[NetBehaviour] post - Internet art, net art, and networked art in relation.

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Thu Feb 21 11:38:41 CET 2008

Hi James and Helen,

Here is a cleaner version of the text that I sent minutes earlier, too much coffee this morning...

 >{ "Internet Art" == warm, "Media Art" == cold }

Lol - believe me, I understand where you are coming from in respect of 
having labels out there defining one's own practice. It can be a pain in 
the neck, although if you are an artist who wants to explore beyond 
traditional fine art structures and not be pulled into the more accepted 
histories of fine art that works via a top-down hierarchy that is based 
on supporting the few; it can be handy to redefine one's own practice 
separate from such socially constructed behaviours.

The term 'media art' has been used to cover a whole rang of digital art 
related practices and approaches which also includes Internet Art. Most 
people use 'New media art' to define these type of artworks, usually 
academics so to reflect contemporary uses of various technologies.

My own personal take on this, is that I prefer 'Media Art' rather than 
'New Media Art', although I appreciate why others would include the word 
'new', due to artists and makers exploiting contemporary technologies 
and philosophies which reflect the constant, dynamic and ever changing 
present, with art, technology and culture. Because this type of art is 
always being upgrading itself or moving alongside new technologies to 
explore new forms of practice, it is always aligned to a constant state 
of being 'new', by default.

Yet, the downside of always having to be constantly 'new' in regard to 
one's own involvement with technology is, that there is possibly, too 
much weight, reliance and emphasis on the 'new'. And if an art culture 
becomes dependent on expecting artists to justify their creative 
existence or practice via only using the latest technology alone, the 
issue of conformity arrives that is most probably less intuitive, 
inventive or creatively productive in the long run.

Getting back to the term 'new Media', it is now considered that video is 
seen as 'old media'. Although things are never that simple, because when 
video becomes Internet Art or a networked entity in its own right, 
strange things happen, which are quite exciting.

One of the sad things that concerns me in regard to 'New Media Art', is 
that you get big organisations yelling from the top of their hills, that 
what they are showing is the most radical from of art and all that 
bullshit. A good example is, that when I went to Ars Electronica last 
year and viewed their main exhibition, it was obvious in the extreme 
that they got their socks off on how clever the use of technology was 
rather than the art. So, (I have said this somewhere else recently) we 
end up experiencing some kind of macho show room of a kind of media art, 
but more a BMW showroom, which is vapid, shallow and empty, and only 
serves to support the creative industries above whatever art one is 
exploring. This is bad for everyone.


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