etoy at ZHAW Zentrum Kulturmanagement

Social software changes the art world. A one day conference at ZHAW, the Zurich School of Management and Law invites art professionals to discuss the impact of blogs, wikis, online networks and communities. Agent HAEFLIGER represents etoy as an art organization that both produces art and integrates the art value chain from ideation to collection.

Join us in Zurich on Friday, September 24, 2010.

Conference flyer / Sign up here.


etoy leaving China

- - - etoy.UNIVERSE / Breaking news - - -

1> Another brand new etoy.TANK gets loaded for
one of the most interesting contemporary art
shows: Manifesta7!

2> Last day of the show "Synthetic Times"
at the National Art Museum of China / Beijing

Meet etoy.MONOROM and etoy.ZAI TODAY (July 3)
between 3PM and 5PM for a last guided personal
tour and to learn how they experienced China.

3> etoy.CHINA-BRANCH installed and activated:
etoy.CORPORATION - well known for its global
approach to culture and commerce - tastes
yellow river capitalism and tries to find out how
to get its hands dirty in the CHINA-GAME.
(or to survive and produce under THE CHINESE
CONDITIONS that started to rule the planet).


- - - IN DETAIL - - -

soon start to hyperventilate as he prepares the
massive transfer of gear and etoy.CREW-MEMBERS
from all over the world (Zurich, Berlin, Basel and
Beijing) to Bolzano/Italy where etoy.CORPORATION
will install its summer camp.

etoy was selected by the Manifesta curators of
RAQS from New Delhi
to question and shake the concept of emotional
data collection and long term storage of information
in distributed social networks.

"Manifesta is one of the most important European
Biennials of Contemporary Art and it takes place
every two years in different cities. As Documenta
Kassel and the International Art Exhibition of the
Venice Biennale, it is one of the highlights for
international contemporary art".

For people staying in Europe this summer we
recommend a two+ day trip to the region of
Trentino – South Tyrol, Italy or even the guided
trip of Kunsthalle St.Gallen that takes you to all
the important Manifesta venues in September.
(hurry up now! you can still reserve a seat:

The etoy.CREW moves to Bolzano for the full
duration of Manifesta7 for self-encapsulation
experiments (another series of work for MISSION
ETERNITY) and a summer of interventions
in the Italian Alps. After Beijing, Bolzano will
come as a mountain retreat and in August hosts
the annual general meeting of the etoy.VENTURE
ASSOCIATION, the non profit organization within
the etoy.UNIVERSE. Between July 19th
(Manifesta opening) and November 3rd 2008,
a modified etoy.TANK will be permanently
installed for MISSION ETERNITY data collection:
etoy.AGENTS will work, cook, eat, talk, meet, and
sleep in the container to record their personal
ARCANUM CAPSULES. In the tradition of
Joseph Beuys, the agents are part of the
show and do daily container tours to offer insights
into the production of etoy.CODE and eternal data


2> Tomorrow 7-3-2008 is the last day of the show
"Synthetic Times" at the National Art Museum
of China / Beijing.
Not to miss if you're in the city! This has been
one of the best media art shows for years and
documents China's will to connect with the world
not only on the level of trade and sports but also
in the high-risk and unprofitable field of so-called
"media art".

While most major European and American art
institutions still avoid trouble triggered by
electronic components and confusing user
interaction, curator Zhang Ga and his team at
NAMOC invested massive resources and passion
into one of the most professional but also most
interesting shows that etoy ever participated in.
Since the opening many thousands of Chinese
and international visitors have seen the
exhibition that features works from the most
influential contemporary artists who go beyond
showing colorful surfaces and disconnected objects.

etoy picked a few favorites in four relevant but
arguable categories.

Many thanks to Zhang Ga, Fan Di'An, Li Zhenhua,
and our incredible local etoy.AGENT Liu Jia!
Kisses to Pro Helvetia and Swiss Nex and all other
organizations/individuals who made this exciting first
step into the Chinese market possible and take the risk
to invest in complicated geek art and future culture
while the money-driven art market wants easy to
consume products. CREDITS

The SARCOPHAGUS will be exposed to the Beijing
heat for another few days and is then being injected back
into the global cargo package system with thousands
of other shipping containers leaving China every day
in order to satisfy our prurience for cheap products.


