The free culture game – by Molleindustria by peterfuchs
September 25, 2008, 6:22 am
Filed under: Art as Gift Research blog | Tags: , ,
Free Culture Game

Free Culture Game

Free Culture Game offers a ludic metaphor for the battle between copyright encroachments and the free exchange of knowledge, ideas and art. A circular field represents The Common, where knowledge can be freely shared and created; your job is to maintain a healthy ecology of yellow idea-bubbles bouncing from person to person before they can be sucked into the dark outer ring representing the forces of The Market. (via

Molleindustria, the radical game developer group did a “playable theory” work, which like many of their other games, may be played for an infinite, (update:actually this might be won, yet I never could). This near infinity of the “theory” has its purpose, as the battle for free knowledge and the market has a long history, and will have a future indeed, I am sure. The “theory” is quite straightforward, and one might say, and rather pessimistic, as there is no escape from the diabolical circle of market-free economy of knowledge. Anyway, can’t say it better, then this software application does.

If you have not met with the groups works, check out their website for their art pieces like the McDonalds Videogame.


Art in the popular culture – Donating by peterfuchs
September 24, 2008, 8:17 pm
Filed under: Art as Gift Research blog | Tags:
An art donor, Iron Man

An art donor, Iron Man

Yesterday I had the chance to see the action hero flick Iron Man (2008), in which Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), the young prodigal son, who owns an entire weapon manufacture company, faces the dire consequences of his ignorance on who and why for is using his merchandise of death, and decides to undo all evil by himself. He dresses in a super-armor and making the world a better place  by eliminating the bad guys personally. Yet, in the beginning of the movie, Stark is portrayed as a flamboyant playboy and inventor with a wide selection of interest, who when asked if he resembles Leonardo Da Vinci, states that he is not painting, but “basically, yes“.

At the very moment Tony Stark realizes how awful the world is, and how much pain he caused with his business conduct, and even trough he got injured in his first mission to save earth, he summons his charming secretary and right hand Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and express his will to continue on to make the world a better place as a superhero:

Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts: Tony, you know that I would help you with anything, but I cannot help you if you’re going to start all this again.
Tony Stark: There is nothing except this. There’s no art opening, no charity, nothing to sign. There’s the next mission, and nothing else.
Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts: Is that so? Well, then I quit.
Tony Stark: You stood by my side all these years while I reaped the benefits of destruction. Now that I’m trying to protect the people I’ve put in harm’s way, you’re going to walk out?
Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts: You’re going to kill yourself, Tony. I’m not going to be a part of it.
Tony Stark: I shouldn’t be alive… unless it was for a reason. I’m not crazy, Pepper. I just finally know what I have to do. And I know in my heart that it’s right.

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Art for Business’ Sake by peterfuchs
September 23, 2008, 3:40 pm
Filed under: Art as Gift Research blog | Tags:
Street Access Machine® by Technologies To The People®

Street Access Machine® by Technologies To The People®

« ART FOR BUSINESS’ SAKE – Technologies To The People® is a work in progress. It’s a metaphor about the use of technologies, while acting as a public provocation. I am creating a virtual company that exists only as an artistic project, though it actually operates for the rest of society. Technologies To The People® works with the media infrastructure of corporate companies. Technologies To The People® habitually sponsors artistic events through its representation policies. Technologies To The People® is aimed at people in the so-called Third World, as well as the homeless, orphaned, expatriated or unemployed, fringe groups, runaways, immigrants, alcoholics, drug addicts, people suffering from mental dysfunctions and all other categories of “undesirables”, all those without social ties and unable to find a safe place to live, all those who have to beg in order to survive. .»  – Daniel Garcia Andujar, TTTP (Technologies To The People®)

”L’art pour l’art” or “Art for Art’s Sake” (Ars Gratia Artis) was the slogan for several generation of artist on the late 19th, early 20th century – as Wikipeia suggests:

“Art for art’s sake” was a bohemian creed in the nineteenth century, a slogan raised in defiance of those who — from John Ruskin to the much later Communist advocates of socialist realism — thought that the value of art was to serve some moral or didactic purpose. “Art for art’s sake” affirmed that art was valuable as art, that artistic pursuits were their own justification and that art did not need moral justification — and indeed, was allowed to be morally subversive.”

For those who are familiar with the nowadays relation of art and business funding, the above quote may sound a little bit odd as the artistic struggle for identity and self affirmation, in which “L’art pour l’art” was an important step to make, seems to diverted to a different direction, towards the Art for Business’ Sake…

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Recommended readings by peterfuchs
September 23, 2008, 11:45 am
Filed under: art as gift - concept discussion | Tags:
A Quote by Richard Barbrook

A Quote by Richard Barbrook

Currently I am digging myself into Raoul Vaneigem’s The Revolution of Everyday Life, an important work on the possibility of total self management and gift-economy. In the same time I also found some articles, like The High-Tech Gift Economy by Richard Barbrook, or Internet Gift Economies by Kylie Veale and in the same time, also browsing trough the Subsol index, which is a large collection of really interesting readings on art and economy related subjects, including: Self-Organizing Markets by Manuel de Landa, New Media Culture in the Age of the New Economy by Geert Lovink, and Some Thoughts on the Idea of “Hacker Culture” by Patrice Riemens.

