(edited by) Phoebe Stubbs – Art and the Internet


Black Dog Publishing, ISBN: 978-1907317989, English, 240 pages, 2014, UK

This book promotes itself as a celebration of 25 years of the relationship between art and the internet (although 1989 doesn’t seem like a particularly landmark year for internet art). It comes with a peculiar “detective story”: the official editor (Phoebe Stubbs, judging by various online stores and library catalogues), is never mentioned in the book, not even in the colophon, or on the publisher’s website. This kind of mystery plot would ring alarm bells for net.art connoisseurs as being a classic fake upon which to construct an artwork or performance – this time in the form of a book. But unfortunately there are no traces of this and the editing criteria – of which there is no mention aside from a short anonymous text at the beginning – can surely be defined as ‘original’, with very few classic pieces and many works by lesser-known artists, spanning the entire time period but focussing mostly on the last ten years. There are commissioned essays, interviews, bibliographies and everything necessary for composing a historical anthology, but the thin red line going through the book seems to be missing (or is well hidden). We can also see this book from a different perspective. As Florian Cramer stated once, some net.art has been preserved through screenshots printed in a few books. So maybe the secret plan here was to make a “time capsule” with a selection of works that would have definitely seem exclusive if discovered in the future. If this is the case, then this book is truly unique.