Tonight, if you're in Los Angeles, stop by the Electronic Orphanage at 975 Chung King Road and witness the third installment of "Siggraph Nights," a preview of the net art component of the Tirana Biennale, entitled "10 Hours," which opens in Albania next month. Curator Miltos Manetas has assembled intriguing Web sites that range from the home pages of new media theorists (like Lev Manovich, author of the recently released book "The Language of New Media") to online art and design projects. The series continues through August 19th. It's for nightowls only: the events begin at midnight and end at 4 AM each night.
Brian Judy, the creator of "The Grid," has worked in computer gaming industry, and his latest piece displays a hint of a gaming sensibility. Those who log on take an active role by intuitively scrolling their cursors across the matrix-like structure of the home page, void of navigational directions. Various abstract digital forms appear. It takes time, patience, and a sense of adventure to figure out how to maneuver through the site to get to different levels of this multilayered work of net art -- sort of like pondering a modernist painting, only this one moves...and keeps moving, the more you scroll and click.
Is it possible to create site-specific work for the Internet? Especially since a Web site is essentially an ephemeral, abstract construct? Simon Biggs' "Babel" is an impressionistic data browser that confronts these issues head on. Using the Dewey Decimal system as a means to navigate the Internet and (essentially numerical code), "Babel" creates a shared 3-D data space (among all who log onto the site simultaneously) that disintegrates into an indecipherable landscape. Ultimately, the jumble of colorful numbers serves as a poetic metaphor for the endless amounts of information available online.
Palm Pilots and cell phones are quickly becoming venues for portable art. And cultural theorists are beginning to analyze how and why we use such nomadic devices. A just-opened online exhibition entitled "(re)distributions" (on view through October 31) is one of the first international shows to examine the new genres of handheld and wireless art. "(re)distributions" includes work by both established new media and Net artists and up and coming talent, as well as thought-provoking essays by leading scholars on PDAs and mobile phones and how they affect our lives and our culture.
Want a live crash course in Net art, taught by leaders in the field? If you're going to be in LA on Saturday, August 18, you're in luck -- the American Film Institute's 2001 edition of the California Digital Arts Workshop will include a public "summit": discussions featuring some of the world's most respected and experienced Net art curators, artists, and critics, who will converge in the city of angels to discuss tools and tricks of the trade. On the roster for the public presentations are Christiane Paul, who curated the recent "Data Dynamics" Net art show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she is adjunct curator of new media art, and Benjamin Weil, staff media arts curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among other luminaries. Hang around and you may also meet some of the artists participating in the workshops, including Jody Zellen, whose Web site "Ghost City" has appeared in festivals and exhibitions around the world -- who knows, maybe you'll learn a thing or two.