- 1994 - "Sin Título"
- Do It, Colombian Version 
- By: Jaime Iregui
1994, "Sin Título", Do It, Colombian Version by: Jaime Iregui

The Internet and its many digital and physical extensions mark the latest frontier in the practice of art. Such advancements in communications present the field of art history with a challenge that will undoubtedly alter its future.

By its very nature, the World Wide Web presents art with the possibility of digital dissemination. Having transcended the cumbersome processes of mechanical reproduction, art takes advantage of a wide range of digital tools to assume a metaphysical existence. This incarnation of sorts enables the ascendance of the art object to the same metaphysical space that for centuries was occupied by the artistic thought itself. This transformation from material to immaterial presents the artistic practice with new opportunities while doing away with others.

The Internet has spawned endless examples of socially and politically engaged artwork and projects, of which I've highlighted only a few. Like a Louis Vuitton original handbag, art that assumes a digital existence can be easily copied and distributed by individuals other than its creators. The exclusive nature of the original is therefore substituted by a process that encourages active participation in the realization of artwork. Websites like fallenfruit.org promote participation by art consumers in the creative process of art production. Visitors to the site are asked to share maps, photographs, recipes, poems or personal accounts concerning fruit-bearing plants to be found in the public domain. Socially engaged digital games and simulations like Newsgaming's September 12th and La Malindustria's Enduring Indymedia seek to involve individuals in thought-provoking interactions with their messages. Theyrule.net provides visitors with the means to chart intricate webs of corporate connections that can be shared with others. The line drawn to separate creator from spectator is blurred and often completely erased by the pluralistic nature of the medium. The role of author is shared and often transferred to the spectator, further expanding the sphere of artistic engagement.

Art-domians.com challenges the traditional exclusive role of the institutional art domains by offering the digital realm as an inclusive alternative. Matt Siber's Floating Logos, Pedro Morales' refuge-seeking City Rooms and Carlo Zanni's eBay Landscape all claim cyberspace as a valid alternative to the traditional exhibition space. Floating Logos uses the web to reach wide audiences; Pedro Morales defies the non-democratic action of his government that attempted censoring his work; Carlo Zanni uses attributes inherent to the medium to assist him in the task of generating unique artwork.

Socially engaged art, by definition, embraces those liberating ideas that sustain the pluralistic notion of the digital domain. Dissemination and active participation are key to the success of art that seeks to promote social change.

Our fine arts were developed, their types and uses were established, in times very different from the present, by men whose power of action upon things was insignificant in comparison with ours. But the amazing growth of our techniques, the adaptability and precision they have attained, the ideas and habits they are creating, make it a certainty that profound changes are impending in the ancient craft of the Beautiful. In all the arts there is a physical component which can no longer be considered or treated as it used to be, which cannot remain unaffected by our modern knowledge and power. For the last twenty years neither matter nor space nor time has been what it was from time immemorial. We must expect great innovations to transform the entire technique of the arts, thereby affecting artistic invention itself and perhaps even bringing about an amazing change in our very notion of art. *

-- Paul Valery, PIECES SUR L 'ART, "La Conquete de l'ubiquite," Paris. *Quoted from Paul Valery, *Aesthetics*, "The Conquest of Ubiquity," translated by Ralph Manheim, p. 225. Pantheon Books, Bollingen Series, New York, 1964.


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