Begun in 1991 in the days before the World Wide Web, Making Art Online was an ongoing narrative of artists' words about using online systems to create art and to collaborate and communicate with other artists. The idea was to create an electronic document that would document the early history of Internet systems and could be continually written to and displayed.

To create Making Art Online, Judy Malloy invited writers, artists, technocreators, and Internet advocates to send words about their ideas and experiences. Their contributions were "keyed" by subject and entered into a database. Using that database, Malloy periodically generated a collaboratively written paper about making art online.

Initially titled:
Database: Art and Telecommunications, Making Art Online was begun by Malloy for the Reflux Project, at the 21st Biennial of Sao Paulo in 1991. Reflux was directed and produced by Artur and Maria Matuck for the Studio for Creative Inquiry, Carnegie Melon University.

A version of Making Art Online was published in the November 1, 1991 issue of the seminal online journal FineArt Forum as Judy Malloy, MAKING ART ONLINE, FineArt Forum 5:21, November 1, 1991

Making Art Online

THE EXPERIENCE - James Johnson
Robert Edgar
WHY? - John Coate
Pauline Oliveros
Howard Rheingold
Paul Rutkovsky
Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz
Michael Joyce
Randy Ross
Anna Couey and Lucia Grossberger Morales:
MUSIC - Tim Perkis
POETRY - Valerie Gardiner
Lisa Cooley
Ron Buck
THE MEDIUM - Jeff Mann
Robert Dunn
Roger Malina
Fred Truck
Monika Lidman
Roger Malina
John Quarterman: MATRIX NEWS
Jim Rosenberg
Jon Van Oast
Wolfgang Ziemer-Chrobatzek
Eleanor Kent: YLEM ONLINE
Craig Latta: NETJAM
Artur Matuck: REFLUX
Howard Rheingold
MAIL ARTISTS - Chuck Welsh
YOUR WORDS? - Judy Malloy

Judy Malloy
MAKING ART ONLINE was an ongoing database of artists' words about using data transmission systems that was a part of one of the first art web sites -- CSIR's ANIMA, established in 1993. In 1993, statements conveying information and ideas about making art online were "keyed" by subject and entered into a database. Using that database, I periodically generated MAKING ART ONLINE, a collaboratively written paper about making art online in the days before the World Wide Web.
""""""""""""""""""""""""THE EXPERIENCE""""""""""""""""""""""""""
James Johnson
Love is as (if not more) mysterious to me as telecommunications.
"""""""""""""""""""""""""THE EXPERIENCE""""""""""""""""""""""""""
Robert Edgar
Today's computer artists are at once caught in the net like a butterfly, and walking the web like a spider.
John Coate
I see telecommunications for artists as primarily a political tool. In a cultural climate that assigns increasingly lower value to free expression in the arts, it is vital that artists everywhere use these efficient communication tools to inform and alert each other so that they may combine in solidarity to reverse this alarming trend.
Pauline Oliveros
I have been on line since 1986. I've used email to discuss projects with other artist's in far away places. This has enabled me to work with people that I other wise could not have collaborated with. Many of my projects would have been impossible to do without email.
Howard Rheingold
Because I am a writer, I used to spend my days alone in my room with my typewriter, my words, and my thoughts. On occasion, I ventured outside to interview people or to find information. After work, I would reenter the human community, via my neighborhood, my family, my circle of personal and professional acquaintances. But I was isolated and lonely during the working day, and my work did not provide any opportunity to expand my circle of friends and colleagues. For the past two years, however, I have participated in a wide-ranging, intellectually stimulating, professionally rewarding, and often intensely emotional exchange with dozens of new friends and hundreds of colleagues. And I still spend my days in a room, physically isolated. My mind, however, is linked with a worldwide collection of like-minded (and not so like-minded) souls: My virtual community. If you get a computer and a modem, you can join us.
"Virtual Communities" WHOLE EARTH REVIEW, Winter 1988
Paul Rutkovsky
Whether I'm working with young students in Poland using computers, HIV individuals in Syracuse, or art students at Florida State University, the primary focus for me is to connect the technology to our lives, to eliminate the barriers between flesh and silicon. Statement for the Telluride InfoZone, 1993 IDEAS Festival, Telluride, CO, July 1993
Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz
THE CHALLENGE: We Must Create at the Same Scale as We can Destroy If the arts are to take a role in shaping and humanizing emerging technological environments, individuals and arts constituencies must begin to imagine at a much larger scale of creativity.

We must begin to create at the same scale as we can destroy, or else art, and more dangerously the human spirit and imagination, will be rendered decorative and impotent.

If the boundaries between art and life dissolve it will be the result of artists migrating towards a new order of artmaking, abandoning the conventional standards and practices and becoming 'new practitioners' or systems integrator, who practice situations, contexts, and permanent environments or utilities. The 'new practitioners' can begin the process of healing the aesthetic wound that has disfigured the business of Art, and continue the aesthetic quest in more relevant directions.

New creative activities must emerge such as multi-media creative solutions networks, not simply computer networks for Artists, but rather multi-media telecommunications networks with agendas that can engage multi-disciplinary constituencies. This will require the development of new skills and the cultivation of new relationships between the participants. The movement is towards the control of a meaningful context, creating environments not just to support art, but that create the possibility for new scales of creativity across all disciplines and boundaries.

The dark side of the "new world information order" suggests that a new scale aesthetics be created. It will take several years from the time this work begins for creative solutions networks of appropriate number, scale, velocity, and dexterity to evolve to maturity. Consider: co- creating non-imperialistic, multi-cultural or domestic agendas for community of global scale aesthetic endeavors. Consider: the continuous re-invention of non-hierarchical telecom networks that will allow people to bypass cultural gatekeepers and power brokers. We must accept these kinds of challenges and recognize what can be gained by solving them.

