No one else seems too interested in the issue of the new "top level domains" being peddled by ICANN as the next hot Internet thing, in particular the .art domain being sought by various would-be hosts for big bucks, but I appreciate getting to have a discussion of this issue with Orit Gat and Michael Connor over at Rhizome.
Gat's article covers more than just .art -- I didn't know prior to reading it that the virtual art fair website Art.sy actually had a Syrian domain or that obnoxious URL-shortener Bit.ly was based in the land of Qhaddafy. (I don't think about either site that much.) Well, those do seem like supremely stupid and fucked-up choices for where to host your internet. (Art.sy seemed not to know that Syria was a repressive dictatorship.)
In response to my complaint that Rhizome wasn't taking any stand on e-Flux's attempt to snatch the .art domain, editor Michael Connor said:
I am interested in Orit's article not as a stance for or against e-flux's application (an issue you and Paddy have already offered excellent analysis of). The interesting thing is that whatever happens, participation in .art will imply an alliance with the domain manager, whether the wingnuts or with e-flux, in the same way that participation in .sy unfortunately implies an alliance with Syria - URLs map onto political relationships, inside and outside of the "art world."
Whether or not intended, I'll take that as a subtle jab at e-Flux, which my fellow art types (including Paddy Johnson) seem to trust to handle the .art domain responsibly. Am not having any of that personally. As I said to Gat on Rhizome:
If, as you suggest, Deviantart.com wins [the .art domain], this whole problem goes away.
e-Flux, by actively soliciting art and e-world support, is in effect asking us to gamble on whether .art will be a Socialist utopia (a la the Timebank) or a Communist hell (a la Facebook).
"Let's have the revolution and fix the bugs later" is not preferable to a "weird democratic taxonomy" that works reasonably well.