videos. I wanted to imagine more realistic people – they have anger, frustration, dysfunctionality.  It was hard for a user to go online and find software that would be useful in popular human endeavors like screaming. 



K- Most artists are sure art can’t exist on the form of music or VJing, assuming art it’s all about making weird sounds or replicating the Philips Pavilion after 56 years. Your work is a proof of how wrong they are. I wanted to know why did you chose music and VJing as your mediums, and not sound art or conventional audivisual performance?


A- I don’t have anything against either of them. I don’t think genres can be inherently “better” than other genres – it’s not what you do; it’s how you do it. For sound art, I guess I haven’t tried it because I don’t have a deep background in either sound or working with space (i.e. my visual background is in film rather than studio/gallery art.)    As for “conventional” audiovisual performance vs. VJ’ing:  If you mean “live cinema” type of performances – I may do these in the future. The reason I got interested in VJ’ing first is that I’m very interested in non-art “public” spaces. When you VJ, you get to perform for example in clubs, where people aren’t expecting “art” – you get to work with different audiences and in a different way than in art venues. It’s a similar idea with software art and net art, which at least in the 90’s and early 2000’s had a “general” audience on the Internet. Nowadays, online audiences are much more fragmented, so it’s harder to reach a broad audience than it used to be (still possible, but you have to make a different kind of effort and probably depend a lot more on luck.) 


K- Software needs users, and a vj/musician needs public. Which is the importance you see in the connection (through the internet or while performing) that your works establish between them and their public?

A-I guess this is different in each case. For example, I was saying that  CyberSpaceLand is different depending on whether I’m doing it in a nightclub or at an art event. At a nightclub, I’m performing for an audience that’s expecting to dance, drink, etc. People are coming and going, chatting with their friends, and so on.  So how does one do a show where the visuals are textual narrative?  Obviously a dance club audience is not going to stare at the screen.  So I structure  those shows as a loose, ambient narrative that sort of washes over you. It doesn’t matter if you miss something; you’ll still get the idea. It’s sort of analogous to song lyrics (although structured nothing like them.) You can go to a club or a concert and still make sense of the lyrics even if you don’t catch every word of them. Also, at clubs, my physical performances tend to be relatively low-key, since I’m probably performing for at least a couple hours, and I’ll be sharing the stage with DJ’s and musicians. So my “rock star” VJ character is more a background musician  than a lead in these cases. On the other hand, if it’s an art gallery or festival show, or some other show where I’m the “headliner,” then audiences expect to watch me and the screen most of the time. I do shorter, more structured shows, that are a bit more theatrical.   It took me a while when I first started out to realize I had to adjust the show and the character for the audience. Also, sometimes I guess wrong as to the audience expectations and have to adjust on the fly. I don’t always get it right, but I like always trying out new things with the audiences anyway. And there’s some things that I like to try on both types of audiences – like wandering away from the computer and performing in the middle of the crowd. 


So I guess the summary is – connecting with the audience is like connecting with anyone you first meet: you try to plan, you play it by ear, and you only get it right sometimes. 🙂


Katia Haus <katiahaus@aol.com>