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 The first eight ebook titles feature previously unpublished works by not only fiction writers, but Net art stars Mark Amerika and Eugene Thacker as well.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.
A new resource to help viewers make thematic connections between some of today's most intriguing works of Net art: the recently-launched online exhibitions featured on the home page of Turbulence.org, a new media arts organization. The first show in the series is guest curated by award-winning Net artist David Crawford, who has assembled links to Web sites by game designer John Cabral, the possibly fictional nymphet known as Mouchette, and animated short filmmaker who calls himself Mumbleboy. Crawford has penned an insightful essay explaining how all three Net artists deal with time-based structure and narrative storytelling in their work. Also included in this Web-only exhibition are exclusive interviews with each artist.
Martin Wattenberg is one busy Net artist. Not only has he recently launched "The Shape of Song," a site that allows visitors to visualize any musical composition available online, but he's also just started working on a new interface for the future Web site for NASA's artist in residence program. Now he's the first Net artist to be chosen to work with NASA; for 30 years, the government agency has asked cutting edge contemporary artists such as Nam June Paik and the Starn Twins to create original artwork related to space exploration. Wattenberg's new art interface is scheduled to debut in November.
This year's Webby awards were presented on Wednesday night in front of a sold-out crowd of 3000 at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House. The winner for the Arts category went to Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries. The competition was stiff: well-known Net artworks "1:1", "Apartment", "Glasbead",and "Potatoland" were the other nominees. Each Webby winner was limited to a five-word acceptance speech. So Young-Hae Chang simply said "the struggle continues," a reference to the Net artist's Web site that bears this phrase as its title.
July 20 -- yes, that's tomorrow -- is the deadline for submissions for inclusion in Medi@terra 2001, an international art and technology festival that takes place from September 14 - October 15. Besides Net art, CDROMs, video, computer animation, digital sound and music, e-books, and digital photography will be considered. This year's theme is "De-Globalizing/Re-Globalizing" -- appropriate as the festival will roam, touring from Athens to Belgrade to Frankfurt (stopping at a few other European locales along the way).