posts elsewhere

ginormica at Nasty Nets (the cyborg in popular culture)

web art preservation at Nasty Nets

Carolyn Swiszcz paintings at... Nasty Nets

discussing a famous NY cyber conceptualist's talk in Toronto that apparently went over like a lead Hindenburg. The subject of Net Art 1.0 vs 2.0 came up so had to refresh my memory by looking at a textbook history:

I am re-skimming some of Rachel Greene's book Internet Art. She seems to have been sleepwalking in some of her descriptions of the early work. She calls Lialina's 1996 piece My Boyfriend Came Home From the War an "oblique, dramatized romantic narrative" with elements of interactivity (what Sally calls "find-the-place-to-click-me").
But to hear Lialina talk about that work in a lecture here in NY it is a Dadaist goof with a pseudo narrative (what boyfriend? what war?) that made fun of the slow loading tech of the time.

Heath Bunting's King's Cross Phone In, 1994, reads to me like the prototype Net Art piece that launched a thousand Rhizome commissions. Bunting publishes a list of pay phone numbers for a London train station on the Internet with instructions to start ringing the numbers at a certain time. Passersby in London witness a "spontaneous" international phone-ringing symphony--a Situationist or Fluxus type event. It's the predecessor of the cell phone "flash mob" although Greene's 2004 book was probably too early to make that connection.

To me it says more about long-distance rates and I would assume that the "international-ness" of the calls depended on how well heeled the participants are. I'm guessing most of the calls came from within the same area code, but Greene doesn't get into the economics of it at all.

In any case that situationist stuff is mostly a great story--hearing about it is just as good as participating. That interests me considerably less than making visual art, film or music with brain dead web based tools.