A paper by
Krystal South



As you are reading this, the index of the internet is expanding, comprised of data that contains, in the end, diverse meaning, but which is fundamentally reduceable to bits of binary code, just two digital digits. The database nature of this useful tool is continually updated, the threads of the web always connecting to new corners of our virtual environment, thus we can never quite sure of where we are within this digital space. Within our everyday lives, we use the internet as a tool for communication and access to information; to our bank accounts and our Facebook, movie listings and scholarly papers. We have an understanding of a menu within a computer, where we can access the tools we require: copy, paste. We use keyboard shortcuts to get there faster. It should be understood that this is changing our minds. That this structure of information access is not our natural way, but the ontology of the machines. Man made machines affecting the nature of man. This is something that we talk to our therapists about, that frames the way we interact with each other and most importantly in this instance, continues to evolve our understanding of art.

New internet art works are made every day. They have been, intentionally or unintentionally, since the dawn of our networked era. (1990! That is 20 years!) The artists and art work which I discuss in this paper are from the last four years, contemporary even in internet time. In my rising interest in these kinds of art works in the past few years, I have found it continually difficult to keep up: the pace of the internet is fast, often instantaneous, and while this makes distribution of works and dispersion of ideas rapid, there is a continual feeling of only seeing part of the picture. And this is just that, a look at three artists and two artists groups amongst thousands of people who make work of this kind. You will find a list in my bibliography of all of the people I planned to write about for this paper, which I quickly realized was impossible with my time-frame for this paper and which I will begin addressing next quarter. This is my life, my future, and I hope to someday write about all of this amazing artwork that continually confronts me with new visions of what art can be. At the very least let these essays serve as a written document of some work that is housed, for now, within the glorious web I consider my home away from home.

This document contains numerous links to works which exist outside of this page. Please be sure to explore the resources provided.

Please also take this statement into consideration:

"Everything said is said to an observer; knowledge of reality is dependent upon the perceptions of the observer. Observation or measurement affects the state of the object being observed–that is, objective measurement or observation from outside a system is not possible, and the act of observing makes the observer part of the system under study."  [p. 146]

-Lev Manovich, Database As Symbolic Form [full text online] See also: The Uncertainty Principle


"The Marketplace is empty of everything but products; you are the Product, and therefore contribute to the market; Info is the free-flowing energy generated by your production and consumption. The INFOspirit, which encompasses all of these concepts, is both the state between the knowable and unknown, and mediocrity in its purist form." –Kevin Bewersdorf

Kevin Bewersdorf believes in the INFOspirit. A devout INFOmonk and one of the founders of an internet surfing club called Spirit Surfers, which uses the framework of a dual-part blog post, the 'BOON' and 'WAKE' of an internet quest, to express the transcendent and enlightening nature of the surf search. The Boon, Bewersdorf states, "is revealed at the eureka moment of a surf when the surfer becomes enlightened by the INFOspirit." Removed from their original context, these "jewels" are placed within the frame of Spirit Surfers, and paired with ephemera from the surf, the Wake of the jewel itself. The INFOspirit is Bewersdorf's name for the internet, but less so the physical framework of the network itself than the contents that it contains and through them, the creators behind the content. The enlightened surfer, conscious of the possibility in this quest, is an INFOmonk in search of affirmation that their information prayers have been digitally answered. The members of Spirit Surfers function under varying degrees of anonymity, offering up their jewels in worship the internet itself.

Outside of Spirit Surfers, Bewersdorf began functioning under the corporate moniker of Maximum Sorrow in 2007 in response, it seems, to the life of a contemporary artist in the digital age. In an online biographical statement, he identifies these activities as; 

"taking digital photos of work, building websites to market the digital photos, waiting for slides to be developed, organizing slides into sheets, burning CDs and DVDs, revising and updating resumes, emailing, texting and making phone calls, researching competition in the marketplace via magazines and blogs, writing short autobiographies that will appeal to galleries and institutions, competing for promotions called "residencies" or "MFAs," and refining slogans such as "this body of work is about my experience with..." They also make objects or products, but only so that they have something to market themselves with. The only thing left is the marketing."


