Networked_Performance

A Slow Reveal …

Over the course of several weeks, The Art Gallery’s website will reveal projects developed for the internet that employ a variety of forms: from digital narratives, online gaming, open source programming, and database art, to traditional methods of documentary filmmaking in virtual environments. This exhibition is not intended to survey Internet art in its entirety; it is meant, rather to demonstrate the variety of expression and experimentation taking place on-line since net.art was proclaimed dead by some of the early practitioners of Internet art in 1999.

Once the Internet emerged as a mass global communication network in the mid-1990s, artists quickly recognized the possibilities for creative innovation as well as the opportunity to question and redefine the conventions of art. The original term net.art referred to a certain group of artists: Vuk Ćosić, Jodi.org, Alexei Shulgin, Olia Lialina, and Heath Bunting, who identified themselves more as on-line activists.[1] The Internet created an opportunity for them to address some of the most pressing social and ethical issues of the day. As with cable and video in the mid-twentieth century, these artists began inserting themselves into the framework of the Internet while removing themselves from institutional art spaces.

When art institutions began to take notice of Internet art, some of the aforementioned on-line activists objected to arts institutions invading into territory they believed was more communication than art. With the concern of growing commerce on the internet, and avant-garde tactics in jeopardy from slick new software tricks and increasing bandwidth, many practitioners left the scene. [2]

Other artists stayed, and new artists came on the scene to explore/exploit the changing landscape and the contradictions within the systems of commerce and art. Some wished to espouse the values of art, including aesthetic, social, cultural, and economic perspectives and these artists made reference to historical models in Dada, Fluxus, Pop Art, Conceptual art, and Performance art. They also acknowledged their role in a convergence culture, and they broadened the definition of Internet art. The current practitioners are not limited to a particular medium, nor limited by traditional broadcasting and distribution structures that exist in radio, television, and film. Their projects often involve appropriation, collaboration, and the free sharing of ideas and expressions, and frequently address political and social issues. Some projects resist accepted ideas of authorship, originality, and intellectual property; others take up the mantle of an activist and provocateur challenging issues of commerce, ownership, and power; and others still grapple with issues of identity and the place of the individual in the virtual, networked age.

A Slow Reveal… launched on March 25, 2009 as a collection of links to internet art sites. All links are external, and The Art Gallery is not responsible for the content and maintenance of the links. All copyrights belong to the site owners. Please contact the sites directly for information or for permission to link to their sites.

In January of 2008, The Art Gallery unveiled the New Media Room in our public gallery space as part of our mission to nurture emerging trends in the art world and encourage artists to explore the boundaries of contemporary art research and practice. The purpose of the New Media Room is to provide visitors with meaningful encounters with work by artists that explore new technology in their work. Another goal is to create rewarding opportunities for gaining insight into our exhibits and permanent collection as well as the greater historical and cultural contexts in which works of art are made. As digital technology continues to take a prominent place in contemporary art world, The Art Gallery wants to include cutting-edge digital installations by artists, virtual exhibits featuring internet art, and expanded resources for our on-site temporary exhibitions and our permanent collection.

– Jennie Fleming, Associate Director

[1] For more information on early Internet Art, see Stallabrass, Julien. Internet art: online clash with culture and commerce. London: Tate Publishing, 2003.

[2] Alex Galloway in review of net.art for 1999 talked of demise of earlier staples, ASCII art, form art, and conceptualism gave way to slick software tricks, increasing bandwidth, and the use of plug-ins and Java. http://switch.sjsu.edu/web/v5n3/D-1.html


Mar 31, 10:22
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