Simon Biggs on Tue, 21 Mar 2000 01:46:30 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> crush: a response to crash wrote:
>Yes, the museums do indeed love to point their web sites at those of net
>artists from time to time to help provide the museum with a certain
>"downtown" cachet, and virtually free of charge.  Our suggestion is that
>museums get concerned when net art starts to blatantly exploit those
>aspects of the network that are less tangible, less commodifiable, and
>more technical. In sympathy with your suggestion.....  what will happen
>when net art becomes something that the museum cannot simply link to?
>What happens when net artists work with non-browser based approaches to
>the use of the network?  How much do museums support that kind of work?
>We do not mean to suggest that the museum is neccesarily afraid of net
>art, only that by and large, museums don't understand what net art can be
>beyond the browser and it's imagery.... keep in mind that the article in
>question referenced a panel of predominantly American (largely
>Californian) academics, and most of these comments are based on that
Museums have supported this type of work, from even before the invention of
the browser or the web. Perhaps you are not up on your history of
telematic, network and/or net art (whatever you like to call it).

The Venice Biennale (the museum of museums, even whilst it is only
temporary) in 1986 hosted a number of such projects, perhaps chief amongst
them Roy Ascotts project involving telematic systems. Out of this a lot of
other works came as many of those involved then, as young artists, have
since moved on to their own practice (here I think of Paul Sermon, for

More recently Documenta IX and X both hosted similar work. Even back in
1987 Documenta was hosting Ponton with their proto net art.

If anything I imagine that those museum curators who have a knowledge of
the history of these media (yes, there are a few) are feeling despondent
about the success of the web/browser paradigm, which has managed to
homogenise so much work. But this is part of the maturation of any medium.
The interface that allows access to the work, and thus the nature of the
work itself, must standardise if it is to aquire an audience. This is bad
news for radical work.

Reality is the radical work on the net was done at least 10 years ago. What
we are seeing now is the emergence of a formulaic or mannerist period.

Simon Biggs
London GB

Professor of Research (Fine Art)
Art and Design Research Centre
School of Cultural Studies
Sheffield Hallam University
Sheffield, UK

Nettime-bold mailing list