3> To study but also to participate in THE NEW
ORDER + CHAOS etoy spent the last five weeks in
China and established a sustainable network of
collaborators, suppliers, spies and friends. etoy
entered the CHINA-GAME that will probably last
for quite a while ...and definitely goes on when all
the athletes, journalists and protesters go back
home to train for the next mega event.

One more time etoy.CORPORATION accepted to
loose its innocence and to damage its image of a
politically correct artist collective because we want
to know what's happening to this planet and its
inhabitants - first hand and from an artistic
perspective! etoy was always - and must remain -
part of the mess and in the eye of the storm in
order to create art that is about and for our time.

In the eyes of many observers, the future of billions
of us is currently shaped in China (especially in Asia,
Africa and South America). We can ignore it, hate it,
complain, express our foggy concerns - or
study China carefully to be prepared for new
impulses and to underline our suggestions or
demands with knowledge and respect.

To get a more precise idea of what we refer to, etoy
recommends the book: "What does China think?" by
Mark Leonard.

The show at the National Art Museum of China
impressively demonstrated China's position as a new
leader who takes risks. For etoy, it is not an accident
that one of the first big art museums that shows
media art on this scale is located in China.
May the rest of the art world learn from this step
and move towards higher impact and face some of
the big questions of our time: what happens to
the human civilization as relationships and
transactions get more and more virtual and
humans are penetrated by machines and information?

Another example of China's efforts to take over:
currently hundred thousands of design and engineering
students are educated in this country! To simply
assume that these people have no style (something
we hear frequently in Europe) is naive. Some of these
brains will redesign our code and way of life while
our typical creative heroes in London and New York
probably make a lot of money or increase fame by
designing some fancy art books, luxury furniture
or cool international hotels: nice and expensive
stuff with minimal impact on HARDCORE REALITY.
Just sushi - No substance.

etoy.ZAI's lecture at Tsinghua University was
scheduled on a Sunday morning 10AM (because
he refused to start at 9AM). About 30 interaction
design students showed up (most of them 10
minutes in advance) - not because they had to
- but because they where interested in tasting
something different from their usual brain food.
It did not matter so much to them that they
did not "get it" right from the start...(who gets
it anyway?) The audience accepted the fact that
there are many concepts and approaches to
interaction design and art. Some of them wrote
emails after the presentation and came to meet
etoy at the museum for a deeper discussion.
This is something that simply doesn't happen at
most European universities.

What etoy.AGENTS face here is pure motivation
and a striking number of open-minded individuals
who are willing to SHARE time, passion and their
often quite limited resources. Yes! We miss this
quality in good old Europe and we admit that
it feels very good to work here. People run and
jump. Not just for money. Forget this cliche.

etoy does not want to glorify the China-Hype or
downplay the threats, horrible side effects, brutal
logic of the transformation of this society or even
the violations of human rights in China. But etoy -
as anybody else who is an active player in this life -
is involved and obliged to do more than to complain
and accuse. We want to interact. Even if we risk to
get our hands dirty or to make mistakes. We want
to be part and SHARE the mess instead of playing
the innocent smart ass who does not even know
who assembled his/her computer, ipod, camera,
sneakers or who thermoformed the plastic box in the

etoy.CONCLUSION: today - after 4 weeks in China
-the etoy.MANAGEMENT decided to enter a test
phase in which 80% of all physical products such
as print material, share certificates, steel parts for
etoy.TANKS and hardware components will be
produced in China - not by intransparent
middlemen but directly by etoy.PARTNERS.

The results will be carefully evaluated (from
emotional, economical, cultural, and political
viewpoints). Subsequently, etoy.SHAREHOLDERS
will be called to vote on the future strategy and
on how to do business with the red giant.

As with the digital revolution in the early 90s, etoy
another highly questionable rush that drives our
planet close to the collapse these days:

The rise of the Internet and the acceleration of
global trade is very directly linked and in many
ways of similar nature. We move things fast:
information and goods. We all want lower prices
and permanent availability. This demands faster
cables, lager vessels and huge computer
systems to coordinate and administrate
distribution and delivery. We can produce
everywhere because we can communicate fast
and cheap. We can customize and adapt in real
time. And the problems become obvious: the
world becomes "flat" and standardized, the
environment suffers, the climate collapses, we
heat up everything - even by cooling down
our machines and sweating bodies.

