1995 or 1996?
Actually we are not really sure what the exact day was that AMEA emerged on the Internet. Some claim the site started earlier than 1996 because the oldest file, the 1930s dancing girl to the right had a time stamp of 1995 and was found on a hard drive of a 386 Windows PC.
So AMEA must have started either in the end of 1995 or the beginning of 1996, making it hard to pinpoint its anniversary. We ended up picking July 17th as the anniversary, since this is the birthday of Hans van der Kamp, founder of AMEA who is still with us as consultant and curator of this virtual museum.
What we know for sure is that AMEA was started by Van der Kamp as a joke. Or even a form of protest of the founder (calling himself “a group of artists”) who was at that point in time spending most of his hours on one of his other projects, a Dutch online literary magazine that kicked off earlier in 1994.
In 1994 very few Dutch authors believed that the Internet was anything more than a nuisance, or at best a hype. Some of them were still using typewriters and texts were hand delivered and quite a bit of text had to be retyped before it could be published.
Also the motivation of the editors was low and one night none of them showed up on an editorial meeting. Van der Kamp decided to spend his evening creating a parody on the then very popular membership sex sites. He created one page with a lot of golden keys on it, created one exhibit and one picture of the day.
This mini-site was named AMEA // World Museum of Erotic Art. Van der Kamp simply could not think of a name that would better mock erotica sites.
The golden keys on the front page were supposed to be linking to the largest collection of erotica ever, while in fact there was nothing there. However the picture of the day and the exhibit were a success.
At that time search engines and directories like Altavista and Yahoo were trying their utmost to be family friendly. Altavista was less scrupulous and was gaining ground on the directory of Yahoo, where actual people handpicked links from the web.
Since Amea was not so hardcore as most sex sites, Yahoo decided to link to it as one of the very few erotica sites they allowed to be listed in their directory.
Amea became an overnight success and Van der Kamp was forced to come up with the exhibits and remove the golden keys. From then on the number of visitors increased dramatically, mostly due to the many publications in newspapers, books and magazines worldwide.
Van der Kamp who is also an art photographer has often stated that 15 years devoted to one site is simply too much for him, so this year will be his final year.
To honor our founder we have chosen to exhibit his works that are currently on display in the controversial new Moscow Museum of Erotic Art: Tochka-G.
© 1996-2011 AMEA // World Museum of Erotic Art. All Rights Reserved.