THOUGHTS ON

TRULY VIRTUAL WEB ART MUSEUM

 

Rodney Chang

March 26, 1998

 

 

       The Net in the natural extension of Post-Modernism and its ultimate arrival of total dematerialization. Digital imagery when "on" indeed elicits affirmative aesthetic response but vanishes when turned "off." On one hand "Truly Virtual Web Art Museum" is positioned in this new cyber-frontier to be a true cultural entity that services mankind - and globally, in such a sphere where physical museums cannot begin to compete. Yet, get offline and this "museum" ceases to exist. But yet its presence persists as its conceptual exhibitions are visible reality, at any given moment, in a multitude of locations around the globe, and in real time and "places" (cybercafes, computers in institutions and schools, even in bedrooms).         
     Cyberart transforms art from paint to electrons. Art is reduced to information, bits of data streaming in transmission lines and even wirelessly through the air.
    Truly Virtual Web Art Museum is evidence on the Web of the yearning for reconstitution of art as we arrive at the gateway of the next millennium, now threatened with further disappearance of objectified aesthetic objects through the dominating high technology culture. Spending increasing amounts of time in "cyberspace" - "life is too short" too - deprives us more and more of time with  art within our physical environment.  This leads to the need for true artistic encounter also while in virtual space. 
     There is also a growing need, as a true global community evolves, to possess indigenous high art culture, like any other society. So this museum attempts to provide this needed interaction - with original digital art for a digital place.
       Personal experience on the Internet is usually solitary. One may feel socially isolated. Through viable online art, a sense of spirituality can be a source of warmth in the ethereal digital vastness that is the Internet. Now 100+ million strong, we wander, lost in time and space, travelling around to strange places without faces. This is the audience that I built Truly Virtual Web Art Museum to serve.
      Crossover into the Internet realm is the absolute dematerialization not just of traditional art but existence itself for the absorbed individual. The present day movement back towards reconstitution of the art piece and the popularity of such work in physical museums is partly a direct result of the Net phenomenon!