But what does it help to only complain and
express concerns from a pseudo outsider
position? We are linked anyhow and etoy
dogmatically supports links. The more the better!

There will be no simple answers to complex
problems. The Bug sits most likely inside
our own genetic code or global culture.

etoy decided to meet the bug inside itself. Only
fixing the internal bug can fix the external one.
We love it and hate it - we need to know.

To turn theory in practice, the corporation recruited
two new agents living in Beijing: etoy.LIU, a young
economics student and project manager who grew
up in the Chinese capitol and now plays a key role
in establishing etoy's business relations with local
sound producers, money printers, steel workers,
card board-, plastic- and dvd manufacturing plants,
universities or other artists - and agent etoy.MURIEL,
a Thai and Chinese speaking open source developer
with genetic code from Thailand, India, England
and Switzerland! Muriel currently lives in Beijing
and runs one of the first geek-girl-groups in the
city. Welcome on board and fasten your seat belt.
Globalization impacts on all etoy.ACTIVITIES
(except maybe organic gardening and relaxation
at the Zurich IMPLANTAT).

((Don't miss our summer party on July 12, 2008))

etoy picked up the challenge back in the 90s when
virtual team work was a novelty. Today, in a time in
which Skype links ordinary Chinese grand parents
as well as old Swiss farmers with their grand
children on the other side of the planet and almost
every student has a facebook or twitter account,
etoy wants to know why the art market is still all
about oil and object ownership.

In THE FACTORY OF THE WORLD etoy seeks new
approaches to this interconnected madness:
the relationship between the intangible realm of
world dominating digital communication and mass
production of goods, gadgets, plastic products,
container vessels.

etoy intends to occupy a unique vantage point in the
art world to penetrate and live the global trade of
ideas, services, and products. Beijing turned out to
be the ideal laboratory for our applied research: the
last weeks of intense exposure to the Chinese model
of yellow river capitalism, strict government control
and integration of free market principles, extreme
transformation processes and highly motivated
human beings shook our souls and nerves.

China seems to be good to etoy but etoy.MONOROM
and etoy.ZAI look forward to slower and more quiet
months in Bolzano where we reflect and hopefully
digest what we sucked in in Beijing - a crazy
Internet-like social, commercial and cultural nervous
system - an adorable and questionable organism that
pulses 24h a day!

Four more days to go. Then we make way for the
players of another kind of sport.

Nie Hau! and see you in Bolzano.
your etoy.AGENTS from Beijing

etoy got slash dotted

... and - as the cliché requires - the etoy servers collapsed under the massive traffic the article and discussion on (news for nerds) generated.
result: a lot of confused hackers ;-) some even think that this is a media hack / prank by etoy.

etoy.HAEFLIGER wrote:
hi, here's how it got there: Matthias Stürmer who works in our team at ETH booked an office tank (etoy.CONTAINER) for their hackontest end of September and announced it on /.
... He misplaced the link to the SARCOPHAGUS instead of a regular etoy tank. Google is one of their sponsors.
So this confusion created the PR frenzy without giving us the opportunity to really benefit, except for the traffic...
thats great! this viral data salad shows perfectly how memetic mutation can lead to crazy stories that are not at all intentional. nobody created this to trigger a hype. a link to the wrong web address ... the rest is distributed story telling, conspiracy theory and imagination. its all in there: dead bodies, drugs, hackers and even google!

fact is: etoy just wants to be nice and contributes a regular etoy.TANK to the event ;-)

i admit that the etoy.CONTEXT and our history probably fueled the whole madness: etoy - leaving reality behind since 1994.

actually we don't create art and code to confuse people. our stuff is just a bit closer to the edge of reality than most corporation's output. things sometimes get a bit out of  our control.

thank you for helping us grow!
agent zai, ceo etoy.CORPORATION

On Apr 22, 2008, at 12:22 PM, etoy.POL wrote:

I find it rather disturbing to get to know about such huge public involvement of etoy in the hacker community through /.

especially since it could involve finding dedicated contributors for the angel-app.

