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communication project in public space
«[V]ote Auction»

The project «[V]ote Auction» (2000), drawing from an idea by James Baumgartner and further developed by Ubermorgen, is based on marketing and communication strategies. Using as its catchy slogan «Bringing Capitalism and Democrazy Closer Together!» just in time for the presidential election (G.W.Bush vs. Gore), US voters were given the possibility to auction off their votes to bidders in the Internet using an online auctioning platform. As a result, the cast votes of an entire US state could be sold to the highest bidder, with corresponding portions of the proceeds paid to those selling. This demonstrated with enviable clarity the overlapping of capital and (voting) power. While the sale of individual votes was strictly forbidden in all federal states of the USA and on the nation level, the ban was constantly undermined by the (legal) election donations of large concerns.
The echo in the mass media was staggering. During the three months preceding the elections, Ubermorgen gave as many as five radio and television interviews on a daily basis, and up to twenty interviews per E-mail and telephone. Different US public prosecutors announced a total of thirteen court cases filed against, and in four US states, real proceedings were initiated (Missouri, Chicago, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin) and temporary injunctions pronounced.
In two cases, the web site domain was blocked on the grounds of a court decision. But using an easily altered name it was ready to go online again in time for the elections.[...]
A total of 450 million media-consumers allegedly took part in the activity. Since representatives of «[V]ote Auction» could not be charged with engaging in illegal activities, the court proceedings in all the federal states (except Illinois) were finally dropped.
Ubermorgen shows all the original documents (complaints, court decisions, etc.) generated by the proceedings in exhibitions, and refers to them as ‹foriginals› (a combination of ‹forged› and ‹original›). The permanent amalgamation of fact and fiction realized in this way points toward an extremely expanded concept of one’s working materials, which for Ubermorgen also include (international) rights, democracy and global communication (input-feedback-loops).
(Source: Inke Arns, «Soziale Technologien,» in: Die Offene Stadt - Anwendungsmodelle. Jahresprogramm der Kokerei Zollverein, Essen, 2003)