Net Artists – Interactive Websites

As I begin to build my website, I am considering other net artists that make use of interactive, online spaces. Reading ‘Internet Art’ by Rachel Greene, which outlines artist’s engagement with the internet, I am particularly interested in how they present and engage users with their work, how they curate content and prompt interactivity.

Interacting with this site is quite uneasy, you feel as though you’ve entered into the background workings of your computer – and although some functions appear somewhat familiar, you have to frustratingly navigate through frantic clicking around the page in order to move to the next page. However, the more that you navigate through the work, the more lost you feel inside this strange space – it is sort of like the back of a tapestry perhaps, you recognise familiar shapes in part but feel unable to grasp where you are in the whole. I think this re-shaping of a familiar interface is interesting, and the work drastically changes the role of the user, making them quite redundant amongst the frantic flashing of functions that are difficult to make sense of. Relating this to my practice, I am interesting in this disruption of the familiar interface, and the redundancy of the user – I intend to explore how I can challenge our interactions with the internet by engaging in this sort of disruption.

Zombie and Mummy – Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied

The work opens with a list of animated word art, each acting as a hyperlink to another page of the site. Throughout the site, a new story involving the returning characters ‘Zombie and Mummy’ is presented within each page – set in front of a different background relating somewhat to the hyperlinked text. The work to me highlights a certain banality of information on the web, and I’m especially interested in the sort of relationship this work creates between the viewer and the presented information. The consistency of Zombie and Mummy as characters offer a certain safety whilst you move through the site, each encounter develops a sense of a master narrative that is contrasted by the fragments of found objects/images that are presented alongside the stories.

My Boyfriend Came Back From The War (MBCBFTW) – Olia Lialina

As the user engages with the various hyperlinked elements on the site, a loose narrative of a young couple reunited after being separated by war begins to develop. The work highlights the capacity of the web interfaces to play a part in a more sensitive and subtle narrative, dealing with issues of love, longing, relationships, and also unveils the user as an operator of such a narrative, and can only move forward through the intervention of the user. In relation to my own practice, I am interested in how the piece takes ownership of a digital space, engages the user, and utilises the technology of hyperlinks in order to develop a new way of communicating timeless narratives. The relationship between a human narrative and the digital, here are complementary and open up a dialogue that explores the human experience with a new language.

Exploring the work of these interactive net artists, I have been able to identify the possibility of narrative within the context of internet art. The narrative that unfolds does not make use of our familiar relationship with language, but highlights the new potential that digital art has in communicating elements of both the human and digital experience, which increasingly frustrates a clear distinction or boundary.


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