Wo genau ist die Verbindung zwischen einem Google-Projekt und etoy?


silvan.zurbruegg wrote:
Die ganze story hier beschert uns seit gestern massiv traffic: / war gestern zeitweise nicht
erreichbar. Es beginnt zu bessern heute ...
Comments (2)  Permalink

tief drinnen angekommen im kunst system

SUBJECT: eine neue phase fuer etoy: der virus ist def. tief drinnen angekommen im kunst system

INFO: jeder agent, welcher die meta values von etoy verstehen und mitgestalten will sollte sich an dieser diskusion beteiligen. allerdings nicht in form von emails (overkill) sondern hier im blog.

thank you for helping us grow

wir stehen an einem wendepunkt den wir smart handhaben muessen.

mit shows wie VIDA/TELEFONICA ARCO, National Art Museum of China und manifesta sind wir auf dem weg in sehr arrivierte und damit teilweise auch fragwuerdige gefielde der kunst welt.

ich bin ehrlich gesagt nicht scharf darauf als pseudo-rebel alt zu werden. das habe ich immer gestatet und aus diesem grund haben sich auch krasse differenzen mit dem "boesen hans" als unueberbrueckbar erwiesen. billig-provokation, opfer-kuenstler und teenage rebellion sind nicht gut fuer ueber 30 jaehrige kuenstler.

smart, risky und kantig muss gute kunst jedoch sein sonst verkommt sie zur dekoration!

habe mir fuer die naechste phase folgendes ueberlegt:

wir muessen wieder mehr kommunizieren. dh content / statements bloggen sowie ab und zu massmailen... nicht nur termine/erfolgsmeldungen raushauen und einladungen versenden (die kann man immer noch reinmixen... aber unsere emails und posts sollten nicht blos pr fuer events, museen und sponsoren sein!)

dh konkret fuer die ARCO: bloggen vor ort und mass mailen (zb am donnerstag 14.2.2008)
direkte infos vom schlachtfeld des kunst- und geld-wahnsinns. anstatt nette einladungen zum besuch des schoenen etoy sarkophagus sollten die leute mitkriegen, dass wir hier nicht einfach brav das game mitmachen.

-> wir muessen die arcokontroverse gegen aussen kommunizieren. und zwar twisted.

zb anknuepfend an den (gescheiterten aber doch identitaetsstiftenden!) art market invasions versuch von 2004 (industry analysis).

etwa so: nachdem es 2004 nicht geklappt hat die galleristen dazu zu bringen ihre kunst gegen aktien zu tauschen (die nehmen ja nur simples geld!) und so den art market hype ein bisschen zu twisten bzw zu hinterfagen, started etoy.CORPORATION 4 jahre danach einen neuen angriff auf den kunstmarkt.

man koennte es gleich auch mit einem hint auf das buch HYPE! kunst und geld verbinden, welches mich zur zeit beschaeftigt. ich weiss echt nicht ob ich teil dieser maschine werden moechte oder wir mit etoy doch lieber einen neuen markt kreieren muessen ...auch wenn das an wahnsinn grenzt ;-) und armut bzw massive schulden (wie wir sie zur zeit haben) keine option ist.

das buch jedenfalls schafft kontext den wir hier brauchen (in meinen augen ohne cheap zu sein). wir muessen selber auch keine billigen moralischen statments abgeben. sondern den fact, dass dieser markt ultra korrupt, gierig und hype orientiert ist fuer sich sprechen lassen... und mit unseren shares indirekt kommentieren. wenn die leute dabei verunsichert sind weil sie merken, dass wir unsere shares viel ernster nehmen als sie es tun ist das SEHR GUT! denn dann beginnen sie zu verstehen was wir eigentlich machen.