This seems just as pertinent in 2010 if not moreso; now Facebook and Twitter are important social media sites to which many contemporary artists make a daily pilgrimage, and those are but two of the larger sites available to propagate the cult of the artist online. This understanding of the role of the artist spurred Bewersdorf to function under the guise of the corporate systems that the art world has begun to freely and unashamedly emulate.  Adopting a logo and using the same methods as big business, Bewersdorf employed  "marketing techniques that construct my presence in the spirit world of the web."

Kevin Bewersdorf
Google image search results for “pain” printed onto mouse pads by Walgreens.com
, 2007
9.25 x 7.75 inches each

Kevin Bewersdorf
Google image search results for "Titanic" printed on pillowcase by Walgreens.com
, 2007
17 x 25 x 7 inches

Kevin Bewersdorf
Life Mug 1
, 2007
Life Mug 2, 2007
4 x 3.5 x 4.5 inches each



Bewersdorf extended his online presence into the physical realm in a 2007 exhibition at And/Or Gallery in Dallas, Texas. Using the internet as both a source of content and a means of production, Bewersdorf used image search results for terms such as 'Woodstock', 'Pain' and 'Life' and had them printed onto pillowcases, mugs, coasters and mousepads using sites such as Walgreens.com which began offering these production services online. By removing the hand slightly further than Duchamp could during his time, Bewersdorf brings the readymade, as well as the role of artistic choice, into the internet age. These objects represent an implausable aesthetic combination mediated by Bewersdorf; of the millions of image results available at the query of such common terms, the choices that determine the final result are distinctly his and despite the endless possibilities, a disparate aesthetic emerges through the body of work. 

Bewersdorf constructed an animated gif which perfectly expresses the nature of much of the work which we will be looking at in this cross-section of internet artists and artworks. This shows two users seated at their individual computers, both consuming and contributing information to the INFOspirit. What is interesting is that Bewersdorf places the location of "the art" inside of the user and not within the computer and internet infrastructure which physically contains it. This diagram expresses also the circular flow of connection between users of these modern machines. The flow of art and/or information from one user to another, and their reciprocal flow of information back into the internet realm, is the foundation of internet exchange, each user taking from and adding to the database of the web.  

This seems important because many internet based artworks meanings are lost to their audience who become transfixed on the method of production and delivery rather than the message behind them. The relates of course to the work of the scholar Marshall McLuhan in his book "Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man" of 1964, wherein he asserts that the message of an artwork is lost to the media which illustrates it. Early internet artworks focused extensively on the new technologies that were used to create the work, and the role of the human body and spirit when interacting with these methods. What has begun to arise and what I will discuss with more recent internet artists is that the medium itself has become less of a focus as the source of content for the work; as these technologies have become thoroughly ingrained in our daily understanding of the world, and has begun to address culture at large.  

In a blog project by fellow net artist Rafael Rosendaal called 'One Question Interview', Bewersdorf was asked, "What does the Internet lack?". His answer, in poetic form, contains one of my favorite statements about the internet:

"The cup of the internet runneth over,
its contents greater than its container."


What Bewersdorf expresses is the bounty of the internet content generated by users far overshadowing the physical and technological framework that supports these exchanges. What this means for the user is a constantly changing environment which is beyond the control of a single entity, one in which the information is diffuse and varied and often of questionable provenance. What and where we arrive within this web is determined by what and how we seek, our spiritual surfs are a process of finding ourselves in digital ephemera created by countless, often nameless others. This mimics more poetically Lev Manovich's ideas about the database nature of the web and the aesthetics it implies. In his essay 'Database as Symbolic Form' Manovich says of the hyperlinked structure of the internet, "Thus the same data would give rise to more indexes than the number of data elements themselves." [p. 44]

The true sorrow of the work of Kevin Bewersdorf is that beginning in 2009, he took down every single one of his websites of his artwork, redirecting all of them to PureKev.com, which over the course of the three years allotted for the performance piece grows line by line, <br> by <br>, in a screen of blue (#0000FF, to be exact), with a tiny gif of light at the bottom which shrinks as time passes. Bewersdorf's light on the web is dwindling, and the methodical removal of his web presence being replaced by this online representation of time, in an environment where time is rarely delineated or recognized, unannounced change is expected, and instantaneity is the most common result. 


