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Internet Art Rachel Greene Thames & Hudson world of art 1 Shu Lea Cheang.yppeyeah DesignandRogerSennere Fes pulsed paperbckn be United States Aena 2004 by Thames Mucor ne, S0DFith Aree NewYork New rk 10 brary of Congres Calg Cr Numb 2003108926 ISBNOS00.23768 Desired btn Maran Preted nd boundn Seppe by C5 Gages Chapter | ‘Chapter? Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Contents Preface 7 Introduction § The Internets History ond Pre-History 4; The Art Historical Content for Internet Art 19 Early Internet Art 3| Participation in Publ Spoces 34; Russion Internet Art Scene 36; ‘New Vocabularies 39; Travel and Documentary Medes 45; Nevart $2; {Gjberfeminism £2; Corporte Aesthesic 65; Telepresence 67 Isolating the Elements 73 Emai-based Communities 73; Exhibion Formats and Collective Projects 78; Browsers, ASI, Automation and Error 84; Parody, Appropriavon and Remixing 32; Mapping Authorship \03; Hypertext ‘and Textuol Aesthetics \04; Remodeling Bodies |08; New Forms ‘of Distribution |\C; Sexual Personoe I ‘Themes in Internet Art 19 ‘nfowar ondToctical Media in roctce | 1%; Tur ofthe Milennium War ‘ond the Dotcom Crash |28; DateVisuolizaton ond Databases 32; Games |; Generative and Sofware rt 52; Open Works 4; The Crash of 2000 168 Artfor Networks 173 Yoyeurism Survelloce and Borders 173; Wireless 180: Ecommerce |84; Forms of Sharing |88; Video and Flic Discourses '9); Lowi Aesthetics 200; ‘Art for Networks’ 208 Timeline 214 Glossary 214 Projects and Resources 2/6; Select Exhibitions 217; Festivals, Events and Venues 218; Maling Lists 218 Select Bibliography 218, Mstration List. 220 Index 222 Preface archives 3 has been added to encourage readers to their own conclusions, and become participants inthis diverse and relevant field Introduction Both everyday and exotic, public and private, autonomous and ‘commercial, the internet is a chaotic, diverse and crowded form ‘of contemporary public space. Itis hardly surprising, therefore, to find so many art forms related to it: websites, software, broadcast photography, animation, radio and email, to name just 2 few. Moreover, the computer, fundamental for experiencing internet art, can be both a channel and a means of production and ‘an take the form ofa lptop, acellular phone, an office computer ‘each with its own screen, sofware, speed and capability ~ and the experience ofthe artwork changes accordingly. Beyond the internet’ singular ability to host many different aesthetic activites, ‘other novel and complicating issues make internet art difficult to summarize in a critical and historical survey such as eis its relative youth; its dematerialized and ephemeral nature; its global reach ts location, however, i clear like the great works of rt that decorated public areas and buildings in pre-nineteenth- century cultures, internet art resides in a largely open zone cyberspace - manifesting itself on computer desktops anywhere In the world but rarely in museum halls and white cube galeries, where the past two centuries have suggested we look for art. By virtue of ts constantly diminishing and replenishing ‘medium and tools (eg sofware and applications become ‘obsolete, web pages are abandoned and removed, software is Upgraded, new plugins are brought onto the market, web sites arelaunched), internet artis intertwined with issues of access 0 technology and decentralization, production and consumption, and demonstrates how media spheres increasingly function a8 public space, Iis inextricable from the history of military and. ‘commercial innovation; and i follows the changing roles of ‘Computers, which have developed from anonymous, unwieldy ‘machines to reasoning portable, customizable instruments 3. Nam une Pall Portcpoton TV, 19611988 version) Pak televton-aconsumertareted parsepuory space Notonly oes And reiposive ste for ata trerges 4 petri plalorm. Srtching rom brenden co Fr common ninerneeartmaking deployed with agency, coordination and selection Stil, chere is more than an evolutionary argument forthe significance of net art leis not ust thae the tools and issues brought to the fore by Internet art are current, and therefore relevant to how we live now. Internet artis part of a continuum within art history that includes such strategies and themes as instructions, appropriation, s rela Ven cose Byes TOUGH WE WERE THOUSANDS OF fasten rs Schon roratnmettmnertae tanto ‘THE PRESENT | SEND YOU GREETINGS HERE AM INTHE GALLERY LOOKING AT THIS Bi ] inctcerevterssocm cuted Dow i Ditanbd tuto eesnourrasboevanyWGNT OFM GFT OFY SY HACK 22 ‘As OUaAS HOW Ag TOUTPARAWAT i Fuqua wats sx tains bere FST Co DOORWAY OF Tie PARENTS IN LAW CALE ‘Mz tuctr Now To SAVE THE WORLD 1LOVE YOU WORLD WORLD WHEN WIL YOU SEESION ‘BEAUIIEUL YOUARE fo? DYING WORLD HEF IN THs LONE We HATS THE POLICE GIVE ME ‘YOUREAND FEEL YOUR FINGER HERE MANY MALES APART ITHINE IN BASEL WE UNDERSTAND learn es aS tes ANAT, HRGSUAT LT Llulitepsa er ore te aaa cs cua aaa As