Christiane Paul – The Upgrade Path: Networked Art 1.0 > 2.0


Presentation Title:

  • Christiane Paul – The Upgrade Path: Networked Art 1.0 > 2.0




  • For the past five decades digital technologies have produced profound changes for the function of art and the creation and dissemination of artistic productions in general. From the early 1990s through the 2000s networked art, in particular, has undergone a process of “versioning,” moving from its 1.0 to 2.0 release. While the corporate metaphor of Web 2.0 entails a fair amount of hype, marketing, and monetizing, it can also provide an interesting framework for outlining the ways in which networked art has initiated and responded to changes in concepts such as data spaces, identity, and collective production. These concepts have found different forms of expression in the 1.0 vs. 2.0 version of networked environments. Networks, particularly social ones, have evolved and profoundly shaped contemporary art and culture over the past 20 years.

    One could argue that the data spaces of virtual environments—from Web 1.0, MUDs, MOOs and graphic chat rooms to MMORPGs, Second Life, Facebook and Twitter—have evolved parallel to and in connection with pervasive physical computing that senses and controls events in the physical world by means of computing devices. Both the virtual environments of “cyberspace” and ubiquitous, pervasive computing are surrounded by hype and invite a set of critical questions, among them, how can we classify their effects, which range from enhanced agency and participation to invasive tracking?

    If dynamic data spaces—from networked data sets to mobile devices—are the “landscape” of contemporary culture, they also have to be seen as a context in which we construct our identity and define ourselves in virtual as well as networked physical space. Different forms of embodiment and disembodiment have been a central aspect of discussions about the changes that digital technologies have brought about for our sense of self and have been articulated in different ways in the 1.0 and 2.0 versions of networked art.

    Virtual and physical data spaces and issues of identity merge in the forms of collective production enabled by “social media”—the user-generated content created by means of highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies that rely as much on Internet-based tools as on mobile devices for access and distribution. Social media networks have enabled both unprecedented forms of datamining and collective agency.

    Artistic practice has both helped to initiate and responded to the move from the 1.0 to 2.0 version of networked environments and their respective articulation of data spaces, identity, and collective production. A tracklog of the different ways in which networked art has expressed these concepts can be a portal to the critical analysis of network culture’s evolution of over the past 20 years.

    The video documentation of Christiane Paul’s keynote speech The Upgrade Path: Networked Art 1.0 -> 2.0 at ISEA2011 is available online in five parts. Please click on the the following links for Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IV, and Part V.