Blogs have now become ubiquitous soundboards for anyone to establish an online archive of their thoughts, photographs or collected media ephemera, available to the public and part of a network often affiliated with the blogging platform in which it exists. What began as personal journals on sites such as LiveJournal and Diaryland has become something that is at once indefinable and yet seems to contain everything within it. Much like a book or film can contain any and all subjects, likewise blogs are a structural vessel which are filled by the author or artist.

 Boon post from Spirit Surfers

This open system allows for as much or as little focus as one can imagine. What artists Kevin Bewersdorf and Paul Slocum did in 2008 was invite other internetters to participate in a group blog which used a size constraint to somewhat limit the content that could be posted. The second constraint was that of the Boon/Wake, which is the only available information of their site, stating, "let the boon be the made/for the wake to unmake" [source]. Bewersdorf discusses this in an essay about Spirit Surfers from the year of its foundation, elaborating on the concept of Boon and Wake and the difference between INFOmonks and INFObrats. As this text is an endangered document removed by Bewersdorf in his PUREkev performance piece, I reproduce it here in full for posterity. Or, skip this.

One of the most beautiful experiences I have had with a piece of internet art was not had at my computer, it was had while seated in traffic on Texas Interstate 35. A post I had seen on the surf club nastynets.com suddenly dawned on me there in my car -- with no computer around to distract me, the true nature of this post was revealed. The post didn't end at the edge of the computer. The post was woven into the same source code as the world. It was part of a borderless art, an art constructed of only spirit and no material. The post was everywhere, a fog in the universe waiting for someone to walk in to it. Looking past the taillights in front of me, I could see the post weaving through traffic.

I am greatly indebted to the surfers of Nasty Nets for getting me excited about art again. Simply by typing a series of letters into a browser I was connected to a shapeless organization of users who rearranged bits that were unimportant individually but who's sum amounted to something so massive that it could only be thought about and never seen. Ever since Nasty Nets ended, Paul Slocum and I have wanted to feel part of a strong surf community again. Over many phone calls our mutual feelings on surfing have solidified, and we have developed a philosophy of surfing that I will attempt to express here as part of the founding of a new surf club, spiritsurfers.net.

INFOmonks and INFObrats
Joseph Cornell collected tidbits that he came across in his daily life and then set them into frames. The frames were rectangular windows that reclaimed the objects through his choice. A fork in Cornell's box was an object of focus made powerful by its framing. The act of choice to put that fork in that particular box pointed to choice (more than raw invention) as the essential act for a world overloaded with objects. The choices involved in Cornell's boxes are remarkably similar to choices involved in surf club posts. Is the box 8" x 7" and made of white wood? Is the <td> for the images 500 pixels by 400 pixels with a 4 pixel border of #FF0099? Should the wooden spool sit above the rubber ball? Should the animated gif sit above the midi file?

Critics and artists alike are certain that Joseph Cornell's boxes constitute art, yet many remain skeptical of web surfing as an art practice. These skeptics are confused about surfing because they move the internet around like forks at a dinner party. They see the web as a practical and entertaining service: Amazon.com, United.com, Ebay and Facebook and iTunes. They bounce around on the exterior of banners and buttons. They're information brats. INFObrats are on the web for obligations in their material and practical lives. They shop, instant message, pay bills, relay practical data, and consume.

Not everyone on the web is looking for practical information. Some look to remove the fork from the dinner table and set it into a frame of their own devising. Some pay homage to the fork as it is. Some treat the web not as a shopping mall, but as a spiritual realm. They work towards the glorification of the web and the spirit that constructs it. They work for no reward other than the credibility bestowed on them by fellow surfers. They are not just surfers, but monks. Behind the shopping mall of the web there are beautiful gardens being cultivated by these INFOmonks.

