As part of the 2020 online programme Pallas Projects are pleased to present ‘Control, Alt, Delete – A lecture on the history and politics of Internet Art’ by artist, writer and art historian, Frank Wasser.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a proliferation of online viewing rooms/exhibitions (curated web pages of images and video), ‘live’ streamed events/performance, talks, lectures and an approach to art and exhibition making which contestably could easily and unknowingly fall into the categorisation of what might be considered as, Internet Art(1). This art and exhibition-making has been disseminated through an Internet which today has become reliant on structures and systems of surveillance, sustained by profit driven platforms with unethical, increasingly authoritarian and questionable politics(2).
In an attempt to prompt a discourse around the technologies and platforms used in contemporary approaches to art and exhibition making online, this lecture will piece together a brief history of Internet Art and trace the multiple transnational histories of a technology that was once regarded for its emancipatory potential. The lecture will outline the origins of Internet Art in the 1990s outlining works by the duo Joan Hermskerk and Dirk Paesmans, Olia Lialina, Hito Steyerl, to the Post-Internet(3), considering works that are derived in and from the Internet or its effects on aesthetics, culture and politics. Through a variety of examples drawn from contemporary art, mass media and popular culture, Wasser will suggest how those effects have become co-opted and used against the one time promise of a networked world. The lecture will also aim to generate a discourse that will necessarily complicate and dismantle the binary of URL/IRL(4) that persists in this present moment.
(1) Internet Art emerged in the 1990s when artists found that the internet was becoming a useful tool to produce their art uninhibited by political, social or cultural constraints.
(2) ‘Zoom is malware’: why experts worry about the video conferencing platform https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/apr/02/zoom-technology-security-coronavirus-video-conferencing
(3) The term emerged from mid-2000s discussions about Internet Art by Marisa Olson, Gene McHugh, and Artie Vierkant
(4)Online space/In real life
Frank Wasser is an artist, writer and art historian from the Liberties, Dublin who lives and works in London. He works across an array of materials and mediums that often concern writing and performance (on and off-page) and educational pedagogies. He has exhibited and lectured internationally. Recent Projects include: ‘The Slow abrogation of the…’ A solo performance at Jerwood Arts, London, Survey, a group show, BALTIC centre for contemporary arts, Newcastle, G39, Cardiff and The Bluecoat, Liverpool, THE LIVING NEWSPAPER (with Elaine Reynolds and Chris Timms), Tate Modern, London.
Wasser will publish his first book ‘Slip’ with the imprint MA Bibliotheque in December 2020. He is currently a Dphil candidate at Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford and he lectures regularly at Tate Modern and Tate Britain. In 2018 Wasser was the recipient of an Arts Council of Ireland Visual Arts Bursary.