In 2001 I was asked to give a talk at NCC48, a rather curious 48 hour nonstop congress in a cave in Graz, Austria. I decided to present my very own thoughts on net art, after I felt many words had been put in my mouth by others. The hype and noise around net art had produced an almost impossible climate to discuss this new art context seriously. Needless to say my words hardly impressed anyone. Today it turns out I was right: more 'users' creates more mainstream art behavior; artists have started to explore the broader virtual field of the network (which is translated in 'new' theories from post-Internet to New Aesthetic); and art institutions are very, very slowly exploring their new expanded field of influence. For your information: the open letter by Jon Ippolito I am referring to here criticized the possibility for art institutions to be able to get a .museum domain (instead of a .org or .com suffix), posted on the nettime mailing list in December 2000.
Today I would have to add some words to the last paragraph though, to be clear. I am NOT saying the Internet is a conceptual space, but I am saying that to think about art and the internet it is necessary to let go of simplistic and outdated notions of the Internet as a purely technological, singular medium. Quote: "So the 'web of possibilities', which is in the expanded virtual space of the combination of technology and humans is the true basis of net art. One could say the ability to see beyond the purely technical environment produces a new kind of abstraction in art."
Picture of the entrance to Dom im Berg, the cave in which the NCC48 congress was held