MTAA interview etoy
2000 , originally published on artbreak.net
MTAA: What are the precedents for etoy art practice?
etoy: etoy doesn’t espouse any theory, we leave this up to other people. Of course we are happy if precedents from art history can explain the things that we do. But we are don’t connect directly to other artists. We’re influenced, Warhol and Beuys are very important to us. But it’s not our discourse. We refuse the intellectualization of our discourse, it has to stay strong and clean. Other people make these connections, but etoy.CORPORATION would never talk about this directly. But the references are there.
MTAA: Regarding the TOYWAR, both the online artwork and the performance action, it wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for eToys’ aggression. What are your feelings toward eToy.com?
etoy: I would say that we love to do business with them. This is the reason that we are doing this exhibition.
MTAA: When the corporation was founded, was that a performative action as well as a real world action?
etoy: Of course, we had a lawyer on our team as an artist. We chose a dot com name, we spent money and time designing the www.etoy.com name, these are all pieces that came together to make sense in the present. At the time that we were putting these pieces together, people didn’t understand how this corporate identity could make sense in the art world. Now it is clear. And that’s why we came to New York, the dot com mania is here, the bubble is here.
MTAA: The real world action is simultaneously the performative action, the actions exist in two separate contexts at once. That is what we see as one of the interesting aspects of etoy.
etoy: Yes, we are very much interested in this sort of thing. I believe that that is why we won our case with eToys. We behaved like a corporation. We are a corporation. We were more professional in our use of the media and in designing our media statements. But at the same time we were free to escape that very logic — the business logic, because we operate at this surreal level, so they could never— I don’t think they had the most intelligent people working on the case anyway. They could never guess our next steps. I think they were confused the whole time. It didn’t make sense to them. They didn’t have an enemy they could catch. We were too similar to them.
MTAA: eToys offered you over half a million dollars for the domain name, yet you have shares for sale, could eToys have bought a controlling interest in etoy?
etoy: They were not willing to buy shares. We were not fighting against eToys because they are a corporation like ®™ark (the anti-corporate activists), we are not online activists. We were open to doing business with them. But only if it would fit into our art piece. We offered them a merger. We said they could buy us out, then we could design the whole merger together, a media design, an art product. We were very serious about this. It would go to the next level and shock a lot of people. In my opinion it would have been the best way to get out of the problem. eToys would have been seen as the corporation that understands their market, understands the internet, instead of being seen as stupid. They were scared, they had no chance.
We are designed so that half of the people hate us, and half of the people love us. You either get it and are willing to invest in us, which is risky. Or you hate us.
During TOYWAR, we were seen as the good guys, that’s one of our biggest fears.