May 14, 1997
During the course of a year devoted to creating an art Web site I have had the opportunity to ponder just how computer art can transform into "cyberart". I define "cyberart" as aesthetic expression and thought which primarily inhabits the Internet, specifically the World Wide Web. It should possess something else besides merely artistic graphics uploaded to the Internet or simple rendered with computers. The latter is what I consider "computer art". Ideally, cyberart should possess-
1) a unique NEW look,
2) have Internet relevance or subject matter content,
3) contribute to the online global acculturation experience and process and
4) utilize the special environment of the Internet in which to cultivate art.
Some of this medium's qualities that must be given attention by the working cyberartist include-
1) the potential for multiple location real time viewing,
2) interactivity of viewer/browser with the works,
3) consideration of present/ever changing online capabilities (such as real time chat, sound, video, and virtual reality multimedia) and limitations (varying viewers' monitor size, sound and graphic board variability, differences in display by different browser software and mean viewer downloading patience),
4) direct communication between the artist and the end viewer of his creative efforts,
5) vulnerability to abuse of the artist through such online actions as image piracy, graphic manipulation (a form of virtual vandalism) and unjust criticism, all part of presenting one's work in the world's public eye,
6) negotiating among the entanglement of file type incompatibility through the forced co-mingling of graphics, audio, HTML, VRML, and telecommunication digital domains initially developed for different digital environments.
Under such an influence to think and create anew as computer artist turning cyberartist, I document here my initial course as digital artist-
1) Paintouts, or my paintings on canvas stemming from original computer graphic work, take up an instant new identity and role as input data for uploading art to the 'net. Conceptually, the manually derived art reenters the electronic realm and as such is reedited/reworked by the same digital artist in preparation of its online debut. During the editing process modifications to the art are governed by the artist's preconceived notions of how paintings are castaway reminants of the emergent virtual Cyberpaintings. The metamorphical digital image is now the final piece, enriched through serial image processing, manual hard copy rendition, redigitalization with a newer generation of computer graphics power and now launched into a multimedia rich virtual environment that is invented and controlled by the artist.
2) Creation of ongoing digital art, even as I continued work on this major Web site and artist "homepage" over the course of a year, to include virtual art museum, theater for animation and a "library" for cyberculture research, is influenced by the artistic goal of creating the work for display on the 'Net. In working with new tools to create Web pages ideas crop up on how to incorporate new computing abilities to express and expand oneself artistically.
3) New parameters for making computer art are explored as they are realized, such as working in the potential space beyond the viewing screen of the monitor, becoming familiar with how people interact online and mirror this behavior through art, creating aesthetic experience without graphics by using Internet communication conventions such as the HTML code itself, keeping abreast with multimedia advances in online networking (video, animation, audio and teleconferencing), and attempting to force the recipient into interaction to elicit the artistic effect of the work (such as puzzles, stereograms and art requiring 3-D glasses).
4) Meet the challenge of creating a platform, i.e., environment, in which to present the art; the artist must become a director to produce a presentation of the art in virtual space and time.
5) Realization that part of the motivation to create cyberart stems from the exciting opportunity to document one's art globally, market internationally in a leading edge way, create affiliations and collaborations with other artists and art institutions and apply technological advances for online multimedia and networking to one's own art niche. In short, attempt to control one's artistic destiny.
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