■ Anne-Marie Schleiner 's comment
The process of being a Juror of Net Art has given me an opportunity to revisit looking at net art from a more analytical and critical position that I havent taken since back in the days when I was a contributing member of Switch in the mid to late 90's. Switch is an online Magazine dedicated to Net Art and Digital Art at San Jose State University in California. At that time some of the critical categories we saw in Net Art. sometimes overlapping, other times disparate were collaboration, retro hackerish code fetish, telepresence, and hypertext and image poetry. At that time we tried to make a distinction between net art which specifically used the medium of the Internet for essential purposes as opposed to
photography or other art mediums simply using the Web as another display venue. In the works we juried for Netarts.org 2004 it seemed to me we ran into a similar problem--some sites we looked at, although certainly well executed and impressive artworks, did not seem like they fell into even a more fuzzy definition of "Net Art".
One of the newer directions which I have noticed have changed since early Net Art days was an increased abundance of "Flash Art", (amazing how one company can have such aesthetic impact--though who knows maybe these days with things like Processing appearing multimedia and animation type works could become more diversifed in their aesthetics). Another newer category which I found exciting, evidenced in the work awarded an honorable mention, 52 Songs, was the merging of net art and blogs--a kind diary of a continuous creative process. Of course 52 Songs is also indicative of another
trend which has gained predominance since the early net art days, though not exclusive to the web, that of live performance experimental musical performance and VJism. Perhaps another direction, not really so new, is what Lev Manovich has labeled as augmented reality, art using technologies such as wireless to blur online and offline space. One Block Radius (another honorable mention) is a very local physical project in one block of Manhatthan taking advantage of wireless.
Ping Melody, the winner of netartsorg this year for me had a special resonance because in 1999, under my former net art pseudonym of Parangari Cutiri, a mathemeticial musical persona, I created a java
applet, in collaboration with Brett Stalbaum, which would allow you to play a server as a musical instrument by pinging its ports. Pinging a server's ports are what hackers do sometimes looking for an
open "back door" into a server. Anway Ping Melody is I think an impressive example of blending sneaky hacker tricks with creative art and music, and also of blending the internet into live performance space.