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This revision is from 2013/03/16 12:49. You can Restore it.

[Back to Documentation]    |    [ The Thing History ]




http://thing.nujus.net/ (not available)


http://bbs.thing.net/ (online again)

THE THING BBS was decommissioned in 2005. It is now an archive.

Go to http://post.thing.net/ for current activities.

Since its inception THE THING has provided a flexible and supportive venue for developing, presenting and distributing innovative forms of on-line activism, media art and cultural criticism concerned with exploring the possibilities of electronic networks.
THE THING was founded in 1991 by artist Wolfgang Staehle and became a not-for-profit 501©(3) corporation in September 1998. Prior to that date it was supported entirely by the dedication and enthusiasm of a community of volunteer activists and artists. Even with these limited resources THE THING quickly gained a reputation as a center for new media practice and theory, social forums and on-line art projects.
Initially, in 1991, THE THING took the form of a dial-up bulletin board system (BBS) that facilitated discussion and experimentation, primarily within the New York City arts communities. In 1995 THE THING launched its website http://bbs.thing.net, expanding and intensifying its efforts through initiating individual and collaborative efforts with an extraordinary variety of emerging and established artists.
This website currently undergoes restoration and will be back as an online archive by the end of 2009.
Over the last two decades, THE THING has played a seminal role not just in fostering a generation of network-oriented activist, artists, critics, and curators, but also - and equally important - searching out ways to interconnect their diverse interests and activities. It is no exaggeration to say that the list of people and projects THE THING has supported comprises a who's who of contemporary electronic culture.
The legendary THE THING has been a Internet Presence Provider for activist and arts organizations primarily in the New York area for ten years. It hosts arts and activist groups and publications including P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center; ARTFORUM; Mabou Mines; Willoughby Sharp Gallery; ZINGMAGAZINE; JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY ART; NETTIME; and Tenant.net. Among many others, artists and projects associated with thing.net have included Sawad Brooks, Heath Bunting, Cercle Ramo Nash, Vuk Cosic, Ricardo Dominguez, Ursula Endlicher, etoy, GH Hovagimyan (who did his first computer piece with thing.net before the web in 1993: BKPC), Jérôme Joy, John Klima, Jenny Marketou, Mariko Mori, Olivier Mosset, Prema Murty, Mark Napier, Joseph Nechvatal, Phil Niblock, Daniel Pflumm, Francesca da Rimini, Beat Streuli, and Beth Stryker. It also offers dial-up access; authoring and design services; arts-oriented newsletters, and online conversation spaces.

In July/August 2007, due to financial problems to finance the data center in NYC, THE THING is migrating to a new place by moving 6 servers onto one... In fact, along last years (before 2007), the Thing server has been censored several times :
"Advocate of online art and culture since 1991, The Thing, may have it's pipeline terminated by provider Verio. This termination, scheduled for February, could affect hundreds of sites and users, many of them artists, activists or art-related businesses. Verio lawyers told Thing founder Wolfgang Staehle that their contract for service was unilaterally null and void because of "violations" — likely the parody site http://dow-chemical.com by the Yes Men, and perhaps the persistently provocative campaigns of Rtmark or the Electronic Disturbance Theater (both hosted by The Thing). How to stand up for services geared towards artists and activists? Write to Verio and express your outrage, and make a contribution to The Thing: https://secure.thing.net/backbone/ Staehle is looking for new pipelines as you read this." (Rachel Greene, on Rhizome, 24 Dec 2002)
The Thing has been one the underlying forces in some of the most relevant projects in 90s and 00s indie digital cultures. Among others, The Thing supported projects like RTMark and subsequently The Yes Men; hosted Electronic Disturbance Theatre's campaigns of electronic civil disobedience and had a key role in the coordination of the “Toy War”, the on line campaign against the multinational toys giant Toys'R'Us launched in 1999 by the swiss group Etoy, whose agressive appropiation of the corporative language tested the borders between the art and the market in the origins of the electronic turbo-capitalism.

