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Literally Creating Ourselves
Justis Jones

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Story 1 by Choi Hyungrack
Story 1
Choi Hyungrack
During the past year I have been working via the Internet with Ecuadorian Performance and Visual Artist, Damian Toro. We have been collaborating on his latest project, THE/NON/INSTITUTION/OF/ART/.

When I began my involvement in this project, Damian advised me that he had garnered participation from over eighty people representing twelve countries. I was thrilled by his motivation, enthusiasm, and energy in locating so many participants! I soon began to receive email from such names as Maria Loth, Klaus Kieffer, Michelle Van Nogum and others in regard to their involvement in the project.

Several days ago a post was made on our listserver by Damian Toro with the subject, "YES BRAD -- IT IS TRUE." Upon reading the message, we were informed that Damian Toro had been posing as all of the above mentioned participants! There really are not eighty plus people involved. Damian had been using various free email services such as MailExcite, yahoo, and hotmail to front the various personalities. He had done a rather convincing portrayal in posing as these characters. I had found myself either drawn to his various personalities or despising them. Maria Loth is a very sweet Ecuadorian woman who writes beautiful feminist and lesbian poetry. Michelle Van Nogum is a rather demanding woman who just popped up in my email box one day. Klaus Kieffer likes to send many spam messages to people telling them about the project.

Although I could be upset with Damian about his deception, I find the fact that he could pull off playing so many various characters interesting. The Internet can be a virtual playground where one is able to become lost and remain anonymous, or assume a fictitious identity and live a fantasy life. In reality we never really know with whom we are dealing. If one would consider the possibility that fraud is an art form, we could state that Damian has succeeded in his work brilliantly. If, however, this had been a situation of a personal or romantic nature, or one which involved a monetary exchange, I could be emotionally hurt or financially destitute.

Lately, the active Internet Arts community has developed the term for Internet Art: Net.Art. Much discussion has arisen on listservers and messaging boards at Rhizome and The Thing over what exactly constitutes a work of Net.Art. The Internet has proven that art may be found in the form of text, as email listservers have quickly become a cyberspace testing ground for a new breed of international and multi-lingual artists and writers working in collaboration. Cyberzines, art galleries and collaborative Internet art and writing projects are all fine examples of environmentally friendly 21st century art forms. Still, questions are raised such as, if one places a scan of an oil painting on an Internet page, is that considered Net.Art?

It is my strong opinion that art may be found in everything including the form of text you are reading at this moment. Without proper coding of a skilled HTML artist one could not read this article. I believe that theoretical boundaries in discussing what exactly is Net.Art should not go beyond constrains of color correlation and correct coding.

Art is a fact and is found in everything from modern medicine to spiritual matters and politics. As shown in the Non-Art of Damian Toro, deception is also an art form. In the earliest examples of artwork known to this planet the cave dwellers were simply attempting to provide a visual depiction and record of the truth. That is exactly what we as artists are striving for to this day.

Justis Jones is presently Executive Director and C.E.O. of aurora.blue, a project of the Internet with a spiritual and humanitarian conceptualization. In past lives Justis has worked as a starving artist, oil painter, travel agent and Internet Cafe director. In his spare time Justis tries to prove there is still justice on the Internet.

e-mail Justis at
booyaa@minn.net

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