Estimated reading time: 3 minutes —
ROBERT F PECKHAM FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, SAN JOSE, 17 January — In the wake of the Lennay Kekua / Manti Te’o Twitter scandal, today performance artist Orlan joined with new media pranksters Eva & Franco Mattes to file a class action lawsuit against all media. Citing wrongful misappropriation of income, hijacking of career status, and theft of artworld cred, the trio filed “on behalf of all pseudonymous artists, pen-named authors, counterfactual identities, and all creative people who derive some or all of their cultural livelihood through pranks, hoaxes, and other devices of “inspired fiction” and counterfactual history.
Speaking through tears, Eva Mattes addressed the assembled group of reporters on the courthouse steps, “When Eric Schmidt promised ‘one user – one identity,’ we believed him, and we saw Vic Gundotra’s launching of the nymwars 18 months ago as a good faith move on Google’s part.” Her voice quavering, Mattes continued, “Today it is clear: we have been deceived; we have been lied to. Just as the corrupt film and television industries have always plundered the hard work of creative artists without attribution or compensation, it is clear now that new media entities like Google, Twitter and others have no integrity and no respect for the separation of art and life.”
Backing up his sister, Franco Mattes spoke with forceful anger, “We’ve always had an understanding with the media, that they would define the boxes within which ordinary people would live, perceive, and perform their lives, and that only artists would be allowed to break through that box, and it was certainly understood that only artists would be allowed to invent new or alternate identities. The situation today where any ordinary person can use online media or reality TV to steal the ideas that artists have spent entire careers developing is impossible. At first we intended to sue only new media, but our research has revealed that this corrosive act of “storytelling” predates even the internet and so we are filing against all media. Some of the members of this class action suit have argued that we should file against ‘the human spirit itself,’ however counsel has advised us that ‘the human spirit’ doesn’t have very deep pockets, and that our best hope for recovering financial damages in the face of this tragedy is to focus on media.
Speaking through an interpreter, Orlan addressed the reporters and assembled crowd in French, “When an artist like myself, or Stelarc, undergo surgical body modifications, these procedures are expensive, painful, and take years of planning. That any ordinary person can now perform similar acts simply by appearing on a Reality TV show like Extreme Makeover is incredibly disruptive. Granted these shows don’t include the inspired costume design and literary readings that my surgical performances do, still, this blatant theft of my creativity is offensive and insulting. We’ve always had the understanding that artists can do anything, as long as the larger public ignores us, but now to have an American Football Star questioning both reality and authority through a new media performance work, well, it’s hard to understand how civilization as we know it can withstand this sort of blow.”
Whether it is analysts, brokers, advisors, Internet traders, or the companies, everybody is manipulating the market. If it wasn’t for everybody manipulating the market, there wouldn’t be a stock market at all…
— 14-year-old trader Jonathan Lebed as quoted by Michael Lewis in his book Next
Lennay Kekua (1991 – 2012)
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