In my last post I was exploring how contemporary illustrators were using th e online format of the GIF today in comparison to previous internet artists mentioned in Rachel Greens’s book entitled ‘Internet Art’. Mark Napier and Douglas Davis were working in the late 20th Century, when internet influenced arts were still an expanding form, addressing the issue of work that is created purely to be seen online, these ideas have only continued to be explored by other artists up until the present day, the 21st century. When I was browsing th internet, outside of uni work, I cam across a link design ed by Tim Holman who has compiled the most ‘useless’ websites and act as as a directory for all of them. A few that I found on there interested me more than others, so I have picked a few to look into, that visually and aesthetically interested me.
From this is has occurred from my own experience a popular form of internet influenced art is interactive websites that combine a use of illustration with interactive programming. A famous example (highly regarded across the internet)of contemporary web art is ‘Ana Somnia’ 2012 , a project developed by a group of creative’s from ROSTLAUB. An interactive web page designed to interact with the users webcam waiting for them to ‘turn the lights out’ in order for the animated young girl, illustrated by Kim Köster, to fall asleep. When the room turns dark the viewer can then watch randomized animations grow and flow as an emulation of dreaming, until the user turns the lights on again and the girl, Ana, wakes up blinking confusedly at the screen. This piece of work has been received awards and the makers ROSTLAUB pride themselves on their combination of art, design and state of the art programming, that they believe has never been seen before (rostlaub.com accessed 6th November 2014) . This is an efficacious piece of work due to its generative capabilities setting it apart from other web-based arts; its individual quality contains the ability to directly interact with the user, and shows a strong consideration of the internet and it materiality. Its interactive abilities echoes my research from early internet artists.
However, looking at work emerging from the 21st century compared to early internet artists such as Mark Napier it is possible to see a subtle difference between the appeals from early 20th century artists. Internet influenced arts began as an utilisation and celebration of the material, a new and exciting prospect and subject of materiality. But instead of the artist now just utilising the tools and advantages it begins to develop and mature. Grau believes any computer based worked is always built on standardisation and repetition, due to the nature of programming. This then suggests it’s up to the artist to draw away from the algorithms, develop the process to create something new that isn’t possible to imagine or draw (Grau, 2003). This is exactly what can be interpreted from early internet art up till now. I went back to reading Grau’s virtual art focused book as its interesting to see how the writings from 2003 again still echo in current internet art. But again from my own conclusions I can see the appeal now focuses on work that can use the influence of the internet but in an imaginative original way, as there is such a huge vast amount of it., more than I could ever document for this project. Now into the 21st century there is huge a huge accumulation of internet art, but its only few that become respected for being different, like Köster’s ‘Ana Somnia’.
One of the others I found on Tim Holman’s website was ‘I love you more than a fat lady loves apples’ 2013. A collaborative, illustration based animation web page by Geoffrey Lillemon and Random Studio, which from what i can gather from their following online is a renowned example of an original internet based design. The web page includes an illustrated woman gesturing that she wants to be fed apples, the user has to interact with her hand using the mouse, and guide the apples to her mouth. A simple idea that still provided popular with many people resulting in it being shared online on various blogging platforms without even feeling the need for an explanation (yewknee.com). People became simply amused by the simplicity and absurd quality of the concept, this suggests that although it doesn’t express any deep or meaningful opinions its appeal is due to the originality of the idea, a never seen before concept. Again this is another piece of work that could only exist in this medium, as the illustration alone could not represent the work as a whole. It’s a completely strange never seen before concept which I feel plays the biggest part in it popularity. The use of the medium is really important as without the artists using the internet to host it would probably remain un-talked about and not interacted with. if it was simple a programme that was downloadable or set up in a gallery it would make it difficult to be shared or increase popularity.
In summary, looking at what attracts people to creating internet art began as an experiment of its materiality and became extremely popular due to its availability to anyone and everyone. This then led the artist up into the 21st century to strive to use it to create entirely original work that can only exist within the realms of the digital world. This is again similar to my thoughts about illustrators striving to be different from other contemporary illustrators and being creative with the medium of the internet to do so.
References used in this post:
Grau, O., 2003. Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion, United States: MIT Press.