Emerging digital and telecommunication technologies

are redefining fundamental concepts in our culture.

Ideas of time, space, and community will have a

different meaning from now on.

We will belong to different types of tribes in the

future, and some of them will be unlike anything we've

ever experienced before.

The tribe that we call the Web has yet to reveal its

ultimate shape and dimension. But what intrigues me about

this community is not so much how different it is from my

own physical neighborhood, but rather how similar they are.

People bring to the Web the same needs, the same thought

patterns, the same questions that one finds in any tribe:

Testimonies of faith, questions about god, the meaning of

dreams, sex and commerce, a longing for home.

This is very good news for artists, because it means there's

work for us here. The tribe needs us.

The fact that the Web is terribly thin on content, and riddled

with horrible design, shouldn't be discouraging. It means that

those of us who have arrived early have an amazing opportunity

to actually construct this new territory.

I'm perfectly aware that the Web may follow the same trajectory

as television, and may ultimately cater to the same brain-dead

demographic midrange. But I believe there are alternatives to

this, and that artists can potentially be key players in pre-

venting such an evolution.

We can accomplish this by creating content-rich work that con-

tinues to articulate basic human concerns; which is, of course,

what artists have always done.

But we need to learn to speak differently. The answer lies in

shedding old baggage like the art as object bias, and replacing

it with something like the idea of art as signal.

The Web is characterized by experiences that are transitory,

multi-layered, non-linear, and immaterial. This is the language

that the tribes of the Web speak. And for the Web artists of the

future, it will be their native tongue.