I'm A Pixel, You're A Pixel

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The term 'community' is a highly-contested one in official art lexicons, and has been tossed around like a grenade across online art forums as well. Such online forums themselves exemplify the new manifestations of 'community' made possible by the Net's ability to connect subjectivities across time and space. And, with these new spaces of social interaction come new possibilities for representing individual and communal identities. One such attempt, Mr. Wong's Soup 'Partments, is a virtual high rise apartment building constructed of the pixel creations of its 406 'residents.' Similarly, at the futurefarmers' Communiculture site, one can mix-and-match colors and bodies to create a Web-safe avatar to place within communities organized around opposing opinions like 'Jacob Neilson or John Maida.' In both, 'community' is visualized through a cohesive aesthetic. It's an IKEA model, wherein identities are designed to be legible in the confined space of prefab isometric cubes. As Huey Lewis prophetically said, 'It's hip to be square.' - Ryan Griffis