net art anthology blues

Have been avoiding looking at's Net Art Anthology because it's always painful to have been deeply involved in a scene and watch the historians get it wrong.
Rhizome is accurate when it describes the purpose of the anthology as


A cynic might say that yes, it's being retold to conform to the sensibilities of curator Michael Connor and his predecessor Lauren Cornell. In their world "Vvork" was an important website, deserving of critical writing, full archiving, and interviews with the founders (some of whom went on to have art world careers, in no small part due to constant plugs by Cornell). The surf club "Nasty Nets," by contrast, is an ugly duckling that still hasn't been treated kindly, as Rhizome acknowledges:


The link goes to the old, error-ridden "Artbase" copy of Nasty Nets, saved in the early '10s by then-conservator Ben Fino-Radin. Apparently his successor has had difficulties cleaning up the saved version, because the launch has been postponed numerous times over the last seven years and is still not completed.

Eventually the Nasty Nets story will be told in depth (in particular its relationship to blogs that came afterward, such as Spirit Surfers) but in the meantime we get some minor blurb writing and flawed archiving from Rhizome.

A small blurry 2007 photo appears of the group, without any caption or other list telling who the members were.


On the main Anthology page the members are given as follows:


By contrast, the Anthology gives a detailed listing of the participants in the Spirit Surfers blog:


This is especially ironic because the premise of Spirit Surfers is a group of spiritual "infomonks" divining wisdom from the web (or something) and its members all use aliases such as "tntet," "states," "INFObeard," "Dtangler," etc.
Whereas Nasty Nets members used their own names, and elsewhere on Rhizome (not linked from the Anthology) can be found a list of the most prolific posters:


Possibly Michael Connor doesn't want his readers to know who the main driving forces behind Nasty Nets were. (In fairness, it's hard to know if this is out of spite or curatorial malpractice.)

Despite subtle favoring of the "Spirit Surfers crowd" over the "Nasty Nets crowd," it can't be said that the former got better archiving treatment.
Rhizome used its "Webrecorder" software to preserve Spirit Surfers (which is still an active website). There is a record of several attempts by someone named lyndsey, but it seems that the most he or she has been able to record is 39 pages. However, the blog itself has 117 pages of posts! Flawed as Nasty Nets' archive may be, at least it goes back to the beginning.

Related: UNAC thoughts

minor edits after posting