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Art on the Internet

--by Kenneth Greenberg

My involvement in interactive computer technology and art goes back to the early 1970s, in an experience that gives true meaning to the term "spaghetti code." Three weeks before Charlotte Moorman's Avant Garde Art Festival of 1972, sound artist Liz Phillips asked if I'd be willing to cook up 500 pounds of six-foot strands of spaghetti as part of her upcoming interactive/performance work on the Alexander Hamilton Ferry. "Electric Spaghetti" used capacitive fields to sense the audience's grabbing and handling of hundreds of six-foot-long strands of pasta pulled from a massive heap. Information from the sensing devices was translated into electronically generated sound. We did not know the word Internet. The word computer conjured up toting huge stacks of hole punched cards. For me, the allure of interactive electronic art has never disappeared.

Historically, art and invention tend to go hand-in-hand. Pythagoras derived his famous theorem while exploring the nature of music. The Greek architects made exquisite use of geometry. At the dawn of the twentieth century, as physicists explored the concept of relativity, artists underwent an abstract revolution. The underlying issues of art and science are more closely aligned than it might appear at first glance. Science seeks to observe nature and phenomena empirically, and then to propose a theory which explains the observation and reliably predicts future observations. An artist also observes nature. The artist seeks to create a structure or style that will convey the meaning of his or her observations. The work an artist produces must ring true for others if it is to survive. As the audience views a work of art, whether in one moment of immediate time or over centuries of cultural critique, people experience the artist's hypothesis. Each of us becomes the judge of the work's ultimate validity. There may be an idea presented as simple as "behold the beauty of the world around us" or ideas that are quite complex such as the movements within Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring."

Creativity has always existed in all of the realms of computer technology. Start delving under the hood of almost any well written code and you will find humor and personality—albeit often strange and esoteric. Program names such as BIFF, the mail-notification utility named for the dog who barked when the mail arrived; subroutine labels such as "should-patch-later"; or the Internet tools named "Archie," "Veronica," and "Jughead"; or the ever-present RTFM (Read "this fine" manual) are the markings left by the people behind the programs. These are the same markings of the soldiers who scrawled "Kilroy was here" or cave painters leaving vivid visual descriptions of their daily lives. These are the traces of that part of the human spirit that must express and create.

In the late 1970s, it wouldn't have been easy to predict the massive computer markets we see today. We are now poised on the moment of critical mass of the computer communications era. Internet, Multimedia, Virtual Reality, and Interactive TV are among the ideas being discussed on a daily basis across all disciplines. While art in its purest sense might have been confined to a few small special-interest groups on CompuServe or Delphi a few years back, the presence of people online today whose lives are intimately connected to the arts is impossible to measure. As the issues of presenting oneself or one's business to the world at large begin to emerge, we see the impact of artistic judgment and quality take on even greater significance.

My discussion of art will have a definite bias toward visual and technology-based art as these are my primary domains. However, most of the information here can be equally applied toward any number of areas in the arts. There may not yet be as many archives devoted to dance at the moment as there are to visual display, but there are, nonetheless, dancers not only interacting through words on the Net, but dancers whose performances are on the Net. Many of the issues, such as presenting and promoting ones work, are the same. Finally, the nature of the creative process cuts across all boundaries and is, in fact, not exclusive to the arts. The thought processes that created the Internet go beyond rote and routine.

A Thumbnail Sketch of Artists in Cyberspace

Artists wear many hats in our society, and it's no surprise that their varied roles turn up in many different locations and applications on the Internet. Whether we examine the active online communities created by artists for their own purposes or explore the importance of art for business and the world at large, art has been a significant force behind the development of the network and within its daily functioning. The first section of this chapter looks at the activities and sites where artists are working and communicating on a daily basis.

The Community of Artists

Estimating the number of artists in the general population has been a hotly debated issue for years. While, for example, U.S. Department of Labor statistics place the number of working artists between 1 to 2 million or approximately 1% of the population, a 1988 Harris poll found numbers indicating that, for example, 30% of the population draws, paints, or engraves, 30% play a musical instrument, 51% have a serious involvement with photography, and so on. When the list is read completely, it would appear that very few people in this country are not involved with art. The Internet is a specialized community. One expects to see primarily technically oriented personnel here. However, it doesn't take much investigation to find that the mainframes contain massive amounts of disk space devoted to graphic image files. We find literary works and literary critique. There are repositories of sheet music and sound samples. Gophers devoted to crafts or theater exist. Finally, in the broadest sense, the emerging standards of graphical interface, and the many programs designed or being developed to support these standards, such as Mosaic, are in part dealing with the basic artistic issues of ways of seeing and ways of showing.

The community of artists on the Internet can be seen as four distinct groups, although any individual artist might be in one or all of these groups. Artists who are part of a specific discipline would be one of these major groupings. This would include, for example, fiber artists, ceramic artists, musicians, filmmakers, dancers, poets, light artists, painters, sculptors, and so on. What brings these people together is obviously their common interest in their media or styles. Traditionally these artists would converge either through local or regional organizations, exhibitions, magazine subscriptions, or interpersonal contacts with others in their field. What is unique to the Internet is the ability to readily target and access the world of people in a given field. Ceramicists are not necessarily listed in the phone book as such. I can't go to a town and easily determine where I might find cello players. Though we are not quite at this point with all areas of interest on the Internet either, in many fields it's possible to connect with others of similar background and interest quite directly. Whether by Usenet posting or mail list subscribing, artist users in a multitude of individualized areas are meeting online.

A second major grouping within the community of artists on the Internet can be viewed as artists involved with broader organizations or institutions that bring a diverse group of interests together. While in the previous example we looked at the branching out to all of the individual specialties, here we look at the ways that all of these groups come together. One example might be the Arts and Humanities department of a large university. Another example might be the Smithsonian, which maintains a wide range of programs and exhibits covering a broad range of disciplines. A significant example in this area is Arts Wire (, which is an Internet based organization that has a membership made up of artists, art administrators, art organizations, and art activist groups. Arts Wire regularly publishes information about governmental activities that affect the arts, grants and job openings in the arts, art criticism, exhibitions, and more. Among other interesting and unique areas, they maintain a database of art material hazards. A group such as Arts Wire becomes a meeting place for all disciplines involved with the arts. Additionally, it becomes a potential political force for artists who otherwise may not have had the ability to network so readily. I would predict that as the Internet grows, we will see greater reliance on large scale, discipline focused sites that act as pointers to and connections with the diverse groupings which otherwise would be spread too thinly.

