Press Release | 16 10 2003
Public Netbase
Nike-Platz: transnational corporation attacks freedom of art

International art project threatened by court injunction

On 14 October, the net culture institution Public Netbase was served a writ intended to prohibit a work of art. The writ was the result of a lawsuit filed by Nike corporation, with a disputed amount of 78,000 Euros.

The space installation "nikeground – rethinking space" is a joint project of Public Netbase and the renowned art group 0100101110101101.ORG. The renaming of the historic Karlsplatz square in the center of Vienna into Nikeplatz, as suggested by the project, is meant to encourage reflection and public debates. In their work, the authors combine the artistic tradition of mythopoesis with the new culture of communication technologies.

The reaction of the transnational sportswear company is questionable in several different ways. At no time during the art project were any goods or services offered under the name of Nike. In addition, Public Netbase is a non-profit organization and stands in no competitive relationship whatsoever to Nike. Therefore, any talk of violation of trademarks is unfounded. Instead, Nike corporation appears to stand in opposition to the principle of the freedom of art, as laid down in Section 17a of the Austrian constitution.

Konrad Becker, Director of Public Netbase: "We are talking about a company that was recently sentenced by the US Supreme Court because of misleading advertising, and now seems determined to write art history by engineering punishment campaigns against artists all over the world." This is a way of criminalizing the artistic reflection on symbols of everyday culture and symbolic representations of the city. "Nike uses an artistic intervention as a pretext to stifle any possible debates or criticism of global developments", Becker said.

The US cultural theorist Timothy Druckrey describes the artistic importance of the work of 0100101110101101.ORG as follows. "The group provokes questions about the 'other' side of the power, about the premises on which the culture is promoted (and, increasingly, regulated), and, now, about how corporate identity cannot endorse itself as a proxy public sphere or as an entity immune from the implications of their actions"

In a press release, Nike’s PR agency FCB makes it clear that hardly any harm was done by this artistic action. "What is true is the exact opposite: Nike has chosen to do harm to art. Their position represents a frontal attack against contemporary artistic practice", Becker concluded.

  DEUTSCH

07 01 2004
Nike-Klage gegen Kunstprojekt zurückgezogen
Public Netbase

27 10 2003
Nike-Platz: Erster Erfolg für Freiheit der Kunst!
Public Netbase

16 10 2003
Nike-Platz: Großkonzern attackiert Freiheit der Kunst
Public Netbase

10 10 2003
Nike-Platz: Kunstintervention im urbanen Raum
Public Netbase
 

  nikeground.com
 

  ENGLISH

07 01 2004
Nike withdraws case against art project
Public Netbase

27 10 2003
Nike-Platz: A First Victory for the Freedom of Art
Public Netbase

16 10 2003
Nike-Platz: transnational corporation attacks freedom of art
Public Netbase

10 10 2003
Nike Square: Art Intervention in Urban Space
Public Netbase

10 10 2003
Nike buys streets and squares
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