Monday, February 13, 2006

Action, interaction, art!

"I am interested in creating products, but by rethinking the notion of a product as a transformation of actions not as a transformation of material" - Tino Sehgal

Last night at the ICA Cecilia urged me to go and see the Tino Sehgal exhibition. "It's still open?!", I asked, since we had arrived after 6pm and I was sure we'd missed our window (blame overland trains only every half hour from South East London to central ...). Well we went and it was indeed fascinating - being led around the ICA building, up and down winding stairways, into spacious rooms with no furniture, to be asked if I have dreams and what is progress? Ultimately we went around in a circle, but I guess it is about the process - and being, suddenly, left alone at the end in medias res as if nothing ever happened.

But I am also thinking about internet art these days and what distinguishes it from other art forms. We have music, the visual arts, literature, film, and a host of genres in between. But the internet is a just-hyped artistic phenomenon, why should anyone care except to look at the enthusiasm as just another dotcom dream?

So here I have been set upon an exploration, knowing that at the inception there is so much possibility and yet so little has been defined. Do we perceive the internet as a series of user actions, and interactions? Do we start art by the simplest representation - not of images on the internet, god forbid, but of these very interactions. As a playwright's drama captures some essence of the human drama, so, perhaps internet art captures something of the interactive information intenities that take place every day.

But does it?

Judged by such early forms as Alex's supposed iconic web look, it's still early days. And what else do we have? Well watch this space, I am onto it!

For those unable to get hold of a copy of Rachel Greene's (very promising so far) Internet Art, you are lucky because someone else is reading it for you. That's me. But in French, and my French is not so hot - don't ask, we were in Paris the other day and of course who wouldn't buy some iconic text at the Centre Pompidou when you are there? Even if it takes an hour to translate a single page ...

But for starters, have a look at, and also at

The thing to do at the latter is click on one of the numbers and at the new place start interacting by having your entered sentences' words stripped of all consonants or vowels, as the case may be. Funky stuff.