Simon Biggs on 20 Feb 2001 13:05:33 -0000

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<nettime> Re: net art history

>On Mon, 19 Feb 2001, olia lialina wrote:
>> But don't you see that net art and net artists changed the
>> landscape of contemporary art? Now, art institutions have to
>> learn to act as nodes (not as a center). And they do.
Murph wrote:
>Can't see that has happened much from my perch here in NYC. Maybe in
>Europe that's true. Certainly the Guggenheim is becomming more nodal, but
>that doesn't have much to do with net art. More like global conquest.
The net has certainly changed the world to some degree but I can't see that
net artists have changed anything significant (not that museums are
particularly significant anyway, when compared to other global institutions
or issues). I can't think of many artists that have changed things in the
bigger picture. I was not aware that this was the role of the artist. Even
if looking at so-called "revolutionary art", whether Russian, Mexican or
whatever, where the artists have believed that they were a key component in
cultural change it is retrospectively apparent that they were deluding

Artists do not transform the world. They transform how they personally see
the world and this gradually rubs off little by little on others...but only
when they are ready for it. Art is not politics...although it might be

>There's been interest in the "archaic days" lately, the period pre-1994
>stretching back to the dawn of humankind. Carl Leoffler's death the other
>day reminded me that his ArtCon newsgroup was one of my first contacts
>with other artists on the net. I think both Heath Bunting and Brad Brace
>were there.
I wasn't aware of Carl's death. That is a more significant cultural event
than the death of Balthus that everyone is talking least for

>I think John Hopkins teaches at Boulder off and on. Universities are
>looking for ways to cash in on digital art. Amerika's use of the phrase
>"innovative ciriculum" is a dead giveaway. That's biz talk, not art talk.
>Art students all want to make Jurrasic Park these days.
Universities want active research profiles. The current interest in all
things digital and net-based means that artists working in that area can
bring to the institution their research points. Ultimately this translates
into funding and PR.

Some universities even expect such artists to teach ;)

Simon Biggs
London GB

Research Professor
Art and Design Research Centre
School of Cultural Studies
Sheffield Hallam University
Sheffield, UK

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