Saturday, December 8, 2007

Audience-Sourcing FAQ


2007-12-31. This post has been copied to the Art of the Net Wiki. All further updates and edits will occur on the Wiki. Link

What is audience-sourcing?

Audience-sourcing is the act of people, while in the process of observing a work of art, transmitting some aspect of their observation process to others in some durable manner.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Web Gallery: Jim Andrews and


I have just spent another perfectly good hour wandering around Jim Andrew's Jim takes visuals, poetry, music, writing, gaming, criticism, coding and much more very seriously. No, on the contrary, he is very playful with all of the above.

Jim builds Web Art Instruments such as the splendid Nio and Jig Sound. These look good, sound good and are fun to play with.

I have been to Jim's site a number of times. There's a lot to read and interact with. For the moment I don't have any great insight into Jim and his work - other than it's great and very much a part of where I think the Art of the Net is heading towards and very much worth exploring. I hope to come back to the site and talk about individual works.

Sunday, November 18, 2007



Progressing from 8-bit/pixel art projects, we are moving onto re-hash work from the dot-come era. Triptych is data overload. Triptych is too much of a bad thing is a good thing. Triptych is de-construction with neither instruction nor construction. Triptych is your Triple-A journey to nowhere.

Tryptych just fits in to my definition of web art. There are links and they do take you to different pages. Three of the pages are empty profile pages for the authors and two other pages bring you to archived pages that re-hash the hash that the other pages had already re-hashed. Therefore the site is not just a digital video piece. It is interactive. It is built upon a Blogger account bludgeoned into submission to be outrageous.

Do I like it? Not really. Does it make a statement about this time period? Only time will tell. Will it cause furor/consternation and intellectual discourse. Probably not.

But it is Web Art. And any and all such experiments are to be applauded. One day there will be artists that will find the wormholes into new dimensions of art through the Internet. is one of those first halting steps. [via rhizome]

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Web Blog: Gerard Ferrandez


Gerard Ferrandez continues to turn out some of the most amazing JavaScript demos on the Internet. His latest work, Autumn II, combines superb fluidity of motion, subtle transparency and great mouse-over responsiveness. As always, this technology is set against an evocative selection of images and a very pleasant musical riff.

A new feature on the site is a very extensive selection of links. To get to the links, move your mouse over the orange arrow at the bottom of the page until the workd "Links" appears then click. Any link recommended by Gerrard is certainly going to somewhere worth investigating. An on-going feature - very rare with most artist's sites - is a forum where you can ask Gerard questions or (as most people do) sing his praise.

I visit Gerrard's site frequently. He is one of the most talented artists working on Web Art. He is also one of the most open. All the source code, images and music he writes or uses are available with a click of a button under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License.

Learning to navigate through the site has a tiny learning curve. But all your efforts will be extremely rewarding.


Web Artist: Jason Nelson


I found Jason Nelson because was the 2006 Web Art award winner of the Drunken Boat Panliterary Competition. His prize-winning entry, This is how you Will Die is quite a fun little Flash applet available from his bio page. Note: It takes quite a while to load. Click on "Death Spin" to get things started.

Also on the bio page were links to his own web sites. I have wandered around and found quite a few web art files. I didn't really like his main 2007 work, Between Treacherous Objects. The ten or so pages seemed repetitive - the same algorithms with just differences in the bitmaps and music. And I could not really see a thematic link other than the usual diatribe against a retro modern life. But Evil Flying Mascots and several other works I played with were quite amusing.

His own web pages are offer a limited background, but you you can find out a bit more on his profile at Griffith University in Brisbane Australia.

Jason's skills cover a lot of areas from coding to interface design, from music to literature. In other words he has all the skills and interests that being a Web Artist requires. I do think though that his greatest work is still in front of him. I say that only having seen a small portion of his rather large body of work, but do feel that he could really double-click into the themes and symbology that he is trying to express. Right now he is good at making tools for art and at making comments about art. Maybe one day Jason will simply make art. [via Drunken Boat]

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Web Art: Fark Photoshop Exquisite Corpse: The Fire Escape


The Fire Escape is a a crowd-sourced example of web art. A number of artists have been asked to doctor a given image of a fire escape. As you scroll down, you see each artist's interpretation of the fire escape. One is two men descending an image of Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase. And there are Simpsons, Spiderman, Pixel Art, PhotoShop effects and much more, more. One could do a whole study on the symbology of this project.