My third grouping includes almost all of us. It is the realm of people who enjoy the arts—the audience. There is already art for sale on the Internet. There are magazines for art appreciation. There are listings of events. And with the rapid expansion of the World Wide Web and Graphical Interface software, we see thousands of clip art images being used on both professional and amateur home pages.

The Internet is becoming not only a conveyer of arts media but an art media in and of itself. This newly emerging field that I term Internetic Art would certainly have to include OTIS at (pub/multimedia/pictures/OTIS) and other locations. This energetic group has for several years initiated a number of interactive art projects where participants may upload an image for others to download and manipulate, and then re-upload to await further stages of manipulation. OTIS recently was home to Synergy-Corpse, an online version of the favorite pastime of the early 20th-century avant garde where one person draws the head of a person and folds the paper to conceal it; the next person draws the torso and again folds the paper. This sort of visual game of "telephone" continues until a composite character is created. Here we see an Internet site that attracts people from my first grouping. It's within a site that is of the second grouping and because anyone can download and view and, in fact, participate, it brings in users from the present group I'm discussing.

Finally, my fourth grouping includes people who are conducting business that involves art. As mentioned earlier, presentations and other forms of advertising on the Internet are destined to be possibly the most significant online areas of business. Selling and presenting on the Internet will require more than just a good idea. Just as there is a qualitative difference between a home movie and a professionally produced television commercial, marketing on the Internet will require an artistic vision combined with an understanding of how information finds its way to the user. Front ends will be successful not only due to typical software issues regarding efficiency, organization of information, bandwidth, and so on, but also in large part based on their artistic cohesiveness and appeal. The entertainment industry itself will become part of the Internet. We already have ongoing informational and entertainment features such as Internet Talk Radio with popular programs like Professor Neon. (Info is available via Gopher at

The Business of Art

Art is one of the few businesses in our modern service-oriented economy where an individual actually physically makes something. Often, this same individual is seller, designer, purchaser of supplies, bookkeeper, and floor sweeper. In my small neon art and design business, I create promotional material, meet with clients, draft proposals and presentations, and engineer the project—all before I actually blow and bend the glass and take on the problems of assembling and installing my finished work. I am not unusual compared with other artists and, in fact, I have the advantage of working with an unusual and sought after medium. The point I am making is often overlooked: Every artist runs a business. We all possess a romantic image of the artist feverishly painting at night and sipping wine in French cafes by day. The image should really be amended to include contacting and visiting galleries and potential buyers, studying other works of art, making phone calls to commercial clients, and perhaps waiting tables in that French caf[130] to have the cash to reinvest in materials to produce more work. It is no more fun and no less painful than any entrepreneurial experience. The Internet has opened up a completely fresh territory for career artists.

Art enterprises on the Internet today include basic graphic and photographic services, sound services, and production and writing services. Online galleries exist where art can be purchased and where artists can, for a fee, display their work. Periodicals and fee-based databases in the arts can be obtained by subscription. With the emergence of online catalogs and improved graphical interfacing, corporations will likely have departments oriented toward online art and presentation. Agents will broker online talents to industry.

The basic human activity of meeting and social networking is catalyst for further creativity and business. Individual artists enjoy relatively equal access to the Internet as anyone else does. Not only are there online exhibitions, concerts, and performances, but there is an entire cyber culture that has always been on the network. Conferencing groups such as ECHO are based almost exclusively on the idea of artists, writers, and cultural observers hanging out and chatting. University home pages are a stimulating way to connect with the Web's resources. Public art has found its way to the Net in the same sense that it exists in public spaces. Perhaps we will see corporate-sponsored art on the Net—neighborhood beautification or percent-for-art-styled programming along the information highway, where virtual-reality technology will bring artistic environments to the home or office.

Research and the Arts

For all of the wonder and power that is the Internet, let's not forget that it's in essence a powerful research tool. Most tasks on the Internet are research. When I first became interested in art on the Internet, I performed rather simplistic whois searches of simple words like art or graphic, and that began to give me some idea of what was (and what was not) out there. As the network grew and my own skills improved, I created more specific archie queries and could thereby get a glimpse of which sites might be fertile and useful. I also learned to open my news reader (I use tin) with wild-card combinations where I guess at strings such as *craft*, *graph*, and *art*. Some searches will, of course, lead nowhere or hit dead ends. Occasionally, a search will open a previously unknown region where much more than expected is found. With the introduction of Veronica and Jughead, it became possible to find and enter news, Gopher directories, and other remote sites on the fly. Similar resources on WWW (World Wide Web), such as WebCrawler, enable this same ability to seek and connect.

I've found that it takes a combination of skill and intuition to use these tools effectively. You have to know not only how to evaluate potential choices of direction but you also need to know the "feel" of your connection. Is a directory really being retrieved or are we hanging? Is the file very big or is the site overloaded and running slow? Is this Gopher link temporarily down or has it been abandoned? If I come up empty handed, is this because there is nothing available or am I just not asking the right questions in the right locations?

Artists, particularly in the commercial field, perform an enormous amount of research. If a client needs to create a new campaign, for example, the artist does not merely conjure up an image. Countless hours are spent studying a wide range of ideas and solutions that others have tried in areas that may resemble or touch upon the particular project. Once an idea has solidified, there still may be research required to obtain the best source of an image or, as in the case of a radio commercial, sound samples. If the presentation will be network-based, as mentioned earlier, thorough familiarity with what network paths will lead a perspective audience to the work will become crucial.

Other specialized and technical uses of Internet research are purely academic and cultural. It's possible, for example, to search all references to pointillism or the works of Calder. Even the popular quest for recreational art and entertainment has its strong presence. One can easily uncover theater schedules in various towns or follow television plots or even find ones way around a botanical garden. The world of network computing has its own in-house entertainment and culture. We have cookie servers, coke machines, electronic pubs and cafes, e-zines, muds and moos, flame-fests, and more.

The Art of Publicity

Online communities are linked together by virtue of the electronic time and space that we share. Most individuals and organizations desire more than to simply be waiting to see what happens next. As is true in the business world and in socializing, promoting your existence and your abilities is an extremely important aspect of your life in the Internet community.

