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Public Domain 2.0 Redux

Art in information networks is almost by default part of the public domain 2.0 (unless its accessibility is somehow obstructed and the work is no longer available through a simple mouse click or the following of a link), whether it is meant to be or not. It seems, however, that the Public Domain 2.0 has brought about a few specific art practices. The first one to really evolve was the connected performance. Performance and other physical interaction with audiences create mostly temporary extensions of media spaces that allow for all kinds of engagement, often depending on the intentions of the artist (revealing or cloaking technological systems, inviting an audience to engage or to be only ‹immersed›). Another is the artist platform, a space of social interaction online, that offers representation and exchanges of ideas and work, but which also allows for influential media art discourses to develop. The third, software art, was a bit slower to develop, probably because it took more time to master the technical and cultural skills involved with making software than it took to engage with


audiences and peers in and outside the network.

Yet the roles of the critic and curator have also changed significantly, even if this is only slowly embraced in institutional practices. Critics and curators have become part of the audience again, and vice versa. The art contexts and the audience have imploded to local and even personal levels of engagement. This means we have to look for new professional relationships with the arts. With this text I hope to have given at least part of a theoretical basis for coming to terms with art in new media and the Public Domain 2.0. It seems to me that we need to have practical handles for art criticism most of all, to help place and judge contemporary art practices. After the acceptance of abstraction, reproduction and the purely conceptual in the arts it is time to accept a new aesthetics again: that which represents the relationships and exchanges between artist and audience in the profound and yet distant intimacy of the technological environments. Because of the slightly industrially tainted status of the word ‹interaction,› which is most commonly used in these environments, it might be good to use a word that reminds more of

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