[NetBehaviour] Netart 2.0 is not net.art

gottlieb gottlieb at yonsei.ac.kr
Thu Apr 3 19:07:34 CEST 2008

Hi List, Pall, and Bruce,

Here in Seoul at the Graduate School of Communication and Arts,  
Yonsei University,
we just put on a hypothetical Net.Art exhibition featuring works we  
found on the internet
The question was: How Art is Net Art?  And the litmus test was  
whether we could implement/display the works in the gallery.  Each  
student chose a work they liked and then thought about what would be  
the ideal way to display the work in our little white cube gallery.
Of course, the students ideas were much to expensive for us to  
realised them physically, that's why the exhibition remains  

I think, under the terms in this thread, all of the works selected  
would be qualified as 2.0 Net Art. For us, in our class discussions,  
we also noticed a distinction between contemporary net.art, much more  
about database and interface) and that of the first generation (much  
more about the communication, protocols, and identity).   these  
definitions are all inadequate, and our exhibition is very much  
experimental, but I hope some of you will visit and take the time to  
send us some responses.

More directly regarding some of the issues being discussed in this  
thread, I would like to contribute a few thoughts.

>> Netart 2.0 cannot function without an active network connection
It may function without the internet connection, but, in that case,  
it is hard to call it net- anything anymore.  It would be ex-net- 
art.  I think the same distinction occurs between Radio Art and Audio  
Art.  Generally we refer to Radio Art which has to be broadcast in  
order to be in its fully realized form, otherwise it is Audio Art.

>> Netart 2.0 may or may not be interactive
Indeed, some of the best work is not interactive.
Art does not generally like democracy. (I know I will get in some  
trouble here, but...) a lot of what we (at least classically) expect  
from art needs a strong structure and form, dramatic curve/suspense  
or other purposefulness, all of which is mitigated by interactivity.

>> Netart 2.0 is not science
In fact, it takes science and technology for granted.  I think that  
is the big shift in Web 2.0 in general.  We no longer worry so much  
about the privacy of our data we just jump in to social networking  
and trust for the best.  Multiple online identities are like duh! and  
Net.art is increasingly Art+D for the big corporates' identity  
departments. i.e
which, personally, I think is really well done, despite them having  
outright stolen Young Hae Chang's entire oeuvre aesthetic for their  
intro.  I am going to write them and tell them right away.
The old 1.0 way of exposing the raw inner workings of the  
internet...that's scientific..., but, then again...

Please visit our hypothetical net.art exhibition



Baruch Gottlieb
assistant professor
Yonsei University Graduate School of Communication and Arts
Seoul Korea

On Apr 2, 2008, at 8:55 PM, Pall Thayer wrote:

