Heath Bunting: The world of an administrative content provider

Published on May 12th, 2011

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An identity is a mutable object. It’s negotiated between people, organizations, and institutions, formalized in documentation, actions, and possessions. Heath Bunting shows how you create your own legal identity.

The world of an administrative content provider. About opening spaces, connecting layers and being mobile.

A conversation between Heath Bunting (HB) and Annet Dekker (AD)

Part of NetArtWorks: Identity Works

SKOR, London, February and May 2011


“Identity is a construction and we as human beings made it into an entity that consists of something that can possess one or more natural persons and control one or more artificial persons” (Heath Bunting).

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‘For those unfamiliar with Heath Bunting’s work, it is not immediately obvious what he intends by The System. Its pages, consisting of stark black-and-white spider diagrams, give the impression of an austere post-conceptual practice, but technocratic as this aesthetic may seem, it camouflages a more wayward disposition.’
– Colin Perry on the net artist’s new book The System, in: Art Monthly, issue 334, March 2010.

Photos by Annette Wolfsberger

Heath Bunting, Transmediale. Photo by Annette Wolfsberger

Annet Dekker (A): I started this interview with a quote from Colin Perry commenting on your book ‘The System’. The System and your new Identity Bureau project are both part of the Status Project that you started in 2004. Could you elaborate on your views about identity and the method you’re using in the Status Project?

Heath Bunting (H): The main thing I’ve been doing with the Status Project is analysing language to create a matrix of knowledge that you can drop something into and say, ‘This here, what does this mean, and how does it relate to something else?’ The Status Project began as an expert system for identity mutation. Identity is a construction and we as human beings made it into an entity that consists of something that can possess one or more natural persons and control one or more artificial persons. Most human beings have one natural person, but they fail to see their separate identities or the possibility of possessing multiple identities. Members of the elite possess several natural persons and control several artificial persons with skilful separation. The Status Project began as survey of these persons on a local, national and international level by producing maps of influence and personal portraits to comprehend the issues of identity and social mobility.

At the moment I use it as an analytical tool. With everything I make now I ask myself how this new project relates to the machine, the system. In a way the Status Project has become a sort of methodology, a machine through which I put all my new ideas. It has become much bigger then I intended. It’s becoming a means through which I can see and interpret the world and create works.

A: How do people react to the Status Project?

H: Their reactions are quite mixed. Some people use it as a way to gain easy access to services, more theoretical people like to talk about the identity issues, and hackers see it as a source code to the system. Some officials find it very interesting, especially those grey areas where things border on illegality. There are many grey areas in the UK about who owns what and what can and can’t be done. For me the project is an interesting way to sniff out these areas for artistic intervention in a formal methodological manner. I go through the database each day and make corrections, erase mistakes and define things more clearly. This can be quite tedious, but the process inspires me to contemplate on these things every day. In a sense, for me the Status Project also has to become a tracking system for identifying hot areas in society.

A: What motivated you to get involved in the arts?

H: I was a thinker, but I didn’t have a proper education. I didn’t attend art school. I’m from a working family. I saw my first art film by accident when I was 18, and first met academics when I was 20 years old. As a child I was quite gifted with technology, but there wasn’t any way to keep that going and so I became a bit of a rebel. I travelled around, lived in squats and started hacking things, and through that I entered the world of crafts where I started making stained glass for churches and other buildings. That was where I met artists. That career suited my character and it seemed a very attractive position in society. I started with street art – graffiti, posters, street interventions – and tried to set up several television stations. Eventually I found computers and I became interested in the data they contained. I got hold of some modems in the late 1980s and early 1990s and starting calling abroad and getting onto bulletin boards (BBS) [ed. A BBS or bulletin board system is a computer with software that enables, via a telephone line, to use certain services from another computer, such as uploading and downloading of software or other information, read news and exchanging messages with other users. The latter was the original idea behind a BBS.].

A: What did bulletin boards mean to you?

H: I saw great fertility in having a kind of open space where paranoid hackers and security workers mingled with musicians and artists – people who were all generally quite open, inquisitive and fun. All the other platforms seemed quite defined, focused on a certain principle or issue. I wanted an open platform that encouraged difference.

A: Something you could not do in the more traditional art world?

