s t e v e  .  d i e t z
b e y o n d   i n t e r f a c e :
net art and Art on the Net I

The effect of concept-driven revolution is to explain old things in new ways. The effect of tool driven revolution is to discover new things that have to be explored.
--Freeman Dyson, Imagined Worlds
b e y o n d   i n t e r f a c e : net art and Art on the Net II
is the mapping of our discoveries, reformulating the original concept--sd

This online exhibition presents a simple proposition. There is art that is created to "be" on the Net. After that, it gets more complex very quickly. Beyond Interface explores some of the complicating issues but does not attempt a comprehensive investigation. And while in the context of a conference on "museums and the web," there may be interesting strategies to learn from artists for presenting a museum's collections on the Net, the main goals of Beyond Interface are to present outstanding examples of net-based artistic activity, and to try and begin to better understand and appreciate this art and its context.

In Bruce Sterling's Holy Fire, the digital artists of the late 21st century are no longer hyphenated or hybrids. They are simply artificers. And in Interface Culture, Steven Johnson refers to a similar melding, a kind of vocation: "The artisans of interface culture . . . have become some new fusion of artist and engineer--interfacers, cyberpunks, Web masters--charged with the epic task of representing our digital machines, making sense of information in its raw form."

We have not yet arrived at the Golden Age of Artificers and Interfacers, but the possibilities can be glimpsed. And it is the artists -- as we now call them -- who have as much if not more to tell us about how to shape and mold and extend this medium as anyone.

Beyond Interface presents the work of a range of artists--and designers and coders and architects and writers--working with the Net. In order to incorporate both the collaborative capability and filtering necessity of the Net, we also bring a range of responses to each of the selected projects, in an effort to build a broader context for the work in particular and net art in general. In addition, participants in an online forum will be able to add their own commentary about the artwork.

Posted to the Museums & the Web website January 1998
Revised April 1998

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