The Best of the Web 2006


  Professional Internet publishers can define virtually any activity these days as work related, which can mean significant problems for your productivity. However, once a year, we have the opportunity to tally the results of our time wasting skills, which today means recapping the best and worst things we've seen on the web in 2006.<br /><br /><span style="color: rgb(0, 102, 0); font-weight: bold;">THE BEST OF THE WEB 2006</span><br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><img src="" height="328" width="400" /><br /></div><br /><span style="font-weight: bold;">10. <a href="">The Fishyawa - Bagagaga Bop</a>!</span><br /><br />At the end of August <a href=";cid=1156456210969&call_pageid=970599119419">the Toronto Star</a> ran a great article (* no longer available)  on Animutation a form of flash animation that embraces the nastiest of graphics, and mutates the faces of pop stars. Probably the best of the videos I've seen in this genre, Bagagaga Bop represents an art form that developed naturally as a result of working with web tools and assets. No deep meaning can be found in this work, which is completely the point.  Why struggle to find thought in a McGraphic? Deface a popstar, add a few babies, aliens and boats to a video, and back it with a song written in a language you don't understand.    I've heard some grumbling that this form of animation is problematic because it exotifies Japanese music, and while I can't wholly dismiss the argument, I figure if I'm not bothered by the fact that somebodies face is being disfigured in the name of comedy, I might as well let this one go too.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><img src="" height="300" width="400" /><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-weight: bold;font-size:78%;" >Alec Soth</span><span style="font-size:78%;">, </span><span style="font-style: italic;font-size:78%;" >Candlelight Hotel</span><span style="font-size:78%;"> 2004<br />Photo copyright Alec Soth<br /></span></div><span style="font-weight: bold;"><br />9. <a href="">Alec Soth</a></span><br /><br />Launched in September 2006, Alec Soth has quickly become the author of one of the most popular art blogs today. I suppose it helps that he's an art superstar, but let's be honest -- <a href="">Wil Wheaton</a> not withstanding -- most people don't read famous people's blogs if they suck. I subscribe to his feed because he's always writing about some really interesting subject I would not thought to write about. Most recent example: <a href="">Photography used in book covers</a>.<br /><br /><img src="" height="117" width="117" /> <img src="" height="117" width="117" /><img src="" height="117" width="117" /><br /><br /><br /><span style="font-weight: bold;">8. <a href="">Pogs</a></span><br /><br />What is a <a href="">digital pog</a>? I had no idea what this <a href="">Michael Bell-Smith</a> project was about until I read  <a href="">Tom Moody's</a> description "Briefly, <a href="">pogs</a> started as illustrated milk bottle caps in Hawaii and grew into a kid-collectibles crazelet in the '90s. Digital pogs are 177-pixels-in-diameter GIF files that exist and can be "bartered" mainly via the Internet and web browsers."<br /><br />Since the project's inception, there have been hundreds of submissions by artists, many of them hypnotic, and very desirable.  Nobody, to my knowledge, has figured out a way to trade them though, which I think would ultimately make them a little more viral. (Some discussion already occurred on the top of competition which resulted in artist <a href="">Guthrie Lonergan</a>'s <a href="">pog marquee battle.</a>) Really, I just want a way to feature a daily pog in my sidebar.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><img src="" height="314" width="400" /><br /><span style="font-size:78%;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Personism<br />Screengrab AFC</span></span><br /></div><span style="font-weight: bold;"><br />7. <a href="">List of women for your conference</a></span><br /><br />For some reason, don't ask me why, I've managed to resist the urge to place a giant picture of myself as a representation of <a href="">Jen Bekman's</a> <a href="">list of </a><a href="">women in the arts</a> on Personism. The title of her post pretty much explains what it is. It's not like this is the first time anyone's ever made a list of professional women working in the arts, but post has a permanent place in my sidebar under resources, because it's current, and is copy and pasteable.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><img src="" height="329" width="400" /><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-style: italic;font-size:78%;" >Image via youtube</span><br /></div><span style="font-weight: bold;"><br />6. <a href="">Mannequins on skateboards fall over</a></span><br /><br /><a href="">This short video </a>featuring a mannequins on skateboard competition first appeared on <a href="">Boing Boing</a> this fall.  I particularly like the sound design of this piece.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><img src="" height="241" width="400" /><br /><span style="font-size:78%;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Screengrab AFC</span></span><br /></div><br /><span style="font-weight: bold;">5. <a href="">David Cronenberg Interview on Rocketboom</a></span><br /><br />In July of 2006, <a href="">Andrew Baron</a> interviewed director David Cronenberg about, <a href="">Supernova</a>, the Andy Warhol exhibition he curated for the Art Gallery of Ontario. The discussion began with a discussion about film and Warhol, and ended up discussing the future of film in the wake of Internet distribution. I talked about this video endlessly for weeks after I saw it.