Domenico Quaranta’s Views on Net.Art and the Future of Art Making
By: Tamara Thompson
The “Intro” and “The Legend of Net.Art” articles from Domenico Quaranta’s book In your Computer discuss and question the establishment of the internet and computer technology as an art form, and the societal reactions to this art form. More specifically, Quaranta believes that before the internet, to showcase artwork was a restrained ordeal, limited to an “exhibition space” and that the opportunity to connect and show one’s work with an audience had limited accessibility (3). In other words, Quaranta explains and defends the significance of the computer and the internet in the present information age we live in today.
Quaranta goes on to explain that the internet changed this phenomenon, and so began the art movement called Net.Art. The computer plays a significant role in this movement, and Quaranta states that the computer should not only be seen as a way to research art, but that the computer is a medium to contextualize art and become the art piece. This is something that creates a divide between people who see the computer as a “legitimate, direct authentic experience of art” and those who see the computer as a “mediated …experience” or rather, a barrier to the actual physical art displayed (6). The computer and internet’s role in this new wave of art making is the thought of art becoming completely digital. He emphasizes that in our society we are slowly integrating digital processes in our everyday life, yet refuse to view art as something intangible. The most important part of this process, according to Quaranta is that “art is the first to envision the change, but last to change”(5). What this means is that the Net.Art movement takes away the value and restrictiveness of art objects and encourages the viewer to be involved within the art, to interact and invent on their computer screen and thus eliminates the need to see art as a “precious object”(5). Also, the internet gets rid of ownership and property of art and makes it accessible to all. Gallery exhibition are no eliminated though, for Quaranta gives examples of Net artists who now display their work in analog in galleries, but considers this a stepping stone in the right direction. He believes that gradually these artist’s works integrate into the consensus of what was considered “art” and is a good start to the total integration of Net.Art in everyday art practices.
I too think that Quaranta’s point about embracing the artistic possibilities that the computer brings is necessary to uncover new ways of getting your ideas across to an audience. However, I do not mind so much that some artists choose to print their work and sell them in an analog manner. Even if the complete change were to happen, where everyone recognizes pure digital art, there is a quality of analog material such as paper and canvas that has such a history, that to completely deny that experience closes a door to artistic expression.
Quaranta’s article “The Legend of Net.Art” goes on to explain the differences of the Net.Artist movement and to those who practice new media art in the present time. More specifically, he claims the major difference between the two practices is that Net artists were able to “[forge] a link between sender and receiver” so that they could “manipulate” their audience and become an anonymous identity (10). In the present time, New media artists experiment more and more with technology and focus less on the absurd and the anonymous. Quaranta explains that Net.Art is an extension of the Dada movement, of found objects and focusing on the absurd. This statement is true because alot of the Net.Art movement involved works that focused on the idea of randomness, and generating of incoherent ideas at once.
All in all, Domenico Quaranta explicitly states that the Net.Art movement is not dead, it is simply in its newest form and “oscillates” in order to convey “experimentation, key encounters, and episodes of networking” (17). In other words, Net.Art or art that uses the computer as its medium, no longer requires its own movement to be noticed, but has become an integral part of our relationship to art and art practices today.
Click here for more info on Domenico Quaranta.
Domenico Quaranta, In Your Computer “Intro” & “The Legend of Net. Art”, pp. 1-17