CRITICAL GUIDE TO ART ON THE INTERNET
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last updated: 10 December 2000
Rhizome was established in February 1996 and already has more than 1,500 subscribers in 41 countries. It covers media arts in general and has often occasioned lively debate among its participants, as well as publishing interviews, reviews, and announcements of upcoming events. There are two versions: raw (which means you receive all the postings) and the Digest, which is ably edited by Rachel Greene and Alex Galloway, and comes to your email box weekly. Subscription details can be found on their web site, which also features artists' splash pages and automated links to related articles in the Rhizome database. Make sure as well to follow the link to the online exhibition of net art curated by RHIZOME entitled "Some of My Favorite Web Sites Are Art."
Arthouse is Dublin's brand-new multimedia centre for the arts, located in the heart of the trendy Temple Bar district. It's website includes a number of art projects, including a selection of Public Art and a 2-artist NY-Dublin collaborative show under the title 'Self-rescue mechanism'. Best, though, is 'Kicstart', which opens with nice little animations and goes on to explore 'life after death', 'body & soul', 'death on line' and 'death sentenses' (sic), all of which are then illustrated by apparently random images referring to hacker culture, Elvis Presley, etc.
Crash Media is produced in the U.K. and is available in two forms: as a free printed newspaper, and as an on-line threaded discussion covering media culture, activism, music and literature.
A new site similar in approach to Adaweb (see below), concentrating on classic and contemporary American conceptual art. Work by David Askevold, Louise Lawler (a very funny sound piece transforming famous artists' names into bird calls), Allan McCollum (an array of reprints of articles about dinosaur tracks) and master programmer John F. Simon Jr. Also a wealth of material (interviews, videos & sound) by Lawrence Weiner and Gerald Ferguson in their Archive section.
Switch is a media art journal from the CADRE Institute of the School of Art and Design at San Jose State University (USA) dealing with the critical evaluation of developments in art and technology. Their current issue is devoted to that much discussed topic of "Electronic Gender". Previous issues focussed on Art and the Military and a thoughtful 2-part study of art on the Web, discussing its 'ontological' implications and reviewing the Documenta X web projects. Well designed and easily navigable. They also have a somewhat idiosyncratic, heavily iconized list of other interesting sites.
Run by the indefatigable Pedro Meyer, ZoneZero is a site devoted to analogue and digital photography, mostly in the documentary tradition, featuring portfolios by a host of photographers, largely from the USA, Latin America and Spain, and just as many articles and essays, including several dealing with an exhibition of Chicano, Mexican and Irish photography. Highly informative and well designed!
Disembodied Mind is a group exhibition of physical and/or online works, the former having been shown at the Electronic Art Media Centre in Toronto, Canada. Earl Miller's 'Model for Critical Collaboration' and David Rokeby's 'The Giver of Names' are both language oriented pieces, while Victoria Scott's 'Burn' just makes do with a few repeated images. Unfortunately, David Clark's 'GaGe' couldn't be opened without causing my computer to crash.
The Thing is a sort of discussion forum for artists and critics interested in theory, philosophy, or just plain old gossiping. You now have to become a member and log in with a password, although there are also facilities for guests. Their review section gives good coverage of the current New York art scene, and they also have a useful list of links to other Web projects. Among the art projects on their site is Christine Meierhofer's 'Order a Theft', where you can send a photo of your apartment and order a stolen art work to be placed on your wall. The Thing also has a live chat World, which apparently offers a backstage view of the NY art world. Other Thing branches are located in Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna and Frankfurt.
Talkback is a forum for critical discourse located at the Center for Long Distance Art & Culture, Lehman College Art Gallery. Three issues have been produced so far: the first dealing with "the archive as artwork", the second with "identity" (featuring such authors as Geert Lovink, Regina Cornwell, Tim Druckrey, Mark Dery, and an interview with Sherry Turkle). Barbara Pollock's critique of the commercialisation of on-line art is specially worth reading - "The brave new artworld, which in early 1995 seemed to be emerging on the Internet, now looks remarkably like the not-so-brave, old art market." The third issue is devoted to communities, virtual and otherwise. Like 'Why not Sneeze?', they also have an annotated list of artists' works and sites, though with the addition of star-ratings. The sober design of the site makes it easy to read and navigate.
Besides hosting various sites for the Guggenheim Museum, ArtNetWeb features audio and video-enhanced discussions of artists' web sites, as well as a number of projects, such as Simon Weil's 'Ear's Eye for James Joyce, Douglas Davis's interminable 'The World's First Collaborative Sentence' (claimed to be the first arts web site to be purchased by a collector), and David Schafer's 'Reading Room', which uses a map based on the design of an airport terminal with radiating piers; clicking on one of the adjoining buildings takes you to a series of text-bearing walls. Another section of ArtNetWeb, titled 'iola', provides useful lists of search engines, electronic journals, open forums, software sites and a few projects and home pages.