Interlinking Links

Despite the vast and seemingly impersonal face of online networking, the Internet can be a rather close-knit community. This is because of the nature of individualized or selected linking. Think of a giant bookstore where people in the engineering aisles are likely to share a quip or an observation with others interested in this area. Similarly, the fiction area or the art area will draw in a specific clustering of people. They may or may not interact. The Internet has a remarkable ability to draw users from widely diverse geographic locations, and even vastly different cultural backgrounds, into exceptionally focused points in Cyberspace. The Usenet is one of the best examples, and we see interest areas that are seemingly very limited in scope, populated by strong core groups of users. We see news groups that range from rec.arts.marching.drumcorps to alt.alien.visitors.

The physical invisibility of other users, often thought to be the cold side of electronic communication, actually forces users to make more of an attempt to communicate. In some cases communication is the only activity available. Often, I think of the Internet as an ocean where thousands of us are bobbing up and down on our small crafts and there is a camaraderie that develops around this. We ask questions like, "How do you navigate around those rocks up ahead?" Users will frequently volunteer their assistance, having struggled with similar problems or with their own special circumstances. There is a sort of electronic karma, where your being brave enough to ask a question, frees you up later in life to help someone else.

Somewhere in this process, temporary and sometimes long-term friendships develop. These relations may sometimes be the result of a series of flames where everyone eventually will kiss and make up, or it may be around a very specific issue such as users of a specific software who come together to exchange program tips, macros, or complaints. Opportunities exist for promoting and networking which are not hindered by the normal constraints of time and space. This is not to say that one should barge into any area where you feel you deserve attention and start right in with, "Hi, I'm Howard. I make the best Widgets on earth. Here's my hypertext resume, complete with 24-bit, high-resolution photos." In some places you'll be booted or hooted out of the loop within microseconds. Nor am I suggesting that people more subtly worm or weasel their way into an area they feel will be fruitful for business.

The Internet is a community, and it also has obvious commercial potential. While there has been a de facto and almost perfectly anarchistic state of peaceful coexistence and mutual support among users, this does not mean that people are not interested in exploring and developing opportunities for making money. To me it's not merely an issue of effective targeting—it's an issue of artistic integrity—or, in a word, honesty. I am more likely to buy a computer, for example, were I to find a seller whose life truly revolves around how computers work, and this person is willing to help me make intelligent choices. On the other hand, it would be difficult to resist a straightforward statement that said "20 years in business, lowest price."

Promoting oneself as an artist has unique aspects to it. Unless you are a known artist whose work is in demand, there is not necessarily a group of perspective buyers specifically looking for your work. There is not always what one might technically call a "need" in the sense that a business needs a desk or a car, although this view has been strongly debated. (There are many reasons that a business or an individual may truly need art.) Even when there is a strongly motivated client, the choice of what to buy can be subjective and at the mercy of changing desires. When you buy something like a printer, you may struggle over the look, the comparative features, and the like; but usually there is a set list of requirements that any number of products will meet. Like many artists, I have had the experience of having a particular work be in great demand, while the other works from the same series don't seem to have the same magical appeal. This is why the personality of the artist, the person behind the work, is often the most important part of the process. The same way I need to be reassured that the motherboard I am buying has been put together with thought and integrity, when art is sold there is often a need to hear the artist's own beliefs and to learn about the processes that went into the work.

The Internet is a potentially powerful forum for showing the person behind the work, whether you're seeking a grant to create a dance performance or you're selling Widgits. My home page ( or, for example, has my name highlighted at the bottom. If the reader clicks on my name, they find not only a mix of my .plan and .signature files, but also further links within my various references. I write a column for Internet World. Clicking on Internet World takes you directly to the Electronic Newsstand where archives of this magazine and my work may be found. It's a comfortable way to promote myself because others can choose to make that link on their own. It hasn't been forced on the reader, yet the information is there for anyone who wants to see it. Sometimes, I receive mail where someone sees a particular interest of mine and they share a common interest. This may take the form of "I noticed that in alt.artcom you mentioned you make neon. I work with this medium, too. Some of my work uses electronic sensors[el]," and so on. I have had situations where I am very interested in the contact someone has initiated and situations where I am not interested. It is easy to respond quickly via e-mail and either encourage the dialogue or suggest other people or places they might consider more appropriate. Generally, if someone is sincere and the presentation is direct and simple, I find I respect the attempt to communicate with me, even if I am not interested or able to be helpful.

Letting Others Know

The task of directing others to you or your work is not an easy one. The immensity of the Internet is intimidating. Getting your idea or message across can feel like you're tossing a bottled message into the ocean. Your chances of recognition might be slim, but they're made even more of a challenge by the thousands of others tossing their messages into the sea. Setting aside the idea of e-mailing to everyone (don't try this at home), there are strategies that build a strong foundation that will ultimately help your work to succeed.

The vast diversity of the network becomes comprehensible for each person when individual selections are made and individualized groupings occur. The Internet is a living example of the concept of parallel universes. When I ftp to a NASA's photographic archive because I'm interested in downloading a high resolution photograph of some satellite pictures of some earthly features to test my photo retouching package, I might be next to (in the virtual sense) a geologist who is retrieving the same file for an entirely different purpose. We may have arrived at this site through entirely different paths. The geologist may have been poking around on a university department Gopher. I might be FTPing after seeing an article in an art news group. Someone else might pass through the same site while Net surfing. The three of us have no knowledge of each other's coincidental interest.

Let us suppose I now develop a curiosity about geological formations. I'm inspired to paint a series or create a sculptural environment and I want more information. Now I begin to look for sites that are a little difficult for me to find while the geologist would be on familiar ground, and would understand the language, methodologies, and so on. Maybe the geologist has discovered a need to learn about photo-imaging because greater detail and isolation of physical features has become critical. The geologist now treads into the world of graphic resources, an equally unfamiliar domain. Our paths may anonymously cross again. And there goes that Net surfer.

We both, however, have fortunately interacted a lot with users within our more familiar domains. Owing to the diversity of interests in the department, the geologist finds someone who knows someone who can point a little more directly toward the appropriate resource. I find someone whose home state has a university known for its geology program. I might even by strange coincidence connect with that very same geologist, and we're both thrilled to discover our mutual ability to assist each other. Within the seeming chaos of divergent paths on the Net, there is order where the many possible common interests intersect.

