I can create work in the Web that I could
never have conceived of in another medium.
I've learned this slowly, and I haven't
learned it by thinking it through, either.
Like all the artwork I've ever done,
I've learned by doing.
The first piece I ever created for the Web
was titled Life With Father.
It chronicles my relationship with my father,
and is organized in a linear fashion.
This piece would not be significantly different
had I produced it as a traditional book.
The Web gave me an opportunity to integrate
a group of text and visual material in a manner
that was new for me.
But given my total lack of prior experience
with the medium, I just wasn't ready to explore
much beyond familiar territory.
With my second and most recent piece,
titled Urban Diary, I feel as though
I've finally gotten a toehold on just what
the Web might offer me as an artistic medium.
This piece could never be created on the
walls of a gallery, or in the pages of a book.
I still feel good about "Life With Father",
but it also reminds me of the baggage that
I tend to bring to any new medium.
I have a very traditional training as an artist,
or so it seems to me now in hindsight.
Working on the Web has made me aware of many
of the assumptions that I bring to artmaking.
And those assumptions have proven to be the biggest
obstacles in truly exploiting the inherent
qualities of the Web.
The artworld is predicated on a number of
beliefs that do not accomodate electronic
art in general and Web-based art in particular.
The most obvious of these is the almost universal
assumption that artists make objects that are
unique, precious, and valuable.
Museums owe their existence to this belief, and
we all know that it's the life-blood of the
current gallery economy. Art schools, because
they feed these institutional mechanisms, also
tend to produce young artists heavily invested
in these beliefs.
But dragging these beliefs onto the Web is like
trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
It just doesn't work. And the reason it doesn't
work is that this attitude denies the very aspects
of the Web that make it different from other media.