Josh On

They Rule

Mapping the Power

They Rule 2001_screenshot_map: the seven most powerful

They Rule 2001_screenshot_map: the seven most powerful


They Rule is an online tool that allows users to construct maps of the interlocking directories of the top 100 US companies of 2001. (...) The goal was to show one view of the incestuous connections of an entrenched ruling class. (...) As a visual representation of a physical reality it allows the user to see connection that might not have otherwise been so apparent. As a digital representation of this physical reality it allows users to interact with a representation of that reality over time and reveal aspects of it piece by piece. As an online representation it allows people to launch off from the restricted dataset of the project and connect with exterior sources. (Josh On)

Artists / Authors


United States, 2001




They Rule is primarily the work of Josh On. He received help from Amy Balkin (artist), Amy Franceshini (artist – Futurefarmer), and Walter Logeman (Psycho therapist). They contributed design tips and research.

The project was done at Futurefarmers. It was not commissioned.

In 2002, the first version of They Rule received the Golden Nica award for „Net Excellence“ at Prix Ars Electronica. (

A new version of They Rule has been launched in May 2004


, May 19, 2004