Joline Blais, Jon Ippolito – At the Edge of Art

Joline Blais

book – Thames and Hudson, ISBN 0500238227
“Art is not solely defined by its context – its appearance in the traditional art world – but rather by the type and quality of experience it offers the viewer and its long-term effects on the social body.” This is one of the most shareable sentences written in this book, a net art and culture book that goes well beyond the net art stereotypes, trying to approach a 360 degrees perspective on the Internet-influenced art. Establishing six arbitrary but exhaustive characteristics (perversion, arrest, revelation, execution, recognition, perseverance) the authors place many net / digital art classics in a broader social and cultural datascape analyzing them along with creative products, various software, different art practices and hard-to-classify websites. After selecting, cataloguing, categorizing and historicizing net artworks time has come to contextualize them for the people out of the usual circles. This rich discourse, in the end heading on technology, art and their mutual understanding, is useful also for digital art habitué, opening their minds to more connections than the usual. Art, art market, creative processes, political strategies and social mutations are juxtaposed in a puzzle of meanings and strategies, inspiring on one side and confusing on the other. The same title seem to purposely avoid any explicit reference to the net, in order to not discourage the art world average person, and finally to build a bridge between one of the most crucial ‘avant garde’ ever expressed and those who still write the official art history.