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Domain Squatting as an Art Form

The Charlotte Bobcats don't win many basketball games, and they didn't get much attention nationally until they won the first round draft pick in the NBA lottery. Now a lot of people are looking to find out more about the team, and it's paying off for Austin Saya and Rickey Kim, the absurdist comedy video team that runs the website CharlotteBobcats.com. Back in 2003, Saya and his father guessed which name the city's basketball team (formed to replace the Hornets) would select, and registered the domain. It took eight years for Saya to do something with the domain. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with basketball.
In 2011, after finishing his master's at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Saya and Kim finally met in downtown Los Angeles. They shared an experimental approach toward art and a love for pranks and absurdity. By April, they began making films together. Saya had already flirted with the idea of putting content on CharlotteBobcats.com; he saw the amount of traffic it received, even in its neglected state, and began to consider the possibilities. In early 2011, he filmed a man in an empty room attempting to open a suitcase. There was just one camera angle, and no dialogue, and it lasted 25 minutes.

"We put that video on loop on the website, and it got like 15,000 hits in a few days," he said. "And later on we discovered on a bunch of sports blogs that people were talking about it, and they were wondering, 'What's going on with the Charlotte Bobcats website?' And it was awesome, because eventually as you went down on the message boards, you'd see they were actually talking about the video, and some of the people would watch it all the way through. All 25 minutes. And the guy doesn't do anything!"

As Rickey and Austin began making experimental films, they put them on the site. They even designed a logo, a white windowless monolith in a black box. There was an appealing practical aspect to using the site, which was the instant, unwitting audience that came to the site every day in large numbers. But Saya and Kim are pranksters at heart, and they delighted in the artistic absurdity of the situation.

CharlotteBobcats.com is getting a lot of recognition, but the site still makes no money. Saya and Kim are happy with the exposure. Read the rest of the story at Grantland. Link -via Metafilter

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