Christiane Paul: With the right dose of detachment, I can find DoubleBlind quite brilliant on the level of concept and execution - very well done (including the layout) and the project certainly raises a lot of important questions. What does the artist\'s intent have to do with the final work, who executes the work, and what exactly *is* the final work? Can and should art grow, and if so, can it be monstrous because it goes over the edge of conceptual activist art? Is it ok to make a \'statement\' that has (unpleasant) visceral ripples?
I must say that I have never been this \'actively\' involved in an art project - after all, the invite to participate in CODeDOC was sent to the previous winners of the International Obfuscated C-Code Contest under my name and e-mail address (although I never executed the code). Needless to say, personal involvement changes one\'s perspective a lot. I ended up having nice e-mail conversations with the various IOCCC winners who took the invite seriously - and why wouldn\'t they, after all they were the perfect candidates for this assignment (nevertheless, most of them asked the question "Why me?"). All of them were very nice and understanding, and I felt incredibly bad because my \'on-line identity\' (if you consider an e-mail address part of your identity) had falsely promised them an honorarium for a project they weren\'t supposed to create in the first place. I couldn\'t help wondering if these e-mail exchanges should officially become part of the project but decided to reclaim my identity and make them \'my personal property.\'
Should epidemiC\'s action be interpreted as \'hostile\' or \'mischevious,\' \'philosophical\' or \'activist\'? What exactly are the statements the project makes? If one interprets DoubleBlind as a tearing down of institutional / organizational / curatorial boundaries and as an opening of an invitation-only, curated project to the network, then DoubleBlind creates a Double Bind for Ars Electronica:
Had Ars Electronica made this project an \'open call\' from the beginning, they might have invited at least 2 criticisms that have often been voiced about similar endeavors: 1) an organization puts on a show and ennhances its status on the back of contributors who do all the work for free (=exploitation); 2) it turned out to be an unwieldy collection of more than a hundred projects of varying focus and quality (=lack of \'curatorial perspective\'). One also has to note that DoubleBlind was not an open call but a \'curated selection\': only the *winners* of the IOCCC contest were invited.
Had Ars Electronica made this project an \'open call\' with a honorarium for every participant, they may have had to cancel the rest of the show.
How to get out of the Double Bind of DoubleBlind was a question I couldn\'t quite answer. I also felt that the Double Blind metaphor, a very beautiful one, was only partly applicable to the project (but perhaps one should give poetic license here): in a clinical trial using the double blind technique, the subjects are all participating voluntarily and all of them usually get paid. Apart from that, the metaphor still is a strong one: with its distributors and recipients ultimately \'in the dark,\' the man-made medication / code (a self-contained catalyst) holds all the potential - to be a remedy or a disappointment or of merely psychologically induced therapeutic value...