The Internet, a Tool for Art? – Karen Eliot

In the early 90s, when the internet became open for the public and first online communities were founded, the “Cyberspace” was called a “total work of art”. (Rötzer, Florian; Weibel, Peter: “Cyberspace – Zum medialen Gesamtkunstwerk” 1993.)I like this vision of the internet as one great artpiece, but to define Netzkunst in the context of art history I firstly would like to distinguish between “art on the internet” and “internet art”. When you browse the web you find thousands of online galleries and portfolios of artists showing documentations of pieces which are based on other media and don’t need the internet or any network for presentation.Internet art is characterized by using the internet not only as a presentation platform, but also as a raw material. Reflecting on the medium’s specific general conditions , qualities, technical and social issues (not only in an artistic sense) internet art contemplates the communication form itself in a critical way. Furthermore a piece of internet art can only exist within or by use of the internet. That means it does not nessecarily have to be displayed online, but needs the medium to be realized (like for example flashmobs are organized on the internet, but happen in real public space). …



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