The closings of the Covid-19 Museum have made it abundantly clear that accession committees and the overlords of the Web do not have much love for net art. As museums over the past decade and hundreds of millions of dollars colonize Earth and Heaven to make room for hordes of painting and sculpture, billboard plastered renovations threatened to obliterate the web. (Nowhere is this more evident than Google’s Arts & Culture, an online repository for work from 2,000 museums and collections, of which media include “glassy glaze”, but not “video” – much less “HTML” or “gifs”.)
They put their collections online, only one.png of a mexican mural stimulates about as much as a postage stamp; we need art that comes alive in browsers, and you will have to go a little offroad in the diaspora of blogs, strange domains and obscure YouTube channels to find it. While scanning the web for online artwork for social distant consumption, Gizmodo wondered: how did net artists just find art? What works prompted them to power up their terminals and Photoshop canvases and expand this fragile universe to the public? Over a number of days (however long we can find contributors), we share choices from the community of artisans and caregivers who created and saved net art for the world for free.
LoVid and Daniel Temkin choose JODI
Asked about their earliest inspiration, the artist duo LoVid just replied, “Jodi.org!”
The name of the artist duo JODI (also known as jodi.orgEstablished in 1994, it has about the same weight as Duchamp’s canonical significance. Using a 20th-century analog to explain net art will no doubt anger anyone, but the radical spirit of plundering a urinal in an art exhibition lives in JODI’s clever repurposing of the ugly freight of the Internet that effortlessly disguises web design. While the web was making curtains, JODI broke windows.
Their work of the same name redirects to chaotic websites that look like they are going to torpedo your computer; don’t worry, they don’t. “Jodi.org” may take you to Flash videos from Max Payne glitches, a simulated one crashed browser, which looks like blooper clips of an inch covering the camera lens. It is a carefully choreographed, simulated joyride to the rocky outer terrain of the Internet.
That impulse to cross borders can be seen in the work of LoVid, especially their 2003 video ‘Breaking and Entering’. They take what looks like glitches and turn them into collages and then print them out textileand run online spaces like physical bubbles.
Theorist and programmer Daniel Temkin also referred to JODI, but their more minimal 2016 project, “IDN” (short for “Internationalized Domain Names”). The artists have evaded the decades of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authoritylong-term ban on single-character domain names by registering domains in Punycode, the ASCII translation of Unicode glyphs, which is automatically entered as a string of alphabetic characters in your address bar: the result is you can click ᠐. Com, ꀍ. Com, and ꇎ. Net and come to a website.
The sites present the most rudimentary gears of the web: a directory of empty files, a directory to nowhere, pages that appear generate strings of their own glyphs. In his extensive research series ‘Esoteric.Codes’, Temkin notes ꀍ. Com that the site does not depend on nice animations and programs from third parties, but is pure code; it redirects from domain to domain, each with a string of characters on its homepage, before moving on to the next. “It’s a movie, with each frame on a different website, and we’re being forwarded from one to another,” he writes. “It deliberately avoids complexity or web styling; Aside from the availability of Unicode-friendly fonts, nothing in IDN would work differently in a browser than the early web. ”
JODI aren’t the only net artists who dig raw materials, and Temkin also suggested checking out Evan Roth’s “All HTML, “A single page with each HTML tag wrapped around each other in alphabetical order,” adjusted just enough to avoid defeating a blank page. ‘ There is also “Portrait of a web server, “Jan Robert Leegte’s Apache server that reveals the source code in every browser that pings it. “The code is offered to us with the performance of itself as a delivery mechanism,” writes Temkin.
Temkin sold himself short by not mentioning his own work, which he often describes as ‘collaborations’ with programs and machines. “Dither Studies” (a “collaboration with Photoshop”) refers to the algorithmic process of “dithering”: a typically invisible process where a graphics computer program selects from available color blocks and groups them together to create the illusion of depth and color spectrum. (Here’s one black and white example from Michelangelo’s “David”.) Temkin tore solid color blocks or gradients of complementary colors that never blend seamlessly. The rules of an algorithm look like the uprising of a machine.