etoy leaving China

- - - etoy.UNIVERSE / Breaking news - - -

1> Another brand new etoy.TANK gets loaded for
one of the most interesting contemporary art
shows: Manifesta7!

2> Last day of the show "Synthetic Times"
at the National Art Museum of China / Beijing

Meet etoy.MONOROM and etoy.ZAI TODAY (July 3)
between 3PM and 5PM for a last guided personal
tour and to learn how they experienced China.

3> etoy.CHINA-BRANCH installed and activated:
etoy.CORPORATION - well known for its global
approach to culture and commerce - tastes
yellow river capitalism and tries to find out how
to get its hands dirty in the CHINA-GAME.
(or to survive and produce under THE CHINESE
CONDITIONS that started to rule the planet).


- - - IN DETAIL - - -

soon start to hyperventilate as he prepares the
massive transfer of gear and etoy.CREW-MEMBERS
from all over the world (Zurich, Berlin, Basel and
Beijing) to Bolzano/Italy where etoy.CORPORATION
will install its summer camp.

etoy was selected by the Manifesta curators of
RAQS from New Delhi
to question and shake the concept of emotional
data collection and long term storage of information
in distributed social networks.

"Manifesta is one of the most important European
Biennials of Contemporary Art and it takes place
every two years in different cities. As Documenta
Kassel and the International Art Exhibition of the
Venice Biennale, it is one of the highlights for
international contemporary art".

For people staying in Europe this summer we
recommend a two+ day trip to the region of
Trentino – South Tyrol, Italy or even the guided
trip of Kunsthalle St.Gallen that takes you to all
the important Manifesta venues in September.
(hurry up now! you can still reserve a seat:

The etoy.CREW moves to Bolzano for the full
duration of Manifesta7 for self-encapsulation
experiments (another series of work for MISSION
ETERNITY) and a summer of interventions
in the Italian Alps. After Beijing, Bolzano will
come as a mountain retreat and in August hosts
the annual general meeting of the etoy.VENTURE
ASSOCIATION, the non profit organization within
the etoy.UNIVERSE. Between July 19th
(Manifesta opening) and November 3rd 2008,
a modified etoy.TANK will be permanently
installed for MISSION ETERNITY data collection:
etoy.AGENTS will work, cook, eat, talk, meet, and
sleep in the container to record their personal
ARCANUM CAPSULES. In the tradition of
Joseph Beuys, the agents are part of the
show and do daily container tours to offer insights
into the production of etoy.CODE and eternal data


2> Tomorrow 7-3-2008 is the last day of the show
"Synthetic Times" at the National Art Museum
of China / Beijing.
Not to miss if you're in the city! This has been
one of the best media art shows for years and
documents China's will to connect with the world
not only on the level of trade and sports but also
in the high-risk and unprofitable field of so-called
"media art".

While most major European and American art
institutions still avoid trouble triggered by
electronic components and confusing user
interaction, curator Zhang Ga and his team at
NAMOC invested massive resources and passion
into one of the most professional but also most
interesting shows that etoy ever participated in.
Since the opening many thousands of Chinese
and international visitors have seen the
exhibition that features works from the most
influential contemporary artists who go beyond
showing colorful surfaces and disconnected objects.

etoy picked a few favorites in four relevant but
arguable categories.

Many thanks to Zhang Ga, Fan Di'An, Li Zhenhua,
and our incredible local etoy.AGENT Liu Jia!
Kisses to Pro Helvetia and Swiss Nex and all other
organizations/individuals who made this exciting first
step into the Chinese market possible and take the risk
to invest in complicated geek art and future culture
while the money-driven art market wants easy to
consume products. CREDITS

The SARCOPHAGUS will be exposed to the Beijing
heat for another few days and is then being injected back
into the global cargo package system with thousands
of other shipping containers leaving China every day
in order to satisfy our prurience for cheap products.


3> To study but also to participate in THE NEW
ORDER + CHAOS etoy spent the last five weeks in
China and established a sustainable network of
collaborators, suppliers, spies and friends. etoy
entered the CHINA-GAME that will probably last
for quite a while ...and definitely goes on when all
the athletes, journalists and protesters go back
home to train for the next mega event.

One more time etoy.CORPORATION accepted to
loose its innocence and to damage its image of a
politically correct artist collective because we want
to know what's happening to this planet and its
inhabitants - first hand and from an artistic
perspective! etoy was always - and must remain -
part of the mess and in the eye of the storm in
order to create art that is about and for our time.

