The immaterial Cyberspace, the net, is by no means an empty space. In the net a topography of a new kind has been developed, in which the former pioneers, eg artists and activists, have been declared outlaws by the law offices of the big companies. The economic structures claim control over the word, the name and its phonetic and etymological elements. In the virtual space of names typing mistakes provide an increase in turnover. To submit to this structural force means that the less experienced user can vanish from of the virtual community without trace. Virtual power is and makes any virtual live invisible. It aims at destroying any communication, the total isolation from media: name and image are to be deleted. For those groups of artists and activists operating within the net co-operating closely with other media, eg print media, is imperative.
The US-company Networksolution is operating like the residents’ registration office, it can reject immigrants and kick out inconvenient tenants. The loss of an arduously established domain is like a small extravagant boutique being hurled out of a capital’s main street into the side-street of a village.
The software of the order of culture is the precondition of the invisible execution of a structural force that transfers abstract routines eg juridical ones from reality into the World Wide Web in order to develop new economically motivated mechanisms of discrimination. Those mechanisms are founded on the same principles as described by Foucault (Foucault: Discipline and Punishment, 1977, engl. version The Order of Discourse, 1978). In the internet the grammar of culture becomes evident: who is speaking, who is allowed to speak (Blissett/Brünzels 1998, 25f) and in which context is it allowed to speak? Another crucial factor is: what is the name of the person, the entity, that leaves a html signature in the net while speaking?
PROF. DR. BIRGIT RICHARD is head of Media in Theory and Praxis at the Institute for Art Pedagogics of the Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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