Early in 2000, Miltos Manetas, with the assistance of ArtProduction Fund and Yvonne Force, commissioned California based randing company Lexicon to create a name for an art movement.
Lexicon, (the creators of "Powerbook", "Embassy Suites" and "Pentium"), delivered more than one hundred terms. Manetas chose two: Telic and Neen. Telic, a name appropriated from linguistics, means "something directed or tending towards a goal or purpose; purposeful". For example "I am driving to Los Angeles" is a Telic statement. "I am driving" is not. Telos, in Greek, means "the end" or "the purpose". The word "Neen" was created by a computer program run by Lexicon. It is a palindrome (like Dada) and coincidentally, in old Greek, means "exactly now".
Neen was introduced in May 2000 in a performance at Gagosian Gallery in New York. This was the starting point for an international movement which grew by word of mouth and on the Internet.
Let's define Telic: Telic is magic through technology. Telic is our relationship with the tools which help us to design the World and to see things in a perspective. Our times are Telic. But we want to see more Neen happen. Telic is Rem Koolhaas's S, M, L, XL. Telic is constructive: anything related with a job, is Telic. People who are busy with aesthetics but who also have jobs and clients are Telic. But sometimes these Telic people produce very important Neen. It usually comes, as a small notion, hidden inside the nightmare of their job. Neen in these cases is what their clients don't understand but they don't have the courage to ask about. Telic is serious: it makes sense. People recognize it and trust it.
Neen instead, is Telic that went nuts: you wouldn't believe that it's possible and even those who make Neen cannot easily repeat it. There are a few Neenstars, people without a specific profession who linger around us.
Telic is Giacometti, Neen is Fontana. Nature is Telic and miracles are Neen. Miracles which have a purpose, become Telic, stupid miracles instead, like the one where Jesus walks on the water, stay Neen for centuries. But again, if Jesus came back today and he walked on the water that would be Telic.Really, there is no way to preserve Neen, because it expires after a second. Neensters are the people who are OK with this fact.
After the Neen presentation at Gagosian, Manetas and Mai Ueda, moved to Los Angeles and started the ElectronicOrphanage, a storefront space in the gallery district on Chung King Road. Soon, artists Mike Calvert, Rafael Rozendaal, Steven Schkolne, John White C, and Amy Franceschini from Future Farmers, Joel Fox, and Angelo Plessas joined them and had the first Neen shows there. Architect Andreas Angelidakis, created Neen space statements such as the NeenWorld and composer Mark Tranmer from Gnac, wrote sounds and loops for the place and its websites. Theorists Lev Manovich, Peter Lunenfeld, Norman Klein and Benjamin Bratton kept an eye on the Neen activities and they initiated the KLM theory (www.bienalle.net).
In March 2002, the ElectronicOrphanage produced Whitneybiennial.com, an online exhibition which succeeded in stealing a great amount of attention from the Whitney show (The New York Times ran a story the day before the opening on the exhibition in New York, and most of it was dedicated to whitneybiennial.com).