All of this implies that there is a new way to be in the world. That the counterforce to the scale of destruction is the scale of communication, and that our legacy or epitaph will be determined in many ways by our ability to creatively employ informal, multi-media, multi-cultural, conversational, telecommunications and information technologies.
""""""""""""""""""""""POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS"""""""""""""""""""""

Anna Couey
Artists' use of networks to create art blurs boundaries between art, and social and political work. It establishes a potential for the preservation of distinct cultures and new hybrids. It offers the possibilities of public participation in the creation of new realities. The extent to which these visions are broadly realized depend on the economic, legal, social, and technical frameworks with which we construct our Information Infrastructure. THE THIRD CONFERENCE ON COMPUTERS, FREEDOM AND PRIVACY, March 9-12, 1993
""""""""""""""""""""""POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS"""""""""""""""""""""
Michael Joyce
This message invites interested artists, writers and others concerned with network resources for the arts to participate in a new and pressing national effort to preserve computing resources for the arts on the informational superhighway (or NII as it is termed by the Clinton administration). Since time is of the essence, please repost this message to interested parties nationally and internationally and try to understand and forgive multiple postings to you.

Through a simple twist of fate I was very recently invited to participate in an ad-hoc meeting in Washington, D.C regarding Arts and Humanities computing and the NII co-hosted by the (ARL, CAUSE and Educom sponsored) Coalition for Networked Information and the Getty Foundation. The meeting involved some twenty participants including presidents or directors of a wide range of humanities organizations, information industry and publishing organizations as well as officials of NEA, NEH, and NSF. Meeting co-chair Charles Henry, Director of Vassar College Library, set the tone or the meeting by noting that "more space is devoted in the NII prospectus to discuss automating heating of federal buildings than to arts and humanities computing."

Like many of you receiving this posting, I had been under the impression that surely someone was speaking for our interests in the deliberations of the Clinton administration regarding NII. However in the discussion that followed it became quite clear that this was not so. A number of participants shared horrifying tales which made it clear that not only were humanities and arts interests not being heard but also that, as regards humanities and arts computing, entertainment industry forces (which Stuart Moulthrop has termed the "Military Infotainment Complex") were largely calling the shots. There was a wide-spread feeling among participants that a crisis existed and that something had to be done.

As the lone electronic artist at the meeting I described my own participation by saying I felt like the unelected representative of a nomadic tribe, a representative of the many unrepresentable (in both senses) artists, writers and others who depended upon the network as a place for performance, community, collaboration and publication. I suggested that many of us fancy ourselves as functioning at the interstices in temporary autonomous zones and yet nonetheless increasingly find that our own "cultural heritage" *is* the net itself.

While our interests and those of traditional humanities organizations (such as university presses or textual archive projects) might be at cross purposes, I suggested that we shared the concerns of those at the meeting seeking to preserve and protect. "object information," textual databases, and digital libraries. My comments were received with respect and interest by a group which understood the need to form alliances with us but quite frankly wished to focus on what they perceived as the immediate crisis.

The meeting ended with a consensus on the need to define a rubric for humanities and the arts in NII; to collect data on computing in the humanities and the arts to support congressional lobbying; and to form alliances with identified stake-holders in these efforts. A preliminary crisis statement drafted by a steering committee will be presented to congress and the administration.and widely publicized.

What prompts this an invitation to review and perhaps join in the signing of this statement when it is the coming week.

Since to the best of my knowledge no coordinating group of network artists and writers exists, I am asking interested persons and organizations to email me directly ( I will circulate the statement for you to consider.

If you decide to affiliate yourself or your organization with the statement, I will gather the (virtual) signatures and forward them to the steering committee. I do not myself intend to form an organization but will collect these signatures under a collective umbrella which I'm calling NAWOC (network artists, writers and others concerned). If any organization is already actively involved in such a project and would rather coordinate such an effort, I would be happy to forward all this information to them. (Likewise if there is a wider interest in forming such an organization, I'd be happy to join in those efforts.)

What's important is to act (at least for the moment) in concert.
""""""""""""""""""""""POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS"""""""""""""""""""""

Randy Ross
As public data networks unfold, the need for adapting cultural concerns and empowerment becomes more and more crucial to the very survival of the indigenous groups involved. There is the concern that public data networks will add to the dilution of "what is already appropriately Indian." I add there is already too much confusion out there as to what is "traditional" Indian, a term highly misused and poorly understood, at times by Indians themselves. Nevertheless, cultural policy that is adaptable to on-line etiquette, or laws that govern intellectual and cultural property rights are key considerations when working with indigenous peoples. The concept of sovereignty must be interpreted to include access to on-line public data networks. Tribal society whether its the clan, the village, the tiospaye, or whatever cultural unit standing must have a place to say who is a member of their people, and who is not! " THE THIRD CONFERENCE ON COMPUTERS, FREEDOM AND PRIVACY, March 9-12, 1993
Brian Andreas
HALL OF WHISPERS takes its name from an ancient Babylonian myth of a specially constructed room in one of the ziggurats where a whisper would stay alive forever. I have an image of the electronic networks whispering ceaselessly with the voices of these times. The form of the project is deceptively simple: I wanted to create a situation where a group of people could share the experience of living, where we could join each other around a technological campfire, for the profoundly human act of storytelling.

The guidelines were very simple: participants were asked for two items. First was the text, whether story, observation, or poem. This was the "whisper". Second was the "theme". By theme, I meant a simple distillation of what this story/observation/poem meant to the participant. Each person chose their own theme for their text. Once it entered the HALL OF WHISPERS, other people could assign it other themes, or connect it with a story of their own, or one of the many stories already sent in from around the world. Meaning was no longer individual and sacrosanct, but communal.

Someone faxes in a story about the time they were followed by a horde of wasps when they spilled Hi-C tropical fruit punch on them- selves at a family picnic in Iowa. Someone else writes that every Friday night when they get off work, they get caught in the traffic of hundreds of high school kids cruising down the one street of their Alabama town. And someone else e-mails in that the week before Carnival in Rio, her family buys everything they'll need, as if they're preparing for a hurricane; she says it's much like returning to primitive times. And all three stories are connected by a larger theme of .

HALL OF WHISPERS has two stages. The first stage circulated stories between participants on the electronic networks via FAX, computer, and telephone. Several people also participated via standard mail. A large part of the project I didn't foresee in the beginning were the conversations in my own neighborhood. For people who had no experience, or interest, in using the net, but still had a wealth of life experience to share, I became a scribe. I would pass on the stories from the net, and they would tell me their own. It became a sharing of gifts, flowing across the arbitrary boundaries of virtual and physical communities.

