Olga Goriunova – Art Platforms and Cultural Production on the Internet


Routledge, ISBN-13: 978-0415893107, 176 pages, 2011, English
Beyond being a co-organizer of four editions of the mythical read.me software art festivals (each of which was documented in a reader she co-edited) Olga Goriunova is an author who has spent a lot of research time delving into concepts of software in art and society. For many years she also co-curated the online software art repository runme.org, which collected digital artworks dealing with the conventions, grammar, dialects, attitudes and enormous potential of software. Her main interest became defining and elaborating the concept of “art platform”, which she has spoken of simply as “a network platform that produces art.” In this book she discusses this concept extensively as a virtuous node for inbound and outbound relationships; one that is flexible and self-organizing, perfectly comfortable with the network scalable interconnections, and able to be “reflective of its own processuality.” She focuses on the environmental system that enables art online, successfully analyzing it as aesthetic, living organism and never forgetting to underscore its relationship with the social web. The investigation is fascinating, starting with the political and philosophical roots of autonomous organizations, before looking at the history of specific platforms (like the very peculiar Udaff.com), artist interventions (the Second Life’s Gazira Babeli) and the structural challenges of a strange beast like runme.org. Goriunova delineates the shapes and dynamics of these platforms in a vivid form, which finally stand out as a new crucial category.