more response to michael connor

Am enjoying my solo conversation over in the Rhizome comments, where I put up this second installment in reply to Michael Connor's What's Postinternet Got to do with Net Art?

In the present post, Michael Connor makes a distinction between a Web 1.0 artist as modernist, idealistically seeking the innate language of the web, and post-Web 1.0 as post-modernist "interpreters, transcribers, narrators, curators, and architects." And somehow the increasing commercial sophistication of the web factors into this.

I didn't attend the first (2006) Net Aesthetics 2.0 panel but I was a panelist on the second (2008) version, along with Petra Cortright, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Tim Whidden and Damon Zucconi. ( ) We were talking about surf clubs and at that point "Web 2.0" wasn't synonymous with Facebook but possibly Blogger and Myspace, which hadn't quite become the perfected advertising funnels social media is now.

Artist blogs were still a bit outside the commercial hurly burly. You weren't as indicted and implicated in the system on a Word Press blog then as you are with a Facebook page now. So there was a relative innocence to the discussion. I would say there was an equal mix of interest in making original content on and for the Web with stepping-outside-the-web-and-looking-askance at it.

I showed my "OptiDisc" GIF and using screenshots, demonstrated how it had been hotlinked on scores of other people's pages (Myspace, Livejournal, YouTube, etc), with the linkers not having any idea of its source other than that it was a "cool graphic." A kind of Calvino-esque invisible city of hotlinkers. I also showed a post from the Double Happiness blog of "rival snack squads," consisting of two very similar collections of multi-racial, mixed-gender, all-young-people cartoon characters used to personify Wise potato chips and the AMC movie chain (without actually being aware of each other). So we had 1.0, post 1.0, and commercialism all balled up in the same presentation. It seemed more innocent and hopeful, though in comparison to later essays admonishing artists to find their places in the "like economy."

Yet at the same time, that 2008 panel coincided with "Internet Week" and a commenter accused the older panelists of aiming their pitches at the entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in the audience. There were a few. One of them, I think, complimented me on "monetizing" the hotlinking of others by making fine art prints of their thefts, thus profiting from the pirates. I was somewhat dumbstruck, having not considered that aspect at all. (I was just thinking, how can I make the best display of this idea, I swear.)

The point of this reminiscence is to blur the lines of 1.0, post-1.0, and the commercial, which I think artists do, stepping all over curators' and historians' fine distinctions. So there.

Keyword: post-panels internet