What is InC?InC is the Innovative Communication research Group at the IT University of Copenhagen. It focuses on
- design and development of interactive technologies in the contexts of prior and emerging cultures of information
- advanced and innovative communication trends
- historical and rhetorical methods of innovation
Online and digital art almost does not exist
In the January issue of Leonardo [Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology] Jean-Paul Fourmentraux has an article about the net art work Des_Frags. The software creates a mosaic of pictures you upload, and make them into one picture (the mosaic). The article is about the problem of determining where the *art* is in a project like this. The Artist Reynald Drouhin does not know a clue about programming so he teamed up with a bunch of people who knows this stuff. The problem is of course whether the artist is the sole artist or the programmers also should be credited with artistic contribution (not to mention the users, the programming language, the pictures that goes into the mosaic and so on). Fourmentraux reaches the conclusion that it is difficult to decide (gee) and therefore uses the standard definition that circulates in the net art community: it is impossible to demarcate the artistic elements, so it more or less comes down to who has an education as an artist and how has not. This is not what he writes though, he talks of an artistic “dispositif” = software, artistic decisions, programmers, users, the internet and so on. This is the same kind of thing that went into the definition of net.art in the beginning of the nineties, where the . signals that everything that goes on online can be understood as an artistic practice, in the way that Fluxus, Situationist International and not least Joseph Beuys “social plastic” conceptualizes art. I’ve been fond of this definition of art for along time, but felt uneasiness while reading the article. This is primarily due to the fact that the internet is filled with projects like Des_Frags, take for instance a look at the flickr toys page and you will find lots of projects exactly like Des_Frags, that newer would claim to be art in any way.
Should we then drop the category of art altogether, it is only used by artists that need public funding anyway? (This is ART – ok, then you can apply for funding). Usually I would not have a problem with this, if it was not for the fact that some of my favorite art is digital and online, so I would like to be able to distinguish between art and everything else online.
One way of doing this – very modernist though – would be to claim that the artist should have made everything her- or himself (idea+programming). This is the definition used when museums are fighting against each other about who has the original Rembrandt and not one painted by his students/co-workers under Rembrandts guidance. I admit it is not perfect – far from – but I will go for it rather than the dispositif, because it will include works such as entropy8zuper and rule out Des_Frags, these kind of toys I can find at flickr and other sites anyway.