The whole effect is similar to a project I've written about before: zoomquilt. You will spend a happy few minutes smiling at the visual puns and another period of time wondering just what on earth does THAT mean.

An unfortunate aspect is that image are being sourced from a number of sites and some of those images are no longer available. Thus the site does not complete loading and there are occasional blank images as you scroll down.

This work and other works like it would really benefit from a bit more technology. For example, it would be nice to walk down passageways and be able to branch in alternate directions while seeing such images.

The Fire Escape

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Web Art Discussion: Are you ready for Web Art 2.0?


The Web Art of the Dot Com era is a Flash widget that you click on and lots of insanely great artistic things happen. People are happy with this. It works and it's fun. What more could you ask for?

Art marches on. Comments like "She's wearing Balenciaga. Last year's..." are just as appropriate about web sites as they are about the rag trade.

We have real-time googling and mash-up Web Art sites now. Are they the Web Art 2.0 sites or is there something more that will happen? Is Web Art 2.0 officially under way or is it yet too happen?

A good test case might be the existence of Web Art Widgets for FaceBook or the Google OpenSocial Widget program. Once there are several such widgets, It will be say to say that Web Art has been upped to 2.0. Are there other such tests we can think of? Probably.

Web Art Instrument: Visual Acoustics

ample interactive design appears to be a "business card" web site for Alex Lampe. Perhaps "Lampe" is an anagram of "ample". In any case this sites links top a number of clever and well-designed commercial web sites constructed in Adobe Flash. One link, however, (pointing to a folder on the the ample site itself) is a link to an on-line Web Art Instrument that, with your input, can create visual music.

First you load one or more instruments from the list at the top or bottom of the screen. Or click one of the presets on the right to load several instruments all at once. Then move your mouse around the screen. On screen symbols appear and musical instruments play.

The whole effect is more like an orchestra warming up more than a symphony in progress. There is obvious sophistication, care for detail and full technical sophistication here. Nevertheless, we await Rev 2.0.

Visual Acoustics

Friday, November 2, 2007

Web Art Gallery: Haifa Museum of Art - "NETworking"

NETworking is an excellent introduction to early 21st century Web Art. Each work is well-designed, interactive and original.

Originality is the key element. Think of walking through a gallery of recent paintings. If you know art history, as you look at each painting, a little voice in your brain is saying - "Derivative of Warhol." "Follows Picasso in the 50's." "Really bad Rauchenberg." "Fontana did it better." And so on.

The Haifa Museum exhibits of fourteen works of Web Art. Although all the works are presented on-screen via your monitor and are thus 2D (though they may represent 3D), you feel the freshness of a contemporary sculpture garden.

Each piece takes you into a unique environment - it's own little world. Ultimately the viewing experience is more complex, more nuanced and more rewarding than any equivalent show of static canvasses.

Link [Through]

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Web Art: The Surveys


The Surveys

Scroll around the pixel graphics landscape and as you mouseover icons the answer to questions about happiness appear as pop-ups. Do jokes make you happy? 65.3% said "Yes" while 34.7% said "No". The survey questions are fun. As you mouse around you begin to anticipate what the questions will be but the percentages always seem to be surprising.  It turns that the the thing the least likely to make you happy is a Stephen King novel. The most likely thing to bring happiness is sleep!  I learned all this from the delightful conclusions. If youwant you can take the survey yourself.

This Flash application was built by Chris Joseph and David Hume.

The source was

Web Art: Eisenstein’s Monster


Eisenstein's Monster 

Create your own Frankenstein monster as easily as clothing a paper doll or building a Mr Potato Head. The end product is kind of creepy to watch as lips move and eyes glance and nose twitches all in a manner that is realistic and unreal at the same time.

This Flash web application is by Chris Joseph who is a writer and artist currently in Leicester, England. You can find out more about him at

One nice thing is that you can design faces or you can let the computer make up its own designs. Thus the application runs unattended.

Sourced from the Rhizome Artbase.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Web Art Gallery: glyf: construct


glyf: construct is the work of Duncan Holby, a designer /developer working in Richmond Virginia. His personal web site is at The name glyf probably relates to the word "glyph" which is "A displayed or printed image. In typography, a glyph may be a single letter, an accent mark or a ligature."

glyf:construct is a gallery with (as of this writing) fifteen individual works. Each work is a Flash file that allows you to control the movement of shapes in 3D by moving the cursor. The first work support very limited motion - horizontal mouse movement only while the later works support X and Y as well as mouse down events.

