Florian Cramer on Tue, 14 Dec 1999 02:02:18 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Re: Tilman-RFC #1: net art history 1993 - 1996

Am Sat, 11.Dec.1999 um 18:24:31 +0100 schrieb Tilman Baumgaertel:

> One month ago I mailed out a proposal to inform me about early net art
> projects. It resulted in the following list of projects and art works that
> happened between 1993 and 1996. Some of them were suggested to me by email,
> other came from my own - not very good - memory. 

I am quite surprised to see that your timeline starts as late as in 1993.
Again, we can argue whether "net art" (i.e. net art in a broader sense than
the particular school of "Net.Art") is identical with "World Wide Web art".
My opinion obviously differs.

Since you speak of "net art" and not of "Internet art" in particular, I
would certainly include BBSes into this history. 

Even without BBSes, I would clearly root the beginnings of Internet art
activities in such manifestations as the "alt.artcom" newsgroup (established
by the editors of the Canadian "Art Com" journal whose editors also
published the Mail Art source book "Correspondence Art in 1985), the
"Postmodern Culture" e-journal with the "PMC-talk" listserver and
Crackerjack Kid's Networker's Telenet Link around 1991. In my memory of
these days of the Internet - or EARN/Bitnet, respectively -, these were the
_only_ arts-related forums in global computer networks. For net culture, the
discussions in "PMC-Talk" were at least as significant as those in Nettime
became later. 



"In 1991 there were roughly two dozen mail artists with PCs and modems,
mostly Americans, who could access one another through information
superhighways like internet, bitnet, CompuServe and America Online."
Chuck Welch <http://www.actlab.utexas.edu/emma/Gallery/telenetlink.html>)

"Artists are using computer networks, and it is impacting not only their
methods of dialogue and distribution, but their creative process and
aesthetic output. In the cyberspace of computer networks, still so
pervasively ASCII and ANSI, art works are not necessarily about visual
images but instead communications -- many investigate interactivity,
collaboration, interface, connectivity, and the relationship between artist,
art work, and viewer."
Anna Couey, Cyber Art: The Art of Communication Systems, Matrix News, Volume
1, Number 4, (July 1991)

Robert Adrian X
Conferencing system on I. P. Sharp APL Network used for art projects

Artcom forum in The Well BBS
Carl Eugene Loeffler and others
SF Bay Area
routed into the Usenet as alt.artcom (and still existing today), includes
electronic distribution of Art Com journal articles

Ruud Janssen
Mail-Art BBS (now in the World Wide Web:

1990, summer
Panscan Conference on ECHO BBS (later echonyc.com)
Mark Bloch
New York City
production of a collaborative E-Mail poem (text at

Matrix Artists Network BBS
Toronto, Canada

by Ruud Jansen

1990, June 17
launch of "postmodern culture" mailing list in the Internet and on
University of Virginia

1990, Fall 
Postmodern Culture 
First issue of the Internet e-journal
University of Virginia

1991, February 6
Le Musée Standard
by La Société de Conservation du Présent
Graphical BBS based on the French-Canadian Minitel standard
Montréal, Québec
(Conceived and programmed by the conceptual art group SCP, this
proto-Website contained - among others - computer-generated poetry and
"Notre Médium: Le Système", a sophisticated system of pictograms.)

1991, June
Networker Telenetlink
by Crackerjack Kid (a.k.a. Chuck Welch)
Sao Paolo Biennal

R.A.T. Mail Art Archive
by Charles Francois
Mail Art BBS

Global Mail
by Ashley Parker-Owens
Information/announcement sheet on Mail Art and related activities, published
on "The Well" via gopher and E-Mail

1994, February
Spoon Lists
by Spoon Collective
Mailing lists on cultural theory

Fast Breeder
BBS operated by Matthew Fuller, Graham Harwood et.al.

The Seven by Nine Squares/Neoism Online
BBS from March 1994-March 1995
Web Site since March 1995
relaunched as <http://www.neoism.org> in January 1996


I am sure there are many more...


Florian Cramer, PGP public key ID 6440BA05
Permutations/Permutationen - poetry automata from 330 A.D. to
present: <http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~cantsin/index.cgi>

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