jeromejoy.org (formerly homestudio.thing.net - and jukebox.thing.net) was hosted on the Thing server between 1997 to 2007, before migrating on nujus.net (set up by GH Hovagimyan and Peter Sinclair).




t by Joseph Nechtaval.
../files/articles/TheThing/bild5_1999big.jpg (wiki news page)

Press :

Videos :


The Rhizome: New Silent series will present contemporary art engaged with new technology. The series will include screenings and performances, as well as a critical conversational strand that will bring together leading scholars, artists, critics, and public figures to illuminate the complex interactions between technology, culture, and creative practice. The series will present artists working at the furthest reaches of technological experimentation as well as those responding to the broader aesthetic and political implications of new tools and media. The Rhizome: New Silent series takes its name from the generational theories of Neil Howe and William Strauss, who have written about the deep influence that new technologies will have on the generation born after 1996.

’93 is marked as a significant year in the web with the launch of the image-based Mosaic browser. Yet in 1993, pre-www technologies still reigned supreme. Bulletin Board System (BBS), email, and usenet groups offered a largely text-based communication system and, although rudimentary, they hinted at global connectivity to come. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition “NYC 1993,” this event positions that year as the last era before the popular web and explores the cultures and artists working in this early networked context. A particular focus lies on the Thing—an electronic BBS based out of a cyber-utopian social hub in downtown Manhattan and used by some of the earliest contemporary artists working online.
The evening will present Rhizome at the New Museum’s Digital Conservator Ben Fino-Radin in conversation with renowned archivist, historian, and documentary filmmaker Jason Scott and Wolfgang Staehle, artist and founder of The Thing BBS.
This event marks the launch of Rhizome’s major new preservation project to make the Thing BBS archive accessible to the public for the first time in over a decade.

The Thing is an international net-community of artists and art-related projects that was started in 1991 by Wolfgang Staehle. By the late 1990s, The Thing grew into a diverse online community made up of dozens of members' Web sites, mailing lists, a successful Web hosting service, a community studio in Chelsea (NYC), and the first Web site devoted to Net Art: bbs.thing.net. Staehle pioneered on those artistic practises that explored the computer networks as a new territory for creation, founding in 1991 “The Thing”, a platform which offered not only an infrastructure for accessing the networks, but also a space for experimentation with new types of unheard electronic practices, which a few years later were to be defined as "temporary autonomus zones" or "tactical media". The Thing has enabled a diverse group of artists, critics, curators, and activists to use the internet in its early stages. At its core, The Thing is a social network, made up of individuals from diverse backgrounds with a wide range of expert knowledge. From this social hub, The Thing has built an array of programs and initiatives, in both technological and cultural networks.
Among many others, artists and projects associated with thing.net have included Sawad Brooks, Heath Bunting, Cercle Ramo Nash, Vuk Cosic, Ricardo Dominguez, Ursula Endlicher, etoy, GH Hovagimyan, Jérôme Joy, John Klima, Jenny Marketou, Mariko Mori, Olivier Mosset, Prema Murty, Mark Napier, Joseph Nechvatal, Phil Niblock, Daniel Pflumm, Francesca da Rimini, Beat Streuli and Beth Stryker.

Organized by Rhizome, the New Silent Series receives major support from The Rockefeller Foundation, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Education and public programs are made possible by a generous grant from Goldman Sachs Gives at the recommendation of David and Hermine Heller.

The New Museum, designed by Tokyo-based architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA, is a seven-story, eight-level structure located at 235 Bowery between Stanton and Rivington Streets, at the origin of Prince Street in New York City.
The New Museum began as an idea in the mind of founding Director Marcia Tucker. As a curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art from 1967 through 1976, Tucker observed firsthand that new work by living artists was not easily assimilated into the conventional exhibition and collection structure of the traditional art museum.


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