Walter van der Cruijsen on Tue, 6 May 1997 14:00:51 +0200 (MET DST)

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incomplete, but released

Dealing with Net.Art we have to consider two aspects: Networks and the
Arts. Networks are more than just connected computers. And the Arts are not
only defined by artists or through their works.
Technologies, like the Internet, are in Europe still widely unavailable to
artists and art schools.
Also, they are often totally misunderstood by 'conventional' artists and
their institutional powers and partners.
Internet does not only support digitized communication facilities or
automated information circuitries, it helps us to learn to understand each
other as users of a shared environment, not just connecting computers.
It also forces us to work together, without cooperation these networks
cannot exist.

In stead of using this technology to create new art, or explore, research
and experiment, many (if not most) artists, as you can find after some
simple searches on the Internet, just use the Internet to present old art.
Just a few years ago, few artists made their own choice to go on the
Internet. Currently, most artists on the Internet are curated by others.
The next step for us will be to use the Internet not to present or curate,
but to create new works of art. It is difficult for artists to cooperate or
collaborate in this field.

Artists have lost their art domain to galleries, museums and bureaucrats.
Here lies the other opportunity: using the net to create new independent,
selfgoverning temporary systems, that we can use for our own purpose, even
if nobody wants to take a look at. Artworks that can survive on the net are
not depending on one single mind, but have to be widely connected in order
to exist.

The Internet has offered and still offers many new opportunities to
artists, since it is an open environment which lacks classic authorities
and governement. This has very much changed since public and commercial
activities have taken over the old purpose of the Internet. This opening of
the Internet has enabled artists to work and present their works freely (
more or less, if you have to resources or easy access to this technology).

The Arts have become a commodity business, with transitory meanings and
appearances. Most artists are following the offered trends, because they
will have to produce works for the art mart. Acceptance of new art forms
have turned into paper work procedures. Many artists spend lifetimes on
collecting documentation and filling out application forms. In return a
majority  is filed and doomed to become statistical submatter.
In the eighties graffiti was taken from the streets and hung in galleries
and museums. In the nineties this is happening to computer applied arts and
that is being taken from the info bahn. This is a necessary step in order
to make distinctions and create new oeuvres, genres, schools. Since the Net
is a void there is a lot of space available, not just to install these
environments, but to accellerate its differentations. Layer after layer new
traditions are installed. First the new art sub specie has to be debugged,
documented and made compatible. After being verified it can be related to
other, nearby art forms or objects. in the case of it might be
compared to video art, experimental film, performance, conceptual art or
electronic art or even 'media art'.
The Internet is forcing you to work with restricted means to produce
compact, fast events. Time based matter. Conventional arts, however, can
only exist as monumental or mass reproduced works. Most art on the net
represent this need to be present, to be seen and wanted.

This goes very well together with fragile and vulnerable networks as the

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