#value #online

Reading Group

“in the attention economy of the internet, value is not measured in financial terms, but in numbers of unique users, links and search engine results. Once results have been achieved in terms of quantity, the criteria of quality obviously reappears: the value of an online project thus also – and above all – depends on whether it is being talked about in contexts like Rhizome, Neural and We-make-money-not-art, whether it has attracted the attention of certain critics, and whether it has been exhibited in certain settings, online and off-line. The aura of the work of art, removed by the functional design of the screen we use to look at it, its infinite reproducibility without loss of quality, its accessibility and complete lack of financial value, re-emerges in the form of “tag clouds”. […] But an economy based purely on attention also has its weak points, the main one being its impermanence, something which does not suit works of art. Ultimately this is probably the reason why Net Art never developed into an independent art world, remaining mainly an extraordinary opportunity. […] For the younger generations, in any case, it is no longer a question of “translating” works created on the web to suit traditional exhibition venues and the art market, but simply operating on all the available platforms.”


Reading Group

“Rather than being a structured world with borders, for art the net is a border territory. It does not have confines, but rather represents a threshold: a point of encounter and exchange for different situations and cultures. Yet even the net has gradually developed its own filters and points of access, with a series of journals, portals and collections that lend authority to a work or an artist due to the simple fact of having produced it, linked to it or talked about it. […] Yet on the net, unlike in the two highly institutionalized worlds described previously, this credibility is a fragile thing, and there is always the opportunity of commanding the same level of attention as these sites offer (or more), but without going through them. The current dynamics of the Web 2.0, in particular, enable new players to enter rapidly into competition with more established situations. […] One reason for this is that the net lacks various “sanctioning” mechanisms that continue to play an important role in the so-called real world […] surfing the net is basically a private experience, and the socializing it offers is organized in a different way to real life. Reputations are never a given, but constantly have to be earned.”



Reading Group

“while there is no such thing as a “net artist”, in view of the fact that the web is not chosen as an exclusive medium, and indeed is often used on an occasional basis, when artists decide to produce a project on the net they undoubtedly have to tackle a series of prerogatives which are not secondary to the nature of the project, and it is true that many artists, setting aside all reservations, embrace these unconditionally, seeing them as an opportunity to strike a mortal blow to some of the dogmas of the art system. In the first place, working on the web means abandoning the notion of authorship, or at least continually having to renegotiate it; working with others, and leaving the user, or software to perform part of the creative process. Identity itself can be simulated or constructed. While the romantic legend of the artistic genius could have survived in certain conditions, the net sounded its death knell. […] The weakening of the notion of the author went hand in hand with that of the concept of artwork as fetish object. Digital data is replicable and always will be; information is by nature free. […] Lastly, the internet as a medium breaks down the art world’s traditional distinctions between roles: community practices, art as communication and dialogue, the use of a medium that is at once means of production, distribution, promotion, dialogue, consumption and critique, rehashes the mediating role played by institutions, critics and curators, and redistributes these roles between the artists and the public.”

Lauren Cornell


“In contemporary art, [the Internet’s] pervasiveness seems often misunderstood or overlooked, While the field of art online continues to thrive, art engaged with the internet does not need to exist there; because the internet is not just a medium, but also a territory populated and fought over by individuals, corporations, and governments; a communications tool; and a cultural catalyst.”

Lauren Cornell, in “Walking Free”, essay published in the online catalogue of the ehibition Free (New Museum, New York, October 20, 2010 – January 23, 2011).