Module Exercise #3: Internet Art
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Write an art criticism response on one of the following Internet art sites. Your response should be concise but thorough. Mark Tribe (of Brown University) has developed a handy guide for critiquing art works. While not all of the "steps" in the guide may be applicable to net-based art, many of them are. Use the guide as a helpful way to examine and consider your response to the site you critique. Finally, be sure to review your writing to make certain that it is as refined as you can make it.
The response is to be double-spaced, and typed in a 10 or 12-point Times or Arial font and saved as a single file in RTF (rich text format) or DOC (Microsoft word) file format. When submitting the file to the designated ANGEL Drop box, please identify the file in the following manner “yourlastname.xxx. For example, a Microsoft Word file submitted by the instructor would be labeled “hartranft.doc”. Your response should be 600 – 700 words long. This assignment is due by 5:00 PM on February 20, 2009.
Late submission of assignments: Papers or projects that are submitted late (i.e., past their due date and time) will be subject to a 20% penalty for every 24 hours or portion thereof that they are submitted late, including weekends and holidays.
Net-based Works of Art (Choose one)
Select one of the following sites for the subject of your critique. These works are each very different and may, in some cases, challenge your concepts about what may rightfully be termed a work of art. Some of the sites may require plugins, or may work more effectively on one or another operating platform. If you encounter a site that doesn't work on your computer, move on to another or try another computer. One of the greatest challenges for artists working in this form (Internet-based art) is the rapid obsolescence of various technologies and how this impacts the functional longevity of their work.
- Apartment by Marek Walczak and Marlin Wattenberg: Apartment is a series of closely related works, created in collaboration with Marek Walczak and with help from Jonathan Feinberg. All versions explore the relation between language and space, building 2D and 3D "apartments" in response to the viewer's typing.
- Grafik Dynamo! by Kate Armstrong and Michael Tippett: Grafik Dynamo is a net art work that loads live images from blogs and news sources on the web into a live action comic strip. The work is currently using a feed from LiveJournal. The images are accompanied by narrative fragments that are dynamically loaded into speech and thought bubbles and randomly displayed. Animating the comic strip using dynamic web content opens up the genre in a new way: Together, the images and narrative serve to create a strange, dislocated notion of sense and expectation in the reader, as they are sometimes at odds with each other, sometimes perfectly in sync, and always moving and changing. The work takes an experimental approach to open ended narrative, positing a new hybrid between the flow of data animating the work and the formal parameter that comprises its structure.
- The File Room by Antonio Muntadas): An interactive archive of two millennia of social and cultural censorship. It's a simultaneous artwork, database, and activist tool that chronicles hundreds of cases of perceived censorship, which have sometimes, but not always, been covered in the media or other public forums.
- They Rule by Josh On and the Futurefarmers: They Rule aims to provide a glimpse of some of the relationships of the US ruling class. It takes as its focus the boards of some of the most powerful U.S. companies, which share many of the same directors. Some individuals sit on 5, 6 or 7 of the top 500 companies. It allows users to browse through these interlocking directories and run searches on the boards and companies. A user can save a map of connections complete with their annotations and email links to these maps to others. They Rule is a starting point for research about these powerful individuals and corporations.
- The Sound of Ebay by UBERMORGEN.COM: The Sound of Ebay will generate songs based on the public data mined from Ebay sellers and buyers. Users' rating, sold objects, times and frequency of transactions and other data will be automatically transformed into a structured text, which a supercollider-application will use to generate music and lyrics.
- The Location of I by Martin John Callanan: In an attempt to become the absolute citizen, Martin John Callanan will
continually and openly publish his physical location live.
- AdArt by Steve Lambert and Evan Harper: AddArt is a Firefox extension which replaces advertising images on web pages with art images from a curated database.
- Second Life Dumpster by eteam: In Second Life each avatar has a trash folder. Items, that get deleted end up in that folder by default. The trash folder has to get emptied as often as possible; otherwise the avatars performance might diminish. But, where do deleted things end up? What are those things? Second Life Dumpster will explore these questions by starting and maintaining a public dumpster in Second Life for the duration of one year.
- Color Code by Martin Wattenberg: The artwork is an interactive map of more than 33,000 words. Each word has been assigned a color based on the average color of images found by a search engine. The words are then grouped by meaning. The resulting patterns form an atlas of our lexicon.
The following criteria will be used in evaluating responses to this assignment.
Mark Tribe’s Step-by-step Method for Critiquing Art Works
Observe & Investigate
- Pay close and careful attention to the work.
- Read artists’ statements, artists’ bios, curatorial essays, reviews, etc.
- What media are used? How are they used?
- What are the work’s formal qualities: tone, pace, style, color, composition, etc.
- How does the work relate to its environment? What is the context in which you encounter it?
- Is the work concerned primarily with materials? Ideas? Narrative? Form? Emotional expression? Politics?
- What is the artist appearing to trying to say or do with the work?
- Does it comment on or refer to other art works?
- How does it relate to the artist’s other work?
- In short: What is the work “about?”
- What do you like most about the work? In which ways is it most successful?
- What do you like least about the work? How and where is it not “working?”
- Does the work achieve the goals the artist seems to have set for it?
- Alternative ways to present or distribute work.
- Things the artist might change or do differently.
- Artists, texts, or other things the artist might investigate.
All materials copyright (2008)