> Hi Z,
> Thanks for the interesting comments. I'd like to  point out again  
> that a manifesto is not by any means a formal, logical philosphical  
> argument. It is a personal declaration of opinions and/or  
> intentions. By saying this I'm not trying to stave off any  
> discourse but merely pointing out that this is not intended to  
> describe or define a collective body of work other than my own.  
> However I do welcome any and all comments and am truly interested  
> in hearing how these ideas fit into (or don't fit into) other  
> artists' practice.
>> Netart 2.0 is not net.art
> Do you mean net art? web art? internet art? When I read the  
> following text, I get the feeling you understand the creative net  
> started with the web. There have been works done before (e.g. using  
> news groups and FirstClass communities), and these well before 1991  
> and I feel the distinction is necessary for the coherence of a  
> manifesto that would speak to novice but also old-timers. The web's  
> just the tip of the history of online art and I am not sure I  
> understand well what you are focusing on. When you speak about  
> casual internet users, I believe you mean web, and mass-media-like  
> consumers. But then again you state in a further point that:  
> 'Netart 2.0 is not dependent upon The World Wide Web'. I'm a bit  
> stuck there in the comprehension of your text.
> Here I am referring to net.art (net-dot-art) as the work of a very  
> specific group of artists in the early to mid 90's that coined the  
> term as their own. I don't recall who they all were but the ones I  
> remember were Vuc Cosic, Lev Manovich (I think), Olia Lialina and  
> Alexei Shulgin. It's not a negative comment on their work but  
> merely a reminder that Internet based art hasn't stayed grounded  
> within the early work of these individuals. It has progressed to a  
> degree that warrants re-consideration on its own merits. I'm not by  
> any means denying the significance of this earlier work, just  
> pointing out that Internet-based art has evolved.
>> Netart 2.0 is dynamic
> By that I understand you mean the content is dynamically generated  
> acording to both the human and the machine context, giving life to  
> a creative avatar. Again, it seems essential to me that if you're  
> speaking of the web, since the early years net art was dynamic. In  
> fact it was already before the web, thought there weren't as many  
> viewers-consumers to check it out and the communities where more  
> focused and less generalist. It is true the trend is towards more  
> than an simple html web page collection including hyperlinks, but  
> this doesn't seem enough to define a second generation of net art,  
> or at least not like that.
> I'm not limiting my statements to the Web. The Internet is much  
> more than the web. Try this for instance; If you're using Mac OS X,  
> open the terminal application, type: telnet anmo.iu.liss.org 4000  
> then hit return. After a short while the window will begin  
> displaying a bunch of nonsense. What you're seeing is live seismic  
> data (in binary form) being transmitted over the Internet. This  
> transmission has nothing to do with the web. Here's another thing  
> to try that will make a bit more sense. In a terminal window type:  
> telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl and hit return. Again, this has  
> nothing to do with the Web but is being streamed over the Internet.
> Regarding the "dynamic". Not too many years ago, work that was  
> built around the artist creating a number of static HTML pages and  
> linking them together internally, was considered Netart. That can  
> be said to be dynamic in a sense as it is action-based but  
> eventually you will find yourself in an unchanging loop. Today,  
> with the general public constantly pouring new content into the  
> Internet and the linking of measuring and recording equipment to  
> the Internet (as in the seismic data sample above) the work can be  
> much more dynamic with the action being mixed with live, real-time  
> data in a way that the work constantly evolves into something else,  
> never repeating itself.
>> Netart 2.0 cannot function without an active network connection
> I don't understand how you can talk about net art without the net.  
> You may have a representation of net art that is disconnected but  
> it will just be that, a passive representation of net art and not  
> net art. I believe you might misunderstand net art 1.0 as software  
> art or multimedia.
> A lot of work has been produced that gives the appearance of being  
> dynamically linked to the Internet but isn't really. I'm referring  
> for instance to Flash movies and websites that could essentially be  
> downloaded in their entirety and run locally with no Internet  
> connection at all. I gave a talk once at the art academy here in  
> Iceland where I explained this by giving a few examples. For  
> instance, I located a Flash movie in Rhizome.org's artbase that was  
> labeled as Netart, ran it once while connected to the Internet,  
> then downloaded it to my computer, unplugged the ethernet cord and  
> ran the Flash movie again. It ran just as well as when I was  
> connected. There is a lot of other work that will stop functioning  
> as soon as you disconnect from the Internet. I'm saying that that  
> is Netart 2.0, the other work essentially just uses the Internet  
> for distribution.
>> Netart 2.0 may or may not be interactive
> In my understanding net art requires a network to be, therefore an  
> interaction between at least two entities (human or machine). I  
> believe the term 'viewer' needs a better definition for your  
> manifesto. Also,on the internet there is required interaction as it  
> is a fundamental of even the earliest web pages (hypertext).  
> Interactivity is what generated net art.