Each of the works is an example of Web Art. Each is a stand-alone work which allows some user interaction to control the display of the site. My favorite work is ge(o)m.v1. I really like the way this highly symmetrical form occasionally appears to be asymetric. Is this due to the eye playing tricks or the actual lag times in generating the lines. Who knows or who cares? The effect is captivating.

This site was sourced through the Rhizome ArtBase.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Is there a good place to start in order to get going with Web-Art? Most certainly. The correct starting point is - ever since 1996.

Rhizome does it all correctly. It commissions web sites as works of art. It writes and about them and proselytizes. It encourages and supports artists and artistic movements. It curates, catalogs and gives prizes. It will even help you set up web hosting for your site. Rhizome is Web-Art.

So where's the best place to start in Rhizome? Of course, it's in their collection of Web Art at ArtBase. You will access over 2,000 sites by title artist name, title, keyword and even using a Java time line.

Why aren't there more Rhizomes?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Web-Art: Forest Grove

Forest Grove is a web site built around a Flash video that's built over a short story by John Cheever. Details and story line available at Wikipedia's entry on Maya Churi. The piece one first place at the Seoul Net Fest 2005 - which is where we first noticed the work.

The video is quite the largest portion of the project but unlike the videos we normally see, this one makes good use Flash technology and allows for good user interaction. You can select scenes, pause and skip. There is good use of the multimedia effects available with flash in combining text, sound with image movement and transitions.

Here is the interesting question: Is Forest Grove a web site that has a lot of movie footage or is Forest Grove a DVD that has a very interactive menu? The good answer is both. Forest Grove was shown at the Sundace Film Festival and it won a price in a web site competition.

If we project the current DVD menu interaction into the future and take that DVD data and make it freely available over the Internet for all time and allow people to add their comments then does the work become Web-Art?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Web-Artist: Michiel Knaven

Michiel Knaven is a Dutch artist living in Zwolle, Netherlands with a web site at He seems happy working with images, electronics, mechanical engineering, music, coding and so on. He's a also techie.

He has been exhibiting works since 1993 so his education and early development occurred well before the Internet came into wide usage. But if somebody is an artist and a techie is it not natural and perhaps almost inevitable that such a person might want to produce web-art?

In Michiel's case, his output flows fluidly from installations to photography to web-art. His web site moves seamlessly from depicting his traditional media to engaging you in little on-line interactions. He's seems at his happiest working in Flash but works with JavaScript as well. My favorite work (of the things viewed so far) is Leonardo's Flight which references both the inventor and a legendary "Flying Dutchman".

One part of Michael's web site is quite special. It is a web-art-portal with over a hundred links last updated in 2004. It lists many early web-art sites. If you want a good and quick overview of what web-artists were doing during the dot com boom Michel's *** Net Guide is a great place to start.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Web-Art-Portal: the Museum Of Online Museums (MOOM)


The Museum Of Online Museums is portal to many web sites that are themselves museum or gallery web sites for collections of (sniff-sniff) old stuff. Often the main sites are quite well known. What is special is that MOOM takes you to a page on that site that you might not have yet considered visiting. For example the link for the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art goes to their fascinating Timeline of Art History. As you double-click around the site you end up in more out-of-the-way locations. A fun place to look around is in the Annex.

Somehow in all of this, as you click back and forth between MOOM and other sites you begin to understand that you are wandering in a space or frame of reference that could occur only on the Internet.

After a while, you may step back a bit and ask yourself "Where am I actually?" It turns out that MOOM is "edited by Coudal Partners, a design, advertising and interactive studio in Chicago, as an ongoing experiment in web publishing, design and commerce".

As you begin exploring the other pages Coudal site, you will come across much more stuff that as a totality becomes web-art. For example Layer Tennis is a delightful mash up of graphic destruction design and crowd-sourcing.

As we so often see, the web-art parts are portrayed as portfolio demos or presentations of skill sets. But deep down you can can hear, coming out from the web pages you are visiting, that primal scream: "I am an artist".

What is the Art of the Net? What is Web-Art?

It's on the Internet, doh! The work is digital. Sourced through Google, manipulated in PhotoShop, hosted on LAMP servers. It's the modern way of mixing pigments with oils and solvents and layering them on various media. It's the Art of This Century.

Here's one dilemma: Do we let this art unroll quietly, un-self consciously? Or do we double-click on it for a closer inspection. How much will we change it by measuring it so early in its development?