Strategies for effectively finding your best audience begin with your own small circle of contacts on the Net. Your personal mininetwork probably formed quite naturally and it therefore likely has the strongest foundation. But your group of resources can't help if you don't ask. Seeking advice isn't only a logical starting point but it's a no-pressure approach to letting friends and strangers know about your interests. In some cases it enables others to offer resources to you that they didn't realize you might need. Often as a result, your sphere of contacts widens. In the process of developing new relationships, you may have the opportunity to show a sample of what you do or your product to an entirely new audience. You then may be able to ask for advice about your product or service from their perspective. Does this person think the presentation is effective? Might they suggest the kinds of people or companies who might be interested in this service? Have they had any experience with this kind of service or product? You are not only receiving feedback and possible further potential contacts, but you have made yourself known to at least this person, who may in the future refer someone to you. This is all basic business common sense. The same rules of politeness and brevity apply. Be concise and to the point. Keep in mind that people do not want to scroll through screenful upon screenful of information.

After you have established a slightly larger network of people who have a direct interest in you and what you do, it's important to cultivate their interest. The down side of high speed communication is that things grow old fast. Try to stay in touch with what others are doing. Study online techniques or presentations in areas completely different from yours. Occasionally, through a news group or a mailing, announce a new service that you provide. You now have an online presence to maintain. I liken it to animated neon displays I create in my storefront studio window. I feel an obligation to keep things running, and periodically I make a refreshing change. I keep my outdoor neon clock set to the right time. I have learned over the years that people do notice and do appreciate it.

Following Up

Don't forget to follow up the responses and requests that you receive. This provides further opportunities to present yourself and your work in greater detail. You also begin to accumulate information as to what approaches work and what information or aspect of your work needs further clarification. Your new contacts possibly provide more degrees of expansion for your growing personal network. And lastly, don't overlook nonnetwork related activities. We often get so involved in trying to locate someone or some service online that we fail to simply use the phone book. Similarly, the fact that you are working online does not preclude using the mail. A brochure that can be held and leafed through and grabbed off the shelf without having to boot up and then go online to retrieve it certainly makes up for its lack of Internet chic.

Internet-Based Art

In the first part of this chapter, we examine the communities of artists and art users on the Internet and their activities. In this section, we look at artwork that is actually on the network and art that actually is the network. Again, as mentioned earlier, I am primarily focusing on visual art which tends to be a predominant area in online and off-line life. Keep in mind, however, that not all forms of art are represented on the network and that some forms of art are evolving. There may be art forms we have not yet seen which may eventually be so well suited to network interactivity that these forms overshadow the existing media. There are also areas where art forms intersect and overlap. GIFs, for example, may be used to display choreography. We will look at art forms found on the Internet and the Internet itself as an art form.

Art Forms Native to the Internet

Many art forms that have existed in the world of desktop computing have made an easy transition to the Internet. Just about any file format can live on the Internet, and a vast array a file types and program structures can be found. The examples covered next are among the most common and most universal.

Image Files: ASCII, GIF, JPEG, and More

It wasn't long after the first line printers were outputting text-based information that the desire arose for some type of graphic display. ASCII art was the earliest visual computer art form, and it has enjoyed a remarkable longevity. Art work that uses the shapes and locations of text and other ASCII characters forms the basis of graphic signatures, ranging from a simple smile-sized creation all the way to immensely complex pictures. Figure 22.1 is an example of a relatively simple ASCII art file.

Figure 22.1. An ASCII art picture.

ASCII art has grown in its sophistication, as well. Programs exist, for example, that can sample a high-resolution GIF image and then choose ASCII characters that most closely resemble small clusters of pixels, and thus display a detailed gray-scaled image on a text based screen. Figure 20.2 is an example of this style of a gray-scale converted to ASCII file. Newsgroups and archives of ASCII files exist throughout the Internet, and it is an art where the only requirements are a text editor and some patience.

Figure 20.2. A gray-scale drawing converted to ASCII.

A close cousin of ASCII art is ANSI art. Originally, this art form applied to desktop screen effects that used the extended character sets. These character sets redefined character keys as filled blocks, double lines, corners and so on. Also included are the ANSI escape sequences that cause a character to blink, display in higher intensity, clear a line of text, position the cursor, and so on. Because of the nature of how a vt100 screen refreshes its display, ANSI art has become the low budget animator of the Internet. Clever use of escape sequences (programs exist to facilitate this) allow the creation of animated moving text banners and ASCII cartoons.

Compuserve's GIF standard is a reliable and lossless format that allows the exchange of almost all types of graphic files native to specific computers or graphics packages. A user can, for example create a file in MacPaint and then either save it or convert it to a GIF. It can be uploaded to an archive and downloaded to an Amiga or a PC for viewing or further conversion. GIFs can be mailed through the use of uuencoding. With the proper software and a decent band width, a GIF can be viewed online. Mailers that send and receive MIME understand GIF files, as do Gopher and WWW browsers.

As the demand for visual display increases and as modems get faster and more people connect their computers to the Net via SLIP and PPP, the graphic standard is expanding. Enhanced text effects and fonts and a variety of graphic standards are being supported. Popular formats such as JPEG, compressed image files containing enormous amounts of information, are being exchanged.

Sound and Media Files

Static graphic imagery and text aren't the only medium available on the Internet. Sound, and in particular, music has had an enormous presence on the Net. There are dozens of archives where sheet music and chords are available for downloading. There are hundreds of downloadable files containing sound samples for all systems including au files that can play on the Sun /dev/audio device. Sophisticated tools that browse the Web can play sounds embedded in a document in the same manner they display images. A new site named Cirque de la MAMA ( is a multimedia and multidisciplined showcase area. Artists who contribute to this site make use of combined sounds and imagery.

Full-scale compositions are stored as MPEG files, a fairly lossless form of compression. One of the most interesting applications for music is NetJam, a program developed largely by Craig Latta (finger for one of the most amusing and interesting, if not longest .plan files I have seen). NetJam allows a virtual real-time jam session between musicians in remote locations. A synchronization server times the information so that the musicians do, in effect, interact real-time. There are also archives of existing compositions where a user can work in a ones-own-time frame. NetJam information files and program documentation are available via FTP at /pub/misc/netjam.

Video is emerging on the Net as well. There are several sources of video clip files and software for working with video. Programs such as CU-SeeMe allow real-time video conferencing across the network. This software (for Mac and PC) is publicly available via Gopher or FTP at A video artist online not only can present work to be viewed by others but also can interact with several other video artists through the use of reflectors.

