Internet art has been employed by artist since the creation of suitable communication networks since the spread of the desktop computer in the 1980s and the popularisation of the internet in the 1990s. This type of art is often related to the artistic traditions of video and performance art and many artists use the medium to compose and distribute their works. An important distinction between internet art and art which has been digitised is that internet art relies on the existence and practices of the internet, the properties of the medium itself to be defined as internet art. For example, a photo of an artwork is not internet art rather art which has been hosted on the internet, the audience has no means of meaningfully interacting with the art work whilst a webpage or livestream of video can be considered internet art as the audience can navigate through a page interact with live video or interact with social media.
The work Social Soul (2014) by Lauren McCarthy utilises social media elements such as twitter to display their social feed in a large reflective room. The artwork begins by analysing the participant’s social media stream through twitter, as the participant enters a mirrored room the participant’s tweets and interactions with other people are displayed in small screens that are repeated and mirrored across all elements of the room. As the person exits the room the participant receives a tweet which encourages them to interact with another person which the analysis algorithm matches them to. This work seeks to immerse the participant in a virtual representation of themselves. This can be considered an internet art installation as the work utilises social media, a unique element of the internet, to display a person’s social networks.
The work Return of Investment (2014) by Jonas Lund uses elements of webhosting competition to create a project about the nature of the contemporary art market. The work consists of one website which will display a single image that is repeated on the page for advertising, users may purchase the page to host their ad, the ad is replaced when another user pays for the ad space and the previous user receives a return on investment approximately the same price an art collect would receive. The work questions the commercial quality of the contemporary art market where collecting artworks has become a financial investment. The use of the webhosting services and ad space is integral to the utilisation of the artwork and is therefore classified as being internet art.
What does the internet sound like? (2015) is a work by Brian House which utilise connecting to free Wi-Fi networks to question the attendees at the centre for contemporary art, Tel Aviv. When users join the free Wi-Fi network an automatic text is displayed in their web browser which presents answers anonymous users have previously written down to the question what does the internet sound like. The work questions the internet space to the sensation of sound which cannot be defined, the audience must therefore relate to the personal experiences on the internet to present their own personal answer. The work is hosted on the museums network and with it the work would not be able to be displayed and is therefore utilising an element of internet conventions and is therefore internet art.
House, B. (2016). Brian House | What Does the Internet Sound Like?. [online] Brianhouse.net. Available at: http://brianhouse.net/works/what_does_the_internet_sound_like/ [Accessed 28 Oct. 2016].
Ippolito, J. (2016). New York Digital Salon 10th Anniversary. [online] Nydigitalsalon.org. Available at: http://www.nydigitalsalon.org/10/essay.php?essay=6 [Accessed 28 Oct. 2016].
Lund, J. (2016). Jonas Lund – Return Of Investment. [online] Jonas Lund. Available at: http://jonaslund.biz/works/return-investment/ [Accessed 28 Oct. 2016].
McCarthy, L. (2016). Social Soul – lauren mccarthy. [online] Lauren-mccarthy.com. Available at: http://lauren-mccarthy.com/Social-Soul [Accessed 28 Oct. 2016].