(Auto)Content (2006)

Curated by Schuyler Maclay
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The internet is offering more than simply a new medium for artists to manipulate; it also provides artist with an infinite source of material and content. This material is practically limitless, and at the same time it is fully searchable, a detailed catalogue of the lives of millions of people. Cyberspace is literally filled with the fodder of our daily lives. Many new media artists have looked at how to exploit this limitless source of new material within their art. These pioneering artists are exploring the worlds of Flickr, and Blogspot, using search technology like Google and tagged information to grab content from all over the Web to use as content. The works in this exhibit share a notable quality - they all appropriate the raw material of the work from the endless masses of cyberspace. But beyond simply appropriating the material, which artists have been doing since the Dadaist photomontages, these works represent the results of real-time trolling of cyberspace, and thereby the artist is not choosing what image to display, or what sound to play; he is simply developing a protocol and a structure within which to frame, manipulate or in some way contextualize and present, real-time raw data that is being harvested by searching the internet. While the methods of presentation that we see below vary greatly, each work shares the fact that the artist is not regulating the raw materials, and that these materials are gathered in real time. This have a very tangible affect on the meaning of each work. These works, especially when viewed collectively, give a visualized glimpse into the content of the web, giving the viewer insight into just what is out there, the varied dynamics of what we as a culture are uploading. Another important facet of these works is a result of the appropriation the artists initiate. We are viewing bits of the millions of pieces of data that people are self-publishing, but as the viewer, we cannot help but wonder if the people who post their snapshots on flickr or any other medium of self-publication, knew that they would be broadcast out to the world as art.

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