can art be adequately presented via the internet? : LUSENET : STREAMING MEDIA ART : One Thread

As a long-time user of the internet, I've seen the evolution from bbs's to text only sites with color, to the bandwidth clogger of images, to streaming audio and video. I've benefited from ethernet connections at times, thus getting access to more than otherwise accesible. Audio is adequately represented electronically, because the audience is used to the idea of the art removed from the artist, and without a frame. CDs present a form of frame, but it is so removed from the individual or instrument of creation that it has numbed us to the division. Still images are a cheap substitution for the real thing, when digitized before viewed, because tangible still art is mainly experienced through the environment (a room or museum) and the visible effort (paint-strokes or chistle marks). Still art formed via the computer is more accurately experienced, but the reception of such varies widely and is dependent on the individual circumstance of the viewer.

This brings me to streaming and/or animated art. Some videos and movies I've seen online were well worth the wait of download, or the occasional pauses when streaming, yet it is so hard for me to consider them art. Most efforts do not take into account that everyone has a different external environment when viewing the computer. I have yet to see something on the net that incorporates the viewing environment as well as the intended content (aka John Cage).

In conclusion, I get so much out of seeing a painting, a sculpture, a play, or a concert because these expressions are presented in areas specifically built for their conveyence. Media over the internet is better than no media whatsoever, but has anyone ever seen anything they found over the net that spellbound them? without them wishing they saw/heard it in another form or in a different environment?

Is the internet a valid place for artistic expression or simply a way to share knowledge/interpretation of the real thing?

-- Kali Gosiewska (, September 05, 2000


As a fine art lithographer who after 25 years has come to digital processes and is finding a lot of possibilities I want to respond to Kali Gosiewska: "Some videos and movies I've seen online were well worth the wait of download, or the occasional pauses when streaming, yet it is so hard for me to consider them art. Most efforts do not take into account that everyone has a different external environment when viewing the computer." I find this an interesting comment. I cannot say that I have seen that many online videos or movies but I find it curious that the idea of making a work controlling the intending environmnet is called into question. Seeing a moving image online is about seeing it without regard to the environment. When I am on the computer, the environment is not part of my perception. The computer has such a strong hypnotic ability; this is the reason computer games are popular. So the medium could actually work to isolate an art experience and make it stronger for the viewer.

What is of concern more to me when addressing the question of whether or not art can be adequately presented via the internet has to do with the quality of the image. It seems at this time that the lack of good resolution and a continual flow of information is what hinders making the art part of this genre. I think the potential is there but the technique not quite

-- Linda Guy (, September 06, 2000.

I find the issue of delivery system an interesting one. The question whether video art could be presented on a television set was one posed by artists as they began to explore the video medium for the first time in the late 1960s. It remains a relevant question - can you "see" art in a place where you don't expect it to be (on a computer monitor screen, or in your living room). If the delivery system is associated with mass media, can it ever be viewed as a contentless delivery system for art "messages". Is public space important to the experience? Is spectacle necessary? Can the experience be solitary, or is discourse needed?

I agree with those who feel the technology is not yet adequate to display cinematic media. I think there is no question that one day soon it will be.

-- Sherry Miller Hocking (, September 06, 2000.

Video/computer artists who work with painterly motion imagery are in intimate contact with the electronic screen - 2 feet, not 10 feet. The relationship the average computer user has to the monitor is similar. I think this augurs wells for screening video art on the internet.

The gallery/museum environment has always been antithetical to the single screen video art experience, and not only because this art was hard to commodify. These spaces are about viewers in transit. You'd think theaters would be more appropriate for the screening of video art.... but there is no intimacy in these spaces.

I have a graphics monitor with a high refresh rate at high resolutions, so I think the image quality is great. I just saw a quicktime file I put online of "Relativity" on broadband - it played in real time, albeit not full screen size. It is not ideal yet, but it was a long way from the pathetic staggering of frames I get on a 28.8 modem!

Video art, 30 years old, will undergo many changes in its new digital forms. Brochure-like websites will give way to on demand broadcast networks. Increased bandwidth will allow interactivity with video. Ultimately, art is what artists say it is.

-- carol goss (, September 07, 2000.

In response to the discussion of how best to show video in a gallery or museum setting, this leads to a consideration of video installation art, which in many cases is a way of designing and dealing with short viewing and attention spans and the limits of asingle screen. But, just as theaters are designed to present plays, concert halls to present music, and galleries ordinarilty for wall hung art, the video installation space must be designed for the experiential mode, as well as the material.

I am attempting to deal with these questions once again: in a show I am curating for Wright State University Art Galleries in Dayton, Ohio called "VIDEO 2000" which opens October 29, and in my film/video retrospecive at the Whitney Museum in NYC which runs Nov.4-Dec.3. In the former case, we are presenting video sculpture, website as a video interactive phenomena, as well as a psuedo-interactive video piece in a mock living room setup, and single channel tapes in an environment which require one-on-one involvement with individual earphones and monitors. Each of these are different ways of involving the viewer/participant/spectator. For my retrospective, besides two recreations of film environments from the late 60s, I have created a three projector video meditation environment with two channels of silent imagery. I have found from recent experiences with museum and gallery installations that even certain single screen works are capable of drawing people to them and even account for repeat visits and viewings.

The media work I have thusfar seen on the computer works best in the interactive mode, and also for shorter pieces. This latter fact is perhaps accounted for by download times as well as viewer attention span in front of the computer. I think, until we have ultimately fast acquisition capabilities, that these remain the most efficient web formats. Shorter works and even tastes from longer works may whet people's appetites for longer works and for more works by the same media artist. At the present time, this may be the best fair use for web video. - Jud Yalkut

-- Jud Yalkut (, September 20, 2000.

My research as an MPhil/PhD student has led me to question the use of screen on the lenghth of duration of engagement with visual imagery. i.e speed and screen use lessens our time and engagaement with visual imagery as we speed up and are required to assimilate visual imagery at a faster and faster pace. However , does this cause a lessening in the depth of enquiry ? is the contemplative moment being abandoned as we need further and faster stimulation ? My research has taken me into attention, and ADS. And so, what conclusion? I haven't reached ( and cannot expect to reach) a definate viable answer, in such a new area, who can at this point.? But the use of screen and speed must make us re-examine the information we had about cognitive processes, phenomenology,perception etc .And using screen for artistic expression ? Are we to get more used to the screen , and give it a supposed human touch, or do we adapt and relinquish a need or desire to see that a living breathing person has created and we can see a brush mark, a small mistake, a flaw - that is the signature of being human? P.Amos (BA (Hons)/ MA /current MPhil/PhD - video artist and live performance)

-- paulina amoski (, November 09, 2000.

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