Currently on view in the physical world through September 18 at the Austin Museum of Art -- and accompanied by an online exhibition -- is "Telematic Connections," a travelling exhibition curated by Steve Dietz of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The show features a time-line tracing the evolution of creative uses of the global communications network by artists dating back to the 1920s and up to the 21st century. Major contemporary names on the roster include innovative Net artists Ken Goldberg, Victoria Vesna, and Lynn Hershman.
Okay, how and why did that little hand pointing with its index finger and floating freely about on your computer screen come to be...a cursor? Is Microsoft responsible for its ubiquity? If not, who is? The playful, just-launched Net art exhibition "Hello Cursor" doesn't really provide any answers, but it does offer engaging, creative musings on that unavoidable interactive symbol, the disembodied white hand. Curated by Kyeong Il Park, "Hello Cursor" features contributions by a international list of Net art stars, ranging from Jodi (the Netherlands) to Entropy8Zuper (Belgium/USA), as well as work by up-and-comers such as Korea's 000per and Brazil's tipo.
What has experimental Net artist G.H. Hovagimyan been up to lately? Check out "Palm Rants," a series of Web and PDA-based performances. The pieces will be delivered in either a short animation, an audio file, or a text. New performances will be available weekly for four months. Each performance (with titles such as "Love Songs From My Computer") is a meditation on the ways we disperse information in a networked environment.
Sound art and the Web often go hand in hand. An ongoing online exhibition called "Crossfade" explores the intersection of both. Sponsored by the world's major supporters of new media art -- the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Goethe-Institut, ZKM (Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany) and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) -- "Crossfade" is a series of commissioned "media essays." They can take any form that can possibly be presented online, ranging from hyperlinked text to musical compositions that incorporate the network as an instrument. This month's featured online "media essay" is a sound archive by pioneering musician Stephen Vitiello.
While most dot-coms are going under left and right, the Alt-X Online Network, one of the first Net art and hypertext fiction sites to launch (way back in 1993), is flourishing. This summer, Alt-X is not only offering new, free ebook titles that can be downloaded from the Web onto one's Palm Pilot, but also is presenting mp3 compilations, Internet art exhibitions, and streaming audio installations online. The first eight ebook titles feature previously unpublished works by not only fiction writers, but Net art stars Mark Amerika and Eugene Thacker as well.
Can the roots of today's interactive new media art be traced to the thoughts of 19th century composer Richard Wagner? And did video artist Nam June Pail foresee a new breed of "global information art" back in 1984, long before Net art made its debut? Read the just-released "Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality" (W.W. Norton & Co.) and find out. A Web site (on artmuseum.net) compliments the book.