Info-highway vamps


If you don’t know what simulacral warfare is — or if you’ve ever questioned whether cultural resistance to capitalism is possible in an age of global branding — you need Mute. Forget Fast Company, Wired magazine and their countless imitators. Mute is the accelerated antidote to the belief that resistance is futile. And it’s built for an audience young enough to be native to a media environment: like a version of Adbusters which races along at the square of the speeds of MTV cuts and T3-access Internet surfing. Mute’s super-sharp, ultra-hip graphics hawk frighteningly edgy ideas about the social, aesthetic and economic rules of the new information economy.

Mute’s most recent heroes are the shock troops of the European net art collective etoy, which recently vanquished the American dot-com toy reseller eToys in the court of market capitalization. For those who haven’t heard the buzz, the retailer took the artists to court over the art group’s prior ownership of the domain name (the retailer’s domain is eToys with an “s”). But when the corporate Goliath met professional, spirited and media-savvy resistance from its intended victim, its stock price plummeted more than 70 percent — a far more just, potent and immediate ruling than any court could have made. While this news was all over CNN and MSNBC, a peek into the genius of the art gang-turned-corporation slayer was sadly lacking. “Value systems, stock markets and the surreal etoy.CORPORATION are our TOPICS!” shout the artists, and the Mute reader is treated to three etoy works, which are stunningly dead-on. If this were the work of Nike or Diesel, it would be chilling.

Both the writing and graphic presentation of Mute are outstanding, and its ideas are vital and necessary. Find this one hard-to-find magazine, or email to suggest they update their Web site.

Marc Christensen writes about books and music for Metro Times. E-mail

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.