The second stage of the project is still in formation. At this writing, I foresee the stories in digitized human voice, so it will literally begin to whisper. The same interconnections of the stories will still hold in a hyper-linked database, allowing visitors to follow their own thread of associations. For this, I'm looking at the possibility of CD-ROM distribution. This stage will be completed in the first part of 1993.

I was interested in several things at the outset of HALL OF WHISPERS. First, I wanted to create a virtual community using an ancient fundamental of community-making: shared stories. Second was creating a council model for understanding our world. Basically, the council model holds that it is in the sharing that greater wisdom evolves. Finally, in a turbulent world, it is easy to lose sight of the small beauties and moments of grace that occur constantly around us. I wanted HALL OF WHISPERS to give voice to that side of ourselves that recognizes that this is as much a time of renewal as it is a time of decay.

Has it succeeded? I can't say for sure; it's still very early in the life of the piece. But I talked to one of the participants the other day, and I asked her what happens for her. Here's what she told me: "First, I think I should write something. I should respond. But I don't. Not right away. Instead, I read the stories and I start thinking about things I haven't thought about in twenty years. I take my time because I'm looking for something. I don't know what, but I know it when I find it. I don't want to send back just any old story. It's too special. LEONARDO ELECTRONIC NEWS 3(1), January 15, 1993

Anna Couey & Lucia Grossberger Morales

Matrix is an ancient word that has many meanings. The archaic meaning of matrix is womb. In "Neuromancer," William Gibson's book about cyberspace, matrix is used synonymously with computer network...a matrix can be seen as a nurturing, flexible, and creative environment where change and growth are possible within the web of the matrix itself.

Current technological challenges are the ability to seamlessly exchange images, video, and audio across platforms -- without requiring users to have specialty software to decode transmissions. This work has taken two tracks -- the high end requiring tremendous bandwidth and resources, and the low end focusing on currently available bandwidth, and working toward general availability. MATRIX: WOMEN NETWORKING will demonstrate low end developments... Our goal in focusing on the low end is to call attention to the technological disparities that exist in our society, and to raise questions about their impact. We hope to expand the concept of technological advances to include their social and cultural underpinnings and affects.

MATRIX features works by women of differing cultures and artistic backgrounds who are working with computer networks as a means of creating collaborative works with artists and non-artists alike, to decentralize the creative process, to educate about and preserve their distinct cultures and communities, and to provide online access to population groups who would otherwise be the have-nots of the information age.

- Anna Couey & Lucia Grossberger Morales, 1993.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS & PROJECTS: online poetry slam, Lisa Cooley (, A participatory poetry contest in which the audience judges... Featured poets are Michael Warr (Chicago) and Bruno Navasky (New York).

"Imagining the Information Age," Anna Couey (, A populist Electronic Town Hall in which collaboratively created fictive Representatives from four nodes chart a course for the future.

"Forty Minutes on the San Miguel River," Judy Malloy (, A collaboratively creative narrative. "Garbage," Judy Malloy (, You think you need an encryption program? How can you get one? "Easy - I'm writing one and I'll send it to you free. But first I need to collect some suitable "garbage" -- like these words and phrases I've already collected from literature and conversation found/overheard at computer conferences." - Judy Malloy

"ProjectArtnet," Aida Mancillas, Chicana, ( An interactive online artist's book that documents Project Artnet, an inter-generational community history project involving art, poetry, movement, and computer technology. The "Matrix: Women Networking" installation also featured animated video/text documentation for Project Artnet by Lucia Grossberger Morales, Latina.

"Bandana," Lorri Ann Two Bulls, Oglala Sioux, (c/o
"Changes," Lorri Ann Two Bulls, Oglala Sioux.
"Journey," Lorri Ann Two Bulls, Oglala Sioux.
"Pink Blue," Lorri Ann Two Bulls, Oglala Sioux.
"Play," Lorri Ann Two Bulls, Oglala Sioux.
NAPLPS animated drawings that are displayed online. Two Bulls distributes her works electronically as shareart.

Judy Malloy
In the text-based cyberspace created by electronic conferencing systems, cohesive stories can be written and read by the group mind. THIRTY MINUTES IN THE LATE AFTERNOON, a group-written narrative, was produced on Art Com Electronic Network on the WELL in 1990. The backbone of the WELL is a conferencing structure in which users exchange information in "topics". In THIRTY MINUTES, Three separate characters were written simultaneously by 15 writers in 3 parallel topics.

I set the story in the San Francisco Bay area during the 30 minutes preceding the Loma Prieta Earthquake. John and Mary were preparing (separately) for their first date. The third character was a street person known as Rubber Duck for his habit of constantly muttering the words "rubber duck". John was in his apartment shaving. Rubber Duck was sitting on the steps of the Museum of Modern Art. Mary's route involved a freeway and a bridge that would both break when the earthquake hit. I asked participants to choose a character, enter the topic and speak/think as that character. Since this was the group mind taking the persona of the characters, the emphasis was on the character's thoughts and memories.

In the final work, I put the 3 topics in a narrative data structure in which the thought streams of the 3 characters were simultaneously displayed in 3 parallel columns. The writers included: Anna Couey, Abbe Don, Matisse Enzer, Carole Gould, Eleanor Kent, Tom Mandel, Gil MinaMora, Harold Poskanzer, Howard Rheingold, The Normals, Fred Truck, and Kathleen Watkins. Their unedited words formed a surprisingly seamless 7 page narrative in which the thoughts of men and women about each other were openly expressed - interspersed with Rubber Duck's sometimes appropriate (and sometimes inappropriate) words, thoughts and memories.

Sonya Rapoport
I have a very positive attitude about the potential of art via telecommunications since my experience of sharing my interactive installation DIGITAL MUDRA. Many who did not experience it in the San Francisco Bay Area at the KALA Institute and at St Mary's College in 1988-89 were able to participate in an essential phase of the work on ACEN on the WELL.

