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Infomera cyber-wrestling challenge

Luca Barbeni

The infomera cyber-wrestling challenge – arcangel vs. subculture – London, April 1st ’06

Luca Barbeni from talks with Antonio Mendoza from Los Angeles (aka subculture) and Arcangel Costantini from Mexico about their forthcoming encounter in the cyber-wrestling ring in the Area10 Project Space in Peckham, South London on April 1st ’06 as part of the SUM (1,4,6) event of the NODE.London March ’06 season.

introduction by atty, SUM(1,4,6) event organiser

Its a great pleasure to be able to host the latest Infomera challenge particularly when the contestants are to be Arcangel, the creator and guardian of the tradition of cyber-wrestling against one of its greatest adepts, subculture aka Antonio Mendoza, we are also lucky to have the assistance of Lele Luchetti of Valencia acting as referee and announcer for this match.

As Arcangel explains in his interview, was started by him in 2001, first of all as an invitation to the net-art and wider net community as a whole to collectively hack and rehack the content of a specific URL on for a month. The challenge has since been honed and mutated to its present incarnation where the contest is a ‘mano o mano’ duel and it is held with the contestants physically together facing each other across a ring while the actual action remains in cyberspace. For our SUM (1,4,6) event at Area10 (3D view) we have the benefit of a very big, very amazing and atmospheric space to place the Infomera ring, maybe more a street, even back street fight setting for this show down compared to the more familar media lab and art museum venues. Can we expect the resulting ‘moves’ be the deepest, dirtiest most dastardly scripts, images and sounds seen yet on Infomera? All the action will be projected on a set of three huge screens displaying the site of the fight and the desktops of the contestants as they put together their next moves.

After checking the interviews from the two champions below you can also visit their pre-match URLs at and and then visit our open_digi association website at to register who you support for the big match. If you can get to SUM (1,4,6) registered supporters will receive handsome fan support items from their champion.

interview with Antonio Mendoza

LB: This is your second cyber-wrestling match, what is it like to participate in this kind of competition?
AM: This is actually my third cyber-wrestling match. My first one was strictly online. I fought Area3 who were in Barcelona from my house in Los Angeles. Unfortunately the time zones are so different that it was hard to get a good flow. My second match was in Mexico City. That was the first time live in a wrestling ring. I dueled muserna for like four hours. The battle was great until the tequila (a sponsor of the event) took over.

LB: Can you tell us something about your strategy, do you attack, defend or integrate?
AM: The best way to prepare for this kind of event is to achieve the perfect combination of ninja-like focus, drug-induced madness and steroid-enhanced endurance. Once I hit this cyber-wrestling nirvana, I like to pirate all sounds, images and javascripts from my opponent’s web site and use them against him (or her).

I also try eat a sensible meal with lots of carbohydrates and water before the match.

LB: what’s your mood now? do you feel fit and ready for April 1st?
AM: my mood? I feel pretty. I feel fit. I feel pity for arcangel. I feel like the Russian Revolution before it went wrong. I feel like jihad. I feel like psychoanalysis. I feel like the chance meeting of a sewing machine and tomahawk missile on a dissecting table.

LB: net-art would like to be stable whereas the reality is that is is transient and also implicitly participatory. It can easily be more like a temporary performance. What do you think about this?
AM: reality is just an excuse for those who can’t handle net-art.

LB: what do you want to say to arcangel, your opponent for April 1st in London?
AM: Arcangel, I’m looking into your eyes… I want you to know how it feels to have your beating heart squashed like a plum. I want you to know that I wipe my behind with your code. I want you to know that according to the latest CNN-Gallup poll, I’ve already won by a margin of five to one.

interview with Arcangel Costantini

LB: this cyber-wrestling match on the 1st of april is part of the infomera project, can you describe infomera for us? And what is the relation between the name infomera and the word ephemera?
AC: The idea was to have implicit in the domain the concept of “informacion efimera”. There is no entropy in digital data, the main goal of the project is to generate a metaphor of the transformation of information on the web, as two artists have access to a server and the possibilities and goal to transform the content of this server for the audience there is a proximity to an ephemeral process, what is important for this audience is to be present in the moment of transformation and at the end the collective work will disappear.

LB: net-art would like to be stable whereas the reality is that is is transient and also implicitly participatory. It can easily be more like a temporary performance. What do you think about this?
AC: Yes, it is a temporary performance, an action occurring in real time, like its counterpart in wrestling “Lucha Libre” (mexican style wrestling), it is a combative action but more important than this is that it is in fact also a collaborative action. Itís the process that makes it special.

LB: For infomera first there was free for all, then virtual duels, how did this work and who was involved? Then, how did you decided to do the duel non-virtual, live + online?
AC: the first infomera was “todos contra todos”, on an open server where everybody could participate, this was a one month duration performance whose end objective was to show net art in a public space. The resulting public show was in fact a memoria of the site interventions and was held at Galeria Metropolitana in Barcelona in 2001 (Vicente Matallana of La Agencia was promoter of this show) as well as in the open in Barcelonaís Placa Sol in the Gracia district. A composite Flash documentation of the Place Sol show can be found at

During this first infomera process I realized that the outcome constituted essentially four duels between the most active participants on the server during the month. This gave me the idea to do explicitly one vs. one. As a result we did an exhibition series at the cyberlounge of Museo Tamayo in Mexico City called, Champions of the WWW, where during 48 hours two contestants would combat collaboratively on the infomera site. This was a totally virtual performance where the matches where by very famous old school net artists such as superbad vs redsmoke, oculart vs dream7 etc. Player cards created by these combatants can be found at

The first online and real/non-virtual ‘mano o mano’ match was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina where I did combat with Brian Mackern, he used ërudoí technics and beat me. Next I changed to ërudoí style and with the opening of the Mexico City’s El Centro de diseno y television, we set up an almost real wrestling ring and the match was between subculture and muserna.

Net artists are used to working and communicating from an unspecified and isolated physical location, sharing their content through the global web. In the infomera non-virtual match the wrestlers are facing each other BUT still working through cyberspace, the only physical touch in the match is the one of the eyes, also brainwaves are closer,
and it’s nice to meet friends.

LB: muserna in his essay says you told him before his match with you of Sept 11th 2002 to “prepare all your moves”. Can you describe what you mean by a “move” in this context of cyber-wrestling between ‘net-artists’. Does it imply the destruction of
the other artist’s work, and if so in what manner? to what end?

AC: Probably I try to convey in my bad english the concept of ‘movimiento’, our expression for a transformative move which creates dynamic flow. In mexican wrestling the participants are acrobats who collaborate to create and share a beautiful and exciting performance, they share and exchange their moves as a competition, but the important part of the process, the key factor, as in cyber-wrestling, is dynamism vs. stillness. In the infomera contest works start to blend and transform in a dynamic manner building the creators’ aura.

LB: Did you ever think of inviting Netochka Nezvanova to an infomera challenge?
AC: There would be a big queue to fight against her.
LB: what do you want to say to subculture, your opponent for April 1st in London?
AC: Querido subculture I will make chicken tamales of you scripts, your bitmaps will be washed out and frozed to oblivion

net-campeones at node.l
Area10 Project Space
Mano a Mano, review from Mexico City Aug 2004 by Eduardo Navas
CODE WARRIORS essay by Muserna
the ephemeral angel feature