On donating – Artworks by peterfuchs
September 22, 2008, 1:37 pm
Filed under: Art as Gift Research blog | Tags:
The donor Francesco Sassetti with his son on the main mural of the Sassetti Chapel, Florance

The donor Francesco Sassetti with his son on the main mural of the Sassetti Chapel, Florance by Domenico Ghirlandaio

The “gift” is an item or action which is offered with not asking compensation in return.
An “artwork” is an artificial object – as the objects created by the nature are can not considered to to be artworks, according to Hegel, unless they implement an element of mind (human), which in fact means that human intervention is needed, at least on a conceptual level to annotate these items as artworks:

(…) For it is possible even for finite nature, in its particular scenes and phenomena, to make its appearance in the realm of art, if only some allusion to an element of mind endows it with affinity to thought and feeling. (Hegel’s Lectures on Aesthetics, Part III, from )

Therefore “artwork gifts” are highly precious objects which needs a high level of human artifice skill to produce (skill and talent) and are donated as gifts. I am writing about discrete artworks now, and excluding the notion of artworks which deliberately made for a purpose,  for example advertisements of any kind.

Let’s see three different kind of donations on the framework of art(works) and donating.

  1. Donating art as a personal gift: Like any other commodity, the work of a craftsman is transferred from one owner to another. Either be the creator (artist) to the receiver, or by a third party to the receiver with adequate compensation to the craftsman. An ornate wedding ring, or a portrait might be a good example.  Please consider that these objects has a purpose, they remind the receiver to whom they got the “gift” from.
  2. Donating art to the public: The same exchange as above, but without a single receiver as such, for example a legal body (state) decides to commission a craftsman to decorate a public area.  The commissioner ask nothing in return from the receiver, and in most cases the creator of the artwork is compensated. Any 19th century public monument of public space (public gardens, parks etc.) might do.
  3. Donating art as a form of representation: It is possible to do the above (ie: donating to the public as a gift), but in the same time involve a form of exchange. The commissioner-giver, gets something in return what is special to a highly detailed and precious object can offer: attention. As an artwork is a discrete  object, a singular work of craftsmanship which holds an unique message, as it is a focus of all attention in the art world. For example a significant mural, which holds a large degree of craftsmanship and innovative power, commissioned by a wealthy giver, who can afford to do so. In this case the gift receives a new layer of understanding: it is free, but helps the personal interest of those who made it possible to exist.

What makes this third kind of exchange really interesting is its uniqueness to art. Why would anyone create or commision any object without compensation and make it public? Unless he/she is not obliged to represent him/herself in any other way. And here becomes the question really interesting:

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Hacker culture, intellectual properties and the Gift Economy / part 1 by peterfuchs
September 21, 2008, 7:11 pm
Filed under: Art as Gift Research blog | Tags:
Razor1911 warez group logo

Razor1911 warez group logo

We  are  the  result  of  your  laws.
We are the result of your  democracy.
We are the result of your corruption. (PROCYON group announcement)

One of the most important aspect of hacker culture is the donation of the stolen (hacked) product to the public, turning the result of the heist into a free, shared public commodity. In theory, the activity of the hacker aims to free up the intellectual products which are held back from the public by its ruthless, profit seeking publishers. The hacker mythology was always very aware to the general rules of gift economy, and as it become widespread with the generational change of the last few years, the generation, of which elite are mostly made up of ex-hackers are supporting many different kind of alternative economy models. After all, they have realized, that if they publish (others) intellectual properties for the public, they have to rely on similar exchanges in many other filed of economy.

But let’s take a quick overview on the notion of gifting in this culture: and especially the aspect of warez , the distribution of stolen, (pirated) movies and software applications.

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Where does lottery comes from? by peterfuchs
September 19, 2008, 12:28 pm
Filed under: Art as Gift Research blog | Tags:

An EU Green Card, won on the EU GREEN CARD LOTTERY, made by the artist group Societe Realiste (

Lottery, the last flicker of hope to the needy or the guiding light for those who are waiting to get a Green Card to the United States, divides our society. Some consider it to be an ultimate evil:

Lotteries are most often run by governments or local states and are sometimes described as a regressive tax, since those most likely to buy tickets will typically be the less affluent members of a society. The astronomically high odds against winning the larger prizes have also led to the epithets of a “tax on stupidity”, “math tax” or “voluntary tax”. They are intended to suggest that lotteries, being an addictive form of gambling, are governmental revenue-raising mechanisms that will attract only those consumers who fail to see that the game is a very bad deal. Indeed, the desire of lottery operators to guarantee themselves a profit requires that an average lottery ticket be worth substantially less than what it costs to buy. (via Wikipedia)

But for some, lottery is a form of donation: the first ticket were some form os shares, which were used as a loan to raise money to different issues, like founding colonies in the 17-18. century, or to build cultural institutions:

Lotteries in colonial America played a significant part in the financing of both private and public ventures. It has been recorded that more than two hundred lotteries were sanctioned between 1744 and 1776 where they played a major role in financing projects that included roads, libraries, churches, colleges, canals, bridges, etc.[3] In the 1740s, Princeton and Columbia University had their beginnings financed by lotteries, as did the University of Pennsylvania by the Academy Lottery in 1755.

In England, the National Lottery for Good Causes is financing a wide range of cultural, social, environmental projects – as the name suggest, they do good anywhere in the world.
It was a widespread custom in the 18-19. century to raise funds with lottery, yet, these event were held for an exclusive audience, who did a compulsory donation, and won some sort of minor present in return. Yet, very little research was done on this issue. If I can manage to grab a book on the issue, I will post it here later.