Thesis statement: The development of internet art is based on the thematic changes of the internet itself and is not based on outside cultural influences.
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When examining internet art, it can be seen that similar to physical art that undergoes stylistic trends and modifications over the years, internet art has also undergone an evolution towards interactivity between the art that is created and the user that is viewing it.
Frost (2012) goes more in-depth in her explanation regarding the stylistic changes involved in the depiction of internet art wherein she notes that while art often times evolves as direct result of new cultural themes that influence artists, internet art evolves not out of changes to the culture of the artist, rather, it evolves based on the thematic changes seen on the internet itself (Frost, 468-469).
For example, when examining the types of internet art created during the onset of the popularity of the internet such as the work of Claude Closky (Do you want love or lust), Tim Rollins (Prometheus Bound) and Kristin Lucas (Between a Rock and a Hard Drive) it can be seen that the art is static, meant primarily to be observed and incite the imagination of the viewer. However, this contrasts considerably with the work of Cecilia Edefalk (24 hour Venus), Lisi Raskin (Warning Warum) and Sue Tompkins (My Kind Book) which has a considerable degree of interactivity built into the artistry that was created.
The basis behind this change was due to the shift from Web 1.0 towards Web 2.0 technologies which promoted greater user interaction with the internet. Web 2.0 delivered the capacity for content creation by ordinary users which translated into the development of a similar capacity for interaction in internet art (Frost, 468-469).
Artists began to take into consideration how users could develop their own experiences through the art they created and even began to develop art around the user experience rather than merely inciting a user’s imagination regarding what the message the art is trying to express through mere presentation.
However, it should be noted that the introduction of interaction was not the only manner in which internet art was influenced by the thematic changes on the internet, rather, another way in which it was influenced was through the introduction of simplicity and “cleanliness” in design which mirrored the manner in which present day websites are designed around a simple, clean, yet interactive means of information presentation.
Based on the work of Kholeif (2013), it was noted that the stylistic changes of cleaner designs for internet websites was developed around 2005 till the present. Based on the assumption that internet art follows the thematic themes of the internet, a similar trend should also appear wherein internet artwork would appear increasingly “clean” emphasizing more interaction over visual representation (Kholeif, 9-12).
Starting from the work of Diller and Scofidio (Refresh), Arturo Herrera (Almost Home) and Stephen Vitello (Tetrasomia), all of which were created prior to 2001, it can be seen that such works emphasized the prolific use of bright and even chaotic images and designs when it came to their artwork. However, when tracking the design of internet artists from 2006 till the present, a subtle yet increasing shift can be seen where the designs become simpler and interactive elements are added in.
Artists such as Wilfredo Prieto (A Moment of Silence), Dorit Margreitler (Alphabeth), Sue Tompkins (My Kind Book) and Shannon Ebner (Language is Wild) who created internet art between 2006 till 2012 showed an increasing simplification in the design elements utilized which along with the introduction of greater levels of interactivity shows how internet art can be considered an expression of internet themes and how artists interpret their application towards promoting particular ideas at the present.
Frost, Charlotte. “Art History 2.0?.” Leonardo 45.5 (2012): 468-469. Print
Kholeif, Omar. “THE CURATOR’s New Medium.” Art Monthly 363 (2013): 9-12. Print