Artist contribution: Jennifer Lyn Morone

Image courtesy of Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc
Text and pictures by Jennifer Lyn Morone & Lisa Kosak

"NO MONEY, NO DATA" could be one of Jennifer Lyn Morone's motto. She incorporated herself so that now, everything she is or has can be bought. Her artistic contribution for this online issue, focusing more specifically on the problem of data-ownership, is made in parallel of the work she is preparing for transmediale.

Let's hear what she has to tell us about it....

 

 
Can you tell me more about the work you are doing for transmediale ?

The work that I am doing for transmediale’s ‘Capture All’ focuses heavily on the data aspect of Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc, where I have incorporated myself as a means to not only take ownership of the data I produce but also to explore its values from the perspective of the subject that the data relates and commoditize it as I see fit.
The setup in the show is like a shop, where one of the elements will be a screen streaming my data simultaneously. The data, or content, will be information such as screenshots, a webcam feed, emails, demographic, health and financial information, purchases I make, my location, etc. Every visitor becomes a potential client able to purchase selected data from the menu that displays à la carte or packaged information. This is a resistance piece to many of the realities we are currently facing today as a society in the throws of an advanced stage of Capitalism.
For how long have you been working on this project and what have you achieved so far ?

It has been about 14 months since I began working on this project. I incorporated approximately seven months ago. The past six months have been spent preparing for shows, conferences, and some time back in America. I think the biggest achievement was that I managed to relax for about two weeks in the past six months!
As far as the work, I approach involvement in things such as transmediale as little deadlines to meet milestones. According to my long-term agenda real achievement is still ahead of me.
 
What triggered you to make this project ?

I think there are many factors that laid the foundation to trigger a project like this…for instance, being American and having lived abroad for over a decade have definitely allowed me to form a quite different perspective. Then, with this perspective, considering issues such as increasing surveillance states; increasing unemployment; automation replacing workforce; stagnant wages; increasing cost of living; zombie-like consumption; obsessive individualism; the wealthiest getting wealthier, while the middle class (what’s left of it) is expected to carry the burden of an insolvent nation, (USA) while corporations are encouraged (even expected) to form complicated tax avoidance schemes; unsustainable business growth; increasing privatisation of services; monopolisation of markets; and the fact that in the USA corporations are also considered people but with much greater advantages than real people (I could go on).  Add to this the way the web has progressed, how it is used by us and now how it is used to watch us as if we are just pawns to be controlled and marketed to.
 
 
 
 
The cherry on top was when Snowden spoke out about the NSA, which coincided with discovering that in just 10 years a multi-billion dollar industry has emerged solely from personal data.  Eventually, my frustration and disgust peaked, triggering this project as a protest to challenge the political and economic status quo.  Given all of the uncertainties and all of the inequalities we are faced with, I started by looking at the data industry and asking a simple question: If companies can profit from my personal data, information created just by living, then why can’t I?

Following was to work through issues of how to regain ownership and control of one’s data, including the ability to commoditize it, which is one of the many benefits of incorporating.  All in all, I see a broken system and, understandably, most people are too distracted to either see it themselves or do anything about it. This is my way of trying to do something.

Which services or products do you offer as a corporation ?

JLM Inc provides goods and services such as data (DaaS), media & entertainment, intelligence/know-how, care, equipment rental, labour, biological products (the health industry and black market are the current alternatives), and inventory (everything I own is for sale) to name a few.

So the short answer is anything.  Value can be derived from everything and nothing is free, whether it is time, money, energy, experience, skill, information, etc. Exchanges and profit do not need to be in monetary form but there needs to be a give and take.  Artists are a good example of how the way things work now just isn’t viable.  They work hard and are expected to do so for free, for publicity, for recognition. While that is all great, it does not help with necessities such as food, clothing or shelter...you can’t survive on attention.  Operating one’s life as a company reflects the increasing commoditization, taxation and privatization of everything that seems to be the natural evolution of Capitalism.  By attempting to make this a sustainable business and livelihood I can explore the inherent possibilities and obstacles while mocking, provoking and exposing the conditions of the system we are stuck in.
 
What does it entail to incorporate yourself ?

If anything incorporating requires adopting a different state of mind, primarily the desire and ability to self-govern, perspective to determine the value of what you do and who you are, and a desire to be useful.
Incorporating is not as difficult of a process as it used to be. There used to have to be a specific need or purpose to be created, require at least several people to form the company, then raise the funds for the job to be done and then dissolve the company once the job was completed.

Someone interested in incorporating themselves has to determine where they want to do business (or where they live, are needed) then register their legal entity in that place. You can also set up an offshore company or diversify your assets (what you have and can do) into many companies and have a holding company (in Ireland/Bahamas/Hong Kong/Singapore), or a trust, that owns the majority of the others for tax and liability purposes (which is what most major companies do i.e. Facebook, Google, and countless others).  Depends on if you plan to have shareholders, pay dividends, have multiple points of sale and the individual and business tax specifics of where you are or want to be.

I incorporated in Delaware, as it is one state which allows one person to fill all the roles necessary to set up. There is no need to define the specific purpose of the company, since it can change or be diverse, and the corporation can have perpetual existence. This is where many of the large corporations that I am mimicking are also formed for reasons such as having the most flexible corporate laws and a reputed Court of Chancery. The actual registration, or company formation process is pretty quick.

Then there are the realities of actually running the business, such as branding, models, marketing, partnerships, etc...but it is a business based on you and your life. There are myriads of models to follow. The problem is, as one would discover and what I want to show, is that there really is no escaping this dynamic of consumer/producer, owner/renter, exploiter/exploited...but maybe there is a way to even the balance between the two.
Then, how much is this interview going to cost bpigs ?
Please see the attached invoice...

 

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