H: Well, in the beginning we found our own ways. For example, in Bristol I used to regularly visit events in the Arnolfini. They had a building alongside their ‘official’ space where they used to keep their rubbish, and we decided that it would become our building, so we occupied it and started organizing events. My first formal encounter with the art world was with the Lisson Gallery in London. They offered me a show with Damien Hirst and all the other emerging Brit Art stars. But I did not feel close to them at all: they made it all about the ‘bad boy’. Take Damien Hirst – he was seen as a provocateur and he will have to live with that label forever. He won’t be treated as a serious artist until he gets old. All of us were regarded as young boys from working-class backgrounds, and that was enough to make us bad boys. Consider someone like Anish Kapoor, a middle-class immigrant: he can discuss art and talk about how beautiful that blue in the painting is, for example. If I did that, art critics would say, ‘What are you talking about, what do you know?’ Ethnicity and class are really intertwined in the UK. It’s very hard for someone like me to just enter into a discussion about form and colour in that way. I will always be seen as someone who’s going to disrupt, a troublemaker. I think the Brit Art show was about the new and upcoming white male troublemakers. For me, it was about who could exploit themselves the most and make the most money. There was no real integrity in the work. Now, after a decade or so it shows, there is no great historical impact from the Brit Art scene. They are mentioned, because you cannot not mention Damien Hirst’s work, but his work didn’t change anything, anywhere.

A: So you went off and started your own scenes. One of them was the Irational art collective that you founded in the 1990s. On the website it states: ‘IRATIONAL.ORG is an international system for deploying “irational” information, services and products for the displaced and roaming. IRATIONAL.ORG supports independent artists and organisations that need to maintain mission-critical information systems. These “Irationalists” create work that pushes the boundaries between the corporate realms of business, art and engineering.’ Why did you decide to start this initiative?

H: For me art is about creating meaning, and for art to make sense it needs a context, and even within a small group of people, that context can be very important and support the process and the production of the work. Irational is about applying a meaningful framework. The collective has been very peaceful and fraternal. Most of the people were friends of mine, and friends of each other, with a shared interest in property and representation. We don’t meet very often, but we share a server, and have some hardware running, and a bank account. It has been very nice. We don’t even need to talk to each other, we just need to know that the others are around, and if we need to we can ask each other things. For example, if I’m worried about doing something with free train tickets, such as an intervention here on the rail network, I feel supported. There’s a lot of psychological support. There’s a lot of aggression and certain tactics in the art world, even within progressive activist fields, that can have quite an effect on the way you do things. As an individual you can be overwhelmed by a larger context. This is why I also set up previous organisations, such as the bulletin board CyberCafé. At the time there were other bulletin boards around but my friends and I did not really fit those, so we started our own so we could access mobiles and have our own server. Like the net.art group, of which I was a member, it has always been about forming a group of people that have a shared interest in advancing their work.

A: The Internet is often promoted as the democratic tool par excellence, but more often it promotes the rules of vested interests. net.artists are said to have targeted the latter, claiming that ‘a space where you can buy is a space where you can steal, but also where you can distribute’. By questioning and challenging structures and functions such as the navigation window, the net.art group showed that what is considered to be natural by most Internet users is actually highly constructed and controlled by corporations. Although it can be argued that little has changed, in 1997 I believe, you stepped out of the net.art group? What made you decide to do that?

H: For me the BBSs and the net.art group were only temporary vehicles. For some reason Irational seems to be quite persistent. As for the net.art group it was really about pushing aside adversaries and opening up a space for other people. We were like the vanguard, the ninjas out there, taking on other people, confronting earlier generations, like Roy Ascott and all the other multi-virtual types. We were not necessarily against the people but more against the institutions those people had moved into, the ZKM (Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie) in Karlsruhe, for example. We wanted to keep the network safe from investment and to be able to question the forming of institutes.

At the time, there were many art worlds, and all had their own counter-movements. There was the Amsterdam new media scene, and the Berlin art scene and similar kinds of autonomous scenes that emerge from support clubs. Each place had its own movement and counter-movement. For example, when I met the Russian artist Alexei Shulgin, he wanted to escape the confines of the Russian and international art world, because everyone expected Russians to be constructivists. For him to be treated as a broader artist, he had to set up his own server, his own context, and his own distribution network. Our paths crossed because I had the same feelings: I could not advance my work in the UK scene. But there comes a point when issues are solved or cease to exist, when problems with formalities disappear and groups break up because that grouping is no longer needed. This happened, for example, with the net.art group. In some ways the support became superfluous with the rise of the popular use of the Internet, which resulted in the phenomenon of citizen media when people started their own websites and used online video. Whereas in the beginning we pushed things through or rode the wave of pushing things through, possibly being responsible for some of the more impressive elements of the net, now people could do these things themselves.

