Internet art

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Internet art (also known as net art) is a form of new media art distributed via the Internet. This form of art circumvents the traditional dominance of the physical gallery and museum system. In many cases, the viewer is drawn into some kind of interaction with the work of art. Artists working in this manner are sometimes referred to as net artists.

Net Art Diagram. "The Art Happens Here"

Net artist may use specific social or cultural internet traditions to produce their art outside of the technical structure of the internet. Internet art is often — but not always — interactive, participatory, and multimedia-based. Internet art can be used to spread a message, either political or social, using human interactions.

The term Internet art typically does not refer to art that has been simply digitized and uploaded to be viewable over the Internet, such as in an online gallery.[1] Rather, this genre relies intrinsically on the Internet to exist as a whole, taking advantage of such aspects as an interactive interface and connectivity to multiple social and economic cultures and micro-cultures, not only web-based works.

New media theorist and curator Jon Ippolito defined "Ten Myths of Internet Art" in 2002.[1] He cites the above stipulations, as well as defining it as distinct from commercial web design, and touching on issues of permanence, archivability, and collecting in a fluid medium.

History and context[edit]

Internet art is rooted in disparate artistic traditions and movements, ranging from Dada to Situationism, conceptual art, Fluxus, video art, kinetic art, performance art, telematic art and happenings.[2]

In 1974, Canadian artist Vera Frenkel worked with the Bell Canada Teleconferencing Studios to produce the work String Games: Improvisations for Inter-City Video, the first artwork in Canada to use telecommunications technologies.[3]

An early telematic artwork was Roy Ascott's work, La Plissure du Texte,[4] performed in collaboration created for an exhibition at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1983.

In 1985, Eduardo Kac created the animated videotex poem Reabracadabra for the Minitel system.[5]

Media art institutions such as Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, or the Paris-based IRCAM (a research center for electronic music), would also support or present early networked art. In 1997 MIT's List Visual Arts Center hosted "PORT: Navigating Digital Culture," which included internet art in a gallery space and "time-based Internet projects."[6] Artists in the show included Cary Peppermint, Prema Murthy, Ricardo Dominguez, and Adrianne Wortzel. In 2000 the Whitney Museum of American Art included net art in their Biennial exhibit.[7] It was the first time that internet art had been included as a special category in the Biennial, and it marked one of the earliest examples of the inclusion of internet art in a museum setting. Internet artists included Mark Amerika, Fakeshop, Ken Goldberg, etoy and ®™ark.

With the rise of search engines as a gateway to accessing the web in the late 1990s, many net artists turned their attention to related themes. The 2001 'Data Dynamics' exhibit at the Whitney Museum featured 'Netomat' (Maciej Wisniewski) and 'Apartment' (Marek Walczak and Martin Wattenberg), which used search queries as raw material. Mary Flanagan's ' The Perpetual Bed' received attention for its use of 3D nonlinear narrative space, or what she called "navigable narratives."[8] [9] Her 2001 piece titled 'Collection' shown in the Whitney Biennial displayed items amassed from hard drives around the world in a computational collective unconscious.'[10] Golan Levin's 'The Secret Lives of Numbers' (2000) visualized the "popularity" of the numbers 1 to 1,000,000 as measured by Alta Vista search results. Such works pointed to alternative interfaces and questioned the dominant role of search engines in controlling access to the net.

Nevertheless, the Internet is not reducible to the web, nor to search engines. Besides these unicast (point to point) applications,suggesting the existence of reference points, there is also a multicast (multipoint and uncentered) internet that has been explored by very few artistic experiences, such as the Poietic Generator. Internet art has, according to Juliff and Cox, suffered under the privileging of the user interface inherent within computer art. They argue that Internet is not synonymous with a specific user and specific interface, but rather a dynamic structure that encompasses coding and the artist's intention.[11]

The emergence of social networking platforms in the mid-2000s facilitated a transformative shift in the distribution of internet art. Early online communities were organized around specific "topical hierarchies",[12] whereas social networking platforms consist of egocentric networks, with the "individual at the center of their own community".[12] Artistic communities on the Internet underwent a similar transition in the mid-2000s, shifting from Surf Clubs, "15 to 30 person groups whose members contributed to an ongoing visual-conceptual conversation through the use of digital media"[13] and whose membership was restricted to a select group of individuals, to image-based social networking platforms, like Flickr, which permit access to any individual with an e-mail address. Internet artists make extensive use of the networked capabilities of social networking platforms, and are rhizomatic in their organization, in that "production of meaning is externally contingent on a network of other artists' content".[13]


Post-Internet movements are responsible for Internet-centric microgenres and subcultures such as vaporwave[14]

Post-Internet is a loose descriptor[14] for works that are derived from the Internet or its effects on aesthetics, culture and society.[15] It is a controversial and highly criticized term in the art community.[14] It emerged from mid-2000s discussions about Internet art by Marisa Olson, Gene McHugh, and Artie Vierkant (the latter notable for his Image Objects, a series of deep blue monochrome prints).[16] Between the 2000s and 2010s, post-Internet artists were largely the domain of millennials operating on web platforms such as Tumblr and MySpace. The movement is also responsible for spearheading slews of microgenres and subcultures such as seapunk and vaporwave.[14]