DIGITAL MUDRA was originally an interactive installation where viewers became acquainted with cross-cultural correlations of hand gestures and their trans-cultural meanings by both seeing and doing. Slides of political figures gesticulating; portrait gesture assemblages on the wall; and a videotape of Mudra dances prepared the viewers to become a participants. As participants they composed phrases from selected Mudra gestures that when entered into the computer became an animated gesture dance on the screen. The gestures were then transformed back into their original word meanings which, when selected, triggered relevant philosophic guidelines from a data base of epigrams by the sage Rabindranath Tagore.

The telecommunication piece offered the Mudra word list from which two selected words were to be used in a phrase about the "sweet mystery of life". The key word choice that helped unlock this mystery and the query of whether the other word "sweetened the mystery" generated the Tagore epigram. The sweet tooth of both the audience and myself were wetted by this experience.

Tim Perkis
Much of the emphasis on current computer technology has been on building powerful "one-man-band" systems, which allow one composer/musician, working alone, to create and realize works on synthetic orchestras of any description. These programs propose a vision of music as a process of creating perfect "sound-objects, polished and perfected. No troublesome musicians are needed, no strings to break, reeds to squeak, or drummers to show up late and drunk. But music is in its essence a social process, and I have wanted to find a way to use the new musical resources offered by computer technology to express and reinforce this fact.

As a consequence, in 1986 fellow composer John Bischoff and I began a group called "The Hub". a computer network band. The idea was to find a way for composers working in the computer controlled electronic music medium to play together. Each composer has a computer controlled synthesizer system which is connected to the others on a local area network system of our own design. Composers designing pieces for this band generally only specify the data which is to be shared between players on the net. The result is a sort of enhanced musical improvisation, when the computers and players are all continually making musical decisions based upon what the others are doing.

The nature of the collaboration between Hub composers is unusual. There are many meetings where data exchange formats are ironed out. Composers then go home, write some code, come together and try it out, and make adjustments. Often group discussions take place over e-mail. At performance time, the computers are making most of the note-to-note decisions, and the composer/performers are left to make global adjustments. The result is a really new kind of collective composition, a new social way of making music that didn't exist before. We have a good time.

Valerie Gardiner
Since I started on-line communication, I've neglected my diary. I ask myself: Will telecom supplant diary as my daily practice? My grandmother kept a diary for sixty years. Will a diskette be my legacy? Perhaps my descendants will discover me not in my private mediation, but in communal discourse.

I always feel guilty when I upload a poem. A poem lives through its form. It feels wrong to force a poem through a wire - scatter it to bits - and reassemble it in a place where there is no paper or breath. There is no surface for the poem to rest on. Does it get vertigo?

Yet I think my poems are willing to suffer the journey if they get to be seen and read.

Lisa Cooley, LitNet
my qualms about online poetry are not the mutilation they undergo on their way to the screen, but the loss of the piece of paper, the book, the broadside. i regard poetry online as more related to the public reading. nothing will replace sitting and holding a poem in your hands."
Ron Buck
"The visual poem's history  s.t.r.e.t.c.h.e.s back as far as 
PeoPlekind.   Before the  b()()k,  sentence, word, or letter  
there was Lad/LasS, hishers finger, and the forGiving eaOrth  
acting as a  Table)T  for man/wOman  as  they  attempted  to  
conVey viA  IMage (dOOdles)  our THOUGHTS.  AS we have GRowN 
from  little  Caveper Sons  into  BIG CiTypERsonS  wEE  have 
rec*rded  (h)OUR progress(HerHisStory)  with PiCtUres, pAINt 
and  WorDs  both   s e p a r a t e l y   AND   collectively. 
However,  1 day in time a brIGHT POet, quite DISgrUnTleDwith 
the   lacklustre  fl i m s y  quality  of  hishersveriCHrome 
verse,  deCided to  aDD  shaPes  to the  letters  a&nd  Form 
pICtuRes WithinWith*utAndAr*und the POEM. ThusBY otHer POets 
it was Said to be  GOOD!  and  HonestLy  came by the name of 
CONCRETE POETRY.  And there  haVe bEEn  M A N Y since.  WALT 
WHITMAN t**k the pLuNGe with H I S LEaVes++oF++GRaSS BeCause 
HE wanted the sOul of his Poetry to bUrSt BeYond the B O R D 
E R S of the n o r m a l TypeSET word.  WHaT of the ChInEEse 
pOEt/CaLiGRaPHer  whO  f*r  cEntUrIEs   h@s  with  SsweepinG 
BrRushH  perFected  SYMbolic bEAUty?   DAREwe ForGet our oWN 
e.e.cummings  who FORceD his WILL of sHaaaPes  upon the TYPE 
WR I T ER?   OR  the  pOEms  of  DYLanThomAs'S   "VISion and 
PrAyErs"  OR   M aLL aR me' with  His  THROW  OF  THE  DICE. 
sOmuchTobeSaidAndtooLittleSpaceToSayitAll!NeedlessToSay, The 
GREEKSputItAllinaWord,"TechnoPaigNIA,"  meaning:   Playing*A 
roundWith*Technique.  thUS  the  VISUAL PLOUGH  is meant  to 
HARVestDEpth from the leTTer and the wOrd."  (Foreword Fore- 
FROM THE AU*THOR (Buck, R.,THE VISUAL PLOUGH, Connected Editions, 92 VanCortlandt Park South, #6, Bronx, NY 10463)
""""""""""""""""""""""""""THE MEDIUM""""""""""""""""""""""""
Jeff Mann
"The synthesis of computer and telecommunications technologies has created a new medium for human communication, one that opposes the one-way flow of information pervasive in our mass-media culture. This medium is decentralized and accessible and encourages collaboration, collective thought and the formation of human relationships. It is an electronic geography where community is defined by common interest."

The Matrix Artists' Network: An Electronic Community. IN: CONNECTIVITY: ART AND INTERACTIVE TELECOMMUNICATIONS Leonardo 24(2), 1991 p. 230
""""""""""""""""""""""""""THE MEDIUM""""""""""""""""""""""""

Robert Dunn
I think the major concerns are limitations and imposed boundaries, including the extent to which the evolution of networking activity is constrained by its formulation in terms of systems that are approaching obsolescence.