The Dia Center for the Arts, New York, has a number of interesting projects and exhibitions on offer, including Komar & Melamid's 'The Most Wanted Paintings', work by Dan Flavin and Jessica Stockholder, as well as 'Fantastic Prayers', a pioneering web project by writer Constance de Jong, video artist Tony Oursler and musician Stephen Vitiello. Video-loops, sound files and texts. The latest additions to their site are projects by Tim Rollins and K.O.S., Cheryl Donnegan, and Susan Hiller's 'Dream Screens' which uses interactive colour fields and a soundtrack in 6 languages.
Although no longer on line (but available in an archived version thanks to
the Walker Art Center) Ada 'web is one of the most interesting sites devoted
to artists' projects. Their 'influx' section contains specially commissioned
projects, while 'context' groups together selected partners. Included are
projects by Jenny Holzer (a list of her 'truisms' with the possibility of
casting your vote for which one you think the best) and Julia Sher (a many-levelled
text and sound piece about surveillance). Adaweb also hosts Lawrence Weiner's
'HOMEPORT', a Palace environment where you can navigate through his text and
image pieces. Then there's 'StirFry', a series of dispatches in the form of
text, sound and moving images sent to New York from China by MOMA curator
Barbara London and painter F.D.P. Henryz as they search for media art in China.
The Spoon Collective, operated through the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia (USA) offers various mailing lists (discussion groups) that you can subscribe to. Topics include: Avant-Garde, Technology, Bataille, Baudrillard, Lyotard, Foucault, and various brands of Marxism. Recommended for those with plenty of time to spare for reading.
Art Net (http://.art.net/) is a collective of dozens of artists from around the world, most of whom seem to be working in fairly traditional media, simply displaying their paintings or drawings on the Net rather than engaging in any activity that makes use of the interactive or confrontational potential of the Net.
OTIS (or SITO as it's now known)is "a place for image-makers and image-lovers to exchange ideas, collaborate and, in a loose sense of the word, meet." Basically, it seems to be a free-for-all site for artists to make their images available. There are already hundreds of participants, but, scrolling through the list I only came across one or two I'd heard of. Most, it seems, are American. Its all-inclusiveness is reflected in the categories listed in OTIS's 'artchives': media include drawings, graphics, body art, installation (only one piece so far - a series of still images of a rather New Age-ish installation by one Carol Geary) etc., while the content list includes abstracts, nudes, animals, etc. OTIS also offers collaborative projects under the heading 'Synergy', but most of these simply involve someone starting an image, which is then added to by someone else, etc., etc. Sort of an electronic exquisite corpse. How very stimulating! The sort of people who use OTIS can perhaps be gleaned from the 2-line definitions of art that people have sent in, such as "Life, the breath in you and the beat of your heart are true art" or "A creative act birthed in the soul (or at least in the subconscious)."
V2 is an art and technology centre in Rotterdam. Their home page is a hot-buttoned image map offering a plethora of links to various sections of the V2 archive, press releases for past and forthcoming presentations, essays, sound samples, projects, and links to other interesting sites.
Datum is a Dutch-based magazine concentrating chiefly on art and theatre, with articles mostly in Dutch but with some in English or German. Simple, readable design, with sparing use of illustrations. Includes documentation and information about new experimental theatre productions and installations, articles on Walter Benjamin, Generation X, etc.
The HyperMedia Research Centre, based at the University of Westminster in London, presents a healthy mixture of theory and practice, including manifestos, essays, participatory surrealist games, pop art from Sarajevo, the amazing multi-media environment 'Future Sounds of London' and an explorable building called 'J's Joint'.
The Palimpsest section on Flyvision claims to be a space for web-specific art works, and opens with a plethora of little square images, with more information provided by means of an ingenious mouse-over, which take you to various projects such as 'Barbarella' ("a patchwork of groovy solutions"). There seems to be something adolescent about many of the projects, or maybe it's a sort of 60's re-run, with its "psychedelic tales" and sampling experiments.
A collective of five artists dedicated to exploring the intersection between art, technology, radical politics, and critical theory. Includes the entire text of their book 'The Electronic Disturbance' (1994), a couple of radio pieces, and their address to Interface 3: 'Utopian Promises - Net Realities'. Essential reading!
Drawing oN Air is a heavily intellectual New York-based site offering 3 webs: 'Engaging Infrastructure', which explores the intersection of art, business management and information (including a long text by Andrea Fraser on 'How to Provide an Artistic Service'); 'The Space of Information', dealing with modes of organising space, experience and information; and 'Intelligent Life'.