[V]ote-Auction, 2000

Net.Art, Digital Actionism / Media Hacking, mixed media

Under the plausible slogan "Bringing capitalism and democrazy closer together!" and in time with the US presidential elections in 2000 (W. Bush vs. Al Gore) American citizens were offered the possibility to auction off their vote via an Internet platform called "[V]"* to those bidding highest.

In the most enviable way this project thus reflected on the deep entanglement of capital and (voting) power.

While the individual selling of votes is strictly forbidden in all the states of the US as well as on the federal state level, this prohibition is constantly being undermined by massive (legal) campaign contributions of big companies.

The response in the mass media was overwhelming. Various US state attorneys announced a total of 13 legal proceedings against UBERMORGEN.COM. In four US states actual law-suits were started (Missouri, Chicago, Massachusetts and Wisconsin) and temporary injunctions were issued. Because of a decision of a court in Illinois the website’s domain was blocked twice, but it was brought back online in time for the election under a slightly changed name.

CNN reported seven times about "[V]ote-auction" and on October 24, 2000 the entire 30-minute justice show Burden of Proof, entitled "Bidding for Ballots: Democracy on the Block", was dediated to the project.

A total of 450 million media consumers are said to have been informed about the project. In the end, when it turned out that the representatives of "[V]ote-auction" could not be held liable for any kind of illegal activities, the pending law-suits were closed (except in Illinois).

UBERMORGEN.COM exhibits the [V]ote-auction CNN tape, Voteauction seals and [F]original legal documents at Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum 2001, The Premises Gallery Johannesburg 2002, Museu d`Art Contemporani de Barcelona 2003, Read_me 2.4 Helsinki 2003, Konsthall Malmoe 2004, Kunsthaus Graz 2004, Lentos Museum of Modern Art 2005.

2005 UBERMORGEN.COM received a Prix Ars Electronica „Award of Distinction“ for Voteauction.

*The Website was conceived by the student James Baumgartner and then sold to the austrian business-artists UBERMORGEN.COM

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