Re: Networked Art

Holger Wagner (
Fri, 24 Apr 1998 13:07:46 +0200

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> Yak Wax <> writes:
> > A few years ago I had an idea for my very own work of art which I have
> > yet to act on. Commonly the value of art is directly associated with
> > its rarity. So I propose (assuming I'm not too late) a kind of
> > "Network Art" which increases in value when it increases in ubiquity
> > (like all good networks). I propose this as a sort of play on the
> > popular definition of what makes art "valuable" and a homage to the
> > network age.
> A fascinating idea. What about running it as a distributed
> evolutionary system where each node allows users to breed new
> artworks, which then diffuse to appear at other nodes or become part
> of the art produced there? The more people who used the system the
> more diversity and computer power there would be. One could even have
> slightly different nodes, some where one creates 3D objects a la
> Latham and some that produce 2D art (which can be used as textures for
> the 3D stuff) and so on.

That's quite an interesting thing. I've been thinking about putting up
that sort of thing with a friend, but it's way too much work to do with
only 2 or so people.

The idea was to create a virtual world, which could could be transmitted
through VRML (on the internet, "how" you see it depends on the browser),
HMDs or even CAVEs (imagine a bar with only the most simple functional
interior - the environment is rendered). All kinds of different artists
could work on 2d and 3d-Designs as well as sound-environments (music,
different sorts of atmospheric noises etc.) The most important thing
about it is that everything needs to be linked smartly. For example,
there could be some sort of 2d-FX-show (like cthuga, which inspired that
whole idea). Now, you can either project that upon a screen in 2d - OR
use it as a texture in a 3d-world. Same thing with sound: there could be
some techno-trax for a certain "world", which for example are modulated
by certain events of the interactive objects - but the same thing could
be transmitted to a club with just a fancy light-show.

Most most important (I almost forgot, but it's obvious from the
context): the whole thing needs to be networked. Let's say we have that
CAVE-Bar, which is linked to the Internet via VRML, as well as to some
CAVE-Club, maybe in another country, and also some VR-Studio on still
another place. Now, each entity has a "location" within some virtual
space, a "location" consists of
a) The actual "world"
b) The position within that world

Worlds could be logically hyperlinked (like, there could be a exits at a
world, which lets you chose where you want to go next, or certain exits
lead to do determined other worlds). Whenever two real world entities
(for example someone browsing the VRML-Space and the VR-Studio), there
should be ways of interaction. For example, if you modify certain
objects within the world, this should be visible to all other
"visitors", or, you could actually SEE the visitors (via avatars or with
real-video mapped into screens or whatever within the world) and

> > The problem comes with putting this idea into practise.

That was our major problem, too... one would have to start little by
little, but always keeping the "big goal" in mind.

> > It would be
> > easy to network over the Internet and/or running it on a computer, but
> > I would rather it retain some ties with "traditional" works of art.

I'd like to see "ties" with the party-scene ;-)


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