This term "post internet" was coined by Internet artist Marisa Olson in 2008.[17] According to a 2015 article in The New Yorker, the term describes "the practices of artists who ... unlike those of previous generations, [employ] the Web [as] just another medium, like painting or sculpture. Their artworks move fluidly between spaces, appearing sometimes on a screen, other times in a gallery."[18] In the early 2010s, "post-Internet" was popularly associated with the musician Grimes, who used the term to describe her work at a time when post-Internet concepts were not typically discussed in mainstream music arenas.[19]


Art historian Rachel Greene identified six forms of internet art that existed from 1993 to 1996: email, audio, video, graphics, animation and websites.[20]

In the 1990s, email based mailing lists provided net artists with a community for online discourse that broke boundaries between critical and generative dialogues. The email format allowed instant expression, however limited to text and simple graphic based communication, with an international scope.[21] These mailing lists allowed for organization which was carried over to face-to-face meetings that facilitated more nuanced conversations, less burdened from miscommunication.

Since the mid-2000s, many artists have used Google's search engine and other services for inspiration and materials. New Google services breed new artistic possibilities.[22] Beginning in 2008, Jon Rafman collected images from Google Street View for his project called The Nine Eyes of Google Street View.[23][22] Another ongoing net art project is I'm Google by Dina Kelberman which organizes pictures and videos from Google and YouTube around a theme in a grid form that expands as you scroll.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ippolito, Jon (2002-10-01). "Ten Myths of Internet Art". Leonardo. 35 (5): 485–498. doi:10.1162/002409402320774312. ISSN 0024-094X. S2CID 57564573.
  2. ^ Chandler, Annmarie; Neumark, Norie (2005). At a Distance: Precursors to Art and Activism on the Internet. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-03328-3.
  3. ^ Langill, Caroline (2009). "Electronic media in 1974". Shifting Polarities. Montreal: The Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology. Retrieved September 21, 2010.
  4. ^ White, Norman T. "Plissure du Texte". The NorMill. Retrieved September 21, 2010. (Unedited transcript including organizational discussion.)
  5. ^ "NET ART ANTHOLOGY: Reabracadabra". NET ART ANTHOLOGY: Reabracadabra. 2016-10-27. Retrieved 2020-12-26.
  6. ^ "Port Home".
  7. ^ The Whitney Biennial 2000. See also "Now Anyone Can Be in the Whitney Biennial" in The New York Times (March 23, 2000), and "The Whitney Speaks: It Is Art" in Wired Magazine (March 23, 2000).
  8. ^ Klink, Patrick (1999). "Daring Digital Artist". UB Today. Buffalo: The University at Buffalo. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  9. ^ Flanagan, Mary (2000). "navigating the narrative in space: gender and spatiality in virtual worlds". Art Journal. New York: The College Art Association. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  10. ^ Cotter, Holland (2002). "Never Mind the Art Police, These Six Matter". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  11. ^ Toby Juliff, Travis Cox (2015). "The post-display condition of contemporary computer art" (PDF). EMaj. 8.
  12. ^ a b Boyd, D. M.; N. B. Ellison (2007). "Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship". Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. 13 (1): 210–230. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00393.x. S2CID 52810295. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  13. ^ a b Schneider, B. "From Clubs to Affinity: The Decentralization of Art on the Internet". 491. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  14. ^ a b c d Amarca, Nico (March 1, 2016). "From Bucket Hats to Pokémon: Breaking Down Yung Lean's Style". High Snobiety. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  15. ^ Wallace, Ian (March 18, 2014). "What Is Post-Internet Art? Understanding the Revolutionary New Art Movement". Artspace.
  16. ^ Connor, Michael (November 1, 2013). "What's Postinternet Got to do with Net Art?". Rhizome.
  17. ^ "Interview with Marisa Olson". 28 March 2008.
  18. ^ Kenneth, Goldsmith (2015-03-10). "Post-Internet Poetry Comes of Age". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  19. ^ Snapes, Laura (February 19, 2020). "Pop star, producer or pariah? The conflicted brilliance of Grimes". The Guardian.
  20. ^ Moss, Cecelia Laurel (2015). Expanded Internet Art and the Informational Milieu. Ann Arbor. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-339-32982-6.
  21. ^ Greene, Rachel. (2004). Internet art. New York, N.Y.: Thames & Hudson. pp. 73–74. ISBN 0-500-20376-8. OCLC 56809770.
  22. ^ a b c Christou, Elisavet (2018-07-01). "Internet Art, Google and Artistic Practice". Electronic Workshops in Computing. doi:10.14236/ewic/EVA2018.23. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  23. ^ "NET ART ANTHOLOGY: Nine Eyes of Google Street View". NET ART ANTHOLOGY: Nine Eyes of Google Street View. 2016-10-27. Retrieved 2020-11-16.


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