Re: [rumori] NYT article on «ark
Date: Fri Aug 18 2000 - 18:07:39 PDT

actually BLO changed the voice boxes
of the barbie dolls, so that the gi joe voice
box was in the barbie and vice versa.


Scott Leonard wrote:

> Is this the same movement as the Barbie Liberation Organization? > They buy up Barbies, mutilate them for political effect, and re-shelve > them. They do interesting things with GI Joe's as well. > > There is an entertaining video documentary available in stores called > "Sonic Outlaws", which outlines the efforts of the BLO as well as > Negativland and Tape Beatles. > > Scott Leonard > > > "stereogab ......" <> wrote: > > sorry for the poor formatting. > > > tech/00/08/circuits/articles/17rtma.html > Cultural Sabotage Waged in Cyberspace > > By ALISSA QUART > > THIS summer, Frank DeGraff, a 19-year-old college student, > decided that he > wanted to invest money through the Web, so he started > working three jobs. > When he had saved $200, he went to and placed the > money in one > of the site's funds, the Education Fund. > > But instead of money, the only returns he was promised were > acts of > cultural sabotage. Mr. DeGraff is hoping that his investment > will be used > for projects like making "anti-souvenirs," aimed at various > social > injustices and offered to tourists, or purchasing recorded > books by > conservative pundits so leftist speeches can be recorded > over the original > material and the tapes can be put back onto sales racks in > book stores. > Clearly, this is no typical investment firm. RTMark (its > name derives from > "registered trademark" but is pronounced "art mark") > describes itself as a > brokerage that "supports the sabotage of corporate > products." Its projects > have included switching voice boxes in Barbie and G.I. Joe > dolls and > creating, a look-alike Web site that lampooned the > World Trade > Organization. > > "Before I met RTMark through the Net," Mr. DeGraff said, "I > thought I was > alone in feeling like corporations were destroying this > country." > > But if the popularity of RTMark is any indication, Mr. > DeGraff is far from > alone. Last winter, the nine-year-old group managed to > summon thousands of > Web surfers to the defense of a small Swiss art project > called etoy > ( The online toy seller eToys ( > )had tried to > shut down etoy by filing intellectual-property trademark > suits, even though > the Swiss group had owned the domain name since ! 1995, > before eToys existed. > > While eToys demanded that etoy give up its domain name, > RTMark helped > coordinate a denial-of-service attack during Christmas week. > An estimated > 10,000 members of this network of cybercrusaders sent > multiple e-mail > messages to eToys, requesting information and using false > names to > subscribe to an eToys registry. The action, something of a > virtual sit-in, > brought down the company's servers. > > Ultimately, thanks in part to RTMark's efforts, the art > group won the > right to keep its domain name and received $40,000 from > eToys to cover > legal fees. > > But even after this very public action, RTMark remains > something of a > mystery. The group's three core members use assumed names -- > Candid Lucida, > Ray Thomas and Frank Guerrero -- and refuse to reveal their > real names. > They say they are in their 30's and work as aschoolteacher, > a lawyer and a > financial analyst. Their "fund managers" -- volunteers who > help bring! in > investments and help choose and allocate money to projects > -- also tend to > have a sketchy understanding of who is behind RTMark, they > say, because > most of their transactions occur via e-mail. > > Mr. Thomas says he puts 10 hours a week into RTMark and > lives in San > Francisco, thousands of miles from Mr. Guerrero, who lives > in upstate New > York. Ms. Lucida, who lives in Los Angeles, said, "We met on > the Web and > still work over the Net." > > Zach Exley, the network's collaborator on a parody George W. > Bush Web site > that drew complaints from the Bush campaign, said he had > never met any of > the three in person. > > "We behave like a corporation and stay anonymous to limit > liability," Ms. > Lucida said. In truth, some of the group's actions could be > considered > illegal, said James Boyle, a professor of law at Duke > University Law > School, but other actions could fall under "fair use" or > First Amendment > protection. "Mostly, they are relying! most on being small, > mobile and > intelligent," Mr. Boyle said. > > RTMark's motto is to attack without causing physical injury, > and its > projects sometimes go to extremes. There is the yearly > Corporate > Poetry Contest, for example, in which users send in actual > e-mail > exchanges with customer service representatives. > > Some entries sound like found poetry composed in > business-speak. > > This year, RTMark has championed small art sites -- among > them JKREW, > Leonardo magazine, and -- > in more domain > name skirmishes with corporations of similar names that have > told the > small sites to stop using those Web addresses. Among the > future projects > on its Web site is an action to place unconventional > greeting cards into > supermarket displays; the cards do things like > congratulating people for > eating free-range pork or congratulating gay partners for > their marriage. > > Faceless, playful political theater against big! business is > not new. RTMark > is a part of a lively strain in American protest politics > that includes > anarchists and Yippies. It is a contemporary cybercrusade. > > RTMark offers ideas for anti-corporate pranks without charge > on the Web, > much as online groups in the open-source movement believe in > making > technology available to users so they may alter it as they > see fit. Like > these groups, RTMark argues that the freedom to appropriate > and transform > corporate products and Web sites is good for intellectual > progress. > > As one of RTMark's supporters put it during the etoy > struggle, "The etoy > battle allowed us to point out that the Web has been > corporatized." > > Mr. Thomas said, "We want to show that domain-name lawsuits > companies slap > on artists are just like the lawsuits they spring on > ordinary people when > they are fighting toxic waste in their communities." > > But like any guerrilla network given to over-the-top > spectacles, RTMark > ! can make mistakes. > The domain name struggle in June is a > case in point. > When J&R Film/Moviola Digital demanded that Big Miss > Moviola, a women's > film distribution network, refrain from using "Moviola" in > its Web > address, the network's 26-year-old founder, Miranda July, > got in touch with > RTMark. RTMark promptly sent irate e-mail messages to > J&R/Moviola's > employees and threatened another virtual sit-in, akin to its > etoys war. > > But this campaign had a different ending. For one thing, J&R > Film had > trademarked "Moviola" in 1965 for its brand of film-editing > equipment. For > another, J&R Film/ Moviola is a small family-run company > with about 60 > employees. > > "RTMark may have an interesting, important message about > corporate abuse > of power," said Dana Newman, a lawyer for J&R/Moviola, "but > our situation > simply does not fit neatly into their agenda." > > Ms. July, for one, has given up her fight. While! she still > respects > RTMark, she says, she feels that her battle was swept up > into the group's > larger agenda and tactics. > > "I could save the name but be completely > defined by the > battle," she said. She has since given up the struggle for > the name in any > form and plans to rename her Web site. > > Nonetheless, the group's pranksterism continues to entice > "investors" and, > now, owners of New York City art galleries. In September at > Exit Art, > RTMark will present a parody on biotechnology and gene > patenting, using the > PowerPoint software that is often used for board-room > presentations. > Regarding that exhibit, and one planned at the same gallery > in 2001, Ms. > Lucida is typically blasÚ. > > "We appreciate the art world attention," she said, "but we > wouldn't want to > wind up in a museum." > > Mr. Thomas added, "We are activists, not artists." > > Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company > > __________________________! > ______________________________________________ > Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at > > > ---------------------------------------------------- > Rumori, the Discussion List > to unsubscribe, send mail to > with "unsubscribe rumori" in the message body. > ---------------------------------------------------- > Rumori list archives & other information are at > > ---------------------------------------------------- > > > ----------------------------------------------------------------------- > Do You Yahoo!? > Send instant messages & get email alerts with Yahoo! 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