Six Rules Towards A New Internet Art

Posted by Rhizome | Tue Feb 12th 2002 1 a.m.

Boundaries are what inspired the "heroic period" of early net.art--
boundaries such as bandwidth, browser design limits, etc. Ironically; as
bandwidth has expanded and browers more flexible, we have also seen a
homoginization of net.art. A design aesthetic prevails; as we see
slicker and slicker "art" sites with no message or point or content.
Several of the following limitations are designed to deflect the
trappings of tradition set up by the original net.art form which we seem
mired in. The new net.art will not appeal to net.art purists nor the
designers with a bent towards untraditional displays; instead it is a
reflection of what I see as "the new cliches."

The following was drawn up in my frustration at viewing work on the
internet as of late, in an attempt to find for myself what it is that
has started to bore me so much about art on the web. The "manifesto" was
written as a means of provocation to thought in other artists on the web
who are not looking at the traps they are falling into; as well as
tendencies in my own work that I was unsatisfied with. You will notice
that the work I list below is not "boring" but merely rampant; I am not
saying that work created against the rules I'm setting forth can't be
interesting; but merely that these modes are already prevalent, and
that steps should be taken by any artist who is interested in expanding
the medium by posit rather than reproduction. Work created under the New
Net Art Banner will work within the following selected boundaries--at
least 7 of these criteria must be met for a work to be considered "New
Net Art."

If no one responds to it, I am quitting the list.

+ + +

1. No Flash.

This has nothing to do with corporate/anti-corporate; and should not be
mistaken as the most radical rule. The no-flash rule is in effect by
simple virtue of its rampant use in net.art work at the expense of
diversity. Because flash is so common, we see common systems of
animation; common color schemes, common layouts. This rule should be
taken with the understanding that under the rules for "new net.art"
there is an allowance for up to 30% of a site to consist of flash and
shockwave.

2. No introduction pages.

There will be no thesis; critical reviews or explanations of intent or
content before displaying the work. The use of such pages is alienating
and self-important and detracts from the responsibility of the viewer to
interact with the work in order to discover its meaning; this results in
a decreased sense of intimacy within net.art.

3. No more art for the sake of error.

No more art will be produced using broken code; flashing gifs or
anything relating to computer viruses or corrupted data. This work is
already a predominant aesthetic.

4. Images must be unique to the sitemaker.

Any images used on the site must be scanned or photographed by the
artist embedding it into html. Images found on the internet may not be
recycled or re-appropriated. This is intended to develop a unique,
localized feel to all new net.art; as well as contribute to a new
exploration of the documentary in net.art.

5. Technology is not a subject. The internet is not a subject.

New net.art cannot be "reflective of the internet or technology or its
impact." These subjects are irrelevant; as the internet is not "new" and
its impact has been largely explored.

6. The work stands alone.

No CV may be included in the promotion or distribution of communications
art. The CV is irrelevant to the experience of any art and should not be
included in any materials used to promote the site.
  • M. River | Wed Nov 26th 2008 12:30 p.m.
    I can not believe, after all these years, that no one commented on this posts. It’s still one of my favorite Rhizome moments of all time. Just saying.

    (to be clear - I love, made and still hope to make all that is railed against in this post but hell, I’m still with you Eryk.)
  • Christina McPhee | Wed Nov 26th 2008 12:45 p.m.
    This text itself exactly qualifies as net art according to its own terms. It's da bomb.
  • M. River | Wed Nov 26th 2008 2:23 p.m.
    Yeah, Totally...although, I think if you set the 6 Rules (2002) to this email, #5 is a fail. Also, if I understand the rules right...

    Work created under the New Net Art Banner will work within the following selected boundaries--at
    least 7 of these criteria must be met for a work to be considered "New Net Art."


    you need to hit 7 of the rules to count. He listed only 6.

    If I could pick a rule #7 for the set it might be something from the Dogme 95 Manifesto Vows of Chastity like "Optical work and filters are forbidden." or one from the LARP version "All secrecy is forbidden." or something new like "no commercial platforms (youtube, facebook, etc.)"

    Anyways, it’s always good to make and then break rules in art.

  • Christina McPhee | Wed Nov 26th 2008 2:37 p.m.
    the great thing is that, as there is no rule seven, then the work automatically "fails" , ergo violates one of the rules (ie no glitches).

    like your Vows of Chastity concept too. Could be a technical virgin.
Your Reply