Working a few years later was Alexei Shulgin, when internet art was still gaining popularity and influence. Shulgin created ‘Desktop is’ in 1997.I found this piece later in the same book, in a sub chapter looking at community driven and collective art. I was intrigued by this chapter after looking and the community aspects of Davis’ work. Green describes the work as turning the community to look at more ingredients of internet art, in this case being the elemental aspects of web culture, the computer desktop.
To summarise Davis combined the community aspect with an exploration of the way we view the home computers interface, and how someone’s personality and individual style can be reflected by the way they’re organise their own home computers virtual desktop. The artists asked people to mail him a ‘snapshot’ of their desktop, or store it themselves. This separates itself slightly from Davis by instead just looking at the interface of the internet it uses the imagery of that application used to do it. Green does not go into a huge amount of detail about the website just comments on his interaction with the interface, so I have tried to find some other commentary on the matter. However unlike Davis’s work, it has not been renovated and so does not have any recent writings or explanations of it in the library in any books, internet art books are actually quite hard to find. I have had a look online and managed to find one article who does a retelling of internet art, mentioning only a few, and Josephine Berry the writer for ‘Metamute’ magazine decided in 2001, that this was one of the four critical pieces of internet art. She describes it as a witty collaborative work exampling the net art community working at the time (Berry, 2001). I really like the idea of it being something that again embraces not only the interface but the community aspect. He encouraged other to work with him, then accumulated then on one website for the public to view.
Not only is his work able address the community value of internet art, by the way in which he’s displaying it inspires the audience to consider the medium they are witnessing and understand its role in internet culture and societies everyday life, which is what I have gathered from Greenes writing alongside Berry’s. In contrast again to Davis as Unlike Davis’ work, it does not focus on public involvement but instead asks the user to observe and begin to understand how internet and technologies are becoming an everyday part of people’s lives and culture.
On the explanation page of the website he writes a brief description titled “Desktop is”, with the phrases “desktop is your window to the digital world”, “desktop is a reflection of your individuality”, “desktop is your link to other people”, “desktop is the membrane that meditates transaction between client and server” (http://www.easylife.org, Last accessed 25/11/14). All of these phrases are alongside similar structured sentences with a clear concise message. By using this as an explanation, from what I can take from this and the viewer, for the whole project the artist is reinforcing the message about the revolvement of everyday life round them and the viewers own computer, grasping the importance of technology on everyday life. Shulgin is also touching on how a personal computer becomes part of the user especially when it is used to contact others over the internet. By keeping the only visual imagery on the project as images of the personal computer it’s reinforcing the importance of the medium of the online webpage and the matter. Again this is an important internet influenced artwork from the time as it’s relevant to the growing use of home computers and the internet at the time in 1997.
This piece of work I think is less widely regarded then Davis’ but still important in its own right, I think it hold a really important understanding of community that surrounds internet art, but yet is still able to remind the user of the interface, which reflects what it means as a medium. It was hard to find detailed research on the matter but for now I think from what I have learned from limited resources I would still like to include it in essay as an important reminder of internet art and its visual interface, it’s a slightly different way the artists has interacted and understood the medium. Next I would just like to continue my research into examples of early internet art.
References used in this post:
Greene, R., 2004. Internet Art (World of Art Series), United Kingdom: Thames & Hudson Ltd.
Berry, J. (2001). Repeat and Win. Available: http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/repeat-and-win.