ue a ego Sores ise aCe fat ee aaa Een Soc te oa a eri agenmmars a, (REL Tis Se efeitos ern ny Jo sate de ageing James Jyee'spreatprandeiléren or sie kindof gertruse tt ee the het cul dene aa hog ek mae rac eed ga epee sre ea ETAT CCA che Sientfeains pee neers nea nek eee et oben br tees neyo ns tac wea on 7d ap en i ened be puts etek tyeg ardor at Chapter | 18 Douglas Davis. Teas [pot green Compoed by ime parvcpints rg ‘corse we whch ay niupporeeders now ons trukineda erie. Proc Early Internet Art Early internet artis very much inextricable from the technology and polities of the 1990s and early twenty-first century, although its preoccupations with themes such as ‘information’ ‘communication’, ‘interaction’ and systems’ linked the genre to postconceptual art Asartst and theorist Peter Weibel (b. 1944) has noted, cyberspace seems a'1960s ides’, even fit was not technically viable until decades later. As important as these historical connections are, net artists have also developed and created new methods for production, consumption and exchange. Not only do net art practices extend the arena, capability and reach of artistic production, but hey have offered ways to remix and revitalize categories often refiedin the at world and beyond. Invernet artis buoyed by the technological economicand social specifications of ts medium. Though sul evolving today, dominant tools are email, software and web sites. Unique economies of attention exist. in which international web traffic and email forwards and downloads are the indexes ofthe public consumption and success of the art. as opposed to conventional ‘means of valuation such as visits to 2 museum show, magzzine| reviews or monetary worth. Rapid rates of reaction and widely arallable production tools have also been defining, For example, fone does not like a web ste, chances are that one can offer feedback (emai) or find tools to create an alternative (web publication). Those who view commerce as irredeerable corruption willbe pleased to know that 3s yet there exists no vable or stable market for netart Asa result of this isolation and specialization, internet artists often develop close-knit online ‘communities, and oppositional and radical content has remained an undiluted component. Net arts audience isa social medley: geographically dispersed, varying in background, these art ‘enthusiasts are able to morph ther involvement constant, 2 eaving rom roles such ats, colabortror ‘rk (coche pcatcheso rath hou parchung) Fall rer rae x rect reson with near they cn logon roman computer wih net access and the ight sofware, sean rework dowmload share or opi Inch ny 1990s however ener was one smal par cf wie proltertions of eda and consumer tecnoloy Peope inthe ies were becoming incre relanon (eeton xlee and ear devices intel eeryay ie. The fre Gul War eed che vbiquy of baled meds with CNN an oerasonal ven four-hour tlevion network se ee apy syste epraed Va seghiscanel sare ret ca fay lovin Seems hearone ourg Ametans, MTV The RealWbd.n whch people lhngopeter were apd edad and broadcast. made teaucalzedand medated aye render pper and Yoong Cell phonesbepn tobe sed wiely Anew tempo a eet eee eal caren ayaa ich ‘tough the ere ben role of the US Govern Dagar of Defoe, pore and more clan ofa worker, paar ele ees aterm ip and HTHL veered browsers Eralland the Worl Wide Web (ewe) bee tool for werkad home with mall slowing forinsarmaneouconmaricion and he web suppor varios pophic and comanicaton apeations and endless node fortran image pbleation—web ses These events were smeared of glia carl changes, sugesng emer toca groups in which vslns beeen behaviour, emotion and tego) and earrarce re red Fromiserkett nomen he ways wich commer nd svernmeral ere and tcholopes powered the nets denlopment were cbvous.One woud experience te web wh commarcl brovaer suchas Nesp Neva aka been designed according corporate ress no eduesona or aesthetic ones. Commercial interests, which were receiving ample _centon fromthe venture apa sector ste une, operated nes ‘to social communities and organizations. These diverse collectives. “reid ong, ton pro newsgroups (an ere but our sem eguing spec) Storer cemetery sch male ts focused on Vip Wot erica Tinh rs ee wea a ‘are dence an revluonay: he wer and 358 2 ‘who searched the net for new possibilities during these early years "were often more restrained in their enthusiasm. Infact, those who sought to find contemporary art on and about the internet had to look quite closely. Not only would search engine not provide the right kind of results for a quest for ‘art’. but directories such as Yahoo! or Netscape tended to bury net art under many layers of web pages. Even beyond is txc-heavy aesthetic, the net elided evidence of being an easy or refined venue for artistic production. Its ability co realize international and relatively inexpensive ‘communication and exchange, however, was potent. And internet art’ earliest beginnings crystallized within this matrix of communication