The impact of network impressions may not translate into the traditional domain of commodity display in a coherent or analogous manner. A distortion or muting of intent and impression are more likely the result, what was transmitted or shared becomes invested with pre-conceived expectations, or structured in hierarchical ways to serve completely separate purposes. Then the echo has no reference to its source.

Shifting and dissolving boundaries of mind, and of time and space open higher dimensionalities of possibility. The virtual realities of networking and conception make what was once fantastic or ambitious in scope become more probable, approachable, given that the shared resources of the global energy of minds is accessible and transmutable.

The merger of collective imaginations in a collaborative endeavor is an entity perhaps beyond the comprehension of any single participating mind, which may yield societal organisms, communal thoughts, and consciousness of great potential and resonance. The power of converging minds amplifies in the open system contexts of networking.

This mind fusion community and awareness is beneficial to the planet and humanity. Closure is a fate we can't afford given that the times are about survival and require vision emanating from beyond the given constructs of any socio-political-economical status quo.

Embarking on a Janusian voyage is not a vacillation, it is referential, and the past is a staging area for thrusts or migrations into the future. We are in a period of experimentation and exploration, glimpsing horizons, and creating conditions for enduring co-existence with the universe."

"""""""""""""""""""""""THE MEDIUM"""""""""""""""""""""""

Roger Malina
I recently read a book THE LAST REEL* which is about the early pioneers in the development of the movie camera and the movie projector.

This is in the days when gelatin and plastic substrates were not yet invented, when they actually strung together glass plates to try and project a moving image. The artists and inventors working then had a passionate belief that film would become a revolutionary medium - and for years and decades these inventions were developed in the back rooms of inventors homes.

At this time there was no knowledge of what the right format would be - whether film would be shown in booths in fair arcades, in theaters, or even in the large "panorama" facilities where large painted scenes were scrolled by a walking audience.

Artists working today in art and telecommunications are in a position of these early pioneers in film technology. The vision of what could be, but the technology is not yet a "plastic" medium under the control of the artist.

Artists have been struggling with text based media, with slow scan transmission, with facsimile. The limitations of the technology are frustrating. The ultimate multi-media telecommunications medium is probably decades away - and even ISDN and all the other near term solutions are not really here yet.

At the same time the artists working together are establishing the theoretical base for all the issues that will eventually become crucial in these art forms of the future. In many ways the Constructivist artists worked out many of the issues of computer art, before the computer was available. For the reasons of technical limitations, the most powerful use of telecommunications systems today is often the simplest and the most thoughtful at a conceptual level.

Artists interested in the perspective of the early days of film technology, are referred to the book THE LAST REEL for some thought provoking comparisons.
*reviewed in the Oct. 1 1992 issue of FineArt Forum
"""""""""""""""""""""""""THE MEDIUM""""""""""""""""""""""""

Fred Truck
In the case of USENET and all of its variations, the Defense Department and many university computer science departments pay for that node's long distance services.

In the case of commercial suppliers, such as MCI Mail, Compuserve, the WELL, and GENIE, major corporations are owners. I.P. Sharp has donated space to artists for use in messaging and art projects.

Problems perceived:
1) Will the Defense Dept. always want to subsidize on-line art projects? USENET is supposed to be limited to defense oriented projects. There have been many changes in nodes in USENET in the last few years, with several universities (University of Wisconsin, for one) dropping out of the net due to financial difficulties. 2) Art projects involving multiple authorship are generally not done on commercial nets, with the WELL and I.P. Sharp being notable exceptions. If the business climate goes sour, it is possible that favorable conditions for artists on those machines will be restricted.

Conclusion: In most commercial systems, the artists pay something as it stands now. These same systems offer gateways to USENET, and the rest of the world. If the artist is located in a university situation, access is often free (or paid for by his or her dept). None of these situations are owned or operated by artists. All are vulnerable to economic or institutional control, thus reminding one of the current NEA mess concerning grants for the Robert Mapplethorpe photography show and raising the spectre of censorship.
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Monika Lidman
We began, fascinated with tin cans on opposite ends of a string. What is the draw of distanced, personal interaction? Do satellite transmissions and data transmissions reduce or facilitate isolation?

"""""""""""""""""""""""""""THE MEDIUM"""""""""""""""""""""""""""

Roger Malina
I see a paradox here- we have a communication medium that is truly global- that allows artists to be in instant contact with each other, but in sending things out we clearly have a total mismatch of the context - information about local issues and concerns may either find an echo elsewhere, or else this information may be incomprehensible.

If information sent out does not connect with sufficient local context connections, then this information is either incomprehensible to the receiver or misunderstood. Because electronic media allow us to communicate with people while being totally ignorant of the context of the receiver, then there is a real danger of the communication being a very violent and blunt instrument

Its always surprised me how many people want to receive Fineart Forum, but what a small percentage of these people ever send us email either for us to include their submissions, or else to comment on what they see. The electronic media should be democratic and non-centralized by their nature- yet so easily it becomes a mere broadcasting medium not an interactive medium.
"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""THE MEDIUM""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

John S. Quarterman
Editor, Matrix News
Response to: Fred Truck, WHO OWNS THE NETWORKS? In Making Art Online, FineArt Forum, 21(5), November 1, 1991

>In the case of USENET and all of its variations, the Defense >Department and many university computer science departments pay for >that node's long distance services.

Excuse me? The Defense Department?

You seem to be confusing USENET (which is an anarchic cooperative network with no centralized authority) with the Internet (parts of which are supported by various government agencies, but most by assorted companies, universities, and other organizations) with the ARPANET (which doesn't exist any more, but used to be supported by the Department of Defense).

>Problems perceived:
>1) Will the Defense Dept. always want to subsidize on-line art
>projects? USENET is supposed to be limited to defense oriented

This has never been true. USENET has no administration, and if it did, it would not be by the U.S. Department of Defense.

>Conclusion: In most commercial systems, the artists pay something as
>it stands now. These same systems offer gateways to USENET, and the
>rest of the world.