Interactivity: OTIS, Muds, MOOs, and More

It would be difficult to trace the early roots of interactive art because all art is actually interactive on some level. A Shakespearean actor makes an aside to the audience and it is, after all, the audience's response which drives the actors. In computer terminology, the distinction between multimedia and interactivity has become somewhat cloudy. To me, the concept finds its origins with artists such as DuChamp, who made works that were meant to be touched and handled or Julian Beck, whose Living Theater produced works that were meant to trigger individual responses from the audience. Sound and light pieces, where an observer's movements trigger sensing devices that then drive light, sound, or movement, began to evolve in the 1960s. Environmental playgrounds exist throughout the world today. Unique to the online culture are muds, MOOs, MUSHes, and interactive communities such as MUSE that can, and should, be viewed as an art form in and of themselves. (For a more complete discussion of muds see Chapter 11, "Online Entertainment.")

Multiuser interactive environments, Adventure, and MultiUser Dungeon, being perhaps the oldest and most famous text-based object-oriented games, create an internal virtual landscape and provide characters, objects, and situations that fill a temporal landscape of action, inaction, chance occurrence, and skill. In the Renaissance, an artist would have to capture the whole gist of possibilities within one static painting. Volumes have been written analyzing the various postures of the Saints in "The Last Supper," for example. The programmer still must create the characters and the scenery with care, balance, and insight. An entire culture then blossoms around the game where users exchange strategies. To a certain extent, the game is now beyond the hand of the author.

Not long ago in New York City, and in Chicago as well, there were art installations that were mini golf courses designed by artists and meant to be played upon. At the vastly exciting Jonathan Borofsky installation at the Whitney Museum in the mid-eighties, among the enormous body of static and kinetic works was a hand-painted Ping-Pong table complete with paddles and ball, and the museum guard's responsibility in this case was to retrieve or replace the occasional overshot or overworn ball. As more systems have allowed direct access to individual public directories, the individual home page has become a personalized interconnective tool. Hand selected favorite sites as well as local gossip/news combine with the author's thoughts, comments, and views to become a type of interactive environment to play within. Often they combine pictures and sounds.

MUSE (Multi User Simulated Environment) extends the multiuser role-playing game to where an entire community exists in real-time. Citizens may enter rooms, embark upon paths, manipulate objects, and create realms for others to explore. The participant doesn't merely play through a pre-programmed set of rules and locations. Objects in space become a medium for creativity, and it's possible for user-citizens to orchestrate scenarios as well.

From a commercial point of view, interactivity will be the primary means by which the consumer is pulled in, analyzed, fitted, given a chance to test drive the product around the block, and billed. All of the challenges that go into making a MUD or a MOO are contained in this growing field. Interactive artists have been dealing with many of the same issues as well, though usually from a conceptual or aesthetic perspective. How, for example, do I create sounds that when triggered by a person's movement, allow the person to know what particular movement at what moment triggered the sound? At the same time, how do you handle the overload of many people in a space causing the sensors to be constantly triggered? And if you successfully trim the sensitivity way down, how do you handle the times when one person or no one is on the site? The artist must not only conceive of the possibilities but he or she must also create a fluid, purposeful transition between these different states. Finally, it's not just the look and feel of the work, but an idea is also being conveyed.

Creative Writing

Let's not forget the time-honored art of writing. The Internet forces each of us to be verbal. We "meet" people online on a daily basis who we may never actually physically meet. Most of us don't have full fledged video conferencing, and therefore we're forced to express ourselves through the written word. Paradoxically, as the technology has so rapidly grown, we have returned to the pre-twentieth century skill of letter writing. I have found that I am much more likely to e-mail a letter to a complete stranger than I am to phone someone I don't know. I'll more readily post my comments to an online discussion group than I would break into an actual group in "real" life. How many of us would hold a sign up in a busy train station reading, "Can someone help me with adding memory to my PC," and yet the relative anonymity of the Net allows us to admit our weaknesses to the world at large and ask for help.

The Internet as an Art Medium

Artists find it hard to resist any new medium. Even the most traditional painter can become interested and even quite enthused over a new kind of paint—as was the case when acrylics were introduced. Artists have been involved with the capabilities and technologies of computers ever since this medium became accessible. Many of the oldest SIGs on the earliest online systems are art interest groups. Sound artists use MIDI. Video artists edit on computers. Special effects on stage are computer controlled. The communications media have also been extensively exploited. An interesting precursor to the interactive era was video artist Nam Jun Paik's New Years' Eve piece in the 1980's. 24 locations around the earth separated by an hour's time zone difference and communicated real-time via interactive uplinked video. Internet based art has been initiated, or rather instigated, by people whose fields are not generally art. John Romkey's "Internet Toaster," driven by its two Internet based commands "push" and "pop" (which are assembler program instructions) has spawned a genre of Internetic art. A work that which went online in June 1994, "The File Room" ( uses the Web to connect to and examine censored works of art in files created and stored by contributors in several countries throughout the world.

In the fall of 1994, The Electronic Cafe finds its U.S. home at New York's Kitchen (, a venerable performance art and multimedia exhibition space that has survived since the early 1970's. The New York strong site, as it is called, joins several other cities around the world to create a setting where artists around the world can create and share interactive multidisciplined works. A dancer in California, for example, may perform in real-time with a musician in Austria. Cyber-culture blossoms here as local patrons of the cafe have access to the teleconferencing systems as well. Countless virtual pubs and cyber-collectives exist throughout the world where users meet to discuss and collaborate.

Internetic Installations

The issue of how to design, create, and install "internetic art" is a challenge. Even the most basic idea of displaying one's visual work or offering a sound piece has to have purpose and intrigue for the users of the Net. Typically, I find that even in a text based environment, it's difficult to attend to every detail that an author has provided. At the moment, owing to the relative slowness of the average user's hardware combined with the large amounts of data that comprise media files, it is sometimes a torturous process to read a page that contains many graphics. This is made particularly painful when an accidental keystroke or misfired mouse click starts an irreversible retrieve of an enormous file. In the normal realm of publicly displayed art, even the largest piece is rarely an obstacle in this sense.

As the "groundskeeper" of New York Art Line, the Panix art Gopher (URL: gopher://, I have found that being on the "server" side is not easy. Before putting my work on Gopher, I experimented with the idea of an in-house BBS on Panix using Lynx as a browser. I had a number of users try out my menus, and I was amazed at how often the unanticipated path was chosen. I felt, for example, that a first line entry that said WELCOME DESK would be the obvious first choice and, therefore, the place for orientation info and the primary "hub." My beta users consistently bypassed this option and went directly to an area deep in the menu that I named "The Dada Base" and where, unfortunately, I did not yet have any material.