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><img src="" height="77" width="400" /><br /><span style="font-style: italic;font-size:78%;" >Screengrab AFC</span><br /></div><br /><span style="font-weight: bold;">4. <a href="">Tom Moody</a></span><br /><br />I imagine <a href="">Tom Moody</a> is on virtually every net artists "best of list", but I think he deserves a lot more credit amongst the larger art community, (as does the net art community generally.)  He's one of the few critics who talks about what he likes and dislikes in equal proportion, always giving the artist the courtesy of actually thoroughly considering the work before discussing it. Also, his animated gif show up at <a href="">artMovingProjects</a> last spring was excellent, and very much overlooked.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><img src="" height="136" width="400" /><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:78%;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Screengrab AFC<br /><br /></span></span></div><span style="font-weight: bold;">3. <a href="">ArtCal</a> and <a href="">The Reeler </a></span><br /><br />These two Internet start-up companies have the fact that I work for them in common. I also happen to think they are amongst the best sites on the web.<br /><br />On <a href="">ArtCal</a>: If you like to attend openings, but find you can't keep track of what's going on, then <a href="">subscribing to ArtCal's weekly mailer</a> is probably the best favor you'll ever do yourself (simply enter your email in the box above the subscribe button and you're done.)  The opening listings are selective, which means you don't have to wade through endless listings of shows you'll never attend, and <a href="">Barry</a> and <a href="">James</a> even pick out a few of their favorite exhibitions for you.  Since these guys see at least twice as many shows as the average reviewer, I find their picks to be more reliable than <a href="">ArtForum</a>.<br /><br />On <a href="">The Reeler</a>:  If you are a cinema buff and live in New York city, you probably read this site every day already. If you aren't, there is a good possibility you will become one after visiting. That's what happened to me.  What can I say? I like well thought out criticism and everything published on that site is opinionated, well written, and thoroughly researched. Also, I have noticed my writing benefits when working with an editor. Some of my best work has appeared on that site.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting" border="0" /></a><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-style: italic;font-size:78%;" >Hasselhoffian-Recursion<br />Image via: <a href="">Post</a><br /><br /></span></div><span style="font-weight: bold;">2. <a href="">The Year In the Internet 2005</a></span><br />Spearheaded by <a href="">Michael Bell-Smith</a> and <a href="">Cory Arcangel</a>, these artists invited 11 Internet mavericks to provide their top ten lists of great websites and web ephemera from 2005. It's all fantastic stuff but standout contributers include <a href="">Brett O'connor's</a> gif find titled <span style="font-style: italic;">Hasselhoffian-Recursion</span>, and <a href="">Gutherie Lonergan's</a> link to <a href=""></a>, which features a three layered rollover. Sadly, it looks like that feature is now gone...though it's still one of the ugliest sites I've seen.  My own uninvited 2006 contribution to this project is <a href="">this toilet gif</a>. I guess I just share the <a href=""></a> belief that no bathroom graphic is complete without several toilet seats circling a globe. [Editors note: The company's slogan is one of the odder marketing choices I've observed in a while.]<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><img src="" height="134" width="400" /><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-style: italic;font-size:78%;" >Screengrab AFC<br /><br /></span></div><span style="font-weight: bold;">1. <a href="">Cory Arcangel's Kurt Cobain vrs Google Adsense</a>.</span><br />Hands down the best Internet art of the year.   If you're not already aware of "<a href="">punk rock 101</a>", Cory Arcangel published Kurt Cobain's suicide letter word for word, and then set up Google adsense on the page.  This is quite possibly the most brilliant subversion of the medium I have  seen.  The artist uses the death of a superstar, which is caused in part by the pressures of media , and couples it with Internet commerce.  It's a good joke, but of course it's also a profoundly sad gesture that Cobain's death would later serve to increase ringtone sales.    Presumably a result of being listed on the front page of <a href="">Digg</a> last year, Google got wind of the project, and  forced him to remove the ads.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><img src="" height="72" width="400" /><br /><span style="font-style: italic;font-size:78%;" >Screengrab AFC</span><br /></div><span style="font-weight: bold;">Bonus pick: <a href=""></a></span><br />It's not really fair to put together a list of great art related material on the web, without mentioning the most important institutional web supporter working today: <a href=""></a>.  Rhizome typically doesn't host net art themselves, but they do sponsor it. Given that commercial galleries have not proven to be the best venues for artists working in this medium, Rhizome,  has an importance to the development of net art that can not be understated.<br /><br />Coming up next: The worst of the web 2006<p class="blogger-labels">Labels: <a rel='tag' href="">internet</a>, <a rel='tag' href="">top 10 06</a></p>

Ah, thanks, Paddy. Hey, check out our Artbase, where we do host net art, and also our online net art exhibits, like those in the Time Shares series...

Originally posted on Art Fag City by Rhizome