Photos by Annette Wolfsberger

Heath Bunting at Transmediale. Photo by Annette Wolfsberger

A: You talked about being a troublemaker, about being an artist from a working-class background and thus by default not belonging to the art scene. Would you say that net.art also consisted of a group of rebels? For example, people like Vuk Cosic, Alexei Shulgin and JODI created an enigma in one way or another and also mystified their art and what they were doing. Furthermore, you could say that it all evolved around play and fun. Marc Garrett (Furtherfield) also hinted at this when he described your work as ‘manifesting a dry sense of humour, combined with a minimal-raw aesthetic and a hyper-awareness of his own artistic persona and agency whilst engaging with complex political systems, institutions and contexts’. I can very much relate to this description, and particularly the emphasis on humour and raw aesthetics. Do you think that aesthetics and humour, which to a certain extent can also be traced in the net.art scene, can be seen as a characteristic outgrowth of the technology that is used and the structures that it comments on?

H: It depends on how you define fun or play. These can be used as methods, like a carnival where things are turned upside down or where people are relieved of their self-awareness for a short time.

A: Slightly twisting things around…

H: Yes, but for me play is something that enables you to become stronger, more intelligent or educated. If you have certain privileges or a net of resources you can build on those. For example, take someone like Vuk: he is educated, pretty intelligent and at the time he had quite a lot of resources and time available, so he could look from a different level at the pieces on the table, at other people’s work, or at other networks and start to play with them, move them around, manipulate them a bit. It’s the same with animals, especially predators, just look at how a cat plays with a mouse. The cat is not necessarily hungry, or wants to kill the mouse; it’s merely honing its hunting skills. Play involves this type of learning process and if frees you from your normal state. People often take on diminutive roles in playful situations so that they can reduce their responsibility and start being a character. There is often a shift up or down in terms of scale. I can only think of it in terms of nightmares now. In a nightmare you’re either much bigger than you are in reality, or much smaller. Maybe that’s what play is – playing with what your position or scale is in society. Only very rarely do you play as your true self.

And, what is fun? Is it just the enjoyment of a release and playing a different role? There are different forms of fun and humour, like irony and satire, but for me net.art was about a huge expanse, an explosion of a huge expanse of energy or sudden insight. That’s about the closest net.art got to fun. It was often these spurts of ‘Yeah that’s fun, we can do that’ – it was all ‘Yes!’ That kind of fun happens without play. In this sense, fun is the moment when suddenly all the doors open and you’re presented with all kinds of opportunities, you’re much smarter, much more beautiful, much richer then you realised, and it’s all fun. Anything is possible.

A: History teaches us that most avant-garde movements are rapidly absorbed by institutional art worlds; however, this did not happen with net.art. net.art remained in its own circle, which consisted of artists, critics and theorists, sometimes even combined in one person. Most of them see clear links to conceptual art, minimalism, mail art or other avant-garde movements. What is your view on that?

H: It can be useful to think in terms of art history. For instance, if you study Dadaism you realise that they were just a bunch of punks having a laugh. But then middle-class academics and collectors elevated them to this amazing movement. And then you think: if they can do it, than we can become a movement too. We don’t need these other people. We can historicise ourselves.

A: And that is what happened, but these groups were never historicised within a larger framework.

H: It’s too early. In order to be recognised these groups need to be verified. At the moment every teenage kid has a device in their pocket that is Internet-enabled, and is involved in all sorts of interventions in the public sphere, on the street. Because it’s everywhere, in some way it’s just common sense. The networking, the flashmobs, the social networking – all the things I was doing in the 1990s can now be done with Facebook. The net.art movement and other experiments that happened in the 1990s won’t be recognised until after they have passed. It’s only then that people can see the value and invest in them.

I’m looking at it in a broader framework. For example, in 50 years people will look back and ask, what was the most important cultural and technological change of the past 50 years, maybe even 100 years? The answer will be the Internet. The Internet has changed so much; it’s changed the way we do everything. And then you say, if that was the greatest cultural, economic and political change of the past century, then who were the most important artists involved that change? Okay, Internet artists, certainly in the UK. It could be Graham Harwood, Matthew Fuller, Heath Bunting – probably Heath Bunting, who consistently formed the Internet.

