Post- a Kind of Internet

In the previous post was joking about the OptiDisc sightings being "post internet." (Referring to the collection of screenshots of pages where internet users hotlinked a GIF of mine for their MySpace pages, etc). They are post- "a moment of the Internet," the MySpace moment, when social media content was open to search engines and not hidden by subscription walls a la Facebook.

I found the pages by looking at my stats, which shows referring sites where people were using my GIF. Lately I haven't been able to trace the pages without signing up for something. So I'm thinking of my collection of as an archived moment when the web was still open and intermingling rather than a Balkanized group of cliques. It wasn't just MySpace but LiveJournal, Blogger, Jappy, dozens of individual web pages, and sources I can't remember.

They are "Internet Unaware Art" because most of the users have no idea that the GIFs they find on Google and put on their pages are loading from someone else's server, or who pays for the bandwidth. When I showed the screenshots at a panel a couple of years ago, a man in the audience complimented me for "finding a way to monetize the theft by others from my site [through offering fine art prints of the screenshots for sale]." I accepted the compliment but in retrospect should have made clear that I am more interested in the aesthetics of the project than revenge. I find the wall sized aggregation of all the pages, unified by the presence of a target somewhere in each rectangle, very pleasing.

A NY dealer in the audience said she saw "nothing new here," that it was just the "found object and the collage." In defense of the project, one of the things that intrigues me about it is that I didn't have to email 60 people and ask them to post an image of mine on their pages so I could document it, which is how most new media projects work. This was a spontaneous moment that happened beyond my control. The collection is what Calvino might call an "invisible city," where most of the participants were unaware they were part of a community--the community of the dumb flashing target.