> OK, let's refer then to the "viewer" as "the person experiencing  
> the work." That person does not need to interact with the work. The  
> work can be interacting internally with data accessible over the  
> network. And again, you refer here to "web pages" whereas the  
> Internet is far more extensive than that. Yes, the work is  
> interactive in the sense that it is interacting with network but  
> more often than naught, when people use the term "interactive" they  
> are referring to the ability of those experiencing the work to  
> influence it through interactivity. It's part of the experience as  
> well as the production. I'm essentially saying that it can be part  
> of the production without being part of the experience.
>> Netart 2.0 may or may not be accessible on-line
> Do you mean there can be an offline network for net art to exist?  
> And does the real-world correspond to this new environment for net  
> art 2.0? (I have a small definition of web 3.0 as 'the biological,  
> digital analog web where information is made of a plethora of  
> digital values coalesced for sense and linked to the real-world by  
> analog interfaces' on http://www.zzz.ch/bootymachine/web3.0/  ,  
> maybe it can relate to this, I'd be happy to get your feedback).
> What I mean here is that the result of the work, what the public  
> experiences, doesn't have to be experienced over the Internet, i.e.  
> on a webpage. It can be a gallery installation consisting of a  
> computer or computers connected to the Internet, extracting data to  
> produce the work. There is a common assumption that all Netart can  
> be experienced from the solitude and comfort of one's home. This is  
> not always the case. A lot of the work of Jonah Brucker-Cohen is a  
> good example of this.
> In a way, you could say that this touches on your discussion about  
> the evolution of the web. I think you're right in that we will be  
> experiencing more of the Internet in our "biological" surroundings  
> especially with the growing ubiquity of wireless connections and  
> small, simple devices that are capable of using them. I heard about  
> a group recently that built a wifi-enabled webserver that they  
> called "The Fly" because it wasn't much larger than a fly.
>> Netart 2.0 is not science
> Here, I don't understand why and how you can exclude the science in  
> net art (or online art). Basically working with media protocols to  
> put the work online already induces a bias in the work that just  
> doesn't make it artist-only-created. All who creates using these  
> tools know what the limitations inherent to protocols can do to the  
> creative process, and to me it is part science not to be random  
> noise (even if it is beautiful noise). My personal view is that you  
> can simply not say that of any net art, as there is automatically  
> some part of science in the use of language.
> Based on what you say here then painting is science as well, as is  
> pottery and a variety of other forms of artistic creation. The way  
> I see it, the ultimate goal of science is to provide answers that  
> are as infallible as possible. Art does just the opposite. If it  
> attempts to answer anything at all, it usually does so in a much  
> more suggestive manner. More often though, it suggests questions. I  
> think that artists tend to work in a much more chaotic and fluid  
> manner than scientists. Scientists are methodical, cataloging  
> everything that happens along the way. Perhaps some artists do this  
> as well but for me, science has no more to do with the way I create  
> my art than what it has to do with i.e. painting. The sciences  
> provide the materials but that's where the relationship ends. One  
> of the reasons I pointed out the seismic data above is that I'm  
> currently creating a piece that uses live, real-time seismic data  
> obtained over the Internet. It really doesn't matter to me what the  
> numbers I receive mean. My handling of them within the framework is  
> entirely qualitative. What matters to me is how they affect the  
> resulting visuals. Yes, an actual earthquake will produce the most  
> dramatic results in the work but what that means as far as the  
> tectonic plates go, doesn't matter to me at all. So I'm using  
> scientific readings in a very non-scientific way and I can do that  
> because my artwork is not science.
> Finally, I just want to say I really don't see much in your  
> manifesto that defines 'newness' from what net art is (I mean  
> v1.0). Most of what you state was already there since a long time,  
> but it is true most casual-viewers' online experience dates only  
> from a few years at max. Maybe there should first be a manifesto to  
> better define net art 1.0 ?
> You are correct. These points I mention have been around for a long  
> time now. But until now I don't know of anyone who has specifically  
> discussed these points in this manner in an attempt to define their  
> work and that's why I wrote it.
> best r.
> Pall
> Thanks again for your thoughts, the discussion is indeed very  
> interesting!
> :)
> Z
> Bootymachine www.bootymachine.net
> experimental groove experiment
> bootymachine at bootymachine.net
> Le 1 avr. 08 à 13:00, netbehaviour-request at netbehaviour.org a écrit :
>>> Netart 2.0: A Manifesto of Variable Manifestation
>>> Initial draft October 18, 2006
>>> Netart 2.0 is not net.art
>>> ++The internet has changed a lot in recent years. Casual Internet
>>> users have become content producers as well as content consumers.
>>> These shifts in the way the public uses the internet is reflected in
>>> more recent netart.
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> -- 
> *****************************
> Pall Thayer
> artist
> http://www.this.is/pallit
> *****************************
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