A: But the problem then, of course, is if it is dead will it still be visible and accessible and – considering the speed of technological change, the Internet will be an entirely different space in 40 years time – how will people be able to invest in it? Traditionally museums are the caretakers of our cultural heritage, but at the moment they are doing very little to preserve these kind of art works. How do you deal with that? Are you documenting or preserving your work?

H: To be seen as a legitimate artist you have to exhibit, and have some historical knowledge of other art practices. You have to treat your own work seriously, and document, preserve and archive it. And in times such as these when we are so individually minded, you have to do everything yourself. But most people don’t. For example, I went to see the Croatian artist Vuk Cosic last summer. When net.art started he was always at the forefront, the most commercially minded of all us, constantly trying to push and sell his work. I told him that I would like to buy some of his work. He was always going for big deals, and big statements, but apparently he did not understand the value of his work and now he doesn’t even have an archive. Perhaps some people were too early, and when it wasn’t taken up at the time, they became disappointed or didn’t see the point in updating the work, keeping it alive or documenting it. At the same time, though, if someone had asked if they could buy our work we would have declined, as I did with the Lisson Gallery. In fact, the media archaeologist Siegfried Zielinski once tried to buy the net.art group, but we resisted. But that’s like asking teenagers on the street if you can take their work and present it somewhere else. In other words, you take their method of organising their culture, historicise it and put it in a museum. That is not what you want – as a group or a movement with strong beliefs you want to have control over how and what you do. If something is running and in process it’s very difficult to step in and think you can take it over; people will resist. The process of preservation by museums can only take place after the event.

But, yes, I make books, my identity books, like the red book I’m making now. I do all the design, go to the binders, and then I actually sell them, and then I do get feedback. It’s not because I actually like making books, but there are two things about it that are important for me. One of them is that it’s not traceable, you can put it in your bag and the secret service cannot read it. You can do whatever you want with it. The other thing is that it becomes an object; it’s a document of something that I’ve done. For example, today, I travelled on trains for free, and that’s a little performance that I do and document. Those documents become tangible objects that I can sell. It’s not necessarily that I think, ‘Great I am going to make some drawings, they look beautiful, and they are works of art’. These documents are a way to pay for other things. I don’t sell them for much and mostly to people who know me. I could have chosen to be with a gallery and sell my work for much more. But for me that doesn’t signify the quality of the work, it’s the quality of the network that counts.

A: Many of your works revolve around networks, and the different layers and levels between them. What is your aim? Is it just to show the different layers, or also the connections between these layers?

H: There are all kinds of different levels of existence and perception. For example, what do people think we’re doing when they come in and see us standing here? If we were to suddenly change our behaviour, they will believe that we are doing something completely different. Another example: I noticed you can get free water here, but on what level of existence is that operating? And the free Internet here, on what level is that operating? Can you move between the one and the other, or what is in between? What connects access to water to access to international media [through the Internet]? There is 10,000 years of history just between those layers. And with the Status Project I attempt to study all those levels.

I am particularly interested in connections. How can things be connected, how can you move from one to the other? In principle, everyone is constantly aware of the level on which they operate, and how people perceive and read that. If you understand that mechanism, you can suddenly change it. For example, I have a walkie-talkie. What does that say about who I am or what I’m doing? It’s strange because it’s not a mobile phone. Some might consider me an anarchist, but if I take out my walkie-talkie, I can become part of an authority network. I think people are constantly playing with these access points, references, and association with other things. Some do it unconsciously; others do it consciously because they have a feeling that it’s going to work. And the next step is to start questioning: Why do you have that piercing in your nose? What does it mean? What does that tattoo mean? Why are you wearing blue jeans? What does that say?

A: Are you trying to make people more aware of these mechanisms?

H: Not specifically with body modification or clothing, but my aim with the Status Project is to connect everyone. In essence we all consist of flesh and blood, but not everyone is a corporate director. Everyone has the right to be a corporate director, though. Everyone can be qualified. So I want to look at the links that can make someone a corporate director. And my other question is tracing why people do or don’t do these things? Is it because of structures that prohibit or permit those things? Is it the colour? Why do people join the Conservative Party? Why don’t they? Is it because they don’t like the colour blue, or don’t like red? I think the answer can often be found in simple things like these.

A: Is it then also about survival within or outside the system? Are you (de)constructing power?