The Boon
As I have gathered from watching some of the great surfers of our time at work, surfing is the balance of making choices and being led. Surfing is being led by the wave as you make your choices. The wave stirs up gifts, and it is the ability of the great surfer to recognize his or her arrival at a worthy gift. On Spirit Surfers this gift is referred to as a boon. The boon is revealed at the eureka moment of a surf when the surfer becomes enlightened by the INFOspirit.

Areas of high potency on the web may be filled with boons begging to be shared. The boon may strike the surfer in a single icon, or be hidden in the source code. It may be a cluster of jpegs left untouched, or a gif with a single frame added. Some of the great surfers of our time have found incredible boons in something as tiny as a 256 pixel bitmap. Other surfers rearrange their finds in attempt to encapsulate the surf in a more profound way. A hyperlink or list of links is not much of a boon. A link is an entry to another surf, a starting point. A boon is a jewel. These jewels are what separate surf clubs like Spirit Surfers from social bookmarking sites -- the posts on Spirit Surfers are jewels publicly removed and reset.

The Wake
As you surf you are able to view the beauty of your own wake as it fades around you. Any boons you encounter come within the context of everything you have encountered before and after them. You are able to contemplate not just the jewels of your search, but the entire wake of your path. The form of each boon is therefore the shape of the wake made during the process of the surfing.

How can we better let others experience the wakes made by our surfing? In attempt to emphasize the process of surfing, posts on Spirit Surfers are divided into two sections -- one for the boon, and one for the wake. In the wake section surfers will try to provide insight on the process that lead to that boon. I have often wondered about the wakes of some of the great surfers. How and where did they find these jewels? Perhaps this will be best expressed through a literal list of links, through a description of perceptions had during the discovery of the boon, or (if the boon has been massively altered) through some elaboration on its rearrangement.

The Frame
I hear it chanted often on the web, "finding is making, finding is making." Perhaps finding is making, but finding is not enough. A jewel set into a poor setting degrades the jewel and does not do justice to its beauty. A jewel set poorly also does not allow others to develop a criteria for recognizing the most beautiful jewels. It is the framing of the finding that rewards us with the greatest bounty.

Surfing is often an activity we resort to when at a loss for what else there is to do. We wander around the web, unsure of ourselves. INFObrats surf in this way, clicking around on links as they shop and consume. The mere act of surfing has no status as a gift. But INFOmonks use great care in the framing of their boons, and these frames give the otherwise modest activity of surfing the status of a gift. INFOmonks are adept not only at finding, but at framing a boon in a way that best reveals its ineffable truth.

What then is the criteria used to frame a boon? Criteria of the physical world does not help us enter net art. There is great subtlety in the framing of boons, a subtlety that we are only just beginning to built a criteria for. Perhaps if we strengthen our criteria through experiencing many boons on a standardized forum such as Spirit Surfers, we will see new beauty in the web.

The Cloak
One day Joseph Cornell found a playing card and a toy bird in an empty lot and carefully arranged these items inside a box. One day an INFOmonk found a .gif logo and a .midi file on a real estate website and framed them in an html table. Both the INFOmonk's and Cornell's choices were made with intelligence and inspiration and an acute personal criteria. Both sets of choices resulted in subtleties worthy of further study. But while Cornell received a check for thousands of dollars after he made his choices, it is generally accepted that the INFOmonk will never receive any money in return.

What the INFOmonk will receive in return is a spiritual currency. A nonmaterial act reaps a nonmaterial reward. The pious surfer does not surf for the glorification of the self but for the glorification of the web. For this reason the INFOmonks on Spirit Surfers will be known only by their usernames. These usernames are not chosen, but given to them by other surfers. Identities are not annihilated, but cloaked. Total secrecy is not important. Surfers may choose to reveal their usernames on other sites. The cloak is just a gesture of anonymity, a message that says, "the web as a whole is more important to me than my own name."

The INFOspirit
The INFOmonk is often disinterested in physical art and is not always fulfilled by objects. Rightfully, the INFOmonk turns to the spirit world for fulfillment, surfing for boons that will give him clarity. The INFObrats still believe in physical masterpieces. The INFObrats try to produce physical masterpieces, and they even use Google to search for physical masterpieces so that they can go visit them or purchase them.

