Z I N E n
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a journal of new media experimental visual literary theory practice


Ted Warnell


Features, reviews, papers

Zn 99/01/08: International Web art project by new media artists David Knoebel and Ted Warnell, plus Declaration of Cyberspace Independence by John Perry Barlow.

Copyright © 1999 by David Knoebel and Ted Warnell, John Perry Barlow. All rights reserved.


1999 JAN 8

The TinkerNet

The TinkerNet
is an international Web art project by American experimental artist David Knoebel and Zn's Ted Warnell. A primary goal of the project is to create a linked body of works by as many participants as possible. Here is David's succinct description of the work:

This is an open-ended work
whose nodes and branches extend in many directions through the World Wide Web. It began in December 1998 with a collaboration between Ted Warnell and David Knoebel.

    The TinkerNet project involves (theoretically) an infinite number of artist-participants.
The TinkerNet project involves (theoretically) an infinite number of artist-participants. Each artist takes an idea from a participating Web site, re-invents it on his or her own site, then invites others to do the same at their own sites. A single participant may participate more than once provided a new work is created each time.

To connect here, send me an e-mail ( with your name, or some other identifier, and your work's URL. I'll add this information to my link list. Your piece should include a link back to mine and a provision for links forward to your future partners' sites.

Additional information
on the TinkerNet project can be found on these links:

David Knoebel, USA

Ted Warnell, Canada


think toy... play with it!

of Cyberspace Independence, written by John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. You are encouraged to disseminate this text far and wide.

This text from early in 1996 still carries an important message for us all in 1999, and is so eloquently stated, I just want to bring it to Zn readers...

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.

Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.

You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.

You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don't exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract. This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.

Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.

We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.

We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.

Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are based on matter, There is no matter here.

Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge. Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.

In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.

Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.

These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.

We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.

    Davos, Switzerland
    February 8, 1996

    John Perry Barlow,
    Cognitive Dissident Co-Founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electronic Frontier Foundation
A non-profit civil liberties organization working in the public interest to protect privacy, free expression, and access to public resources and information online, as well as to promote responsibility in new media. Home of the Blue Ribbon Campaign. USA
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Copyright © 1997-99 Ted Warnell. All Rights Reserved