GEnie has no gateways to anywhere, as far as I know. CompuServe has no gateways to USENET that I know of (it does have mail gateways to the Internet).

>If the artist is located in a university situation,
>access is often free (or paid for by his or her dept). None of these
>situations are owned or operated by artists. All are vulnerable to
>economic or institutional control, thus reminding one of the current
>NEA mess concerning grants for the Robert Mapplethorpe photography

>show and raising the spectre of censorship.

You've got a good point, but the background is very confused. What you seem to want to talk about is *government* sponsorship, or, rather, setting of access policies, for networks. The most relevant government agency these days is NSF, the National Science Foundation, for the NSFNET backbone and for the proposed NREN (National Research and Education Network). And, to a lesser extent, local governmental sponsorship, as for universities.

Confusion about which network is which and why it matters is rampant, which is why I wrote ``Which Network, and Why It Matters'' in our newsletter, Matrix News. Matrix News is a monthly paper newsletter about contextual issues related to computer networks; preferably issues that cross network, organizational, or political boundaries. We cover network policy issues such as the history and current status of NREN, The recent Secret Service raids, and international connectivity. Each issue attempts to draw connections between technology, politics, and community, ranging from Smoot Carl-Mitchell's ``X.400 - Fact and Fancy,'' to John S. Quarterman's and ``Analogy is Not Identity.'' Articles have included ``Cyber Art: The Art of Communication Systems,'' by Anna Couey, Billy Barron's ``Libraries on the Matrix,'' and R.R. Ronkin's ``Global Cyberspace -- Who Needs It.'' Guest editorials have included ``Encouraging Equitable Competition on the Internet,'' by Mitchell Kapor, ``Public Institutions in an Electronic Society,'' by Steve Cisler, ``Walking the Beat in the Global Village,'' by Richard Civille, and ``On the Need to Develop Internet User Services,'' by Peter Deutsch. Issue 8 (November) examines networks in Argentina in depth, explains mailing list conventions, and reviews the program netfind. Issue 9 (December) has reports on recent CPSR and CNI meetings, a book review, and material about WAIS.
""""""""""""""""""""""""""THE MEDIUM"""""""""""""""""""""""""""

Jim Rosenberg
[Note: this text is an edited version of E-mail sent privately to Fred Truck and Cc'ed to a couple of other people. The segment excerpted below followed comments about USENET. I have deleted those comments since John Quarterman "wrote the book" on networking and is in a much better position to comment than I am.]

What you don't talk about in your article is the issue of who owns not the nets but the *words*. I don't know if this has ever been litigated, but at one time CompuServe was asserting a kind of "collective copyright" meaning that they would go after someone attempting to gateway an *entire* CompuServe forum. That's a pretty big strike against CompuServe as an art locus.

By contrast, the WELL appears positively enlightened. It tells me the moment I log in that *I* own my words. Sounds perfect as an art locus, right? Well, wait a minute. If I own my words, that means no one can reproduce them (read gateway ...) without my permission. I feel *VERY STRONGLY* that telcom based art must be gatewayed to as many networks as possible, preferably automatically. For a WELL conference to be gatewayed, it would require a kind of "implied consent" that the poster to a conference gives permission for her or his words to be gatewayed to wherever.

Now there is precedent for this. I'm thinking of the Venice Biennale feed.* Back then we were all so thrilled to have the opportunity to be telecommunicated to Venice that no one picked nits. But frankly, automatic gatewaying of a conference on the WELL *does* violate the letter of the law of WELL policy; this is an issue that's got to be decided by the WELL community itself. (It's possible this has been discussed already; I haven't been very active on the WELL for a long time.)

On the other hand, USENET is in fact perfect as an origin net for gatewaying to other nets. It is already international, which CompuServe and the WELL and Prodigy are not. Automatic gatewaying to other networks is no different than the store-and-forward propagation that happens already internal to USENET.

*ed: in 1986, a conference on ACEN on the WELL was ported to PLANETARY NETWORK, an installation at the Venice Biennale organized by Roy Ascott and others.
"""""""""""""""""""""""""""THE MEDIUM"""""""""""""""""""""""""""

Jon Van Oast
Technology and telecommunication provides a new medium to explore. This medium is "cyberspace". Cyberspace is the ultimate realm for artists (as well as every other type of being) because not only is it such an adaptable medium, but it is also a configurable TOOL. Cyberspace is a world where anything is possible. Oh, sure you can paint/sculpt/write/etc. in all sorts of mediums; but, this is the first place to offer them all (soon!).

Cyberspace can be molded to fit your (and everyone else's) needs, all at once. This may sound crazy, or impossible, but it isn't. Never before has mankind [don't mean to be sexist!] had the possibility to manipulate its environment to such an extreme, as is available in cyberspace. Not even close. What does this all mean? There is a new toy we can ALL play with. Anyone who works in ANY medium can find their place(s) in cyberspace.

One step closer to linking minds.
One user looks and another user finds.
. . .
Cyberspace, networks, thoughts exchange;
Nothing is sacred and nothing is strange.
. . .
     A realm untouchable by laws, rules, and logic awaits us all  
     Think freely.  Play fair.  And above all, do what you want; you can

"""""""""""""""""""""""""""THE MEDIUM"""""""""""""""""""""""""""
Wolfgang Ziemer-Chrobatzek
"....What have European Creators', artists, and the art have to do with an Europe of liberte, egalite and fraternite, inwards and outwards? A lot! The function of the artists has to be helping sensibly to create this very Europe I just mentioned. Not only a vital Europe or a vital world, but life and survival is our concern.......The Art of Communication, making use of the technical potentials of modern telecommunication, is predestined to be the avant-garde in the field of understanding and contacting, to be sensitive for what is about time - high time- to happen....." On the occasion of L'Europe des Createurs/ Utopies '89, Grand Palais, Paris, France, 1989.


Scot Art
System X is an online media art facility which has been running continuously since January 1990. System X is designed as a narrative structure providing context but not content: the content is produced by a group of artists who work together to produce an alternative storyline to the narrative of interaction in their daily lives. System X has daily commentary from many sources on aspects of art, philosophy, technology, etc.