The greater masterpiece isn't something that can be found on Google. The greater masterpiece is the INFOspirit that constructs all of Google. The greater masterpiece is the INFOspirit that constructs all YouTube videos and all celebrity gossip blog posts and all jpegs of Van Gogh paintings and all of officemax.com and all net art yet made. While the physical connections of copper and silicon that contain the web could be destroyed, the INFOspirit cannot be destroyed. The INFOspirit is not bound by the constraints of the universe. The INFOspirit reveals to us an art that is unreachable, but right at our fingertips -- an art that is infinitely sized, but as simple as a cigar box of thimbles.

The goal of spiritsurfers.net is equally simple: surfers, reveal to others the majesty of the INFOspirit.

Kevin Bewersdorf
March 2008


An image from Kevin Bewersdorf's last post on Spirit Surfers.

The first curatorial step was choosing the participants, the INFOmonks that would contribute content to the Spirit Surfers site. From there, the curatorial action was in their hands. Users post their boons and wakes as individual posts, which are then thrust into the conversation of the other posts by other users. This is where the internet surf club conversation happens. In a "stack" of posts, the media which is visible on t he front page of the blog (until recently limited to 5 posts at a time, recently expanded to 6), a dialogue develops between the images posted by various users. A new post must be made with a mindfulness to the posts that have come before. This sounds poetic in theory, and recalls my own personal feelings about contemporary art practive, but in effect it is a visual dissonance or harmony which begins to form among disparate elements. The viewers and followers of this blog interact via comments to the posts which solidify these visual and conceptual cues present in the Spirit Surfers stack.


A 2010 work by Paint FX

Paint FX is an internet-based art collective involving John Transue, Tabor Robak, Parker Ito, Micah Schippa and Jon Rafman, who are spread across the US and Canada. At their website paintfx.biz, they post without title or context digital abstract paintings which reference heavily the style of Abstract Expressionism. These works are made using computer applications which are comprised of various 'paint brushes' that mimic digitally the unique strokes of painterly tools. These brushes and other effects contained within the software are openly available for public use, and are commonly used to correct photographs or create images used in 2D animations, yet in the hands of this group of contemporary artists they are used to hearken back to postwar painting of America and Europe from 1945 onward. 

What is interesting is what happens to the idea of Abstract Expressionism when looking at these modern counterparts; what those painters found in affect, passionate material gestures of wild painterly abandon, Paint FX find in effect, mastering control over digital medias and finding a way to navigate aesthetic space. They adopt the painterly affect, the strong hand of the artist, and pair that bravado with Photoshop (Maya, Artrage, etc.) effects to produce a painting of artistic consideration with a meaning which holds a mirror to the paintings which hang and gather dust in museums around the world. With multiple layers of workspace and  three dimensional modeling tools available within these programs, the artists are producing work with depth and substance that have a digital viscerality not often found in 72 dpi .jpgs. 

The rise in the use of machines in the production of artistic and entertainment media is a double-edged sword. It allows for the actualization of surreal worlds and scenarios in realistic three-dimensional detail, but it has in turn given rise to a distrust of the recorded image in our modern culture. With seamless integration of real and computer-generated environments and characters present in our everyday pop culture, it becomes more and more difficult to differentiate between the two. This 'uncanny valley' gives rise to an anxiety of images which I see as now extending into the art world. The uncanny valley theory was developed in 1970 by Dr. Masahiro Mori in relation to robotics, to express our feelings in regards to robots which are created in the visage of human beings, elaborating of the 1919 work by Freud, 'Das Unheimliche'. Digital photography and printing techniques have entered the institution and the same question is aroused in the audience, "Was this made by a computer?" 

What is important to remember is that the use of a computer is a skill, and one of which there are varying degrees of expertise. The advanced computer user who can construct three-dimesional space or convincing visual phenomena from a machine is an artist familiar with the tools of his craft, much like the marble sculptor or oil painter. The digital toolbox is now as dense and varied as traditional artistic media, and the digital ground is essentially limitless. It is important, however, to look past the tools that were used to create these  images and examine the images themselves.

