[ISEA97] Artist Statement: Judy Malloy – Flame War

Artist Statement

Flame War is an interactive, collaboratively created website that (postulating that we are on the frontiers of a more mind-based way of existence) highlights the Primitive nature of the current state of the Internet where sometimes it seems that the object is to take as much territory as possible and to behave as rudely as possible in the process. As Americans moved west in the 19th century, the behavior of humans to each other was seldom mitigated by the veneer of polite society. The barroom brawl, the shootout, the holdup, the hanging, the massacre, the hunt, the constant struggle for existence, the taking of territory, were commonplace in this place and time. In this comparable new Internet territory in the late 20th century, we do not always behave as we would in our homes or in “meat time” work places. In this continually evolving, mind-driven virtual world, we compete with colleagues for virtual territor — often revealing raw animal instincts as we exchange insulting or sexually explicit phrases that would never pass our lips at a real workplace, conference, or social gathering. Flame Wars consists of a series of targets that range from Bill Gates to a “bozo of your choice;” a battleground that displays submitted flames; and a scoreboard. Flaming a target adds to the target’s territory. However, adding your name to the list of flame-throwers increases *our* collective, collaboratively produced territory. As of mid July, because many users flamed Bill Gates but did not identify themselves, Bill Gates holds the most territory.

  • Judy Malloy (U.S.A.) My work began with experimental artists books, with word works and related performances and installations. Since 1986, I’ve been making art with words on the Internet—a changeable, fluid, strange and wonderful virtual space. For over ten years, I have worked and made art online many ways — sometimes speaking solo, sometimes blending my voice with others, sometimes enhancing the virtual environment by building virtual structures, or recording/ installing the work of others. I am interested in integrating the inter-net into our lives — not primarily as an escape route or an alternate world but rather as an enriching, collectively experienced, communication-based culture. I’m currently Content Coordinator for Arts Wire and I edit Arts Wire Current, a weekly e-zine on social, economic, philosophical, and political issues affecting the arts. I’m also co-editing (with Pat Bentson) a book for Leonardo about women, art, and technology, and I’m an artist-in-residence at Xerox PARC.