14. The Internet

(three paragraphs)

CL: Does the issue of surveillance actually bring you to a discussion of the Internet?
SLAYTON: Definitely. One of the problems with the Internet centers around the motivation for establishing it, meaning that there still is a centralized, authoritarian approach. The government says "we want industry to build the information superhighway." We want to stop and question why that is. Of course they have the resources, but they will only set it up because it's profitable. It's seen as a commerce and therefore has to be regulated, has to be handled just like everything else in our lives. The issue is accessibility of information, the collection of records and how those things are shared. All this needs close examination by artists who work on the Internet and produce art.

CL: Who controls the Internet?
SLAYTON: First of all, the Internet is just a way of moving information around. It originally developed as universities exchanged information with one another and then industry got involved and the pipelines and conduits became the Internet. It's a standarized protocol for how that gets done. Initially it occurred without an autocratic point of view. Now government and industry have realized the importance of control and they are attempting to re-structure the Internet. The struggle is just beginning.

CL: Do artists access the Internet through universities?
SLAYTON: Not necessarily. They can access it through universities, commerical services, non-profit services, or whatever. Again, artists are kind of come-late-to-the-scene individuals and the Internet's been around for a while, it's not a new thing. It's only recently that it's become so popularized.