Taking the lead from Marinetti's traveling exhibit of the Italian Futurists in 1913: the more artists see the revolution the they will produce revolting stuff revolutionary works. (Just as before, bad artists produce crap. So do good artists, but much less so.)

There so many cool aspects of this new digital work:

For example it does not deteriorate. In all likelihood digital works could last until the end of time. Unlike Leonardo's stalecoes frescoes. And innumerable paper works.

The next part is starting to be interesting. It's interactive. The viewer owns the presentation. The viewer decides what is going to be seen and when and by which route. Compare this to boring contemporary videos where it is the artists that controls exactly what the viewer sees and for too how long.

And then the new stuff is almost all open source. Being built on HTML, JPG image files and MP3 sounds, the tools to recreate the work are available to all who can view the work. Instead being locked up in a rich old fart's house, the work is as accessible to a youngster in a remote African village as it is the slickest silicon valley web guru. The work is accessible for many purposes not applicable to traditional art viewing, improving, scratching, embedding, whatever.

And the freakiest thing of all: what benefits do ownership confer? If you own something everybody can access easily and for free, what is it that you really own? It is simply your pleasure to own it. Perhaps it's not about ownership it may be more like a marriage. You and this work are in partnership. You put a work of art on the web and its reward to you is the number of visitors that to whom it gives pleasure.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Deviantart: a great site but not a Web-Art site


One of the great sites for art on the Internet is In operation since 2000, the site provides free access to over 41 million works of art. In comparison the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art which started in 1870 has a collection of just over two million works.

deviantART hosts works that are drawings and paintings either scanned or digital, comics, photography (motion and still). The web site enables artists to display, sell, discuss and comment on a wide variety of styles and media. It's well organized, easy to use and well-loved by its many members - over thirty-five thousand were on when I looked.

crowdsourcing benefits

how about group architecture - everybody in sketch up - has their own block or room?

see also crowdsourcing in wikipedia

I did write down eight "benefits" for crowd-sourced art on the internet:
The call for submissions can be free and be addressed to huge numbers of recipients thos on occasion the unknown genius will happen upon the project that unlocks that genius
The process of receiving submissions by use the internet to upload and share for free
The possibility of overlaying or collaborating and editing using computer applications - perhaps even in real time
Unlike traditional paper media, you can edit and edit edit and not spoils the work
Doesn’t go out of print, always available - not stuck in a house somewhere
Can share globally immediately - let a 100 critics bloom
Utilize the wisdom of crowds??
Make many people happy - everybody’s a winner

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Marcel Duchamp: ‘Nude Descending A Staircase’ Revisited


In 1912 Marcel Duchamp (1886-1968) painted Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2. When exhibited at the 1913 Armory Show in New York City, an art critic for the New York Times describes the work as "an explosion in a shingle factory". This canvas was controversial, provocative and, for many people, simply upsetting. Today, hanging in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the painting is called an 'iconic holding'.



The DMF web pageallows you to create music by clicking on a board. Each click causes a peg to pop up and be played. It's very similar to the mechanical mechanism of a music box. As the music is being played a visual presentation of the music is displated that swirls around the position of the mouse.

If you like the piece of music that you have composed, you can copy and paste the score into a text file and replay it again later.

The delight of this page is that is is a combination of visual, aural and interactive elements. You control the sound and the display and both are pleasing.

The DMF page is not a masterpiece of the art world or in any way a great work of art, but very much a nice work to bring up every once and a while for a few minutes of play and relaxation.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Web Art Works for Sale?

If you know of examples of works of Web Art that might be available for sale please contact theo at artofthenet dot com.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Crowdsourcing Art?

Wine Bar & Shop

The other evening I was at a wine bar thinking about my next post here. What started running through my mind were two web sites - one from 2004 and one quite recent site - where a number of people came together to create works of art. It soon dawned on me that the question I was asking was "Can social networks produce art?" and, if so, could a social network actually produce high art. I became quite excited. Wow, I've invented something new here: social networks producing art. And then I continued: is the art that social networks produce inevitably banal or low art? Is low art bad? Wow, this is going to be big, etc. It's amazing how a glass of Prosecco will boost your confidence.

Friday, July 6, 2007

100 Years of Cubism

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon

© 2007 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. The original painting is at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. This image was copied from Wikipedia.

Pablo Picasso finished painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon one hundred years ago this month. Les Demoiselles is the tipping point between old and new art. There have been some tipping points since, but none as important.

This post is a celebration of that moment.