Press release february 2003
Facts & Figures
The poster
I love you
backgrounder on digitalcraft
Pictures of the digitalcraft department
Museum sights

Press release

"adonnaM.mp3 – File Sharing, the Hidden Revolution in the Internet "

The Museum of Applied Arts exhibits the tools of the digital era

Frankfurt, 11th February 2003 - in the last three years, no other business has provoked quite as many headlines and arguments about intellectual copyright as has Napster, the pioneer internet music file sharing site. With Napster, "p2p" net architecture, (from "peer-to-peer", users with equal rights of access) was made accessible to the general public, launching a revolution in the information society. A study carried out recently by the market researchers, Forrester Research, suggests that one third of internet users in Europe (13% of Europe's population) obtain digital music over the worldwide web. The music industry is suffering from a drop in turnover, which, it believes, is caused not only by the illegal copying of CDs, but also by the contested free downloading of music files over the internet. According to the US music industry association, 2,6 billion music files are illegally exchanged monthly on the most successful music exchange site, KaZaA, alone.

Bringing different standpoints into the discussion

The exhibition "adonnaM.mp3 � File sharing, the hidden revolution in the Internet", produced by the digitalcraft department at the Museum für Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt (Museum of Applied Arts), is concerned with the phenomenon of audio file sharing, including the most widely used file compression format, mp3, and peer-to-peer technology. It asks what radical changes in society, the economy, art and design might be brought about by the use of digital tools. The exhibition runs from 20th March to 20th April 2003 at the Museum of Applied Arts and is being held in co-operation with the Museum für Kommunikation (Museum of Communication) in Frankfurt.

digitalcraft has planned this exhibition in the context of a museum's function as a neutral platform, registering legal, social, economic and artistic standpoints and perspectives on this phenomenon and bringing them into the discussion. File sharing is revealed as a contemporary vehicle that provides the basis for a new means of communication, while also being an instrument of creative expression. The exhibition's title refers to a subterfuge which, in 2001, enabled sixty million Napster users to continue downloading 100,000 songs unhindered, despite a court order blocking them. A simple programme moved the first letter of an artist's name to the end, turning Madonna.mp3 into adonnaM.mp3 .

From facts to faits-accompli

The exhibition is structured in three themed sections. In the first, visitors are given facts and analysis of the history, background and invention of the mp3 compression format, together with the workings of file sharing. This content has kindly been provided by Micronas, the pioneer of mp3 technology. The second section presents works by artists, designers and artists' collectives which explore these subjects. It also analyses the duality between the free exchange of data amongst internet users, on the one hand, and the commercial motivation of the music industry, on the other. The third section consists of workshops held at the Museum für Kommunikation Frankfurt with an emphasis on the interactive communication of knowledge. In these, people can learn about using peer-to-peer networks and mp3. Two web musicians show how downloading, re-mixing and compression work. The basic ideas behind peer-to-peer are also explained: the ethics of giving and taking; opportunities for unlimited co-operation; the development of social abilities and ways of behaving in the world of a network.

The exhibition is sponsored by the semiconductor manufacturer Micronas, helping people to experience the digital world under the slogan �Silicon for the Senses�, and the producer of audio-software, Steinberg.

"adonnaM.mp3" follows the exhibitions "I love you", about computer viruses, and "origami digital", about the demo scene, and continues their exploration of digital issues in everyday life. It is accompanied by a catalogue with contributions by:

Florian Cramer, FU Berlin, Seminar in General and Comparative Literature
Massimo Ferronato, Programmer and member of epidemiC artists' collective
Luca Lampo, Member of epidemiC artists' collective
Alessandro Ludovico, Media expert and editor
Luigi Mansani, Lecturer in Trade Law at the Faculty of Business Studies, University of Parma, and barrister in Milan
Chris Montgomery, CEO of, Europe
Ulrich Sieben, CTO of Micronas
David Weinberger, Journalist and President of Evident Marketing, Inc.