Creativity Bytes: A Brief Guide To Internet Art
Here’s a quick reference guide that will seek to explain the trends, terms, and movements of the brave new media world of art and technology. So you can skim, digest, and be a pseudo-expert next time you’re cornered at a Speed Show exhibition in your local cybercafe. Because, hey, life is short and art long. This week: Internet art.
So, what is internet art?
It’s art that takes a digital form distributed via the internet, favouring a virtual presence rather than the more traditional physical realm of a museum or gallery. It can be interactive and multimedia and incorporate all manner of computer-based art taking the form of a website, browser, email, software, performances in virtual gaming worlds or chat rooms. Not to be confused with Net.art, which is used to refer to a collective of early practitioners of internet and digital art in the 1990s, which included Vuk Ćosić, Jodi.org, and Olia Lialina.
Where did it come from?
It’s roots lie in a disparate mish-mash of traditions and cultural movements, drawing influence from Dadaism, performance art, kinetic art, and video art. Its digital ancestry can be traced back to the Telematic, networked art of electronic interconnectivity that preceded the internet, which used faxes and closed networks. With the advent of the home computer, net art was finally able to flourish. A further democratization of art began, with anti-establishment individuals having a new means to distribute art that took it away from the institutions and into the hands of the public.
Detail from Vuk Ćosić’s ASCII History of Moving Images showing the stair case scene from Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin
This week you’re really digging…
0100101110101101.ORG‘s (aka Eva and Franco Mattes) Counter Strike performance piece Freedom (see below). The video game-based performance entailed the duo politely asking other players not to shoot them because they’re trying to make an art work, which naturally results in them being mercilessly and endlessly killed.
Code is digital paint, key strokes are the new brush strokes. The web is a giant online museum, a virtual sea for art amateurs and pros alike to dive into and take a leisurely doggy paddle.
Describe yourself as…
A global system of interconnected tubes.
Internet, code, community, online, interactive, multimedia, digital, virtual.
In-game digital performance art
Code is key, the internet will outwit.
To recap: Ditching the archaic tools of the 20th century, internet art will deconstruct the art forms of old and reconstruct them using the communal foundations of the open web.
Next week: Volumetric displays