JIP - JavaMuseum Interview Project

Interview: Dylan Davis

Dylan Davis
from Australia

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?

I dont think there is anything new in terms of digital media. It is just a different medium and has encompassed many previous areas such as interaction, non linear-narrative and data sets into a single medium. The major advantage of the new digital realm is the ability to process large blocks of data in a way previously not possible.

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?

I dont really know enough about the history of internet art to comment on these things. From my own experiences the early work of soda , antirom, tomato and such groups is the same as their current work but the increase in computational power and bandwidth has allowed them to deliver a richer online experience.

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?

The best way is to teach the same was as you teach drawing and painting, via basic practical exercises that teach students the skills they need to further their own creativity. This maybe xhtml, css, actionscript or processing.

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.

The internet to me has long since lost its newness as a medium. It is a delivery mechanism. I am intrigued my the treatment of data sets, visualisations, sonifaction and how interaction is dealt within these spaces.

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?

What an artist creates, is what they perceive as art, whether the audience agrees with them or not is a different matter. Netart as a term provides as suitable taxonomy for a group of creations under a comfortable umbrella. To question what is art is an age old question and we could be here for days. The aesthetic criteria comes between the artist and the audience.

“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?

Art based on the internet can work offline unless it needs connectivity. Live data feeds that create works cannot work offline so they must exist in a networked environment.

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?

It depends on the work being presented, a social work may needs the interaction of a group of people in collaboration, whilst some works maybe be best viewed alone on a screen. The area of net art/ interactive art is so large their is no one way to best view the work, from something as complex as The Source at the LSE, to something as simple as an artists website of still images, these forms ask a different form of interaction from the user.

A Henry Moore sculpture might look great on top of a wind swept hill and may provide a fantastic experience compared to a still silent white room, so it is with interactive art.

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?

The general public still perceives a large amount of modern art as rubbish. I can’t see this changing anytime soon.

What the public seem to enjoy are toys and interactions. The aspect of play in interactive art engages the audience, but the downside is it becomes a toy and is not seen as art.

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?

Bypassing curatorial filtering is a great way to expose your work to a wide audience, using such technologies as myspace or flickr.

By creating interest in your work an artist can they become more empowered.

I dont think anybody who publishes anything on the net is an artist, unless they are publishing art.

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?

No the user should be able to access the work with the minimum of technical knowledge.

Dylan Davis

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