Art and Life, On and Off the Grid

As the internet becomes a more and more ubiquitous presence in many people's lives, it begins re-scripting the protocol for many of our social, political, and consumer activities. These shifts have been addressed by many internet artists and are among the inspirations for the 'On and Off' exhibition, open October 6th-December 2nd at New York's Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery. The show features groundbreaking projects by legendary internet artists Vuk Cosic, Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenscheid, Thomson & Craighead, YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES, and Lisa Jevbratt, all of whom were selected for their exploration of 'the particularities of Web technology and its aesthetics and utility.' The show was curated by Caitlin Jones, director of programing for the gallery, and her statement about the show establishes more diverse aesthetic parameters for internet art than are often ascribed to the medium--in fact, it makes clear that the internet is, itself, composed of multiple media. Likewise, the artists in the show use multiple strategies to turn the medium upon itself, in reflecting upon the desire for connectedness and the ideology behind the popular belief that the net enhances our lives. The ultimate question posed by 'On and Off' is whether there continues to be a difference between online and offline life, in contemporary network culture--a question that is increasingly directed at online and offline art practices. - Marisa Olson