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list nettime-free, enraging some people that felt their privacy had been violated.
One could say that nettime was not just a publishing space for announcements or calls for collaboration for art projects, but that a lot of artists used the list as a place to actually let part of their work take shape. The community behind the list and its expectations were the target and/or audience of anything from fake conference announcements to declarations to interventions. The project nettime turned into a public space ‹that was about to happen› for works ‹that were to be› art in the Public Domain 2.0. This ended in a clash between academic theorists (and others) who wished to simply discuss issues around Net criticism and the experimenting artists. The installation of the moderation team plus the complaints about alleged pranks and other ‹strange› emails by artists made almost all net.artists leave nettime at the same time to form their own list [7-11] [EL], after the first nettime meeting in Ljubljana in 1997. The art or not art status of nettime is an ongoing source of confusion. Even if nettime began at an art festival and many of its initial members, including one
of its initiators, were artists, art may be one of the last categories with which the present community wishes to be associated. Recently, however, nettime was asked to be exhibited at the Eyebeam Gallery in New York, and not much later nettime was invited by Ars Electronica to enter a competition for its new digital communities award. Both these invitations led to amusing reactions on the list about the misconceptions outsiders often seem to have about mailing list communities.
Whatever the status of nettime is, it is clear that most participants are suspicious of an art context, if they do not shun it outright, as is implicit in a response by Becker to one of my e-mail interviews: «I have arrived at a mood where I happily confess to my art identity again …. (Indeed I found it at many times a mostly useless attribute, very compromised and misleading of any serious intentions…. But with such growing hostile climate against art practice (and the seemingly rotten image it has on lists like nettime…) I am quite ready to put on this hat again. Better than being a creative industry worker ;-) And while we reclaim the streets and the Net, we might as well