JIP - JavaMuseum Interview Project

Interview: Alex Pearl

Alex Pearl
US based

artist biography


Interview: 10 questions

Since a reasonable time, digital media entered the field of art and extended the traditional definition of art through some new , but very essential components.
Do you think it is like that and if yes, tell me more about these components and how they changed the perception of art?

Actually I’m not totally sure that digital media has changed the definition of art that much

A relevant section of digital art represents Internet based art. The Internet was hardly existing, but artists conquered already this new field for their artistic activities.
Can the work of these early artists be compared with those who work with advanced technologies nowadays? What changed until these days ? What might be the perspectives for future developments?

Yes of course it can, technical power is only one part of any art form. I don’t see why a seventeenth century oil painting shouldn’t be compared with work using viral software.

The education in the field of New Media art, including Internet based art, started late compared with the general speed of technological development and acceptance.
So, generations of artists who used the Internet as their artistic working field were not educated in this new discipline(s) and technologies, but had rather an interdisciplinary approach.
What Do you think, would be the best way to teach young people how to deal with the Internet as an environment of art?

My experience of young people is that they know how they want to use the internet and that they are not particularly interested in art as such. But they are interested in the stuff they come across. The violence of language in You Tube in response to some of my video pieces shows great passion for visual imagery and no mention of whether it is art or not but rather whether it is good or not.

What kind of meaning have the new technologies and the Internet to you in concern of art, are they just tools for expressing artistic intentions, or have they rather an ideological character, as it can be found with many “netartists”, or what else do they mean to you?
Many “Internet based artists” work on “engaged” themes and subjects, for instance, in social, political, cultural etc concern.
Which contents are you particularly interested in, personally and from an artcritical point of view.

Isn’t it impossible to use any medium without engaging with its ideological character? It seems to me that some will be interested in themes associated with the internet – democracy, viral communication etc and others will refuse it, personally I don’t really hold an opinion.

The term “netart” is widely used for anything posted on the net, there are dozens of definitions which mostly are even contradictory.
How do you define “netart” or if you like the description “Internet based art” better?
Do you think “netart” is art, at all, if yes, what are the criteria?
Are there any aesthetic criteria for an Internet based artwork?

Internet based art is anything that has content on or uses the internet in some way.
Yes its art
Yo there are no specific aesthetic criteria to net art

“Art on the net” has the advantage and the disadvantage to be located on the virtual space in Internet which defines also its right to exist.
Do you think, that “art based on the Internet”, can be called still like that, even if it is just used offline?

Does the internet have any time for purists? No thats not right the internet is such a broad church it takes in purists and dabblers alike online offline who cares?

Dealing with this new, and interactive type of art demands an active viewer or user, and needs the audience much more and in different ways than any other art discipline before. How do you think would be good ways to stimulate the user to dive into this new world of art?
What do you think represents an appropriate environment to present net based art to an audience, is it the context of the lonesome user sitting in front of his personal computer, is it any public context, or is it rather the context of art in general or media art in particular, or anything else.?
If you would be in the position to create an environment for presenting this type of art in physical space, how would you do it?

I find the simplicity of the computer screen the most effective mode of presentation but generally I’m not that bothered about using the gallery at all. My protest project is more concerned with people discovering it and then responding or not in their own way. Some have hunted it out having seen the results screened in gallery spaces, others have stumbled across it either through searches or completely at random. This has lead to a range of responses ranging freely from anger through apathy to enthusiasm.

As Internet based art, as well as other art forms using new technologies are (globally seen) still not widely accepted, yet, as serious art forms, what do you think could be an appropriate solution to change this situation?

In the UK I think that is changing, but I’m not sure that such a change is either important or beneficial.

The Internet is sometimes called a kind of “democratic” environment,
The conventional art practice is anything else than that, but selective by using filters of different kind.
The audience is mostly only able to make up its mind on second hand. Art on the net might potentially be different. Do you think the current practice of dealing with Internet based art is such different or rather the described conventional way through (also curatorial) filtering?
Do you think, that speaking in the terms of Joseph Beuys, anybody who publishes anything on the net would be also an artist?

Not at all. Artists use the web in a very specific way creating their own sets of rules which allow their work to be classed as art. However, once this work is done there is very little control over the audience that view their work. This is especially true of artists using conventional systems such as You Tube or Blogspot. A quick look at the comments posted by visitor on those sites reveals a whole new set of expectations which have nothing to do with a conventional art audience.

Do you think, the curators dealing with net based art should have any technological knowledge in order to understand such an art work from its roots? And what about the users of Internet based art?

Not necessarily, one of the joys of net based art is its openness and accessibility. It is interesting to note how the net has changed modes of communication but but I take great pleasure from the fact that it is not necessary to engage with any philosophical discourse in order to use it.