Rhizome and TASML and CAT/CCIA in Beijing have announced the International Award for Net Art with the intention of supporting a creative production that uses the internet not only as a method of diffusion but as a creative tool as well. This choice of artistic operation often receives less than its due consideration in economical terms and in those related to production costs even when artistic recognition has arrived from several (but not all) great institutes such as the MoMa, the Whitney Museum, New York’s DIA Center for the Arts or the Centre Pompidou in Paris, to name just a few of those who are acknowledged by the global art circuit. Without even counting those which were built around a specific interest in Media Art like the time-honoured ZKM (Karlsruhe, Germany) and the Ars Electronica Center (Linz, Austria).
The $10,000 award was created to acknowledge and support the work of artists who have distinguished themselves through past works and their own potential for the future. A second prize worth $5,000 will be distributed as a «distinction award». An important award to support the artistic efforts of artists for works which are often viewed as alternatives to the system. Even when they are presented within that very system, notwithstanding the fact that Net Art is the closest expression of contemporary culture and the idioms in use today.
The jury, made up of Michael Connor (curator of the pioneering Rhizome platform), Samantha Culp (curator) Zhang Ga (curator and TASML and CAT/CCIA director) and Sabine Himmelsbach (artistic director of the Basel-based HeK) has recently announced the finalists. Kari Altmann is committed to shifting technological culture through a variety of mediums and is thought of as a representative of what is currently accepted as «post-internet»; Cao Fei (b. 1978, Guangzhou) is acknowledged on the international art scene for his multi-media projects. We owe the research on aesthetic and performative culture of online consumerism (carried out with the help of her many analogical and digital media forms) to Petra Cortright. Constant Dullaart considers the systems of data access. The anonymous Jimpunk calls communication systems into question with the website’s non-linear and disorganized interpretation in the ASCII style which embodies it.
With the pioneering Dutch duo known by the pseudonym of JODI (or Jodi.org), we have recovered new aesthetic codes since the early 1990s derived from the subversion of computer jargon. Olia Lialina, another Net Art pioneer, explores new narrative formulas – from commercialization to the ephemeral and everything else belonging to and revealed by the computer culture. Eva and Franco Mattes, one of the many pseudonyms of an Italian duo, help us discover the paradoxes of communication with actions that are often placed on the border between legal and illegal and often depart precisely from their own identities. Young conceptual artist Ryder Ripps takes us back in time by retracing consumer products of the Internet culture as far back as 1998 with the true spirit of an archaeologist. Rafael Rozendaal (b.1980) is known the world over for his websites, installations, writings and lectures developed for the internet, which he uses as a canvas for his creations.
They all began by experimenting with the network in the early days and have constantly developed their research alongside the evolution of computer jargon and idioms as they were taking shape, becoming accustomed to and identifying with current consumerism. Each of them, for as experimental and subversive as their work might have been perceived, has crossed over into the institutional world at some point. They have all distinguished themselves for having examined and interpreted contemporary culture by using its very lingo – deconstructed and with its true structure and nature made visible. This award is an important acknowledgment in many ways. The institutional introduction of these artistic movements, with all its challenges, has already begun. Even the most short-lived art comes with energy and economical expenses. If we tighten the physical space occupied by works created for the internet, we expand the horizons of the commitment and expenses for the appropriate maintenance of these works, the technical assistance they need, the search for answers (which differ all the time) as well as the many various issues linked to the preservation of the works over time. All of them were able to enter, at some point, into the art system. You can visit their website and browse their work as they all signed a chapter in the evolution of experimentations that are now on the way to be recognises. What is more these kind of artworks are important document of contemporary culture where internet as well as communication means are integral parts of.
Kari Altman , Cao Fei, Petra Cortright, Jimpunk, Jodi.org, Constantin Dullaart, Olia Lialina, Eva and Franco Mattes, Ryder Ripps, Rafael Rozendaal.
(cover and 1) Net Art Prize Logo (2) Eva e Franco Mattes alias http://0100101110101101.org (2) Constant Dullaart (3) Petra Cortright