. blog —

Reappearance of the Undead

agatha_appears_lialina.gif

In 1997, internet art hall-of-famer Olia Lialina made a "net drama" called Agatha Appears that was written for Netscape 3 and 4 in HTML 3.2. One of the main features of the interactive narrative was the travel of the eponymous avatar across the internet. Let's just say the girl got around. But the magical illusion of the piece was that she appeared to stay still, even when links in the narrative were clicked and the viewer's address bar indicated movement to another server. But in time, both the browser and code in which the story was written became defunct and the piece unraveled as the sites previously hosting the links and files upon which Agatha was dependent disappeared or cleaned house. Such a scenario is common to early internet art (and will no doubt continue to plague the field), as ours is an upgrade culture constantly driving towards new tools, platforms, and codes. Many have debated whether to let older works whither or how it might be possible to update these works, making them compatible with new systems. For those who are interested, some of the best research on the subject has been performed by the folks affiliated with the Variable Media Initiative. Meanwhile, luddites and neophiles alike are now in luck because Agatha Appears has just undergone rejuvenation. Ela Wysocka, a restorer working at Budapest's Center for Culture & Communication Foundation has worked to overcome the sound problems, code incompatibilities, and file corruption and disappearance issues, and she's written a fascinating report about the process, here. And new collaborating hosts have jumped in line to bring the piece back to life, so that like a black and white boyfriend coming home from war, Agatha now offers us a shiny new webring as a token of commitment to her viewers. - Marisa Olson

— Share this Article —

Comments

Tom Moody 6 years, 10 months agoReply

I am proud to be a part of the new webring for Agatha.

In a talk at Bryce Wolkowitz gallery a while back Olia Lialina discussed the context of this work when it was made versus the present context.
Everything on the Web loaded slowly and you never knew what was coming up or when.
Consumers had more patience because they were accustomed to this.
Her art played with the uncertainties of this new vehicle.

To consume the site now you should know you are meant to keep clicking somewhere on the page in a state of semi-frustration. You don't get to the globe hopping web ring without navigating a series of popups and new pages that you have to keep clicking, clicking.

I raised a point in the new media vs artists with computers discussion that no one responded to. For proles like me who use Windows at home because it is the workplace default, there has been a certain loss of innocence about clicking pop ups, or clicking a lot of unknown places on a web page. IE is called Internet Exploder for a reason. Even with Firefox 3 we still get trojans pushed onto our computers (and Firefox 3 wouldn't allow certain popups on Agatha).

So, because of this menace, clicking around websites is not viewed with pleasure but with trepidation. Isn't this a fundamental change in the work and should restorers be taking this into consideration? Should critics and curators of web art?

Tom Moody 6 years, 10 months agoReply

Just to clarify–not saying Lialina's project is infected, merely that it was made before infection became an everyday occurrence.

Cary 6 years, 10 months agoReply

I actually saw this back when I used Netscape. At the time I didn't know what was going on but this post clarifies things for me now. And just think it only took like 6 years.

Cary
<a href="http://www.school-grants.org/" title="School Grants">School Grants</a>

jitendra bharai 6 years, 10 months agoReply

Hello,

Well this is very interesting indeed.Would love to read a little more of this.

jitendra

Jitendra Bharai is the owner of http://www.WealthyAffiliateIncomes.com and reviews popular home business ideas and opportunities. Jitendra's most popular home business recommendation is the Plug-In Profit Site at: http://www.PlugInProfitSite.com/main-26513 where you can get your own money-making website setup in 24 hours!

Mei 6 years, 10 months agoReply

I think I would've preferred that they leave Agatha Appears as it was. Better to create something new and don't touch older things that age faster and faster.

Lately I have been contemplating if it wouldn't be better not to restore old artworks, old buildings, etc. Many times restorations are done exclusively for economical reasons, like tourism, and it has become almost an obsession.

It is as if they want to kill nostalgia.

Foreclosure Process Info

A Coffey 6 years, 10 months agoReply

Interesting, especially as related to movement in culture that is changing, evolving and developing. It's as if each day we wake up, we're in the midst of a new experience – one with new resources, and tools that are continually evolving.

A Coffey with Referral Marketing Blog

Gabriel 6 years, 10 months agoReply

This is one piece of art that does not appeal to me!

adam 6 years, 10 months agoReply

I think I can remember reading about this a few years ago. Its good to see that someones work can be taken on by others to perfect the script. When it was originaly created as mentioned there was no virus topics around and as time changed things it is without a doubt that the script needed re scipting and its great to see its getting done.
<a href="http://www.ravsappliances.com">jvc lcd tv</a>

adam 6 years, 10 months agoReply

I think I can remember reading about this a few years ago. Its good to see that someones work can be taken on by others to perfect the script. When it was originaly created as mentioned there was no virus topics around and as time changed things it is without a doubt that the script needed re scipting and its great to see its getting done.
jvc lcd tv

geoff 6 years, 10 months agoReply

Now i get it, i used to be a kid when my brother was showing me that and i just did not get it. great post

How to build a chicken coop

Border Patrol Jobs

geoff 6 years, 10 months agoReply

Now i get it, i used to be a kid when my brother was showing me that and i just did not get it. great post

How to build a chicken coop

Border Patrol Jobs

Alex 6 years, 10 months agoReply

Yeah I'm pretty sure I read about this too!

<a href="http://www.theyoungwarrior.com">Alexander Shelton</a>

veronica 6 years, 10 months agoReply

Jessica 6 years, 10 months agoReply

Very interesting!

Farming WotLK

Test 6 years, 10 months agoReply

Farming Wotlk

jennyfam 6 years, 10 months agoReply

Tomas Jonsen 5 years, 6 months agoReply

Beautiful Memories, it seems a bit naive today, but wonderful