Additionally, System X is used as a publishing medium for artwork created by artist-members. This work may be visual, auditory, literary, or all three (eg multimedia) in nature. This work is published in a "virtual gallery" with short text descriptions of the work.

System X is on-going, no immediate end is yet visualized.

It is the only project of its kind in Australia. The individuals who are responsible for its smooth administration are:
Scot Art
Tom Ellard
Jason Gee

Communications, discourses, and artwork exchanges with other artists are highly welcomed. The creation of communities of choice rather than geography is a highly desired aim of System X members. """"""""""""""""""""""""""""SYSTEMS"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

Pavel Curtis
>open door
>You open the closet door and leave the darkness for the living room,
>closing the door behind you so as not to wake the sleeping people inside.
>The Living Room
>It is very bright, open, and airy here, with large plate-glass windows
>looking southward over the pool to the gardens beyond. On the north
>wall, there is a rough stonework fireplace. The east and west walls are
>almost completely covered with large, well-stocked bookcases. An exit
>in the northwest corner leads to the kitchen and, in a more northerly
>direction, to the entrance hall. The door into the coat closet is at
>the north end of the east wall, and at the south end is a sliding glass
>door leading out onto a wooden deck. There are two sets of couches, one
>clustered around the fireplace and one with a view out the windows.
>You see Cockatoo, README for New MOOers, a fireplace, a newspaper,
>Welcome Poster, LambdaMOO Takes A New Direction, The Daily Whale, The
>Carpet, The Birthday Machine, Helpful Person Finder, lag meter, Noodles,
>Lanfear, Mustang Sally, GUARD, Banshee, Timbre, and shadow here.
>Soulglue (distracted), Leigh-Cheri, john, Wocha (confused), evangeline,
>Valere, Trystan, KarlT, CyberTec, Zeebo (worn out) (bored), gekko
>(Disconnected), Dr.Fate, Gus (distracted), legba, and Uther_Pendragon
>are here.
Bob Gale
"1. It's lonely out there. I'm tired of the mindless saps who populate most systems. More artists; More fun.
2. Beware the state. I'm a real believer in reaching for the Touffler ideal, and I fear the perversion of a government increasingly dependent upon computers and telecomm without public participation. Individual empowerment is #1.
3. Cyberspace is cool. It is both a production, distribution, and exhibition space all rolled into one. *Media* people may still slobber over video, but telecomm is the NeXT wave. I just want to be involved before the NEA creates funding categories for it, and the arts institutions co-op it all.
4. Telecomm is liberating. Freed of time, space, age, race, and gender, people are able to create new organic relationships. Here is the new age paradigm shift. Lets breaking boundaries and building new bridges.
5. Beware the corporation. Prodigy. Need I say more?
6. Information wants to be free; The cry of the cyberpunk. If we actually shared our resources, the world would be a happier place. Telecomm gives us an infrastructure to make this possible -- if we want.
7. Computers are cool. I still can't program, but I still am able to wrap my hands around the world through my terminal screen. Better than free frequent flyer miles.
8. A community within teleCOMMUNICATIONS. Its a big bad post-modern world out there. People need a support system to survive. Find it through a church, a gang, a local coffeehouse -- or through an online net.
9. Why look back? You can't control the past or the present, but you can chart a future trajectory. And telecomm is THE future.
10. Make big bonzo bucks! Yeah, right ;-)"
(Originally posed on ARTBASE)


Eleanor Kent
On the WELL, YLEM members and others check into the ACEN Conference, topic #544 (Ylem News) to learn of new meetings, parties, exhibits, studio critiques, retorts, as well as ask questions and get answers about tech-art ideas, equipment and philosophy. The illustrated hard-copy Ylem Directory lists email addresses and fax numbers so members can communicate electronically. Some members send stories and images by modem to editor Trudy Reagan for printing in the monthly newsletter. Ylem is interested in and alert to new uses of online systems.
Craig Latta
NETJAM is a computer network that provides a means for people all over the world to collaborate on musical compositions and other works of art. Participants send Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) and other data files to each other via electronic mail (email), edit them, and resend them. To join NetJam, all that are required are in interest in music, access to MIDI-compatible or other supported equipment, e-mail, compression facilities and access to the Internet. For details, send email to netjam-request@xcf.Berkeley.EDU, with the phrase "request for info" in the subject line.
Artur Matuck
"The network will allow for the active use of telecommunications for language and art research, providing a vehicle for intercultural expression.

A sequence of exchanges will provide for the exercise of fluxes and refluxes, propagating pulses and impulses of information.

As structured yet intermittent connection, REFLUX is intended to create a micro-process of cultural propagation, mirroring the analogous process of cultural diffusion and change which occurs in large scale.

The interactive process must entail a cultural responsiveness, a confrontation of codes and attitudes, a flowing of non-compulsory interactivity.

The implemented network will act as an instrument for collective symbolic production reflecting the voice of a community scattered throughout the planet..." (from a Description of the REFLUX Project)

Richard Lowenberg
The Telluride InfoZone is a pilot project for broad spectrum community development and education in rural areas, using information and telecommunications technologies. It is being planned as a pragmatic answer to real issues facing this place, and as a test-bed for systems, services, and the long range social, economic and cultural implications of "telecommunities" in our "information society"...........

As government and corporate interests form alliances and position themselves to create a new National Information Infrastructure, there is a growing movement among regional and local communities and dedicated individuals to shape a more humane, socially serving direction for our tele-media-ted future. Participate in this vital conversation and help promote an ecology of the information environment..........

Part of the statement from the Telluride Institute eighth annual Ideas Festival that focused on "Tele-Community".


Leonardo 24(2), 1991
Edited by Roy Ascott and Carl Loeffler, CONNECTIVITY includes seminal papers about systems (such as Jeff Mann -The Matrix Artists' Network; Phillip Bannigan and Sue Harris - an Electronic Arts Network for Australia) and about artworks online (such as Dana Moser's CORRESPONDENT IN BABEL and Karen O'Rourke's CITY PORTRAITS and Jennifer Hall's NETDRAMA as well as many papers about the history, theory, and philosophy of art and telecommunications.
Jesse Cohn
I'm currently reading an incredible book called *The Farther Shore: A Natural History of Perception*, by Don Gifford. The (I believe) fourth chapter, which I just completed, has sent my brain into hysterical overload.