In the eyes of many observers, the future of billions
of us is currently shaped in China (especially in Asia,
Africa and South America). We can ignore it, hate it,
complain, express our foggy concerns - or
study China carefully to be prepared for new
impulses and to underline our suggestions or
demands with knowledge and respect.

To get a more precise idea of what we refer to, etoy
recommends the book: "What does China think?" by
Mark Leonard.

The show at the National Art Museum of China
impressively demonstrated China's position as a new
leader who takes risks. For etoy, it is not an accident
that one of the first big art museums that shows
media art on this scale is located in China.
May the rest of the art world learn from this step
and move towards higher impact and face some of
the big questions of our time: what happens to
the human civilization as relationships and
transactions get more and more virtual and
humans are penetrated by machines and information?

Another example of China's efforts to take over:
currently hundred thousands of design and engineering
students are educated in this country! To simply
assume that these people have no style (something
we hear frequently in Europe) is naive. Some of these
brains will redesign our code and way of life while
our typical creative heroes in London and New York
probably make a lot of money or increase fame by
designing some fancy art books, luxury furniture
or cool international hotels: nice and expensive
stuff with minimal impact on HARDCORE REALITY.
Just sushi - No substance.

etoy.ZAI's lecture at Tsinghua University was
scheduled on a Sunday morning 10AM (because
he refused to start at 9AM). About 30 interaction
design students showed up (most of them 10
minutes in advance) - not because they had to
- but because they where interested in tasting
something different from their usual brain food.
It did not matter so much to them that they
did not "get it" right from the start...(who gets
it anyway?) The audience accepted the fact that
there are many concepts and approaches to
interaction design and art. Some of them wrote
emails after the presentation and came to meet
etoy at the museum for a deeper discussion.
This is something that simply doesn't happen at
most European universities.

What etoy.AGENTS face here is pure motivation
and a striking number of open-minded individuals
who are willing to SHARE time, passion and their
often quite limited resources. Yes! We miss this
quality in good old Europe and we admit that
it feels very good to work here. People run and
jump. Not just for money. Forget this cliche.

etoy does not want to glorify the China-Hype or
downplay the threats, horrible side effects, brutal
logic of the transformation of this society or even
the violations of human rights in China. But etoy -
as anybody else who is an active player in this life -
is involved and obliged to do more than to complain
and accuse. We want to interact. Even if we risk to
get our hands dirty or to make mistakes. We want
to be part and SHARE the mess instead of playing
the innocent smart ass who does not even know
who assembled his/her computer, ipod, camera,
sneakers or who thermoformed the plastic box in the

etoy.CONCLUSION: today - after 4 weeks in China
-the etoy.MANAGEMENT decided to enter a test
phase in which 80% of all physical products such
as print material, share certificates, steel parts for
etoy.TANKS and hardware components will be
produced in China - not by intransparent
middlemen but directly by etoy.PARTNERS.

The results will be carefully evaluated (from
emotional, economical, cultural, and political
viewpoints). Subsequently, etoy.SHAREHOLDERS
will be called to vote on the future strategy and
on how to do business with the red giant.

As with the digital revolution in the early 90s, etoy
another highly questionable rush that drives our
planet close to the collapse these days:

The rise of the Internet and the acceleration of
global trade is very directly linked and in many
ways of similar nature. We move things fast:
information and goods. We all want lower prices
and permanent availability. This demands faster
cables, lager vessels and huge computer
systems to coordinate and administrate
distribution and delivery. We can produce
everywhere because we can communicate fast
and cheap. We can customize and adapt in real
time. And the problems become obvious: the
world becomes "flat" and standardized, the
environment suffers, the climate collapses, we
heat up everything - even by cooling down
our machines and sweating bodies.

But what does it help to only complain and
express concerns from a pseudo outsider
position? We are linked anyhow and etoy
dogmatically supports links. The more the better!

There will be no simple answers to complex
problems. The Bug sits most likely inside
our own genetic code or global culture.

etoy decided to meet the bug inside itself. Only
fixing the internal bug can fix the external one.
We love it and hate it - we need to know.

To turn theory in practice, the corporation recruited
two new agents living in Beijing: etoy.LIU, a young
economics student and project manager who grew
up in the Chinese capitol and now plays a key role
in establishing etoy's business relations with local
sound producers, money printers, steel workers,
card board-, plastic- and dvd manufacturing plants,
universities or other artists - and agent etoy.MURIEL,
a Thai and Chinese speaking open source developer
with genetic code from Thailand, India, England
and Switzerland! Muriel currently lives in Beijing
and runs one of the first geek-girl-groups in the
city. Welcome on board and fasten your seat belt.
Globalization impacts on all etoy.ACTIVITIES
(except maybe organic gardening and relaxation
at the Zurich IMPLANTAT).