As my work moved to Gopher, I became aware of the need for consistency in an ever-changing world. If I was interested in having users become aware of local information that I served, I had to maintain a consistency to my directory structure or else any other established Gopher's link to that area would be broken. This meant that in many cases, you have to live with what you've done until you create a clever way to redirect to your new areas. At the same time, you need to let users know that you're Gopher is not static. Some means for drawing users beyond the consistent look of the main menu is often needed.

My Gopher area now also has a link to my home page where I get to offer the freer form of the Web to users who are browsing with html readers. The home pages of the Web can, to some extent, get by on personality more than consistency. While things do change in the world of Gopher, there is an element of predictability once you're familiar with a particular type of Gopher, such as Arts Gophers. After a while, they start to reference each other and as I look for new links, I frequently find the same core group of Gophers and even similar menu headings. As I embark into the Web, it seems to be an ever-changing and growing resource. One is not better than the other. They are different. Gopher is more like the catalog of your library, while Web is like the magazine stand. The Web, Gopher, FTP, and telnet are the current primary Internet realms where artists can presently create online public installations.

There's No Place Like Home Page

I've mentioned a few times already that the World Wide Web is growing at an incredible rate. On average, I learn about a new art resource or project on the Web just about every day. The Web has several distinct advantages over Gopher and even telnet and FTP. On the one hand, it's possible to present an attractive document complete with fonts, effects, imagery, and sound. Second, the organizational aspect of your material need not be as a static list. It is possible to place hypertext references within a freewheeling prose. Third, to some extent you have greater control over your unique way of presenting links to the Web. In Gopher, as an example, if I organize a directory where I've researched and found many Usenet groups that relate to art, any other Gopher can simply point to this directory, give it a new name, and effectively now "own" this directory, too. I don't happen to mind this because that's the nature of Gopherspace. The Web, however, has a little bit more ability to be proprietary—a reference to another document at a site can be nested so that the initial home page is the only path to the work. Of course, any URL reference that's accessible via the Web is up for grabs. Finally, the fourth advantage is that Web browsers can run a Gopher, telnet, or FTP session. Additional advantages exist in the individual software. Lynx, for example, has the ability to mail a comment to the owner of a document.

The home-spun nature of home pages have made them an attractive option to many people looking to put information on the network. The only disadvantage I see is that the Web is mapped in a somewhat free form way. This makes it both an adventure and a challenge for those looking to present work and those looking to find work. It does seem, though, that good ideas have a way of getting through and surviving. Once a home page begins to be cross referenced by one or two major sites, the awareness and participation, if any is called for, grows geometrically.

Electronic Cafes and Cyber-Culture

The comforts of personalized electronic space are not limited to an individual's home page. The concept of a community hangout on the Net is about as old as the network itself. After all, we are talking about a multiuser environment. Long-time users of the Internet have grown accustomed to and, in fact, have shaped the network so that it is almost impossible to spend all of ones time in isolation. Even the most hermitted lurker still must be aware of the ever present world of exuberant interacting personalities. It's difficult not to find a personal touch within a program or a site. Just as the salon and cafe have been institutions in the art world for the past century and well beyond, the Internet has always had SIGs, news groups, IRC, multiuser games, and so on.

ECHO uses the imagery or analogy of electronic salons where artists gather in virtual space to interact and converse. The WELL (, which is the direct electronic offspring of The Whole Earth Catalogue, structured itself as a series of moderated communities. Delphi (, the first major commercial provider to offer full Internet access, has had a variety of popular SIGs and a sizable collection of smaller SIGs individually configured by users. Arts Wire on has structured itself as a series of conferences for its community of artist users. Borrowing from a host of concepts that have always existed, they have formalized the manner in which users can communicate with each other. A user may initiate a conference with one or several other users. The conference may be formatted as private or public. The larger commercial providers, CompuServe, AOL, Prodigy, and Genie, have had a host of community forum areas both large and specific in scope. The wonderful collection of local Freenets has always had its community centers and town halls. Mail listservers have provided still another venue for exchanging ideas and contacts.

A cafe is usually an environment where the subject matter is open. The draw is that a group of creative personalities are in one place at one time, and their interactions will generate at least an entertaining evening. Talk sessions and Internet Relay Chat have allowed a deeper enhancement of the slightly more static Usenet and other interest areas. However, the concept of interacting online has been expanded with facilities such as NetJam where musicians create combos and play through MIDI-interface across the Net. The OTIS project has allowed artists to interact by manipulating each other's work. These sites allow performers and audiences to share the archived works and to be immediate participants. They are comparable to open microphone night at a local performance space. A number of ECHO derived systems exist where energetic gatherings of artists, musicians, and cultural buffs meet and chat online on a regular basis. There are real-world events springing from network meetings. My local access group,, has picnics, outings to movies, and occasional parties. Commercial enterprises such as pubs, Laundromats, and cafes are placing terminals on their premises. It would not surprise me one bit to see in the near future an Internet version of the diner table jukebox.

Curating and Criticism on the Internet

We have looked at the people who make and appreciate art. We have also explored some of the kinds of art found on the Internet. An important area of interest that bridges the gap between making and appreciating art is the critical evaluation of art.

Understanding What You See

I have found that one of the most challenging areas in the brave new world of the Net is any type of rational or critical evaluation. When I performed scientific research in a previous stage of my life, it was a fair guess that through the use of abstracts combined with diligence and scholarly analysis, one could come reasonably close to what one might call an educated theory about some issue. In the sciences, it is necessary to take the next step of proposing a hypothesis and then setting out to show that empirical cases where your hypotheses are contradicted are extremely rare, if not nonexistent. The humanities and the arts have equally stringent techniques for understanding and determining the critical or cultural validity of a work, although the process uses comparative reason rather than mathematics. On the Internet, even with high speed and high sophistication tools, it is difficult to assign a set of critical values to the information received. If I search, for example, a variety of online databases for causes of the Russian Revolution or even the cause of a thunderstorm, I have no way of determining if my search exhausted what is on the network in these areas or if the material retrieved has "true" validity.

Evaluating the arts is equally challenging. I will leave the issue of good art/bad art to others. What works are presented online. How they persist is, for the moment, based on individual initiative combined with either the willingness of an access system to devote space to what the artist is doing or by the artist paying for disk space. The most basic form of relatively nonjudgmental art critique or curation begins with the activity of cataloguing. I have not yet found any source on the network that attempts to organize and categorize styles of art work and types of media accessible throughout the Internet. This field is in its infancy. There are some galleries and even some museums, notably Reiff II (, that have repositories that accept images and proposals for consideration. The evaluation in this case is performed by the museum's curatorial staff. E-zines are online—theyfeature professional critique and news groups where popular critical dialogue takes place.

