davidg. on Wed, 12 Mar 97 19:29 MET

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nettime: Art on Net

Art on the Net not Net-Art

After a long  absensence (since the late eighties) it is once again a 
normal experience to go into galleries and museums and find works in 
which exciting artists use video. Significantly what neither the 
artists, nor the critics have reverted to is the term "video art". 
Artists such as Georgina Starr or Matthew Barney may be geographically 
apart but share a certain sensibility, they are also shrewd enough to 
avoid of the trap of being confined within the metaphor of given medium. 
Much of this new work is in fact revisiting the strategies of a much 
earlier generation Aconci, Abromovich/Uly etc, whose approach to video 
was also quick and dirty. Unlike those who came next there was no 
mystification of the medium, no "video art" as such. It was a tool, not 
an ideology. The same is true for the recent generation who grew up with 
the camcorder as just another household appliance, part of a continuum 
of media possibilities and almost as easy as picking up a pencil. It 
feels very natural, and the art is better for it.

This new generation may not have been around, but they are probably 
prevented from taking the wrong direction by some residual folk memory 
of the theoretical somersaults and tedious technological formalism that 
accompanied debates about what might or might not be *real* "video art". 

Is there a lesson for us to learn from this history? Yes, I believe that 
those of us who love the net and love art, and want to work in both 
should learn from the past and avoid the simplistic device of marrying 
these two terms. The term net-art (as opposed to art that happens to 
appear on the net) should be quietly ditched.

David Garcia
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