Viennese net.artists Monochrom were chosen to represent Austria at an international arts festival in Sao Paolo, but rather than go as themselves, they pulled off a magificent hoax:
...we decided to send Georg Paul Thomann to Brazil. Who is Georg Paul Thomann? He is a fictitious 57-year-old Austrian avant-garde artist. We wrote his complete biography (around one hundred pages) and asked fellow artists, writers and pop theorists to write articles about his life and work, which were published as the catalogue of the exhibition. It took the media quite a long time to actually figure out the whole art-avatar maneuver. The Thomann biography grew to be an amusing overview of pop, art and intellectual history during the past four decades with fictitious guest appearances from people like William Gibson, Peter Handke or Alan Jenkins.
Once there, they set up their booth for Georg Paul Thomann art and acted as his assistants, telling all that Herr Thomann was feeling tempramental and sulking in his hotel room. Then, when Taiwan's nameplate was taken down at the behest of the Chinese delegate, the Monochromers hunted down letters from other countries' signs -- an A from Austria, a T from Tobago, etc, and reinstated it. It was taken down again and again, and they kept on canvassing the show for more letters, eventually resorting to tactics like breaking Canada's D in half and butterflying it out into a W.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the videocassette format long-dead, but it turns out that Betamax is still around. Sony is finally going to withdraw tapes from sale, bringing a 40-year story to an end. The last recorders were sold in 2002. ベータビデオカセットおよびマイクロMVカセットテープ出荷終了のお知らせ [Sony; via The Verge]
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