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Behind Nimda Corp (Or why gaming an alternate economies can change art)

My current works aim for a better understanding of the internet as a parallel space. The internet has exactly the same capabilities that the real world. Hence I do not aim towards a virtual reality but to a real virtuality.

My experience as an artist is kind of poor. Instead the experience I’ve acquired as a viewer keeps growing and growing. Remember how things were some years ago. During the 90‘s we used to record tapes with our favorite songs, mixing them in a single cassette. We were still browsing the pages of encyclopedias to gather images and information. To visit the world’s museums you needed plane or train tickets, or a lucky friend who brought back home a catalogue from them. You could xerox the books, but it was never the same.

Suddenly encyclopedic CD Roms appeared and we browsed on a much easier way through information. After, the internet bloomed. We marveled ourselves of being just a click away from the Louvre, the Prado, the MoMA, and even the NASA. Then Napster , and other softwares appeared. We began exchanging phone time for information and music!

This leads to my main statement: If creativity now lays on exploring and sharing, why do we keep on working with contemporary parameters? Whats the point on making useless objects or estate decors? Can we stop art from being passive?

Most art buyers are not collectors. Some luckily have began showcasing their artworks, but the rest of them are just accumulating. They’ve caged art. They do not share. They do not inspire. But the change does not relay on them, it relays on us: the producers. We’ve forgotten our public, we only think of selling big numbers, traveling, and buying houses.

Art needs to change because creativity is dying. We need to encourage people to be creative. Collectiveness isn’t the answer. Cooperativeness is! We urgently need to share, teach and learn from others.

The Yanomami people, located in the Amazonian river in Venezuela and Brazil, have an idea of home named shabono. It’s a giant hut that houses the complete tribe under a shape of a giant ellipse. Inside it, each family has its own area. They group surrounding fires, generating smaller ellipses inside the hut with no walls between them.

The internet is a giant shabono. We just need to generate more ellipses inside it. Eventually this may lead us to turn our planet into one enormous shabono.

The 21st century artist must be a catalyzer. His biggest skill must be the ability to disappear. We need to stop caring about our name, and care instead for the proper functioning of our projects. Ideas can become so much better if more and more people start working them. Nobody owns an idea, and that’s their beauty.

On 2012 I interviewed Miltos Manetas. He told me I should never forget that indeed we connected with computers, but that also we connected ourselves with other things.

Prior to Nicolas Bourriaud’s exhibition Traffic, in 1995 Manetas did an awesome show in the city of Termoli, named Collegamenti, which means connection. Cables and sockets were displayed in the gallery so people could plug and experience the feeling of connecting. 

21st century art doesn’t need a public, it needs participants. Objects are in fact necessary in art because we are fetishist beings. But they are collateral. They’re just a portal. Art lays somewhere else near them.

21st century art is nothing different from a multiplayer ping pong game. We’re just bouncing ideas between us. The beauty on art is to throw it away and wait to see how its shape changes as it bounces back.

So that’s my alternate reality game called nimda. It doesn’t have a public, it has players. People still buy art, and become investors. They help pushing and expanding my game.

nimda is a shabono. It holds lots of ellipses like Nimda Stock Market, Nimda Commerce Bank, Nimda Cultural Affairs, and it keeps on growing. All this ellipses collide in sets. Grupo Drik lays inside Nimda Cultural Affairs. Inside it lays drik magazine, drik wiki, drik docs, and drik talks. They’re circles, inside circles, inside circles, inside circles…

Nimda Stock Market sells bonds and shares. Players buy them and get stock certificates, and bank cards. They can do whatever they want with them.They’re not really buying objects, but what the objects represent: access to specific areas of the game.

As nimda’s location is the internet, it can be accessed and played from any part of the world. You just need a modem or a cellphone. 

Thanks to my stock market I sell my projects instead of hand-made or computer generated items. By splitting them into shares, and selling them away, they become cooperative. On that way they can be pushed into places that I can’t reach.

We urgently need to set more circles so we can establish bigger networks. Then we can experience better and bigger connections between us.

My medium might be the internet, but Marshall McLuhan was wrong. The medium isn’t the message/massage. The way we use the medium is. My way is the shabono structure. Nimda corporation is also a circle inside another: the Variable Network State (VNS), a game by Fran Ilich. nimda isn’t the only corp on it, and I’m not the only artist inside the VNS nor nimda.

So we’re building this kind of mutant matryoshka doll that will go deeper with each player that joins. That’s the medium, and that’s the message.

Darwin said, “The fittest will survive”. The fittest is not the strongest, is the one that contributes more to his ecosystem. Let’s connect on a collaborative way, dissolve authorship, and never forget that our ecosystem isn’t the art world; it’s the world.