Entering the Machine and Leaving It Again: Poetics of Software in
Contemporary Art

Florian Cramer

Milano, Feb. 7th, 2006

 

(Full Lecture/Essay published on AHA: Activism-Hacking-Artivism, mailing-list sull'attivismo artisticoe)


Excerpt:

"A very recent example is "Google will eat itself" http://www.GoogleWillEatItSelf.com [slide] by ubermorgen.com and Alessandro Ludovico. ubermorgen.com consists of former etoy member Hans Bernhard and Liz Haas, Alessandro Ludovico is well known in Italy as the founder and editor of Neural magazine. "Google will eat itself" is simple to explain: it is a website that runs ads via the Google "AdSense" program, i.e. embedded commercial text advertising provided by Google, but bought from other companies. Google pays website owners a small fee for every click on an ad link; "GoogleWillEatItSelf.com" uses this money to buy Google shares. The idea is that Google will pay the site to get bought up by it. Ideally, GoogleWillEatItSelf.com should make so much money from Google ad payments that it can buy up all Google shares. To accelerate this process, "Google will eat itself" imploys some hidden dirty programming hacks that trigger automatic clicks on the advertising so that any user who visits the site will click multiple Google ads at once.

It is not only one company eating up another, but also a piece of software eating up another software. Google is one of the first world companies that is a piece of online software, with search requests as its input, and a double output of search results and money to the shareholders. This collapsing of software program and corporation get turned against itself by GoogleWillEatItSelf.com. It is the net.art of an Internet that is no longer an open field of experimentation, but a corporate space. The dark-humorous actionism of the piece manifests yet another resolution of the conflict that had originally voiced by Moles and Debord, technical formalism versus agency."