e-flux Co-Founder Anton Vidokle Says .Art Will Not Be Curated

by Paddy Johnson on June 25, 2012 · 6 comments From The Comments

Over the past few days AFC commenters have expressed concerns about e-flux “curating” the .art domain, should the company win the bid. Well, e-flux co-founder Anton Vidokle says that’s not going to happen. The artist and writer responded to AFC commenters this weekend, explaining that art practitioners would simply be given priority over the .art domain should they want it. Vidokle’s comment can be read below or in our comment section.

Dear all, we are not planning to curate the art domain, should we get to develop it. Not sure why people assume we would do that. What is important is not to sell name space indiscriminately only to maximize profits, and to prevent speculators from registering names that belong to other organizations and individuals. Applications for name spaces will indeed be reviewed, primarily to make sure that only Paddy Johnson will be able to register PaddyJohnson.art or only the Brooklyn Museum can get BrooklynMuseum.art. People who work at e-flux are artists and writers, just like yourself. We are not politicians or businessmen, and do not employ deceptive logic. Its very important that there is some solidarity in the artistic community, and that we trust our fellow practitioners. If we can’t manage that, our community will always be prey to the rich and powerful of this world, who will just continue milking it for money, creativity, gentrification, social prestige or whatever it is they want to get from artists.Lastly, the gold rush is not guaranteed: most domains other than .com have failed to earn much money. However if the art domain becomes popular, this could create a significant source of independent funding for art at a time when such resources are rapidly disappearing world wide. We will do our best to realize this.

Anton Vidokle


glasspopcorn June 25, 2012 at 2:20 pm

whew, thank GOD im an art practitioner. don’t want to end up with this lousy .biz!!

Duncan Alexander June 25, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I was going to make a crack about losing my chance for an identity politics piece but really IDGAF. All adding TLDs does is open more opportunities for joke domains etc., or make corporations feel special.

Paddy Johnson June 27, 2012 at 9:25 am

We seem to be having comment posting problems here. Tom Moody’s comment below:

Paddy, no one on the previous thread said that E-flux would be curating the .art domain. Anton Vidokle used that word and then you quoted it and put it in your headline. It makes the criticisms seem unreasonable.

Grace Weir used the word “curatorial”: “One alternative is e-flux donate .art freely back to the people. No one 
should decide what art or .art is. Exactly the way .com is now. .art
being free does not preclude e-flux.art from pursuing their stated aims
and curatorial strategies, in much the same way they do already with e-flux.com.” 

That is not the same as saying that E-flux will curate the art domain. Of course, “curate” nowadays means anything from reblogging a GIF to organizing a retrospective but Vidokle is putting words into the mouths of his critics. The stated objection was to the exercise of any level of control by a domain holder, beyond “is the domain name available?” and “can you pay the nominal fee?” Cybersquatting so the Brooklyn Museum doesn’t get cybersquatted sounds noble but it’s still a power move.

Repeating an earlier comment: Anton Vidokle says he doesn’t employ “deceptive logic” but it’s misleading to say, as he does in his pitch, that “the 
structure of the internet is about to shift in such a way that most 
information pertaining to food will be found in a .food domain, while 
most information on cars will likely be found in a .car domain, and so 
forth.” Many commentators have argued that the new top level domains are
a scam or sham — extortion of well-capitalized companies by ICANN — 
that will have no significant effect on people’s search habits.

Paddy Johnson June 27, 2012 at 9:55 am

I’m assuming good faith on the part of e-flux. I’ve talked to Anton more than once about the project and I’ve never got the impression that there was anything other than good will behind this project. For this reason, when you say it’s misleading to use a pitch that says, “the structure of the internet is about to shift blah blah blah”, I see that as an angle used to win the domain name. He freely says in his comments that the gold rush is not guaranteed. 

To me this is a great example of transparency and commenting on the web. You can further explain your position on posts that warrant it. I know I’ve done that here. 
Anyway, I think you’re right about ICANN. Those new top level domains are a scam. There is, however, a chance these new domains will change the way we search. Given that that’s the case, I’m happy to have priority over .art should I want it.  

tom moody June 27, 2012 at 9:32 am

Thanks for reposting – it may be a problem with editing the posts after publication.
Seems to be working now.

Paddy Johnson June 27, 2012 at 9:38 am


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