ich glaube auf jeden fall, dass es wichtig ist jetzt nicht allzu soft zu werden oder schleimig einzufahren indem wir dem markt das geben was er will: etoy darf nicht in gefahr geraten sich anzubiedern nun wo wir den vida preis gewonnen haben und offiziell in die arco messe reingeraten. das gleiche problem zeigt sich auch wenn wir nach china gehen (immerhin eine ultra kapitalistische pseudo kommunismus diktatur in der leute ihrer rechte beraubt und hingerichtet werden) oder wenn wir irgendwann doch wieder mit einer gallery kooperieren: etoy muss sehr offensiv und twisted kommuniziert werden... nicht dass wir uns ploetzlich dem verdacht auf ausverkauf der "alten etoy werte" aussetzen. wenn ultra-linke-traeumer oder ehwige noergler sowas sagen ist das nicht so schlimm - das war schon immer so bei etoy.

aber die smarten leute (links und in der mitte/oben/unten) muessen sehen, dass wir versuchen diese sklavenkunst zu durchbrechen indem wir gescheite attacken (wie zb die etoy.SHARES) fahren und nicht einfach nur den simplen weg der lustigen objekte und abbildenden pointen gehen wie hirst, catalan, koons und co.

ja. einfache pointen, das lieben die leute im markt zur zeit. aber es gibt genug anspruchsvolle menschen die ein bisschen mehr twist brauchen - da wette ich meinen arsch drauf.

wenn diese leute unsere haltung allerdings nicht mitbekommen oder die bewusste konfrontation mit den values solcher shows (arco, china etc) nicht mitschneiden wird es schwierig fuer uns. dann fallen wir zwischen stuhl und bank. von weit weg kann es schnell so aussehen: aha jetzt ist etoy auch an der messe, in china etc... und spielt das langweilige kunstgame mit das sie frueher so frech aus dem netz reflektiert haben.

das alles schliesst ein bisschen mehr "kostendeckung" nicht aus. im gegenteil. es gibt wohl eher investoren die das was wir seit jahren machen wichtig finden und ein gegen-gewicht supporten wollen... als dass wir ploetzlich die grossen collectors und iwan wirth in unserem tank haben (und wollen wir das ueberhaupt?!) das ist doch anyway ein ganz anderer schlag mensch. ich fuehle mich jedenfals wohler mit visionaeren wie joi ito, magda von postmasters oder thomas tuemena von hugo film. auch sie sind erfolgreich aber nicht ganz so gierig und schleimig wie mancher kunstgigant. ich habe keine lust den rest meines lebens an high society parties herumzuhaengen und die sadomasochistischen gelueste der reichsten der reichen zu befriedigen.

wir brauchen keine flick-collection um zu ueberleben (und die schulden abzuzahlen) sondern die zukunft der kunst muss mitbestimmt werden. saatchi & co verkoerpern aus meiner sicht die gier der vergangenen jahre (welche vermutlich ihren zenit bereits am ueberschreiten ist)... all die goldenen fallschirme und wertschoepfungsketten die man am himmel sieht nerven nicht nur meinen vater.

gute kunst kann und muss visionen aufbauen und nicht nur brav mitspielen in der hirnlosen profitmaximierungs chilbi. ansonsten werde ich lieber wieder telefonsex-lsd-ufo-tycoon (wie zu HIRN-lein zeiten) oder baue eine kleiderbuegelfabrik in asien auf: und werde RICHTIG RICHTIG reich (und kaufe den schaedel von hirst um ihn ins all zu schiessen wo er dann verglueht wie leary's erste aschen-portion).

stefan: koennen wir morgen mal darueber reden wie wir das umsetzen koennen (nein nicht die kleiderbueglfabrik in asien)? ich rede von der kommunikationsstrategie der naechsten monate. muss ja nicht grad alles auf einmal sein ;-)

step by step. zuviel verkraften die menschen ja anyway nicht in einer portion (dann liest kein schwein unsere posts... so wie vielleicht diesen.. ich stelle ihn gleich mal auf public um zu sehen was das heisst).

your ceo
Comments (12)  Permalink

philanthropy versus charity

A worthwhile survey published by the Economist this week explores the trends in giving. According to a book by Claire Gaudiani, "The Greater Good", charity only eases symptoms while philanthropy invests in solutions to problems.
The question for the etoy.FUNDRAISER is now: does art solve problems or is the underconsumption of art mearly a symptom of the busy contemporary?
1-5/5 twisting values since 1994