Is Internet Art Really A Movement?

1447 words - 6 pages

Over the years artists have generally been influenced by the developments in technologies of their era. Through impressionism, we had Monet who saw realistic paintings as redundant after the invention of photography. Instead, Monet focused on capturing how light and shadows affect our impression on a subject. By 1916, Picasso had taken this further and depicted all sides and shapes of reality at once with Cubism. It was technologies of The Industrial Revolution that handed Picasso and other artists their new found freedom and inspiration. Their art was reflected by the attention and understanding they had to the evolving change in times. Since then, technology has changed drastically and artists are constantly using this to their advantage to try and create new distinctive work. (Elizabeth Reoch, 2013)

For many years, artists had to go through a specific channel if they wanted their work to be exhibited. The process involved art critics, curators, collectors, advisors, consultants, gallery owners and anyone else who had an influence in the art world. However, all this began to change in 1969 when the internet was born and as it grew it transformed the way humans live. By 1994 a new movement was created: the Internet art movement also known as the Net.art movement. This movement refers to a style or method with a common goal or intention, in this case the use of the internet. The internet is used as a tool or subject, the medium and message. It is used as a whole and not just the World Wide Web. However, it should be noted that various types of network art already existed before this, such as fax machines for instant exchange of written messages, the use of the telephone for live audio performances and mail art circles which have existed for over 25 years (The Digital Legacies of the Avant-Garde, n.d.). Much like these, internet art is comparable to most modern movements in that it is reflective of what is happening in the world at the time, with technology, globalisation and culturally.

In the late 1990’s, Belgrade-born artist Vuk Cosic was at the vanguard of the Internet art movement. His early work utilized ASCII (pronounced “ask-ee”), an acronym for “American Standard Code for Information Interchange”, and a system for coding letters of the English alphabet as numbers. A plain but adorned text, without style or font specifications. Artists started to use this text form as paint and to draw images; similar to conventional works of art these images can also be deconstructed. Cosic used his own process of ASCII to reinterpret famous pop cultural works like Andy Warhol- Campbell’s Soup by creating his own software to convert the pixels from still and moving images into ASCII. As Cosic explained it, “The net…was an opportunity to emigrate from the realities I didn’t agree with. One of them was the art world.” (Lily Lynch, 2012) Internet art was envisioned to exist online which allowed artists to bypass the conventional galleries and...

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