H: Yes, both, but perhaps it’s more about mobility. I don’t want to become super powerful, but I would probably like to know that I have the right to do that. There are so many things, certainly in the UK, which imply that citizens are powerless. You don’t have rights. Apart from a few individuals, all of us have the same rights. The Queen probably has more rights than Heath Bunting. The vast majority of people share the same rights, but they don’t exercise them, because they are convinced that they don’t have the same rights.

A: Does ignorance contribute to people not knowing their rights?

H: Well, first of all I was never informed about my rights. Nobody around me could tell me what my rights are. And most people pay money to be lied to. How can you expect them to have any kind of informed opinion or understanding of their own situation? That is exactly what the established system of misinformation and propaganda is for – to render people ineffective, even for themselves.

A: How do you communicate with your audience?

H: I’ve been around for 20 years professionally, and working intensively on the things I do. So my audience tends to know when I’m ready.

A: So you are not actively seeking a broader audience, but you inform your own small network and hope they will distribute your work through their networks?

H: Yes. I mean, unless you are an absolute genius, you have to make a decision and you have to limit yourself. I am not popular and I never will be. I’m way too weird. I’m on the fringe. As far as I know a lot of artists are familiar my work and pay attention to it, but the mainstream public doesn’t, or can’t.

A: But is that not moving away from your aim, which is to show people the different layers and power structures in networks and systems?

H: I may indeed not achieve that. I may, for instance, not get this identity book to market. I would like to get it into all the high street shops, alongside the A-Z of London. People who want to know how the UK system works will buy the red book. If you need a library card, or open a bank account, you can also use the book to construct a new identity. It’s like a guide, a source code of the UK system. And it would be great to have in the shops.

Generally though, I’m interested in people who are marginalised by society. This is why I also started the workshops with immigrants and teaching them how to cross borders. In a way it’s an extension of my earlier BorderXing project where I commented on the ways in which governments and associated bureaucracies restrict cross-border movement. I wanted to make a guide to crossing borders illegally, both for activists and for those lacking appropriate documents.

A: You wouldn’t hold those cross-border workshops with ordinary campers?

H: No, they would not be interested. Most people like to buy into the idea that everything is fine, that there are never going to be any major disasters in their life. Everything is there, oil is there, flowing forever, there’s no corruption, no misadministration, etc. But at some point in everybody’s life something can go badly wrong. This has happened to many immigrants, for example, which is why they asked me to do these workshops. When you start talking to immigrants you realise that in their own countries some of them were business people, lawyers, or teachers, important high achievers in their own society in some way or other. And suddenly something happened to them or their community and they had to flee. For them it is, of course, a major change from being a professor at the University of Iran to being seen as a thief or a drug dealer in the streets of Basel. These experiences have opened their eyes to everything around them. They know how the world works.

I met some of these immigrants while I was doing a workshop in Basel, and after a while they found out that I had crossed borders in Europe and naturally they wanted to know how I did it. So we started talking about borders and how the different systems work.

A: Is this an example of how you normally work? Could you talk about your working process? How do you conduct research, how do you produce a work? Is there a structural method in your approach?

H: Yes, I suppose there is. It’s a process. You put the work in, the rational work, and then you look for the fertile areas. You feel your way into those places. I don’t begin with a specific goal in mind, it unfolds in time, sometimes an idea comes up and it might take a few years to research, develop and then finally something might come out. This is why I can never apply for funding: I can’t explain what it is I’ll be doing.

For instance, I sometimes became ill while living in Bristol. I had to find out what was causing it was or leave the city. Whenever I left I immediately felt better. After some research I found out it was caused by air pollution. Not from cars, but from the shipping near Bristol. I wanted to see which ships produce the pollution. I’ve already investigated which ships are actually producing the pollution. Probably at some point in the future I will do something with that information, it could be an intervention with a ship, or I might try to change relevant policies. I don’t know yet.

My method is generally based on a lot of work, years of research, and some programming. And then it just comes from intuition and inspiration.

A: Does it start with personal inspiration, or does an issue or subject you encounter trigger it?

H: Yes, for instance, travelling with friends triggered the BorderXing project. I travelled at times with Alexei Shulgin, and he would often be dragged away and put into a cage just for being Russian. Even though he was wearing a suit and I looked like a scruffy anarchist he was thrown into a cage for twelve hours on the Croatian–Slovenian border. I found that offensive, and wanted to find a way to avoid such situations. At the time there was also a lot of rhetoric about asylum seekers, migrants and gypsies in Europe. An activist could be prevented from travelling. My friends and I wanted to move around without being treated like criminals, so I decided to cross all the borders in European and document the process.

