STATEMENT ABOUT TWO ARCHIVED DOMAIN SQUATS...
BY RAMMEKE.PIC (REINCARNATED)
WRITTEN: APPROX. 2002
EDITED FOR PERPETUAL ARCHIVING: SEPTEMBER 2009
In the beginning of May 1999, dBONANZAh! registered two domain names.
S.M.A.K. (Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent) and MUHKA (MUseum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen) are two prominent Flemish (Belgian) contemporary art museums; in the late 1990s both (especially S.M.A.K., under curatorship of the infamous Jan Hoet, remember Documenta IX) have received considerable governmental support and corporate sponsorship, and both have established important, though rather inconsistent collections of late 20th century artworks.
For a long time dBONANZAh! had been wondering whether it was mere ignorance or even blatant prejudice that kept both museums from paying any attention to developments in digital and internet art. Wasn't it Jan Hoet who once, years ago, shocked a whole digital art crowd of artists and theorists at a festival, by stating "I don't see any art here"? So, dBONANZAh! decided to take some action, on the special occasion of the grand opening of the renovated S.M.A.K. in 1999.
Two fake websites were created. They are both archived here.
MUHKA.ORG turned out to become a parody and hilarious collage of the few snippets of info about the museum that could be collected on various dispersed sites (developing a proper, even simple, website was not an issue at all for MUHKA around that time).
SMAK.ORG became a spontaneous and mixed collection of renowned net.artworks (jodi - Daniel Andujar - vuk.org), examples of so-called digital 'cultural resistance' (RTMark - gwbush.com - freespeech.org) and cheerful products from net.practitioners (claus - yfcf - cassandra.be). The collection, frozen at this moment, is still very much worth the while.
Many visitors got completely fooled. Others were indignant. Some showed great enthusiasm. Less sense of humor became apparent when, in the beginning of 2000, S.M.A.K. threatened the makers of their (worthy) cybersquat with legal action. A dialogue was initiated and initial hard words were withdrawn; some hope was expressed that dBONANZAh!s message somehow had seeped through. Both projects came to an end, allowing dBONANZAh! to invest its modest (its very own) financial means into other projects, eagerly awaiting meaningful initiatives from the Belgian contemporary art and museum scene.