What critical criteria do we use when looking at digital artworks which mimic painterly expressionism? Do we apply the Greenbergian formalism used to analyze those original pictures? What if the digital images are not seen online, but within a gallery as a digital print? What is the effect of the retinal artwork in a digital context? Do these images have meaning outside of immaterial experimentation? Is the process far more interesting than the outcome?


Two works by Paint FX, one evoking Yves Klein and another with a de Kooning feel.


Paint FX seems to have been birthed by a shared aesthetic which was appearing within the work of these artists individually and united them with a shield of anonymity and brand identity (Lest we forget–.biz). While they do not collaborate on individual pieces together, it is clear that they are sharing the skills learned through the manipulation of these digital effects, especially regarding this sort of image making which runs against the traditional use of these kinds of software. Work is posted by the individual under the name of the group, artists within the group cannot differentiate between who made what, which seems anti-aligned to the common understanding of the art world but allows for free experimentation within the group.  The removal of the artist's attribution from this process also negates the cult of the artist which surrounded Abstract Expressionism, transferring it to our contemporary counterpart of the cult of the brand. We are made aware that these works are made by a group, but no indication is made alongside the works who created what. Thus the group is held responsible for each individual work and the entire oeuvre. This method of working across vast physical distance without collaborative unity but achieving work of such a recognizable aesthetic seems to be a unique experience, one made instantaneously possible through their collaborative use of the internet.

Virtual installation image by Jon Rafman [source, more]


the 9 eyes of google street viewIn 2007, Google Maps created a system for documenting every navigable road in the world using nine automated cameras mounted on a vehicle which pauses every 20 meters to capture a panoramic view of that place at street-level. These cameras were devoid of human intervention, creating a documentary blanket over the earth which later became navigable by any user online. In 2008, Jon Rafman began exploring the neutrally captured landscape of Google Street View and collecting screenshots of scenes which interested him, which he posted to the site googlestreetviews.com. Many of these images capture both aware and unsuspecting figures carrying out their daily lives. Facial recognition software is used to remove licence plate numbers and faces from many of the images, but some slip by undetected and a portrait emerges. Rafman saw a resemblance between these candid scenes and street photography, capturing what Henri Cartier-Bresson called 'the decisive moment'. [source] 

For this decisive moment to be captured by Google Street View is one thing, but it is another all together to consider Rafman seeking them out in a methodical survey of the entire digitized globe. What he found was posted to googlestreetviews.com, and it proved to be fruitful. The screenshots Rafman has created have a voyeuristic lens and the ever-present logo of Google, as well as the navigational tools and directional markings present in the virtual system. What emerges is Rafman's street view, his omnificent curatorial eye roving this database landscape, with the framing of the decisive moment under his control. These images capture emotionally charged scenes through an unemotional method, stealing the moment and attributing it to Google, and providing unto the Google user.

Jon Rafman, 58 Lungomare 9 Maggio, Bari, Puglia, Italy , 2009.

In this image captured by Rafman, a woman stands nude at the edge of the sea and stares off into the distance. It is a private moment of reverie, now interlaced with the Google logo. Rafman created a short film entitled 'You, The World and I' in 2010 which creates a narrative around this woman and provides an emotional quest behind the collection of these images. 


Jon Rafman
Main Street,
Rapid City,
South Dakota

Or this image, which shows an average middle-American man on Main Street wielding an automatic weapon. One must marvel at the odds of this moment and this document. The feeling of voyeurism arises, but is somewhat dampered by the mechanistic method of collection. What becomes clear is that Rafman, not Google, is the voyeur, searching out these scenarios outside of the intended framework in which Google provided them. 

