Eva and Franco Mattes

Eve and Franco Mattes are an artistic duo born in 1976 in Italy, now based in New York City. The execution of their artistic style, a perfunctory affair, is one that gained notoriety in 1998 when they had bought the domain name vaticano.org. They now operate under the pseudonym 0100101110101101.org and now are considered one of the leading artistic pioneers of the Net Art movement. The couple continue to put forth works that challenge the ethical and political issues that arise from the Internet.

The Mattes are a creative duo that put forth installations that duplicate or take off of another artist’s idea. Their works often involve the Internet, whether they are about issues portrayed out on the Internet or they are created on the web themselves. Their performances have gotten the two in quite a few lawsuits, having been called out for their off-the-wall performances, which include, but are not limited to, pasting fake architectural heritage plaques, creating advertisements and fake news about a non-existent movie starring two huge Hollywood stars, and convincing the citizens of Vienna that Nike had renamed the famous Karlsplatz to Nikeplatz.

A most interesting outlook that the duo has is their belief in the fact that our culture is shaped around plagiarism. The duo stated, “Anyone who claims that their work is an original, should really “start doubting” their mental health, because practically everything in this world, not just art, is a reproduction or remix of something that has been released before.” This stance that they take influences their artistic style quite frankly in one of their most popular works, Second Life. The work takes reproductions of portraits of people and makes the into avatars. The aesthetic meaning behind the portrait-turned avatar project was created in hopes to create a sense of “likeness”. The embodiment of the avatars was made to try and represent the real life human as accurately as it may seem. Their approach to creating this avatar version of a human is expressed in the following way by the duo, “ […] our works are not portraits, but rather “pictures of self-portraits”.

Another work by the duo that has established their name amongst the internet and artistic community is their installation, Ceiling Cat. In the work, a cat peers through the ceiling staring and watches downward at everything below them. This serves as a metaphor for the internet, a seemingly harmless global system intended to educate, connect, and provide information throughout the entire world, as it can seem as though it is merely doing just that. However, the internet is always watching its users content history, visited websites, and quite possibly every move one makes when one is present in the technological world.

The couple continue in their effort to push to display a more open-ended view of the internet and to garner a more conscious world view from its audience of technology, both present and for its future.

(Referring to a recurring theme in many of their most popular works, plagiarism): For us, “plagiarism,” “fake,” and “art” are just different sides of the same coin. We welcome outside interventions in our name when they perpetuate this perversity. The reverse is true as well: Don’t believe one second that through boycott or mere inactivity you would be able to free yourself from the market scheme of originality and creativity manifested through art and its double, plagiarism.