robert adrian on 14 Feb 2001 20:55:56 -0000

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Re: Josephine Berry's net art history

Josie -

It seems a bit unfair to accuse net-artists of
"having failed in their own terms" because the art
institutions have noticed them. The art industry
is desperately trying to find some collectable or
commodity aspect of the transient work on the web
(which is getting so much attention) and are
naturally chasing the few names who started early
and established a reputation. Since net artists
have nothing to sell the next best thing is to do
residencies, lectures, whatever. Call it 'branding'
if you like but it is still possible to operate
critically while enjoying the comforts of
institutional hospitality: Geert Lovinck has been
doing it for years -- its known as 'biting the
hand that feeds you'. :)

The thing to notice is that working with tele-
communications technology -- once difficult,
marginal and infrequent -- has become simple,
central and ubiquitous. Everybody's doing it,
including artists who simply want to distribute
and/or publicise their work in other media. The
Internet has become 'public space', as we have
seen with the demos and protests in which the
street events are a kind of simulation of the
real events in the network. All of the artists
you mention treat the Internet as public space
and, no matter what their other agendas may be,
an important political element of their work is
to claim that space as a place for art.

Friedrich Kittler is not the only theorist to
have noticed that talking of media (in the
plural) is absurd at a time when all the media--
prlnt, photography, sound recording, film,
television, radio, whatever-- are disappearing,
being devoured by the meta-medium 'computer'.
Net art may be the first (only?) evidence of the
existence of this meta-medium, being conceived,
produced, distributed, received and archived
entirely within a single medium: _networked

Net art, or something like it, will thrive in
the new paradigm -- it remains to be seen how
the traditional art institutions will cope. Far
from being over, the game is is just beginning
to get really interesting.


robert adrian
wiedner hauptstrasse 37/69
a-1040 vienna austria
tel: +43 1 504 3110

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: