On Internet Art: A Critique of the Imperceptible Interface

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Theory and Critique

Presentation Title:

  • On Internet Art: A Critique of the Imperceptible Interface

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • (Short paper)

    Keywords: Network, Interface, Interruption, Interpassivity, User-Agency, Internet Art.

    In this text, I examine the role of network-based art practices as an aesthetic critique of our engagement with interface technologies that are increasingly seamless and, indeed, largely undetectable. Despite our incessant customization of web content, we are unable to observe the computational processes that make this information manifest. I investigate what network-based art practices reveal about the changing nature of subjectivity in relation to this imperceptibility. Internet art, I argue, constructs temporary, physically variable structures that rely on retromediation and technological anachronism so that actions inherent to networked space are, by necessity, thrown into question . These practices, I argue, function as a critical interruption of the ruling tendencies and assumptions of screen-based operations, namely, transparency and interactivity. The complexity and speed of new technology are the cause of both euphoria and anxiety. Drawing on Žižek’s concept of interpassivity, I examine current notions of user agency, arguing that the strong correlation between imperceptibility and distraction demands a reconsideration of subjectivity, mediation and technology.

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