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Website Unseen

With Conceptual Art as a clear antecedent, MTAA's Website Unseen (1999-2001) both exposed and made use of the radically new distribution strategies that the internet initiated. The materiality of an art object, its condition as commodity, and its relationship to its eventual collector, issues evinced and examined by artists like Lawrence Weiner and Robert Morris in the 1960s, were revisited in this project albeit in the context of the digital age. As illustrated in MTAA's Website Unseen #89: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained (Notes on Digital Art), "Website Unseen is a collection of one hundred titles for art websites that MTAA offered to build for 100.00 USD per website. The titles contain no information or guide as to how the final work might look. The work, in the end, was a blind leap of faith on the part of the collector as well as for MTAA." The artists completed sixteen of these Website Unseen Titles, each site considered its own complete artwork and yet a part of the larger project as well--a digital gesamtkunstwerk of sorts. MTAA considered their initial directive, "One hundred titles for art websites that MTAA will build for $US 100.00 per web site," a script for a collaborative performance within this work, and each patron an actor playing in it. The Website Unseen index thus archives not only the titles created by MTAA (both realized and unrealized), but also the site of a two-year long performance piece between the artists and their collectors. "One hundred titles for art websites that MTAA will build for $US 100.00 per web site." "Website Unseen" began as a list of one hundred titles for art web sites that MTAA promised to build for $US 100.00 per commission. Launched in late 1999, the project continued into 2001 when the last title was completed. In all, sixteen commissions were accepted, created, and launched under the initial opportunity.