“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.”
As it often happens to me, I was late at the VIP Art Fair; and, of course, I forgot the closing time. Yesterday night I thought: «Ok, let’s leave now – I will check some few details tomorrow morning.» I forgot what the organizers said somewhere in their massive pr campaign: «it’s not a website; it is an event.» And this morning I was welcome by a sad message: «Welcome, Domenico Quaranta. Thank you for visiting VIP Art Fair. The 2011 fair has closed. See you again next year.» Too bad.
Actually, I didn’t have so many expectations. And no expectations also means no disappointment. Using the internet as a marketplace is not a new idea. And the fact that we had to wait 2011 to see an online art fair is, to me, just a proof of how much conservative the contemporary art world is. An online art fair would have been a surprise ten years ago. Today, it’s just a puer senex – just born, already obsolete. Today, a Facebook page can provide any of its users with much more than what the VIP Art Fair provided to sellers, collectors and the broader audience. And it never crashes, as Mark Zuckerberg says in The Social Network, and as VIP eventually did.