((Don't miss our summer party on July 12, 2008))

etoy picked up the challenge back in the 90s when
virtual team work was a novelty. Today, in a time in
which Skype links ordinary Chinese grand parents
as well as old Swiss farmers with their grand
children on the other side of the planet and almost
every student has a facebook or twitter account,
etoy wants to know why the art market is still all
about oil and object ownership.

In THE FACTORY OF THE WORLD etoy seeks new
approaches to this interconnected madness:
the relationship between the intangible realm of
world dominating digital communication and mass
production of goods, gadgets, plastic products,
container vessels.

etoy intends to occupy a unique vantage point in the
art world to penetrate and live the global trade of
ideas, services, and products. Beijing turned out to
be the ideal laboratory for our applied research: the
last weeks of intense exposure to the Chinese model
of yellow river capitalism, strict government control
and integration of free market principles, extreme
transformation processes and highly motivated
human beings shook our souls and nerves.

China seems to be good to etoy but etoy.MONOROM
and etoy.ZAI look forward to slower and more quiet
months in Bolzano where we reflect and hopefully
digest what we sucked in in Beijing - a crazy
Internet-like social, commercial and cultural nervous
system - an adorable and questionable organism that
pulses 24h a day!

Four more days to go. Then we make way for the
players of another kind of sport.

Nie Hau! and see you in Bolzano.
your etoy.AGENTS from Beijing

Synthetic Times - etoy's favorites

etoy picked a few favorites from the current Synthetic Times show at the National Art Museum of China in four relevant but arguable categories:


all agents agree on this one

Sissel Tolaas' wall with the scent of 11 men under fear. By introducing this "new media" the artist opens up a totally new space for both: deep intellectual reflection at the base of human communications as well as a strong and ultra direct sensual experience. For the etoy.AGENTS this is one of the best and most radical artworks ever. Unfortunately in Beijing Tolaas is not presented in its own separate room which would be necessary to unfold the full potential of this excellent example of:

A) ART IN BETWEEN: super abstract on the visual level, totally intangible in its essence and ultra concrete (REAL - NO FAKE!) on the technical / scientific layer.
B) INTERACTION: people have to rub the wall in order to release the scent (intangible art that you have to touch to release. No mouse / No screen. No visible interface ->just perfect).
C) THE PERVERSION OF THE NATURAL: while smelling is part of our fundamental navigation system it almost always remains undercover and subliminal - as long as a sent is not too penetrating... the fear of 11 men is certainly very penetrating!

... as with every good artwork there are hundreds of other levels that can be discussed... find out yourself! but control your instincts when consuming FEAR11.
and stop breathing when walking by more than 10 times a day! (And don't rub the walls before you had breakfast!!!)


agent haefliger suggests blendid - a collective that built a human-sized scanner that would take anyone's picture and display it on the scan surface seconds after the exposure. It works perfectly fine as tested by museum guards a million times ;-) etoy loves this and takes it as a proof of quality if museum staff gets involved... even if some of the artists dont like it.

agent zai loves Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's work very much. Easy to access, clear but still complex and very unique.

exenomo set up an ego shooter that allows you to shoot random household items out into the green field and create fantastic noise to go with it.


agent haefliger voted for mw2mw, by their own account, built a beautiful wall that sucks in flickr images and blends them beautifully. Possibly as much beauty as art can take.

agent zai prefers Anthony McCall's Light Installation You and I, Horizontal III because it looks so simple and is so complex / advanced at the same time. People love to stare into the light of the projector which turns the work into a masterpiece of bidirectional art. The audience becomes part of the intangible sculpture while the picture on the wall is great - but only one part of the essence. wherever you look inside this system: beauty, intellectual challenge and art history blink back. brilliant!!!

Invest in art today: it's probably the only value investment today with a clear buy and a straight face!

