Absolut Net.Art (1998)

Eryk Salvaggio's "Absolut Net.Art" project distills the personal stylistic tropes of a handful of standout net.art stars, effectively emulating their work through the template of absolut vodka advertisements. The project underlines the ease of style hijacking inherent in the digital realm.

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What would an Absolut bottle look like through the eyes of a net.artist? What would it look like through the eyes of a net.artist immitating the styles of other net.artists? See for yourself.

I like to think of the project as a commentary on the subversive nature of advertising and design markets, which usually hold direct opposition to the ideals of the avant garde. It is actually a piece of net.art backlash; it is a warning siren of sorts to illuminate the fact that net.art, like most art "movements," can easily be used to serve a consumerist agenda.

The Absolut campaign can be seen as a champion of the artists commission or the grandest, and most frustrating, union of art and commerce. The far reaching effects of Absoluts icon-making campaign is evident even in this piece; the absolut bottle is immediately recognizable, and in most cases more recognizeable than the artist.

Many users who encounter the work believe it to be the work of the "authors" attributed to it, but in fact all but one (Absolut Superbad, by Chris Stave) were created by myself. My favorite comment in response to the work was: "I don't care who made it, its still JODI."

It should also be noted that this artist would prefer a strawberry daiquiri, heavily abundant on sugar and toothpick umbrellas, over a bottle of vodka anyday, provided he was old enough to consume alchohol.

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