rachel greene spotted this on the Guardian Unlimited site and thought you should see it.
Note from rachel greene:
intro article on net.art -- "It is now possible to search through archives of the key artists who have led the net.art field: jodi.org
are good places to begin, the latter cataloguing projects by Heath Bunting, while rhizome.org/links currently has the best overview of artists' sites, including work by other pioneers such as Vuc Cosic, Olia Lialana and Rachel Baker."
To see this story with its related links on the Guardian Unlimited site, go to http://www.guardian.co.uk
The 21st-century artform
Once, web-based art made computers crash. Now net.art - created and shown solely online - is becoming an exciting medium in itself
Wednesday September 19 2001
For much of the decade that it has existed, net.art (variously known as webart, internet art and cyberart) has been something of a Loch Ness monster of the brave new high-tech cultural world. Famed and talked about in excited whispers, it was for a number of years also impossible for most of us to gain sight of. There were early, ground-breaking sites, and reports of radically new work existing solely on the web, but online gallery-going was more frustrating than fascinating. In the time it took for projects to download, domestic computers would crash.
But as the technology has caught up, so has the hype about net.art begun to translate into an exciting reality. A number of individual artists and creative partnerships now have several years of work online behind them, and some major art institutions have begun to exploit the potential of exhibitions and resources existing solely on the net.
"Net.art is at its most exciting point to date," says Francis McKee, head of Digital Arts and New Media at Glasgow's Centre for Contemporary Arts, and curator of Words and Things, a forthcoming exhibition at the CCA (October 26-December 23) which includes work by net pioneers JODI. "I think we can compare where we are now in terms of internet and digital art with the moment just before conceptualism moved into the galleries."
Start surfing for art online these days, and it's the opposite experience of those early, frustrating attempts - hours blur past as you click from link to link, falling for the seductive logic and design of the best site. It is now possible to search through archives of the key artists who have led the net.art field: jodi.org
are good places to begin, the latter cataloguing projects by Heath Bunting, while rhizome.org/links currently has the best overview of artists' sites, including work by other pioneers such as Vuc Cosic, Olia Lialana and Rachel Baker.
For new digital and internet art by an emerging generation of younger artists, you need to visit one of the virtual galleries showcasing and commissioning projects created specifically for online viewing. The Institute of Contemporary Arts' newmediacentre.com
supports three major art projects online including, currently, the Sodaconstructor, which animates and edits 2-D models. At thing.net
, not only are you greeted by flattering slogans ("you will attract cultured and artistic people to your home") but online projects include Coils of the Serpent 1999-2001 by Sebastian Luegert, brand logos flickering and fluttering like moths around a flame. "No copyright" the work taunts, reminding us of the anti-corporate, anti-institutional roots of much net.art, the antithesis of much of the commercial art presence on the net.
These roots lie behind the ethos of the alternativemuseum.org
, the online arm of New York's Alternative Center for International Arts. Both share an interest in promoting a "global groove"; the website also specifically embraces the notion of digital space as an artistic medium in itself. At artmuseum.net/Refresh you can access works by 22 artists designed to act as art works on-screen but also as freely downloadable screensavers - participating artists include Entroy8Zuper and Jenny Holzer.
A major online exhibition of art, 010101 Art In Technological Times, was launched this year by San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art (sfmoma.org
). Describing the past decade's experimentation with digital art as "the beginnings of a tectonic shift", the virtual gallery includes five new projects, including work by rated net artists Thomson and Craighead.
But is there anything more to all this than artists and internet surfers rushing to embrace the hi-tech and brand new in place of traditional media in real-world galleries? "Some of the established artists such as JODI have produced work that will last," explains Francis McKee, "and though you might think that it's all about novelty, in fact the artists often self-consciously work with obsolete and older systems, things we might think of as passe, like ASCII, the old computer language, or deliberately outdated systems. They think of them as artefacts, and use them to make viewers even more aware of the medium they are working with."
According to McKee, the next stage - and challenge - of net.art is going to be in the relationship it establishes between individual artists and the institutions that wish to support them. "The big question facing art galleries and museums is how to get involved with this work, which has been produced outside of the institution for so long?"
For now, net.art retains its edge and edginess - Heath Bunting's site includes tips on how to be an effective cultural terrorist - while breaking down some of the art world's more trenchant blind-spots, most notably a certain metrocentrism and sexism. In net.art, women are equally, if not more, high profile and where you work from - London, Tokyo, Cornwall, LA or Helsinki, no longer limits your potential, determines your horizons, as artist or, increasingly, as audience.
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