This idea features heavily in another work by Rafman called Kool-Aid Man in Second Life. This project, which consists of virtual tours through the MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) Second Life by Rafman's avatar, the virtual Kool-Aid pitcher mascot. This virtual world is inhabited by some 500,000 consistent users [source] and has its own currency and economic market. Rafman provides tours to the virtual tourist who wishes to see what goes on within this foreign land. As often is the case with online constituency, it contains the marginalized and the fetishized, expressed anonymously via 3D avatars of the creator's wildest imagination within a dimensional, fictional landscape generated by the users. The availability of these virtual selves to act on fantasies which are distanced from reality–for instance sexual experiences with mythical creatures, beastiality in general, Vorarephilia, flying, etc. Rafman likens this online experience to a return to the womb, a desire to be completely consumed, similar to full immersion in an online life. [source] 

An excerpt from Rafman's tour preview.
A look at Kool-Aid Man in Second Life by Rafman and artist Lindsay Howard for BOMBlog
Nicholas O'Brien and Jon Rafman discuss some of Jon's work in Second Life for Bad at Sports.

Here again Rafman, through his avatar of Kool-Aid Man, is voyeuristically examining a virtual world, his documentation of that process reframes what he sees within an artistic context via videos, live performances and gallery exhibitions. The other necessary aspect of this online performance is a willing participant with whom Rafman engages while providing the tour. This engagement gives a narrative stability to the experience, where video and still documentation can provide out of context decisive moments which seem to sum up the greater entirety of the experience. 


Parker Ito is another artist who references his daily existence on the web within his work. His most noted project, The Most Infamous Girl In The History of the Internet, 2010, explores the nature of the stock image that is found on many parked domains. When a URL is purchased but not used, saved to sell or serving as an ad hub, a parked page such as the one seen below exists in the place of genuine content. Many sites use the same framework (seen replicated in the design of parkerito.com), and images. One image happens to be featured on a large number of domains parked by registrar eNom.com, bought from a stock photography agency and continually used as an inoffensive placeholder. Parker became interested in this image and its ubiquitous nature, and commissioned Chinese painting companies to reproduce the .jpg in oil paint. The structure of these Chinese companies is similar to the structure of the companies which buy, park and resell domains; they are not interested in the content or meaning, only the technical service. Any image can be sent to these manufacturers and reproduced in traditional artistic media, to be further bought and sold.

  An example of Parked Domain Girl online in her natural habitat
  A painting of Parked Domain Girl commissioned by Parker Ito in 2010

In the process of sending the same image to a number of art manufacturers, Ito received varying results, winking at the reproducibility of images by the hand of the human artist. The face of the girl, without a name or a context, morphs slightly between paintings, drawing attention to the hand of the "artist" in China, who is also without name or context. In choosing this vaguely familiar image from the internet and elevating it to a status deeming it worthy of reproduction in fine art media, Ito draws attention to both the making and meaning of the art object.



What I see as the thread through these artist's work is their use of or reference to the database nature of our internet existence. Their use of Google image search, Google Street View, internet sites and blogs, and digital effects as sources for their artwork addresses our resources as participants in a digital culture which is very much influenced by our daily use of computers and the internet, which are inherently indexical mechanical interfaces. These artists all, each in their own way, address the nature of art and art making. Is art possible on a blog or within an online virtual world? I believe so, and I also contend that it is an important question to ask in our constantly, instantly changing world. Art exists within and between people, so it must be that where we go, the art will follow. As we venture into the virtual unknown which the future holds, it seems important to note how these things are changing us, and it is the job of artists to explore and experiment within these new boundaries and constraints that the world presents.




General Internet Art Online Resourcez

Artists I Didn't Get To Yet That You Could Check Out Via These Links


Brad Troemel
-The Jogging
-An Immaterial Survey of Our Peers

Computers Club
-Krist Wood
-Petra Cortright
-René Abythe
-Rafael Rosendaal
-Duncan Malashock
-Travess Smalley
-Robert Lorayn
-Alexandria McCrosky
-Daniel L. Williams
-Francoise Gamma
-Nicholas Sassoon
-Sara Ludy
-Laura Brothers

Jon Michael Boling

Jon Rafman
-Brand New Paint Job

Ryder Ripps
-Internet Archaeology

(by Parker Ito and Caitlin Denny)
-Avatar 4d Exhibition

Surf Clubs
-Nasty Nets


Tabor Robak
Brenna Murphy
Constant Dullaart