The idea behind the following exhibition’s selection, or let’s call it a temporary convergence of forces, is to think Internet art radically different from those projects and activities on the net that nurture only their design aspects, without questioning the logic of their appearances or the social matrix to which they apply. The selection is about emphasizing responsibility, as critic Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak would say, for questions of rights, history, race and sexuality. I try to put forward those projects that display not only a clear political stance but also the politics of the Internet itself. Selected works demonstrate social interactions and solidarity as well as forms of resistance. The possibility of online resistance is located, paraphrasing Ewa Plonowska Ziarek (Director of the College of Arts and Sciences Humanities Institute at the State University of New York at Buffalo), in the rift between visible forms and forms of signification; i.e. in the disjunction going on at the very center of the Internet that is a technological, social and historical formation within the capitalist system, responding clearly to the ideology and needs of global capitalism.

The Internet is perceived here as a contested terrain that is under the pressures of control and copyrights policies. Today, its aspirations as an idealized communicative tool and a platform for the open sharing of information are radically suppressed. Aware of these changes to the Internet’s reality, these projects display an ambivalent dimension of the Internet, and re-inscribe it within the previously mentioned rift, between the forms of visibility and the forms of signification.


Life sharing by can be seen as a classic work in the field of Internet art, if not a punk display of prank esthetics. The work takes the form of a manifesto and presents the contemporary work of art as transformed, by the pressures of the art market and various institutions, into an obsessive administrative folder! The result is an innovation in form. When this project was realized for the first time, commissioned by and presented in the online gallery of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 2001, it was shown beside the lucid questioning, what are the conditions of production of Contemporary Art? The artists, as “obsessive bureaucrats” (also an interesting move in esthetics), resurfaced the art object as the perverse exchange of information, made available through their pathological, administrated sharing. The pressure of being innovative at any cost is serviced here by converging raw information and performative politics, where the subject is not a sensuous body, but a — folder.

Yves Degoyon, Naeem Mohaiemen and Eleanore Oreggia’s website s.100kb (*) an age-old streaming / confronting histories also formulates a strategy of convergence: to rearticulate anger towards contemporary oppression and injustice into productive resistance. To do so they display contested spaces (such as civilizations that are “utilitarian” vs. “more human-centric”) parallel to each other, rather than locked into dead-on positions of “cultural clash.” These models for dialogue, rather than for perpetuated ideas of hostility, produce reflections that favor issues concerning individuals who lack papers, immigrants and those who live at the border.

hackitectura harness the power of multitude by localizing the power of open source software through their implementation of Creative Commons policies. The prime idea of hackitectura, as argued by Nicolas Maleve (Zehar, no.55, San Sebastian, 2005) is not a negation of authors’ rights, which is at core here, but rather it is the reformulation of the way they are applied, and for whom they are applied. Creative Commons has grown up in the fertile terrain of criticism of authors’ rights and the hope of widespread adoption of free software. This “free” is also something that is to be attached to the larger concept of freedom, to human and citizens’ rights and to mobility. Therefore it is possible to say that hackitectura enlarge computer software as a possibility of hacking a much wider structure: society itself. In this way they display a force of self-organized politics that gravitates around the collective production and circulation of information and knowledge without restriction.

Andreja Kulunčić’s website Cyborg Web Shop is about a specific (residing on the fringe of society) population’s logic of life. She investigates procedures of deterritorialization of knowledge and reshaping of identities in close connection with the styles and tactics deployed in marketing. The resulting structure, an e-commerce site peddling expensive hardware one can install into her own body to enhance it, serves as a forum for debate, network for potential circulation, and channel for manipulating thoughts and identities. Cyborg Web Shop questions the unequal distribution of wealth as well as the contemporary construction of identity. Throughout history liberal, capitalist societies (a product of which is the Internet) have developed various modes of expression and contestation that purport to enable individuals to practice democracy. The possibility, here, with Cyborg Web Shop, of participating in such a system and remodeling our identities parallels the same possibility held in any other capitalist device. The paradox we see is that in the end we find ourselves stuck in the situation that instead of democratic contestation, we just update our identities, primarily by a technological means. Technology not only refers to those facilitated by the computer, but all technologies designed to produce change through action, such as surgery and gyms, which modify the body, as well as the electorate technologies that determine the power and influence to be held by a body.

Most of the selected projects strike back against the exuberant, but empty, over-designed world of the Internet and engage with those thinking spaces such as cyberfeminism, hacktivism, the Situationist movement, etc. Projects such as East Art Map and Claudia Reiche and Helene von Oldenburg’s The MARS PATENT display art as an experimental praxis that creates new modes of developing spaces and history; whereas Karla Grundick and Mistress Koyo’s Linux Virgin and Cicero Egli’s Zones de Convergence do the same for community and activism. Linux Virgin, Zones de Convergence and hackitectura all are spaces that fuel activities capable of transforming existing structures of knowledge and power. “No body is virgin in relation to Capital,” argues Linux Virgin. East Art Map and MARS PATENT present the breakdown of geographic constraints, which fosters critical awareness of (re) using technological developments of the Internet.

The cyberfeminist powers of Avatar Body Collision, by Karla Ptacek, Leena Saarinen, Vicki Smith and Helen Varley Jamieson and Mendi Obadike’s keeping up appearances are captured by tactical affiliations developed through emotional investments. In the case of Jamieson we get the eroticization and conceptualization of different power and art apparatuses. As Jamieson stated, "Avatar Body Collision’s artistic motivation is to explore the shadowy interface of theatre and the Internet, experimenting with the creative potential of the Internet as a space for live performance."

Michel Foucault in the past called for an aesthetics of existence, but today these works present a clear anti-aesthetics of existence, as a strategic elaboration upon a proper life, political and social misery and the art field seen as a complex cultural practice — and not only and solely a trendy scene for the production of art objects.

What is becoming evident by these projects is an obligation made by art to the broader social and political world. This can be described, in Emmanuel Levinas’ words, as “anarchic,” and it is precisely because of this that the works display neither any appropriative relation to the Other, nor a benevolent consumer attitude toward global capitalism.