#NetNarr Research: (re)New Media Art and Cultural Jamming

A research endeavor in Networked Narratives is an invitation to curate and document early examples of New Media Art from a book no longer readily available, except for its examples in the Internet Wayback Machine. Cool. Work done to document the art will eventually end up in this Tumblr site.

Students from different NetNarr classes and the open web are invited to join in. Scroll down through this post, about midway, and you will find instructions. From that same NetNarr call to help document early New Media Art:

For an appreciation of current digital art we will explore these foundational examples of digital, networked art. They represent a time of wild experimentation, new technologies, but also to see what could be done with much slower and less sophisticated internet. But also, we will examine the issues of how well digital art holds up over time, especially when many were created with technologies not currently available, or have themselves vanished. It also opens the door to question the ephemeral nature of digital art.

Here is mine, which looks at an example of early cultural jamming with technology and media and art:

  • Title of Art Work: ToyWar
  • Artist name(s): ®TMark
  • When it was published on the web: October 5, 2013
  • Technologies used: Website design
  • Current URL (if still available online): Not available
  • Link to Wikibook page (in Wayback Machine)https://web.archive.org/web/20131005190945/https://wiki.brown.edu/confluence/display/MarkTribe/RTMark (or specifically, for ToyWar: https://web.archive.org/web/20131005021204/http://toywar.etoy.com/)
  • A brief summary of the piece, not just copied from the book (quotes are okay, but write your own analysis of the piece): The ®TMark (or art mark) was a network of anti-corporate parody and satirical artists, designed to poke holes in the nature of the emerging Internet and information networks through what is known as “cultural jamming.” It’s first venture was known as the Barbie Liberation Organization and it later was the target of a legal battle from the musician, Beck, for its appropriation of his music. ®TMark often asked for ideas from its audience, and supported and even funded the development of such art. Its work had a significant anti-corporation nature to it that rattled the business world. The ToyWar effort is a good example, as it used biting satire in a real-life legal battle that unfolded in the courts over the use of the name “etoy,” with an actual toy company fighting a small artistic collective over the name and the web domain name. ®TMark’s project zeroed in on the way the business world takes ownership of names through legal battles and intimidation, and this cultural jamming project is reflective of an era when corporations began gobbling up URL and domain names. The®TMark group seemed to have developed extensive “war documentation” of the battle between a small company and the larger corporation, turning the financial and legal battle into a form of public art and protest, including the development of a “game” in which ®TMark members took part in Denial of Service attacks at the corporate website in a form of virtual “sit ins” and other new media protests.
  • Screenshots that represent the work
    The ToyWars Documentation Project
    The ToyWars Documentation Project
  • The ToyWars Documentation Project
  • Information on where the artist is now: It seems as if the ®TMark may have fallen apart or merged into other anarchic collectives. Online searching reveals little information about the project and the collective’s website link seems to have been taken over by some Japanese contraception company marketing the “after pill.” Joke? Not? Subversive Art? I don’t really know.

Interesting stuff …

Peace (in the documentation),

  1. You made sense of more than we did researching this one! We got the satire part right and the meta aspect mirroring the IRL legal battle but some of the other eluded us~

    etoy sounds like a very cool and interesting work, though. I kind of wish it was still around to play/read~


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