Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.

Themesicon: navigation pathPublic Sphere_sicon: navigation pathMedia Spaces
ARTEX (Adrian X, Robert), 1980

icon: previous page

Collaboration and co-authorship: Art spaces online

Art practices online seem to have focused on communication, from the earliest days of the Internet and even its forerunners. This is reflected in the type of projects that, in hindsight, have been the most influential. Mailing lists, bulletin boards, collaborative Web sites and art servers were and still are the crux of Net art communities. [15] A few of those have been very important in the development and acceptance of art on the Net, but one can argue whether these projects are really art projects themselves. Their role as a platform for the development of new discourses and representation is especially confusing, since art projects are generally primarily perceived as the property of their authors, and secondly it is rare if not unprecedented for art projects to be influential socially, politically and culturally while they are still developing. Online art spaces define the context and approach to art projects in the most direct way, while at the same time providing context and content for discourses on media theory, media activism and



The projects I discuss have all had major influence in the development of the discourses not just around Net art, but also around media activism and media theory. Artists initiated them all, even if the artists themselves, at some point in time, dislike or refrain from defining themselves as artists or their work as art. Choosing a specific point of departure risks a certain inaccuracy. Projects like Robert Adrian X’s «Artex», an early bulletin board look-alike created on a forerunner of the Internet and even Rena Tangens and Padeluun’s «Bionic» bulletin board (in German only) or the California-based but international The Well, the cluster of forums that was not initiated by artists at all but which was still influential, are all of historical importance as sources of inspiration or early breeding places of Net culture. The most influential projects in the category of artist meeting places and platforms, however, were started in the early and mid-1990s.

The Thing

The first project of major importance to emerge was

icon: next page