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The Internet, a Tool for Art?

Process-oriented: reactive, interactive, participatory and collaborative


Like Cornelia Sollfrank's Generator internet art rarely appears as a self-contained work. Often the focus concentrates on processes, not on results. Time is an important factor and many pieces are developing further over the years. This development is, as already mentioned, not only driven by the artists - in, other than other sections of art, the viewer is a user and often also a producer. Hans Dieter Huber differentiates between reactive, interactive, participatory and collaborative works:


The user "moves" through the piece by clicking and scrolling.


Doug Aitken/Dean Kuipers: Loaded 5x (1997)



The user is able to make the server cause a temporary change of the web project's state by dint of entry fields, Java applets or CGI-Scripts. As soon as the user leaves the site, the project returns to its default state.


Heath Bunting: Skint-Internet Beggar


Holger Friese/Max Kossatz: Antworten (1997)





The user can be conducive to a permanent change of the web project's form by downloading, modifying or uploading of text, images, sounds, videos and/or controlling bots.


Julia Scher: Securityland (1995)


Jenny Holzer: Please Change Belief (1995)


Ed Stastny: Synergy-HyGrid-Projekt (1995)


Alexej Shulgin: Refresh

(in Hubers list Securityland and Refresh are listed as examples for reactive pieces, but I think they are participatory)


Last Huber mentions online communities, platforms created by artists, providing a framework and leaving it open for users to do whatever they want. Structure and development of the artwork are completely regulated by many, not by the artist. I elaborate upon networks as artpieces in the chapter "Networks as a Social Sculpture".

(compare Huber)

Many links to Huber's examples are not working anymore. But it is an interesting point, that most of the pieces which are participatory (and the collaborative networks) have survived until today, while almost all of the only reactive or interactive works have vanished.




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