Of horses and zebras

Zhang Weiying's allegory to understand some of the economical reforms happened in china starting in the 80s, particularily the process of `dual-track' pricing. 
"[There was] a village that relied on horses to conduct its chores. Over time, the village elders realised that the neighbouring village, which relied on zebras, was doing better. So after years of hailing the virtues of the horse, they decided to embrace the zebra. The only obstacle was converting the villagers who had been brainwashed over decades into worshipping the horse. The elders developed an ingenious plan. Every night, while the villagers slept, they painted black stripes on the white horses. When the villagers awoke the leaders reassured them that the animals were not really zebras, just the same old horses adorned with a few harmless stripes. After a long interval the village leaders began to replace the painted horses with real zebras. These prodigious animals transformed the village's fortunes, increasing productivity and creating wealth all around. Only many years later—long after all the horses had been replaced with zebras and the village had benefited from many years of prosperity—did the elders summon the citizenry to proclaim that their community was a village of zebras, and that zebras were good and horses bad."
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At Exoweb

Visitied Exoweb, a company dedicated to agile web development in Beijing where Muriel, a former fellow from Liip is currently working. All projects are executed consequently by appliance of scrum, an agile project management methology. The sprint board of a team where the gant chart of tasks, error logs and tracking of time/storypoints is constantly monitored. Tai-Chi for geeks twice a week before lunch on the rooftop of the office.

Asset transfer to the dead

The all new etoy.AFTERLIFE-CERTIFICATES can be handled in the following way. Please submit your own experience, improvements, and success stories below. We need to know exactly how to transfer assets between the living and the dead.
  1. Select the birthday or the day of death of the deceased individual (below: beneficiary). Additionally, any holiday is suitable because spending tends to increase during holidays in this life as well as in the afterlife.
  2. Select a street junction near you. (IMPORTANT: it must be a crossing! Possibly this is related to access, winds, and exit options - more information needed)
  3. Draw a circle on the ground for each beneficiary. One circle for all won't cut it.
  4. Draw an exit to the circle for the beneficiary to be able to leave quickly after grabbing the cash. The exit should have a box-like shape adjacent to the circle.
  5. Burn the certificates inside the circle.
  6. Any conversation during the procedure is optional and not mandatory for transfer success.
Please comment and add to our limited understanding of these types of asset transfers. Links and pointers are welcome!
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Nike swoosh replaced the red star


Swiss night

Dante Martinelli, Swiss ambassador to China praised the ongoing collaboration between China and Switzerland in the cultural sector. etoy.HAEFLIGER tirelessly serving etoy.PRESS-PACKAGES to interested journalists. Gorgeous Charlotte dealing something with Zai. Cocoons that translate user generated videos into poetic sculptures by Jeffrey Huang. And the etoy.BUDDHAMACHINE for instant mental balance - an indispensable gadget for our China agents.

Bundles of certificates

The first etoy.AFTERLIFE-CERTIFICATES arrived in time for the opening. The certificates explore the connecting threads between the here and the beyond: if assets can be transfered to afterlife, then etoy can share cultural value and ownership with the dead. This represents a significant extension of the ownership structure of etoy.CORPORATION.

FRED and ZAI with the crisp certificates - and one of the first visitors entering the tunnel that leads into the SARCOPHAGUS.

Synthetic Times opening

The Synthetic Times exhibition officialy started today: smiling for the camera are special-agent.FRED and agent.MONOROM. Besides the really impressively concentrated compilation of media art works even bearing some off-site suprises like Stelarc's third ear.

etoy at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing

Toys leave China in containers, etoy enters China with a container: The SARCOPHAGUS opens its gates this Monday, June 9 at the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) in Beijing. The community of the living and the dead woos for the Chinese and unpacks Timothy Leary only steps from the Forbidden City. After weeks of construction, the NAMOC opens SYNTHETIC TIMES, a global media art group show curated by Zhang Ga in collaboration with TATE London, MOMA New York, Eybeam, and Pro Helvetia.

To adapt MISSION ETERNITY to the Chinese market and build on a corporate tradition (etoy.FIZZLE), etoy trades intangible assets for a new currency: The etoy.AFTERLIFE-CERTIFICATE (pictured below) is designed to light up the boundary between life and death. Inspired by an old Chinese tradition of using fire to transfer assets to the dead (hell bank notes), etoy collaborated with young graphic design talent 阮千瑞 (Ruan Qianrui) to create the first note (beta v.01) equivalent to 1/1000 of an etoy.SHARE. With each certificate, a part of the etoy.BRAND goes up in smoke.

Opening: June 9, 5 p.m.
Exhibition: National Art Museum of China (NAMOC)
No. 1 Wusi Street Dongcheng District, Beijing 100010 P.R.China
Jun 10, 2008 -July 3, 2008

Share with the living and burn for the dead
中国团队 /your agents in Beijing

Special thanks to Pro Helvetia (the Swiss Art Council) for support!
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