Media and Cultural Critique

Every medium has its critics and the world of online business, pleasure, research, and culture has not escaped the critic's eye. In fact, the very public and shared nature of events, tools, and media on the Internet make it difficult for any well used tool or heavily visited site not to become a subject in and of itself for discussion, praise, or occasional ridicule. System administrators can be targets in much the same way our political leaders are lambasted and lampooned. Entire groups have formed around either appreciation, such as the Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan groups or deprecation, such as the Jihad Against Barney. Beyond the simple act of expressing one's momentary views about a system's service or a software's performance, there is an important contribution from the critic's corner. We are not only given some order and a preliminary filtering for our tastes, but some of the aspects that drive the creative process are sometimes revealed, and deeper questions about purposefulness, methodology, and ideology are raised.

The Politics of Critique

Criticism almost always has a political stance beneath its surface. One of the more fascinating aspects of the Internet is the fact that we have a rather large and not so homogeneous grouping that extends well beyond physical and cultural boundaries getting by in a rather remarkable state of harmony. There is everything on the network from punk rock to philosophy. There are Christian groups, Islamic groups, Jewish groups, and so on. In my experience, the level of conflict is well below the expected norm, where all of these groups are physically as close as Cyberspace makes them appear to be. The explanation, I think, lies in the shared adventure of exploring and interacting on the Net and the protective layers of virtual space. Further, the mechanics of the multiuser environment make our interactions nondestructive to each other's virtual territory, and often we are able to enter a dialogue or some other form of contact within the safety of our own personal framework of time.

The Audience Participant

Earlier, I offered four major groupings in the online arts community, and I referred to the third as all of us, or the audience. We are the end users. As the era of interactivity emerges, we are the players as well. Interactive artists refer to participant—viewers or audience—participants. Now, not only do we, as an audience, influence the work by our paying attention to it, but further by acting upon it. It is an unusual predicament for many people. Often upon viewing a work of art, especially in the presence of others, we feel the need to understand or put a label on our experience. I have been to countless exhibitions where people attempted to express what they saw in an abstract work of art. Sometimes, however, the artist does not have a concrete figurative image hidden or contained in the work. This type of art forces the audience to reach deeper within for a less concrete and more emotional or spiritual, and sometimes even physical, reaction.

The responsibility of the audience in an interactive work can go beyond this internal experience. There are works that really do very little until a viewer-participant becomes more fully engaged. It is a little bit like that first time you go online on a UNIX system, and you have a blank screen with a sole prompt waiting for your input. Just as the creative process of the artist sometimes does not begin to flow until there is the direct working and manipulation of substance, a truly interactive work of art will derive its shape and ultimately its meaning as a result of user participation. The point is to enjoy and learn from the interaction. Whether we are discussing an esoteric virtual art environment or a presentation selling a new car, how the audience experiences the work and how the work then responds to the audience's actions will determine its ultimate success.

What Artists Contribute to Understanding of the Net

We have examined the community of artists and audience, and we have explored the art that is on the Internet. We also looked at the Internet as an art form and some of the critical analysis that is a part of the network. In this section, we look at the deeper role that artists play in our ongoing development and understanding of the communications era.

Visualizing Cyberspace

I've often wondered why an artist or a musician has not yet been sent to space. I am reminded of the late great jazz musician Sun Ra who said something to the effect that he did not mind, because he had already been there. Space has been a government research venture, and most of the tendencies to revel in the profound impact of space exploration have been relegated to creativity on the ground—with the exception of one or two astronauts who shared their deeper feelings. Fortunately, Cyberspace does not require a pressurized capsule and years of training, and for a growing number of artists, artistic vision goes beyond merely the look and feel of a software's decor. Creative vision is not simply the ability to find the most stimulating pose for a model standing next to a car. Artists frequently deal with issues of meaning and responsibility to our inner being. Art helps to elevate the mundane to where its place in the grander picture is at least confronted, if not understood. As artists experiment with the Internet as a medium, a reflective mirror is raised where we all may look at who and what we are trying to be.

When I first began to play with programming languages, I tried to methodically order each task toward an end. I soon began to realize that the same ideas or modules surfaced again and again and thus, I became an object-oriented programmer. As I learned about using libraries, I began to realize that I wasn't really a programmer, but rather a designer. The task at hand was no longer the logic; it was the usefulness and appeal of the interface. The sum total of all of the programs—both on network mainframes and on your desktop computer terminal—can be viewed as one large software interface. The modules are completely interdependent. Whether you use Eudora or Elm, the mail must use the same routing mechanisms. FTP, whether by Mosaic or in text alone, still must rely on a uniform directory and file structure and means of data transfer. The artistry of how the interfacing brings the various content and program elements together, and makes use of them, is an exceptionally significant aspect of our online activities.

"Hello World!": Self-Image Online

Most people are initially shy on the Net. It is difficult at first to comprehend how and when you are visible. I remember thinking that all of Delphi could see me and that the Sysops spent their time watching their users input and output. It was a while before I realized that system administrators have their hands too full to be involved in voyeurism. For a while, I swung a hundred-and-eighty degrees the other way when I began to realize how invisible we are on the Net. The issues of personal and shared space—especially on a multiuser system—are persistent and important. It is, for example, a challenge sometimes to promote one's existence and abilities to the network community without appearing to boast and inappropriately use this very public domain.

I was reading the local news on Panix, my home base, and discovered a discussion around a proposal to have a new news group called panix.user.artist. Delighted to find others with whom I potentially shared an interest, I posted to the discussion my support of the news group. I then added a comment that artists might also be interested in checking out the art area (New York Art Line) that I created on Panix's Gopher. When I returned to this discussion a few days later, I was taken aback by a severe reprimand that this was not the place to promote my work. I dutifully apologized and felt somewhat embarrassed and somewhat indignant. I thought to myself "touchy person" and let it go. A week later I poked my head back into the thread and there was an admission that I had been treated a bit harshly. I then added "no problem" and further explained my motivation for posting the information.

