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Internet art (often referred to as net art) is art which uses the Internet as its primary medium or platform. Artists working in this manner are sometimes referred to as net artists.

Internet art can happen outside the purely technical online structure of the Internet, such as when artists use specific social or cultural Internet traditions in a project outside of it. Internet art is often, but not always, interactive, participatory, and based on multimedia in the broadest sense. Usually, the internet art can be used to spread a message, either political or social, using human interactions.

The term Internet art typically does not refer to art that has been simply digitized and uploaded to be viewable over the Internet. This can be done through a web browser, such as images of paintings uploaded for viewing in an online gallery.[1] Rather, this genre relies intrinsically on the Internet to exist, taking advantage of such aspects as an interactive interface and connectivity to multiple social and economic cultures and micro-cultures. It refers to the Internet as a whole, not only to web-based works.

Theoriest and curator Jon Ippolito defined "10 Myths" about Internet art in 2002.[1] He cites the above stipulations, as well as defining it as distinct from commercial web design, and touching on issues of permanence, archivability and collecting in a fluid medium.


Forms and presentation

Internet art can be actualized in a variety of ways: for example, through websites; e-mail projects; Internet-based original software projects (sometimes involving games); Internet-linked networked installations; interactive and/or streaming video, audio, or radio works; and networked performances (using multi-user domains, virtual worlds such as Second Life, chat rooms, and other networked environments).[2] It can also include completely offline events, like the performance by Alexei Shulgin, Real Cyberknowledge for Real People in Vienna, in 1997. Shulgin printed out copies of the online publication of Beauty and the East' / ZKP4, published by the mailing list nettime, handing booklets out to passers-by on the streets of Vienna.[3] Internet art overlaps with other computer-based art forms such as new media art, electronic art, software art, digital art, telematic art and generative art.

The terms Internet art, net-based art, net art,, Web art, and even networked art have all been used to classify this type of work. However, the term networked art has a history of usage for artworks that were connected through closed networks before the Internet's popularization and commercialization in the early 1990s (such as many Telematic art projects)[1]. -- "Net-dot-art" -- was a more popular term in the 1990s, often referring to some of the first net artists who were critiquing the structures of the Internet [4]. Critic Rachel Greene states that the term originated "when Slovenian artist Vuk Cosic opened an anonymous e-mail only to find it had been mangled in transmission. Amid a morass of alphanumeric gibberish, Cosic could make out just one legible term -- "" -- which he began using to talk about online art and communications." [2].Greene lists several artists as early experimenters of the form: Vuk Ćosić, Jodi, Alexei Shulgin, Heath Bunting, Shu Lea Cheang, VNS Matrix and Olia Lialina. In her book Internet art, Green places Internet art after 1993, with the popularization of graphical web browsing.

History and context

Internet art is rooted in disparate artistic traditions and movements, ranging from Dada to Situationism, conceptual art, Fluxus, video art, kinetic art and performance art.

As the art form develops, its historical context is continually re-evaluated. Amsterdam-based critic Josephine Bosma defines Internet art as having "five generations," [5] where the first generation of artists didn't work with the Internet proper, but with electronic interconnectivity, precursors to the Internet, such as fax, slow scan television and videotex. These earlier forms are often defined more broadly as Networked art. [6]

An early Networked artwork was Roy Ascott's work, La Plissure du Texte, performed in collaboration created for an exhibition at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1983, using a closed-network of invited artists on the ARTEX network.[6] Media art institutions such as Ars Electronica Festival in Linz or the Paris-based IRCAM, a research center for electronic music, would also support or present early Networked art. In 1974, Canadian artist Vera Frenkel worked with the Bell Canada Teleconferencing Studios to produce the work, "String Games," the first artwork from Canada to use telecommunications technologies.[7]

However, as Greene and others note, with spread of the desktop computer in the 80's and the advent of the Web in the 90's, a much broader spectrum of artists entered the field, often completely independent from art institutions—and often purposely at odds with institutional culture.[2]

Between 1994 to 2000, several public venues formed to archive, disseminate and promote Internet art. Key organizations included Adaweb, directed by Benjamin Weil; Alt-X, founded by artist Mark Amerika,Rhizome, initiated by artist and curator Mark Tribe and FILE Electronic Language International Festival founded by artists Ricardo Barreto and Paula Perissinotto [2]

See also



  • Forest Fred 1998,¨Pour un art actuel, l'art à l'heure d'Internet" l'Harmattan, Paris
  • Barreto, Ricardo and Perissinotto, Paula “the_culture_of_immanence”, in Internet Art.
  • Baumgärtel, Tilman (2001). 2.0 – Neue Materialien zur Netzkunst / New Materials towards Net art. Nürnberg: Verlag für moderne Kunst. ISBN 3-933096-66-9.
  • Wilson, Stephen (2001). Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science and Technology. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-23209-X.
  • Amerika, Mark (2001). How To Be An Internet Artist. [1]
  • Net Art Review a daily updated site that tries to keep pace with what is happening in the world of netart: netartreview
  • Christine Buci-Glucksmann, "L’art à l’époque virtuel", in Frontières esthétiques de l’art, Arts 8, Paris: L’Harmattan, 2004
  • Greene, Rachel (2004). "Internet Art". Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0500203768, ISBN 978-0500203767.
  • Stallabrass, Julian (2003). "Internet Art: the online clash of culture and commerce". Tate Publishing. ISBN 1854373455, ISBN 978-1854373458.
  • The syndicate network for media culture and media art :
  • JIP - JavaMuseum Interview Project: [2]
  • WB05 e-symposium published as ISEA Newsletter #102 - ISSN 1488-3635 #102 [3]
  • Ascott, R.2003. Telematic Embrace: visionary theories of art, technology and consciousness. (Edward A. Shanken, ed.) Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Roy Ascott 2002. Technoetic Arts (Editor and Korean translation: YI, Won-Kon), (Media & Art Series no. 6, Institute of Media Art, Yonsei University). Yonsei: Yonsei University Press
  • Ascott, R. 1998. Art & Telematics: toward the Construction of New Aesthetics. (Japanese trans. E. Fujihara). A. Takada & Y. Yamashita eds. Tokyo: NTT Publishing Co.,Ltd.
  • Fred Forest 2008. Art et Internet, Paris Editions Cercle D'Art / Imaginaire Mode d'Emploi

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