technologies. ‘Arcand communication were atthe centre of many initiatives undertaken by European non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the European Commission in Brussels after the collapse of the Soviet Union in che early 1990s. Inthe mid-1990s, these new computer centres and media art programmes became ‘more prominent fixtures in the European and Russian culture-and leisure-scapes, offering events, education, internet access and production tools. The internet was emblematic of the increased acces to information in these regions, and the opening of international borders, and was very appealing. Many netartiss, such as Heath Bunting (Britain), Oia Lana (Russia), Alexei Shulgin (Russia) and Vuk Cosic (Slovenia), worked 5 ofine artists, photographers, graff writers and filmmakers before experimenting with at online. Leaving behind more accepted aesthetic practices, they came to make art from media centres like TO (Vienna), C3 (Budapest) and Backspace (London) via computers in their ving rooms, or from desks a their day jobs. Instead of fm or oil pant, chey used low net production tools: HTML, digal graphics and Photoshop were likely requisites (later, Java, Fash and Dynamic HTML). They were introduced to ‘one another via the ingernet and became contemporaries friends, collaborators and travel companions, meeting face to face at technoart events like Next 5 Minutes, the Cyberfeminise Incernational and Ars Electronica. These artists were able to draw ‘on the work of ‘early adopters’ ofthe internet's most basic ‘offerings, like bulletin board systems (BBS) and email. They aso benefited from the experience ofthe respected figures who ‘worked with technology-informed installations or intermedia Involving video, satelite, sound and computers, such as Robert ‘Adrian X (b, 1935), Hank Bull (b.1949), Roy Ascot (b. 1934), Sherrie Rabinowir and Kit Galloway. 2 “This early generation of internet artists exhibited a diverse setof imerests. Some wanted to realign traditional modes of ‘communication and audience adéress, pursuing direct dialogue and exchange wth other artists and art enthusiasts from around ‘the world, independent ofthe cumbersome commercial channels ‘of galleries, museums and dealers. To some, the digitized screen and computer aesthetics were dominant preoccupations. These themes were explored through configurations of six main net art formats between 1993 and 1996: email, web sites, graphics, audio, video and animation, These often appeared in combination ~ communication and graphics, or email texts and images ~ ‘referring to and merging with one another: Whatever the premise cor organizing principles artists were internationally dispersed, ‘working from wildy disparate local contexts and using different tools. Butalong with developers, programmers, critics and media cutlets, all ofthese artists were watching nec culture evolving on thee screens even as they helped to shape it aoe So Se eee ee a ers ooo =e ae ae aaa se “oramentation and low-fi graphics, a basis in direct action and the See oe eee ere ” 19 Heath Banting Kg} Coss Pore 194 nee wok oe med wasuedtowarsorm ‘immer tus Kings Cro train fon ino a venveforsoel Sedma pcos Thoush Ineret ot rr omiates poles or arse fe. be ‘eoreea each fs web Page ieoach hac rere public open cones, chs Boning funda Be are crept | also bears the hallmark of situationist works, echoing that international artistic and political movement's (1957-72) famous tactic of transmogrifyng existing elements into more radical or oppositional forms. Bunting (b. 1967) follows the situations recipe almost to the leter. The quotidian forms that are put to use in King’s Cross Phone In ~ public phones, ring tones and a web page— retain their everyday qualities but. in their means and ‘manner of deployment, change the tenor ofa particular seting and time. Though Bunting can be seen as traveling paths broken by artists of earlier generations, with this work he sets up a collaborative performance that is unlike those of his forerunners by virtue ofits manifestation ofthe web's capacity for international ‘organization and collective performance. basicaly spent most of, ‘my time wandering the streets at that point doing graffiti and looking in rash’, Bunting says, describing his research for the project Inspired by forms of public and street are, Bunting’ interests at that time also focused on expression and ‘communication via new technology. he ran a BBS out of his living was marked as American an an from the beg offered ways for Russian new media arts beyond their borders and reinterpret the netin their own w of Ola Latina (b, 1971) and Alexei Shulgin (b. 1963), wl side the Moscow fim and art worlds, respectively. 8 sdopted its idioms and tools as the core oftheir p Came Back Fm the Wor (1996) [20]. or Shulgin's Hot Pictures (1994 both of which were made ata time when the web tupport only the simplest graphics and text. The former ereate brckerop of war and uses frame programming (in which HTML