A: You have travelled a lot and lived in various places, but have been based in the UK for a while now. What interests you most about the UK and in what way does it influence your work?

H: Well I chose to come back to England, because I think it’s one of the most fucked-up countries in the world. It has all these different social layers, and this terrible history, and it still colonises its own people.

A: And do you think that it’s different in other countries?

H: Yes, absolutely. Physically, as we speak, you and I are only a few blocks away from a global financial capital: the City in London. But it’s almost another nation state, legally almost another country.

In a way it’s an exceptional place, it’s peaceful and liberal, but only because everybody has got something to lose. Everyone has someone to hate, or everyone has got a reason to hate everyone else, a reason to gripe – and so it doesn’t happen. This all happens in the UK. There aren’t many countries where it’s this condensed on so many levels. The United States is pretty bad, but they are not fighting on the streets. Recently in the UK gangs of teenagers had running battles with police. Where else do you see that? You might see that in the developing world, but you don’t see the police beating up kids in the Western world. There are those kinds of extremes here. It is fertile, but also very disorientating. There are so many different layers of misinformation that it just keeps on getting more and more complex. It’s a really good place for me to operate.

A: The Internet is another layered place. We talked a little about your online work – what differences do you observe between the Internet now and fifteen years ago?

H: As things develop, elements collapse, but generally layers build on each other to form layers of infrastructure, layers of protocol, layers of meaning and layers of perception. It’s difficult to say what has happened with the Internet, but it has definitely affected life on the street. The street has also changed a lot in the last 20 years. I never had a phone, and met my friends by chance on the street. When I go out now I don’t see anyone anymore, everybody is more isolated and stratified. You still see people on the street, but now they have media devices in their pockets. Most people are busy on the phone, or text messaging, or they’re sitting with their laptops on a park bench. The only real people that really engage with you on the street are the street people: the beggars, the drug users, and they are super scary now, because they are there, in your face, and you might have to deal with them. How to negotiate such encounters? Everybody else is going somewhere, but these people are just there. In the past most people were actually ‘present’, but that is no longer the case. The power on the Internet has shifted too, but really it’s our relationships with ourselves, with other people and with the environment that have changed dramatically because of networked technologies.

A: What differences do you see between the virtual and physical domains? In our ‘digital age’ has the former become more important than the latter in relation to our identities?

H: I think that there can be a hierarchy between the physical and the virtual but it can also be inverted. It works both ways and that’s what interests me. It’s about different ways of analysing, taking a different slice, portions of knowledge, really. I guess at the moment the virtual ranks higher than the physical in the hierarchy and I think that’s because it’s in certain people’s interests. Before the Internet, you knew where your virtual body was – it was at the tax office or the police station, or at school. And if a revolution did take place you could go and burn those records, but now people put all their data on different platforms and different machines and think it’s fun. All the hype about Twitter and online identities is nothing new, except now it’s on a different platform whereas before it would have been on a stone tablet. But what happens if the police knock on you door, as they do in Iran or elsewhere and even in the UK, and say, ‘You’ve been on these websites and are involved with certain activities so now we’re arresting you’. So, the virtual is more important, because it’s actually becoming more difficult for people to see their traces. Their actual true nature gets misrepresented or codified or enslaved through the Internet. Things happen in a much more sophisticated way, whereas before you could burn a piece of paper or tear it up: Goodbye body.

A:  Has it changed your work, are you more focused now on the physical space?

H: I was always in the physical space, doing things like caving and climbing, and causing trouble. Now I am producing a book as part of the Status Project, but all that research is done on the Internet. I am investigating the network of administration. If I take my wallet out now, Heath Bunting exists on a computer system in the library headquarters, exists at Visa, I exist in multiple places. There is a network and it’s all connected. The Internet is now a front end, it used to be the network, without much behind it, now there are networks behind it, and the Internet has almost become the surface of the networks. With the Status Project I am looking at the nature of the actual existence of that administration network. I am on a network, we are all on a network, but most people don’t see it, they don’t really engage with it. I want to be active within that network.

A: You are using the network more than it is using you?

H: Yes. I’m an active participant as opposed to merely being a consumer. Again it’s like the asymmetry that we had with the Internet in the 1990s, when we were all downloading movies, or were going to have our own websites. I am like an administrative content provider now.

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