[rohrpost] 4 theses on exhibiting internet art

carlos katastrofsky carlos.katastrofsky at cont3xt.net
Mon Nov 3 17:38:35 CET 2008

[if you're interested to discuss these topics in detail please go to
http://cont3xt.net/interference - thank you]

[internet art in real spaces]
the border between the work of an internet artist and the curating
done by a curator who wants to show the work in a physical exhibition
is shifting. it is not enough to put computers in an exhibition and
let artworks be on display. internet works have to be adapted to be
shown in an exhibition space. since the original context of those
artworks -the private surroundings of people consuming internet art on
their computers at home- is lost, there has to be some kind of setup
that makes the work suitable for the gallery-context. on one hand this
is the responsibility of the curator -(s)he is the one who provides
the exhibition context- but on the other hand it is also the
responsibility of the artist to think of possibilities how the pieces
can be transformed. thus a intense communication process is needed
between curator and internet artist.

[exhibition setup]
exhibiting internet art has to take on forms that are different from
the current widespread "independend" setup that build on the setup of
festival exhibitions. if internet art wants to become recognised as
"art" and not as funny gadget/tech stuff/industry whore then putting
such art forms on display needs to be done carefully. the focus has to
shift away from the technical part of the work to something more
reliable (todays tech is more than old tomorrow): the cultural
context. technology is a cultural context, and nowadays even one of
the most powerful ones. but it is not alone. technology is embedded in
a framework of cultural developments that exist for a much longer time
and by thus reaches much deeper into what is known as perception of

[mixing art forms]
mixing the diverse art forms has to become obligatory. internet art
has not to be treated separately - it is a form of art as is painting,
sculpting etc.
the only difference is that it uses unstable electronic media to come
to life. but the question is: hasn't unstable media been used before?
would you say that beuy's grease chair is no art because it uses
unstable media in it (grease)? temporality has always been an issue in
art, so why does one not accept it in internet art?

[defining contexts]
to exhibit internet art and to provide the proper context the
definitions of this art form have to be changed. and not only the
definitions on wikipedia or in some smart books, even the unwritten
but predefined aura has to be questioned. to become reasonable the
notions of avant-garde, hacker, subculture and everything else that
has this shiny late-nineties "we are on the edge of it all" has to be
dropped. this aura is comfortable but makes urgent developments