I’m a net artist


14 August 2007


Area3’s animation I’m a net artist was originally posted as a response to a question posed by the first online issue of Gluebalize Magazine, published in conjunction with the 2003 Venice Biennale.

The magazine raised the question “What is net art?” and area3 answered with a humorous animated song that both captures the spirit of net art and playfully juxtaposes differences between traditional and networked media.

I’m a net artist mixes the ‘old’ and ‘new’ by using the format of animated line drawing and pointing to traditional forms of animation in order to outline the characteristics of the ‘new medium’ of net art.

The project operates on the tension between media formats that clash and mix. The animated song itself is presented as a linear Quicktime movie distributed over the Net—a format that seemingly contradicts the potentially interactive and participatory nature of net art as a medium.

The animation plays with the set-up of the ‘educational video’ featuring the stereotypical figure of the bespectacled teacher explaining the world of net art on the ‘blackboard’ of the animation frame. Traditional line drawing and the iconography and aesthetics of net art mix in references to RGB colours, ASCII poetry, classics of computer games and net artist pioneers Jodi.

As the lyrics to the song indicate, mouse manipulation is a different form of art contemplation; the art itself is based on mathematics guiding electron collaboration.

I’m a net artist also hints at the promises and frustrations of the new networked medium, where the global connection from computer A to computer B often results in connection errors and annoyingly slow download speeds and economic models are still in the making.

One scene from the movie shows the net artist sitting on the sidewalk of the city streets asking for one Euro net art donations while a truck with an art shipment rolls by (and over the artist) on its way to Venice. I’m a net artist makes net art accessible through the more familiar language of animation and, at the same time, highlights the pixel as the smallest unit of a new way of drawing.

The refrain of the song accompanying the animation—”I’m a net artist, look at me, I’m in every coloured pixel of your little screen”—points to the distributed presence of the ‘new artist’ who appears on people’s desks in their homes and offices.

I’m a net artist