In it, he describes the changes in our perception effected by the development of statistical science. Humankind remade in the image of Everyman/Average Man /Probability Man. Depressing? I was reminded of the poem in John Brunner's dystopian near-future novel *Stand on Zanzibar*, entitled "Citizen Bacillus", a devastating implication of the society that reduces human beings to interchangeable units, numbers in a database... bacteria, subhuman.

But more to the point, Gifford talks about the sheer quantity of artistic "product" being produced daily, annually. There are 96,000 people who register as visual artists on the census of New York City. He speculates on how many truly great poets are going to be lost forever in a sea of mediocrity. What an appalling vision...

As I thought about this, I wondered if it is not time to resubmerge the creative mind into the group effort, like those medieval monks who anonymously created all those intricate, painstakingly-made texts in utter anonymity.

Is that possible, or desirable? Is willing and intentional obscurity the only alternative to forcible obscurity in the "confetti of numbers"? Would the tide be even slightly stemmed if the world's artists all pooled their efforts instead of individually producing their own ego-invested works?

*Ed: NY, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990
"""""""""""""""""""""ABOUT COLLABORATION"""""""""""""""""""

Carolyn Guyer


What began as an idea to provide, with the HiPitched Voices project, a resource for women interested in writing collaborative hypertexts, has turned into a much larger concept with a far greater potential for strengthening the presence of women in computer technology. While the original proposal to gather a range of hypertexts into a deeply multiple web can and may still be developed, the diversity of ideas which have been suggested since the Voices email list was established just two months ago extends our platform to what might now be called a collective of women using technology to work collaboratively within hypertextual concepts.

Some of our current plans include:

- the establishment of an ftp archive site (that is, online and available through the Internet), titled VOX, at Washington University in St. Louis. Initially, two ideas will be implemented for this space. First, a hypertextual literary anthology called "the Making" which will be designed somewhat in the manner of a MUSE (Multi-User Simulation Environment) as an online "place" that anyone can visit, adding their own contributions to the collection. Second, a workshop or commentary location for works-in-progress.

This last will also be used as a kind of "central basket" for works of any kind placed there by each participant in HiPitched Voices. The basket, conceptually part of the originating prospectus, will be used as a means to help find partners for writing, multimedia, graphics, or other projects, and perhaps as a scene of ongoing rounds of "readings" (or changes) by anyone within Voices.

- the creation of a performance art work on the subject of women in technology which would "travel" various email lists.
- plans for virtual meetings in a MOO (similar to a MUSE) room called the Backwards Studio, which was created by one of the Voices participants. Our first meeting was held on Monday, Dec. 6. We will probably continue regular virtual meetings of this sort in the future, perhaps in different virtual locations.
- a Storyspace project, mostly fictional with a poetry emphasis, but to include interspersed critical notation. The originator of this potential collaboration is also interested in seeing an eventual translation of the project to a MOO space.

Howard Rheingold
"....This social contract requires one to give something, and enables one to receive something. I have to keep my friends in mind and send them pointers instead of throwing my informational discards into the virtual scrap-heap. It doesn't take a great deal of energy to do that, since I have to sift that information anyway in order to find the knowledge I seek for my own purposes. And with twenty other people who have an eye out for my interests while they explore sectors of the information space that I normally wouldn't frequent, I find that the help I receive far outweighs the energy I expend helping others: A perfect fit of altruism and self-interest. For example, I was invited to join a panel of experts who advise the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). The subject of the assessment is "Communication Systems for an Information Age." Before I went to Washington for my first panel meeting, I opened a conference in the Well and invited assorted information-freaks, technophiles, and communication experts to help me come up with something to say.

By the time I sat down with the captains of industry, government advisers, and academic experts at the panel table, I had over 200 pages of expert advice from my own panel. I wouldn't have been able to garner that much knowledge of my subject in an entire academic or industrial career, and it took me (and my virtual community) six weeks. The same strategy can be applied to an infinite domain of problem areas, from literary criticism to software evaluation." (from "Virtual Communities"

"""""""""""""""""""""""""""MAIL ARTISTS""""""""""""""""""""""""""

Chuck Welch
A networking mail art friend recently (e)mailed a devilish network tongue twister that partly explains my purpose for telecommunicating in Reflux. "How much work could a network work id a network could net work?" (Pan). I prefer playfully netplerking without all that ponderous work, "How much play could a network plerk if a network could netplerk?" How might the worlds of telecommunication and mail artists interconnect to work and play the nets together? I want to bridge worlds. This message is my medium.

For further information see: Welch, Chuck. NETWORKING CURRENTS: CONTEMPORARY MAIL ART SUBJECTS AND ISSUES. Boston, Massachusetts: Sandbar Willow Press, 1986.
"""""""""""""""""""""""""YOUR WORDS?"""""""""""""""""""""""

Judy Malloy
"""""""""""""""""""""END MAKING ART ONLINE!""""""""""""""""""

Making Art Online was first implemented as a website by the Center for Image and Sound Research, (CSIR) Vancouver, B.C., Canada on their pioneering ANIMA website in the early days of of the World Wide Web. Commissioned for ANIMA in 1993 by Derek Dowden, Making Art Online went online in January, 1994 as one of the first web-based works of computer-mediated information narrative.

A version which approximates the historic ANIMA version was included in the traveling exhibition Telematic Connections: The Virtual Embrace, 2001 curated by Steve Dietz and is hosted online by the Walker Art Center at

The final version includes contributions from John Coate, Anna Couey, Pavel Curtis, Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, Carolyn Guyer, Michael Joyce, Roger Malina, Jeff Mann, Lucia Grossberger Morales, Tim Perkis, Pauline Oliveros, Howard Rheingold, Jim Rosenberg, Randy Ross, (Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and Otoe Missouria) Sonya Rapoport, Fred Truck, and many others.

Documentation of Making Art Online is available in the Judy Malloy Papers at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University.

Judy Malloy