Joseph Squier

Web Tribes

I'm fascinated by the Web, but also profoundly

ambivalent. Don't let anybody fool you into

believing that the Internet is everything it's

hyped as. And don't be fooled into thinking

that its a place brimming with incredible art.

It isn't.

The Web, which is the Internet at its best, is

an awkward and clunky environment for an artist

to work in. The design possibilities are

excruciatingly limited. Images load slowly

under even the best of circumstances. And it

can get frustrating if you don't particularly

like watching video the size of a postage stamp,

or listening to sound in 20 second increments.

But still, I'm drawn to the Web and have even

committed myself to working in it as my chosen

medium. I'm not so much interested in what the

Web is, but rather in what it can become. I'm

particularly curious about how artists will

work here.

Independent of medium or tool or technique,

there are timeless aspects of art that endure.

Artists communicate.

They accomplish this by speaking a symbolic

language that is shared by the tribe. The Web

is a very unusual kind of tribe, but the word fits.

And like all tribes before it, there will be those

who give expression to the beliefs and values

of the group.

They'll call themselves artists.

The language they will use won't look or feel like

anything that we've experienced before. I don't know

what the exact shape of that language will be. It's

beyond my ability to imagine. But I know that I'm

witnessing its beginning.