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Signature (2009)

My signature is layered on top of the other scribbling. This piece responds to Gene McHugh's interview of Kevin Bewersdorf in Rhizome (at as of 2009-12-26), which included the following:

MCHUGH: The written signature plays a prominent role in your self-portraits. What is it about this gesture that interests you?

BEWERSDORF: There is something I have noticed about a lot of artists these days, especially net artists: they want to do everything. At one time artists were content with specialization, like in making only stained glass windows or etchings all day long. Now it is more common for artists to want to tackle all the forms of expression that the net can carry -- the still image, the moving image, music, writing, design, and so on. Many net artists may not be willing to admit it, but what they are really trying to do is to build an empire, to be a brand that offers it all. There is an absurdity to that. Having your own website is like building an unnecessary shrine to yourself. We can try to deny this by convincing ourselves that what we are doing is somehow a selfless gift, but the web has not asked us for these gifts. The web would go on without us. As net artists, we are pushing ourselves unsolicited on an already saturated marketplace. So I use my signature and various logos to point out the absurdity of this vanity, the struggle to give of yourself without becoming consumed with yourself.

The signature also makes my marketing tactics very obvious and shows that I accept myself as nothing more than a product to be marketed. Whether a net artist brands themself with a sparse list of links on a humble white field or with loud layers of noise and color or with contrived logos in a bland grid, they are constructing their own web persona for all to see. They are branding their self corporation. I think this self branding can be done with functionless art intentions rather than functioning business intentions. All the marketing materials are just shouted into the roaring whirlpool of the web where they swirl around in the great database with everyone else's personal information empires. I think these persona empires are the great artworks of our time, and they inspire me to keep building my own brand.

In an ideal world, wouldn't everybody have their own shrine? (As of this writing, c-Cyte contains over 9,000 html pages, if you include individual source pages for images in html galleries.)