[ISEA2011] Panel: Geoff Cox & Ta­tiana Bazz­ichelli (moderators) – DON’T HATE THE BUSINESS: BECOME THE BUSINESS!

Panel Statement

Chair Per­sons: Geoff Cox & Ta­tiana Bazz­ichelli
Pre­sen­ters: Dmytri Kleiner, Elanor Colleoni, Chris­t­ian Ulrik An­der­sen, Søren Pold & Maya Bal­cioglu

The panel in­ves­ti­gates some of the in­ter­con­nec­tions be­tween art, ac­tivism and busi­ness. “Don’t hate the media, be­come the media”, was one of the slo­gans of In­dy­media. We are ap­ply­ing this crit­i­cal hands-on per­spec­tive to the busi­ness frame­work. Pre­sen­ters ex­am­ine how artists, rather than re­fus­ing the mar­ket, are pro­duc­ing crit­i­cal in­ter­ven­tions from within. As the dis­tinc­tion be­tween pro­duc­tion and con­sump­tion ap­pears to have col­lapsed, every in­ter­ac­tion in the info-sphere seems to have be­come a busi­ness op­por­tu­nity. There­fore, the cre­ative in­ter­sec­tions be­tween busi­ness and art be­come a cru­cial ter­ri­tory for re-in­ven­tion and the rewrit­ing of sym­bolic and cul­tural codes, gen­er­at­ing po­lit­i­cal ac­tions or so­cial hacks that use a deep level of irony, but also un­ex­pected con­se­quences. The tac­tics demon­strate the per­me­abil­ity of sys­tems — that these can be re­worked — and more so, that rad­i­cal in­no­va­tion re­quires mod­i­fi­ca­tion of the pre­vail­ing busi­ness logic.  The back­drop of the Is­tan­bul Bi­en­nale makes a use­ful ref­er­ence point here as one of the mark­ers along with art fairs in gen­eral for the com­mod­ity ex­change of artis­tic pro­duc­tion. We are not sug­gest­ing these are new is­sues — as there are many ex­am­ples of artists mak­ing in­ter­ven­tions into the art mar­ket and al­ter­na­tives to com­mod­ity ex­change — but we aim to dis­cuss some of the re­cent strate­gies that have emerged from a deep un­der­stand­ing of the net econ­omy and its mar­kets.  The panel ex­plores some of these con­tra­dic­tions: that on the one hand, there are al­ter­na­tive or dis­rup­tive busi­ness mod­els that de­rive from the art scene, often as crit­i­cal or ac­tivist in­ter­ven­tions, but on the other how these prac­tices can be eas­ily co-opted by pro­pri­etary busi­ness logic. This is per­haps ex­em­pli­fied by the busi­ness idea of ‘dis­rup­tion-in­no­va­tion’, where dis­rup­tion is con­sid­ered to be a cre­ative act that shifts the way a par­tic­u­lar logic op­er­ates and thus pre­sents new­found op­por­tu­ni­ties. Does this mean that well-mean­ing crit­i­cal strate­gies of artists and ac­tivists are self-de­feat­ing? How do we de­velop dis­rup­tive busi­ness mod­els that do not sim­ply be­come new mod­els for busi­ness that ul­ti­mately fol­low cap­i­tal­ist logic?  We main­tain there is noth­ing wrong with doing busi­ness as such.

  • Geoff Cox is a Post-Doc Re­searcher in Dig­i­tal Aes­thet­ics as part of the Dig­i­tal Urban Liv­ing Re­search Cen­ter, Aarhus Uni­ver­sity (DK). He is also As­so­ci­ate Cu­ra­tor of On­line Pro­jects, Arnolfini, Bris­tol (UK), ad­junct fac­ulty, Transart In­sti­tute, Berlin/New York (DE/US), As­so­ci­ate Pro­fes­sor (Reader), Uni­ver­sity of Ply­mouth (UK) and trea­surer of the Mu­seum of Or­dure (UK). He is an ed­i­tor for the DATA Browser book se­ries (pub­lished by Au­tono­me­dia, New York), and most re­cently co-edited Cre­at­ing In­se­cu­rity (2009). anti-thesis.net
  • Ta­tiana Bazz­ichelli is PhD Scholar at Aarhus Uni­ver­sity. She is board mem­ber of the Dig­i­tal Aes­thet­ics Re­search Cen­ter in Aarhus and vis­it­ing scholar at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity (2009). She has been ac­tive in the Ital­ian hacker com­mu­nity since the end of the ’90s and is the founder of the AHA: Ac­tivism-Hack­ing-Artivism pro­ject (http://?www.?ecn.?org/?aha), which won the hon­orary men­tion for dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ties at Ars Elec­tron­ica (2007). She wrote the book Net­work­ing. The Net as Art­work (Costa & Nolan, 2006/DARC, 2009). ecn.org/aha     networkingart.eu

Full text (PDF) p. 553-555