This sort of thing is not new for artists. When you send out announcements for your exhibitions, concerts, or performances to friends and associates, you hope that they view your call, your card, or your brochure as an invitation to an enjoyable and thought-provoking event rather than an annoying display of ego. It is difficult to separate a work of art from its creator, and the creator usually does want and need an audience. Many great works of art possess a clear presence of the person behind the work. Hitchcock placed himself in all but his earliest films. Escher's face and hands were in his works. I think it is important that people see and feel the personality of the artist whether by actual commentary or by the markings left by the creative process. This is why I, and apparently many others, find an appeal in the often personal nature of the home page. We seek evidence of a human underneath things in almost all activities. Art is the discipline that works to bring that humanity to the surface. Getting Your Work Out There

We have already discussed a number of techniques for getting your work seen and known on the Internet. There are further issues about the quality of your presentation or installation. First and foremost is an idea that is as true on the Net as it is in real life—be good at what you do or at least be sincere. Kevin's Prairie Dog Town at gopher seems to have had greater staying power than the infamous lawyers who made their mark (I can't help but think of something in bad taste) on the Net. Although their claim was that they were making a sincere attempt to bring certain legal issues to the floor, it is difficult to see their work as any different from Tony Shafrazi's mutilation of Picasso's "Guernica," which he justified as an expression of art.

Determining what belongs or does not belong in any publicly accessed space has never been easy. The argument that graffiti is art, a hotly debated urban issue of the seventies, has been vindicated by the influence of street style in current advertising trends. Pieces of the Berlin Wall, replete with years of politically intense imagery and words, are collector's items. Yet many of us would not be enthused to find our transportation system, our businesses, and our personal property covered with heavily painted scrawling.

A major debate in the art world took place around the "Tilted Arc" in New York City. This public work by noted steel sculptor Richard Serra was commissioned by the federal government for Federal Plaza, a process that entails greater competition and public scrutiny than a military bid. Once the work, a long curved and tilted wall, was installed, an immediate opposition emerged from workers in the Federal building. Arguments ranged from "it's ugly" to a fear that it would fall or that one could become a victim of a mugging behind the wall. For the artist, the issue went beyond simply pride. A major commissioned work by the federal government is an exceptionally significant stage in even a well-known artist's career. Its permanence and prominence in a public space for time immemorial has an unfathomable value. The debate went to the courts, and the workers prevailed. This was seen as a victory for populist control over the content of art, and at the same time a severe blow to the right of free expression and an artist's right to protect his or her own work.

Graffiti on the Internet seems to be at a minimum. Occasionally, everyone on my access system will receive an unwanted "hey" from a naive user. When America Online began to offer limited Internet access along with limited user support, many long-time Internet users became infuriated with the busloads of "newbies" who appeared to think that every individual and every news group was their new user support. There have been flame gangs who have made it their pastime to attempt to pull the focus of a news group discussion way off of its track, purely for the fun of the exercise.

Some things to think about when seeking to place your work on the Internet include: What groups are interested in the material I am offering? Is it unique? Has the interest for this type of a site or project passed its peak? Has the presence and/or the structure of my work created an obstacle or a mild annoyance for users? Have I designed my project in a flexible manner so that if the need for a major revision arises, I can readily adapt and thereby minimize downtime and any other inconvenience?

A look Toward the Techno Future

In a round table discussion on National Public Radio about the Internet, I caught a remark to the effect that to some, the word "interactive" means a button on your TV that says "buy." We are being inundated daily with commercials showing glimpses of soon-to-be telephone technologies. Radio shows are being cobroadcast on TV. A call-in interactive children's show, Moxie, where a cartoon character can respond spontaneously, has been offered by the Cartoon Channel. As the communications media of TV, radio, computers, and telephone merge, a host of issues (both pragmatic and philosophical) emerge. The organization of all of this information and resource is changing in nature.

We used to watch a handful of TV channels. In your viewing area, you would get to know the flavor of each one—though they all essentially tried to offer the same thing. The main qualitative differences were between local and network offerings. As cable grew, we began to see some degree of specialization such as The Learning Channel and MTV. We now see a high degree of specialization emerging. We have The SciFi Channel, The Comedy Channel, The Romance Channel, The History Channel, and so on. Similarly, on the Internet where Gophers used to point to just about everything, they are becoming specialized—for example, the Ceramics Gopher and the History of Science Gopher. On the Web this has advanced to highly specialized home pages such as the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Collision with Jupiter Information home page (

It is difficult to predict the state of art on the Internet even five years down the road. While analogies can be drawn from the development of home and business computing over the last decade, much of what lies ahead has no previous foundation. It would be somewhat like being able to predict the existence of WinGopher years before Gopher or even Windows existed. The rate of expansion on the Internet has been accelerating so dramatically that I would not be surprised to see it as a subset or parallel set to an equal or considerably more powerful system. Many of the obvious commercial ventures are already being suggested. That ad on TV where a mechanic or a doctor receives long distance assistance can be easily substituted with an interior designer viewing your living room and instantly displaying custom tailored computer generated designs. A make-up artist or a clothing designer might work with your features and show the new you on-screen.

Will pure art have to compete with a self-indulgent, commercially-driven interactive media, or will channels exist to promote and support experimental ideas? Will the experience of art become removed from the public through confinement to a video display or a printed output, or will it become closer to the public by being more readily accessible? The world has a handful of serenely beautiful sculpture gardens. These are very special places where children and adults can walk within or upon art works and thereby experience the artist's vision in an all encompassing way. Would a virtual tour through a garden satisfy or compel? The ultimate challenge for future artists in this realm will be to bring experiences that are real to what will be otherwise a cerebral plane or viscerally stimulated plane.

Pointers to Art Resources on the Internet

These sites are of interest to artists, people who work in the art related fields, and people who enjoy the arts. Many of these sites are stimulating and enjoyable to just about everyone. Of course, as you probably know, sites change on the Internet and they are not always active. I even had a site close down and disappear forever while I was in the middle of transferring a file. The following are generally known to be in service at the time of this writing. This listing is by no means complete. I have included sites that will lead you to further arts resources, databases, images, sounds, and more. Also on this list are a few sites that are more esoteric and that demonstrate the diversity in this field. I apologize in advance for any sites that may leave you hanging in dead virtual space. I have made additions and deletions just before we've gone to press but I cannot predict which of these sites will be in operation at the time of your connection. The constant change on the Internet can be frustrating, but it also brings about new and interesting additions every day.

General Art Resources on Gopher












General Art Resources on World Wide Web

Images, Sound, Software, Databases, and FAQs






gopher:// and Images

gopher:// and Sound





Selected Arts Usenet Groups















E-Zines, Databases, and FAQs -Library









telnet:// (Choose B then Choose 2)

Art Education and Other Art Related Information




Cybercultural Links



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