Earlier today I sent an announcement e-mail about Artomatic to numerous Washington, DC neighborhood listserves. In all, the e-mail reached (in theory) about 10,000 DC residents. I’ve been using the Yahoogroups to nicely spam various nearby communities about interesting stuff going on in DC for a few years now and since I do it sparingly I rarely get any flack from people calling me out as a spammer. Frankly, I consider myself to be just a messenger when it comes to sharing this type of information about events, and usually these infrequent e-mails have to with something I am working on. In this respect, these e-mails are a hybrid of self-promotion and spreading the word, and today’s e-mail was not much different. At the end of the announcement e-mail, I included a link to my YouTube video that I made earlier this week. Aside from the direct link to the Artomatic front page, I also included a link to the artists catalog and unlike most e-mails I did not include a link to my website.
However, upon looking over the artist catalog’s listings, I realized that everyone was being listed in alphabetical order. I decided to see if changing my name around would make me listed first. To my chagrin, this hack worked and was placed first in the catalog. When saving files on my Macintosh I tend to put an exclamation point (!) in front of file names that I want to stay at the top of the file listing (like “!!to_be_backed_up”). In ASCII code the exclamation point is one of the first letters in this digital alphabet and by changing my name to “!!Nikolas R. Schiller,” I was able to get top billing. It will probably get moved soon, but its nice to know that I PWND the Artomatic Artist Catalog! I would call this form of hackery “digital performance art” :-)
#UPDATE# – May 9th, 11am
It looks like two musicians decided to follow suit and change their name as well and are now listed above me.
#UPDATE# – May 10th, 2am
Since the two people who decided to change their name were musicians, I still have top billing for 2-D arts.
#UPDATE# – May 10th, Noon
My catalog entry at Artomatic has been suspended and I received this e-mail. The name of the author is being withheld out of respect for their volunteer work:
Yeah, I get it.
You can change your artist catalog index name, and if you put something bad in there, you show up at the top of the list.
I did it because our artists are a wide variety of people, some of whom use their real name, like â€œNicholas Schillerâ€, who should be under S; some of whom go by 1-word nicknames, some of whom use group names like â€œDistrict Creativesâ€, and every permutation thereof â€“ James K. Smith III, Michele de la Menardiere â€“ etc. We make regular passes through the catalog to try and catch people who enter their information incorrectly.
Iâ€™m also â€“ like everyone in Artomatic â€“ a volunteer, and wrote the code for the registration page outside of my full-time day job. (And, I should also mention, the bar manager, so I was there from noon yesterday until 2am keeping the party hopping. Which means youâ€™ve caught me in a bad mood, too.)
I really donâ€™t appreciate having to deal with the discourtesy of an Artomatic participant who skirts the system for his own benefit, and then brags about it on his blog.
Iâ€™ve suspended your entry in the artist catalog until further notice.
Please donâ€™t try this again next year.
I sent this reply:
Thank you for the e-mail.
I am a digital artist and amongst my specialties is finding and exploiting flaws in on-line networks, bulletin boards, and commercial websites. Not once did I intend on disparaging Artomatic or any of it’s volunteers in my digital stunt, rather, I documented a means in which someone like myself can use the artist catalog to their advantage. More importantly, if it wasn’t done by me, it would have been done by someone else eventually, and they might not have purposely given themselves away by writing about it on their website.
The blog entry you cite mentions the roughly 3 hours of volunteer work I completed in promoting Artomatic to over a dozen neighborhood listserves around Washington, DC. In that promotional e-mail, I did not mention my artist catalog hack, instead I sent a straightforward promotional e-mail that filled the void left by the other volunteer promotional efforts. Not one of the roughly 1,000 artists participating in Artomatic choose to voluntarily send out a promotional e-mail to the different DC neighborhoods e-mail lists (I checked before I send the e-mail out over 10,000 DC residents on Thursday). Nor did any one ask me to sent it either, rather I did it out of respect to Artomatic and it’s volunteers.
Again, I am sorry if my on-line documentation came across as bragging. The stunt was supposed to be a humorous means of showing the diversity of artists participating at Artomatic, to highlight a loophole in the artist catalog, and more importantly, my intent was not to point a finger at any one volunteer specifically, but show one weakness in the artist catalog. Again, I am sorry that you found it to be discourteous, but it was done in the name of art.
I would like to be reinstated into the artist catalog and *promise* to not change the spelling of my name.
Nikolas R. Schiller
UPDATE – Saturday, May 10th, 2008 – I ran into the person who sent me the e-mail while on the elevator at Artomatic. Spoke briefly and made my way to the Artomatic office and waited for him to arrive. He had to run another errand, so I left after waiting about twenty minutes because I had a BBQ to attend. I volunteer on Wednesday, which will involve going to the Artomatic office (I think) and I expect to have this all resolved shortly.
#UPDATE# – Monday, May 12th, 2008 – I have been reinserted into the artist catalog and am going to volunteer some of my time to help fix the error I found.
Related Artomatic Entries:
- [Found Maps] License Plate Maps of DC & Maryland at Artomatic 2009
- My Brash poem from Artomatic 2009
- YouTube Video: "A Fly on the Wall at Artomatic"
- I am mentioned in today's Washington Post article "Artomatic '09: Survival Tips From an Expert"
- My Artomatic 2009 Opening Night Exhibit Dissected on Flickr
- A Navy Yard Perspective
- My maps on display at Artomatic 2009
- Quart Bag: A Community Art Show at the Civilian Art Projects
- My Brash Poem from Artomatic 2008
- My Artomatic 2008 Opening Night Exhibit Dissected on Flickr
- My Artomatic 2008 Top 100 by Floor
- 24 on 14th - One Long Day on 14th by Graeme King
- A sampling of Artomatic 2008 YouTube Videos
- Tag Galaxy [featuring Artomatic 2008 photos]
- Swampoodle Quilt #3
- Swampoodle Quilt #2
- Exhibit Fly-Through in Reverse Slow-Motion @ Artomatic 2008
- Artomatic 2008 Opening Night
- SloMo the Statehood Snail visits Swampoodle
- the Artomatic Artist Catalog [PWND] - with updates
- Swampoodle Quilt
- What the Artomatic 2008 venue looked like in March of 2005
- The Base Map Installation @ Artomatic
- The first Artomatic prints have arrived
- ARTOMATIC - 2008 is here and I will be participating for the first time