The Internet Before the Web: Preserving Early Networked Cultures

the New Museum

Fri Mar, 8 2013, 7PM

’93 is marked as a significant year in the web with the launch of the image-based Mosaic browser. Yet in 1993, pre-www technologies still reigned supreme. Bulletin Board System (BBS), email, and usenet groups offered a largely text-based communication system and, although rudimentary, they hinted at global connectivity to come. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition “NYC 1993,” this event positions that year as the last era before the popular web and explores the cultures and artists working in this early networked context. A particular focus lies on the Thing—an electronic BBS based out of a cyber-utopian social hub in downtown Manhattan and used by some of the earliest contemporary artists working online. The evening will present Rhizome at the New Museum's Digital Conservator Ben Fino-Radin in conversation with renowned archivist, historian, and documentary film maker Jason Scott, and Wolfgang Staehle, artist and founder of The Thing BBS. This event marks the launch of Rhizome’s major new preservation project to make the Thing BBS archive accessible to the public for the first time in over a decade.