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Technologies to the People® – Our Sponsor, or: How we got the attention of both Apple™ and the left German art critique

by Inke Arns, Berlin, June 2000 <inke@snafu.de>

written for Technologies to the People [d.i. Daniel Garcia Andujar], La sociedad informacional, catalogue, to be published in August 2000 [English / Spanish]

„I am not fond of manipulation, and I think you should not use it for political aims.” (1)
(Left-wing squatter in Berlin, April 2000)
In 1996-1997 together with Ute Vorkoeper we organized and curated the international exhibition project discord. sabotage of realities (2) which took place in the Kunstverein and the Kunsthaus in Hamburg. The exhibition was part of the Hamburg Week of Visual Arts 1996, partly funded by the city’s Cultural Office. Artists worldwide were invited to submit artistic concepts dealing with today’s more and more un-peaceful political and social realities. The organizers received more than 500 concepts from 31 countries. The actual exibition discord was divided into six thematic zones focussing on control (security/insecurity), news services (disinformation), everyday (alienation), border politics (walking the tightrope), state machineries (law, discipline, repression), science fiction & economy (the administration of the future) and included an international selection of 34 artistic works most of which were premiered in the exhibition, and 26 additional artistic concepts from 18 countries.

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un-frieden. sabotage von wirklichkeiten

kunstforum
Band 136, Februar – Mai 1997, Seite 363, AUSSTELLUNGEN

HAMBURG
Jens Rönnau
un-frieden. sabotage von wirklichkeiten

Kunstverein und Kunsthaus in Hamburg, 30.11.1996 – 19.1.1997

540 Künstler aus 31 Ländern der Welt waren 1996 dem Aufruf gefolgt, Konzepte zum Thema “un-frieden. sabotage von wirklichkeiten” einzureichen. Per weltweitem Internet hatten die Ausstellungskuratorinnen Ute Vorkoeper und Inke Arns für eine Beteiligung an diesem Projekt geworben, das im Rahmen der Hamburger Woche der Bildenden Kunst 1996 präsentiert wurde. Nur 34 Projekte davon wählte die Jury für jene Schau in den Räumen von Kunstverein und Kunsthaus Hamburg. Allerdings waren fast alle anderen eingereichten Konzepte den Ausstellungsbesuchern ebenfalls zugänglich: 26 in einem speziellen Konzeptraum, die übrigen in einem Archiv – “ein Ort für Entdeckungen und Vernetzungen”, so die Ausstellungsmacherinnen.

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Research department

Presented as large-format wallpaper installation » The Research Department of Technologies To The People devotes itself to statistically recording and presenting core areas of contemporary life. In regard to levels of technology ownership in the USA, the department tells us that 77.3 % of the population possesses a microwave, but only (only?) 55 % a supermarket price scanner. Another statistic reveals that Washington and California are the federal states in which UFOs are most frequently spotted (New York trails far behind at the other end of the scale). We are also given percentages for the distribution of religions over the continents, beverage consumption in selected countries, the frequency with which types of passwords are cracked, the primary online activities of women, and the distribution of employment in the USA (with data supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U. S. Department of Labor). In the exhibition the statistics are presented as large-format printouts covering the walls of the room dedicated to irational’s Collecting data all over the net project. The collection of all kinds of data (via surveys, for instance, or loyalty cards) combined with the personalization facilitated by increasing linkage with databases has now become a powerful tool for consumer control. With its own requests for sensitive or wholly irrelevant information, irational began from an early date to confront the increasingly apparent mania for collecting data. (Inke Arns)

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Awards and Acknowledgements

A long list of awards conceivably and inconceivably bestowed on the Technologies To The People website which, as its makers would have us believe, is »one of the most popular art sites on the internet «. Framed in silver like a collection of especially valuable postage stamps, the some 30 distinctions presented in the original thumbnail format include »Browser Watch — Net Fame!«, »An Internet cool site of the day«, »Magellan Star Site«, »Prescribed by Dr. Webster’s Web Site of the Day«, »Art Dirt« — »Your Webscout Way Cool Site«, and »Orchid Award for Page Excellence«. (Inke Arns)

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Awards and Acknowledgements

A long list of awards conceivably and inconceivably bestowed on the Technologies To The People website which, as its makers would have us believe, is »one of the most popular art sites on the internet «. Framed in silver like a collection of especially valuable postage stamps, the some 30 distinctions presented in the original thumbnail format include »Browser Watch — Net Fame!«, »An Internet cool site of the day«, »Magellan Star Site«, »Prescribed by Dr. Webster’s Web Site of the Day«, »Art Dirt« — »Your Webscout Way Cool Site«, and »Orchid Award for Page Excellence«. (Inke Arns)

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Street Access Machine®

isam press

Presented with original posters » Products offered by Technologies To The People (TTTP), the company founded by Daniel G. Andújar, range from the Street Access Machine® over the Recovery Card® and Internet Street Access Machine® to the Personal Folkcomputer®. All of these (fictitious) products and technologies aim to allow the socially underprivileged to participate in the emergent information society. While the Internet Street Access Machine® promises »access for all«, the Street Access Machine® and Recovery Card® enables beggars to accept payment by credit card. The project unmasks the belief, propagated by those who manufacture the associated products (and by »Californian ideology«*), that a democratizing potential is inherent to technology. The world shown by TTTP on its posters and leaflets is neither more just thanks to the deployment of these new technologies, nor is it accessible to all — despite the claims made by providers of telecommunications applications. Even if they use the latest info-society tools, beggars remain beggars, the socially marginalized remain socially marginalized. Technologies tend to reinforce, rather than alter, social structures. When the project was presented in Hamburg in 1996, a (bona fide) mail was received from Apple, announcing the company’s interest in the (fictitious) product range of TTTP.** (Inke Arns)

  • See Richard Barbrook & Andy Cameron: Die kalifornische Ideologie, in: Telepolis, 5 February 1997, www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel1/1007/1.html
    • un-frieden. sabotage von wirklichkeiten — discord.sabotage of realities, Kunstverein and Kunsthaus Hamburg, 1996, curated by Inke Arns and Ute Vorkoeper, see www.projects.v2.nl/~arns/Archiv/Discord/. In regard to the participation of Technologies To The People, see also Inke Arns: Technologies to the People® — Our Sponsor, or: How we got the attention of both AppleTM and the left German art critique. In: Technologies to the People®. Annual Report 2000 [i. e. Daniel G. Andujar], Alicante 2001, www.projects.v2.nl/~arns/Texts/tp.html
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