Subject: Re: INFOWAR: Infoweapon Award?
Robert Adrian

I posted this to the Infowar list at 17:34 on Saturday 08.08. It appears to have been moderated off the list ... why??
bad attitude? mentions artists? no jargon? or maybe they just figured that Stefan Wray's tough posting was enough flak for one day?
So here it is again - lets see what happens this time.

Prix Ars Electronicafor Hollywood Mega-Schlock Booby prize for protesters

Ever since the "cold war"
petered out the simulation industry has been trying to retool for a "cold peace" environment. It looks like they have found their new niche in Hollywood. The marketing of U.S. culture and ideology (life-style) has always been the sub-text of Hollywood products and now it can be beefed up with genuine war technology. Perhaps this is a reward to the U.S. film (and TV) industry for their invaluable contribution to the collapse of socialism under the weight of relentless ideological harrassment disguised as entertainment and advertising.

It is a mistake
to believe that "Information Warfare" is about hacking each other's systems, electronic spying, and other military games - info warfare is about marketing and in the marketing of ideological products the victorious "West" has proven itself supreme.

Information warfare
takes place in the media - that undefined and immaterial (but oh so real) space where the technologies of persuasion and manipulation can hover invisibly while infusing their "information" into willing but unknowing targets. Its not what you are selling that matters its the logo an the label: "Democracy" has been reduced to just another brand name - whiter than white, cleaner than clean (Socialism is, of course, brand X).

Hollywood always understood
the way the media work. In fact Hollywood was always in the "media" business and never only in film-making. The marketing or hype of a movie product has always had at least as much importance as movie production. The point was always the creation of "spectacle" - an integrated multi-media mega-event - and the Prix Electronica animation prize has usually gone to one or other of these hi-tech schlock-products. This year's prize (for one more mindless disaster movie) is no exception - and therefore no surprise.

But what IS surprising
is the barely discernable little "info-war" around the Animation Prize. Reading between the lines of the confusing and obscure postings of RTMark it seems that he represents an ad hoc or Ars Electronica Festival jury for an "Infoweapon Award" which has nothing to do with the Prix Ars Electronica - maybe - Its hard to tell from the original press release or from the subsequent postings. Apparently the "Infoweapon Award" is an exercise in critique- through-irony ... a tactic open to serious misunderstanding. With further statements praising Ars Electronica for its being "in the cutting-edge position of rewarding both parties", the monstrous waste of blockbuster movie-making is made to look natural, even moral, while the people of Popotla appear as a bunch of primitive Luddites, ungratefull for the honour of being the earth station for the greatest media spectacle of all time - or at least for a few months of 1998.

In reply to Wired, RTMark wrote:
>The movie is about overcoming class barriers [...] The movie >Titanic presents [...] a picture of hope, resistance, and >possibility. I find this statement a bit incredible ... surely the movie is about the 200 million dollars it cost to make - and the god knows how many zillion it will pull at the box office. At best its narrative will demonstrate to "the legions in the Third World" (sic) that, deep down, Hollywood CARES.

It would seem to be about time
for a clear and unequivical statement on this list from someone about the intention of the "Infoweapon Award" and about the lazy and cowardly behaviour of the Prix Ars Jury in handing a huge prize (by artists' standards 25000 dollars* is huge) to a totally forgetable hi-tech mega-bucks assembly-line product AGAIN! Unless of course you really believe that a 1000 dollar booby prize justifies everything - including the opportunism of the Prix Ars Electronica jury's leap aboard the Titanic publicity bandwagon.

But, in fairness to the jury,
the Ars Electronica is a center for Ar&Technology not for Entertainment&Technology or Propaganda&Technology (or even Schlock&Technology) so how does this kind of stuff get into the selection process in the first place? It looks as though the power of hype not only succeeds in the marketing of spectacle among the great unwashed but also in the environment of an art/technology event on the theme of Infowar ... very dumb, very scarey! ---

* I used an incorrect figure in my original posting - I believe the above to be the correct prize money for the Computer Animation Award.