AUDIENCE versus SHARING by epidemiC
"Everywhere our industrial
societies are obsessed with prestige (...)" Jean Baudrillard
"You don’t negotiate with the Mafia.” P.L. Vigna, Head of
the AntiMafia Commission
From biennale.py to
In his ”Critique Of The Political Economy Of The
Sign” (Paris 1972) J.Baudrillard stated, ”(...) objects are acting a
role in a never-ending play: functional objects pretend to be decorative
and disguise themselves as useless or fashionable; futile and useless
objects disguise themselves with practicality.” In a world of this
sort, the source code as object stands out from other objects by virtue of
its principle of truth. It is what it is. It does not pretend to be
anything other than what it is. And insofar as it does this, it is making
a political statement. Form and function coincide and reach the heights of
poetry itself, in the case of viruses, with all the foundational potential
of a language which was born for the net and developed on it.
the [epidemiC] standpoint, the value of an object does not mean what it is
worth in a monetary exchange, where money sets the laws, (as do market and
audience). The value of an object is the principle of exchange itself,
meaning File Sharing. Peer to Peer is a value in itself and so constitutes
what an object is worth. This leads to how we went straight from writing
biennale.py to designing AntiMafia software. This is a truly strategic
means for information on and the propagation of Peer to Peer practice.
Pre-internet media built their power on manipulation – and the
latter built its own power on reversibility (audience). Given the
intentionally false nature of such supposed two-way processes as readers’
letters, viewers’ phone calls, call centres and so on, this actually
prevented any form of sharing. There was thus no chance of a real duopoly
because the only thing which existed was the exclusive monopoly of the
broadcaster, based on the principle of non-sharing. Essentially, the
notion of audience makes people subjects, whereas the notion of sharing
makes them citizens.
Today, a huge number of individuals producing
through their own thought processes can control the entire production
process and, for the first time in human history, be connected 24 hours a
day in real time. Any spinoff cannot but influence the potential form of
democratic life today and this possibility is bound to affect what these
huge numbers of people do and where they do it. Peer to Peer means ”I want
it, I’ll have it”/”do you want it? Have it” and is thus a relationship
which is at once always and exclusively one of equals.
strategy of biennale.py was to get into the chain of signs in the dominant
model of an Audience, exploiting it in all its potential and making it
flare up off line. AntiMafia has chosen the opposite route, being both
reflection and action on horizontal and antagonistic sign production by
interpreting and using the sharing model innovatively.
Gnutella protocol, AntiMafia enables any net surfer to use their computer
to demonstrate their disagreement with anyone doing anything in any way
which they find ethically and politically unacceptable, such as companies,
multinationals, political institutions or government departments, by
taking or supporting protest action on the net (Peer to Peer). This makes
it the first mass public service devoted to minorities of any nature who
intend to state their dissent through disturbance by instigating or
supporting ongoing online campaigns. This is the main point about
AntiMafia software, since the value of the programme is its absolute
parity: it has nothing at all in common with the old Leninist notion of an
avantgarde group equipped with superior means, (technological expertise in
this case), acting and inciting others to act in a chain of hierarchical
command. Hitherto, all net protests have always been of this sort,
maintaining the digital divide within the confines set by the
computer-literate/equipped western world. Another thing such protests did
until now was to reduce the participation of any individual who was not
highly computer-literate/equipped, i.e. the majority of participants. This
made any protest merely symbolic and subordinate to this elite, and made
the protest itself all the less effective.
“It goes without
saying that the politically correct is not our cup of tea. AntiMafia is a
vehicle for the virus of solidarity. Where injustice finds no obstacle
before it, AntiMafia becomes an intuitive, effective means of dissent for
use on the internet”.
If anyone was wondering whether there
was anything like a seismograph, an instrument for measuring protest on
the net which would also enable them to take part and exchange with others
in on-line communities, then wonder no more: that’s AntiMafia.
anyone else was seeking a top-quality demonstration that the internet
today is a perfect model of democracy, then they won’t be disappointed:
because that’s AntiMafia too, the means that’s guaranteed to get
bureaucracy and the state out of their lives like nothing else can.
And if anyone else was demanding the necessary means to fight back
against the semiocapitalism and neo-market forces running everything
everywhere, then step right up: here’s AntiMafia.
AntiMafia is no
more a definite colour than the new global movement and, indeed, is driven
by the same intensity of protest and necessity of action. The new law
which AntiMafia sets on the net is that regimes, (political, economic or
social), are to be controlled from the bottom up.
AntiMafia a work of art?
What money buys in a work of art is
that which in fact is taken away from the general community so that it
circulates as an object/property within a restricted community, élite or
aristocracy whose potlach, intended to make the price of the work go up,
is actually just another way for the caste to define itself and has
nothing to do with the exchange formally between equals characteristic of
normal market competition. Once again, J. Baudrillard’s remarks are
“In fact, what is called the psychology of the art
lover is also completely part of the system of exchange. (...) The
psychological relationship between individual and object is thus not the
point where fetishism starts and which supports the principle of exchange.
It is never ‘the fetishism of the object’ which supports the principle of
exchange, ‘but the social principle of exchange which supports the
fetishized value of the object’.” (J. Baudrillard, ibid).
pay us when you like.