Tijen Tunali

Net Art and Activism

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Studies in Visual Arts and Communication – an international journal / June 2016 3(1)

ABSTRACT

Digital art activities (commonly known as net art) refer to a wide range of works that are computer-based art, accessed freely online, created by artists using web browsers, developer codes, scripts, search engines, applications, and various other online tools. Net art blurs the boundaries between art, design, political activism, and communication and raises questions about the authorship and translocality of art. Its relationship with the art world has been unclear as much as its nature as an avant-garde art movement.

The activist artists on the Internet incorporate new as well as old media into their practice and reach a diversity of audiences that was not possible for the mass movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The unknown recipient is involved in the tactical intervention of civil disobedience without necessarily recognizing its artistic origins. The activist net art practices take a revolutionary role already by transcending the exhibition-oriented nature of art and its commodity function. Not all the producers of tactical media on the Internet call themselves artists but their practices are often seen as a form of art, in their creative and subversive uses of form and content, and their symbolic, representational and practical work that intervenes, disturbs and challenges the commercial and corporate power in the cyberspace. This study points to some issues on the nature and outcome of the net art and investigates its potentiality to be a plausible tool for political activism.

Keywords: Net Art, New Media Art, Virtual Activism, Tactical Media, Digital Activism.


Biographical note

Tijen Tunali – PhD Candidate in Art History at the University of New Mexico

Author’s Research Interests: Alternative Practices of Art and Cultural Production, Contemporary Art and Ecology, Social Movements and Art in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.