A network based geographical scale drawing tool


net.art Sketch 1.0 is a Java(tm) applet which allows audience participation to function as the stimulus for a conceptual performance art activity. There are two manifestations of human perceivable form generated by net.art Sketch. The first is this web site. The second is the outcome of audience interaction with the applet recorded as messages by other internet servers. These messages go to servers which were chosen based on their actual geographic locations, and for their relationship to the art world.
The audience for the second manifestation are the administrators of the effected arts organizations and their computer systems. The servers communicated with by the applet constitute a canvas that is coextensive with the North American continent, consisting of a constructed context of the art-institutional complex. This canvas/complex can in turn be drawn upon, allowing the user of the net.art Sketch software to work directly on the artworld as a continental surface. This is accomplished in the software via a particular index of art making as UI: a set of drawing tools. The actions of users projecting their drawings onto the North American continent, using art servers as geographic pixels, is the conceptual form of the work. The act of drawing as a typology is fused technologically with a constructed context of the art world as a canvas on which to place a mark.
Within its ontology as an artwork, the net.art Sketch application is intended to conflate and blur culturally assumed oppositions regarding geography/hyperspace, artwork/network, and serious/absurd. It is the simultaneity of the actual (you really do draw a massive sized picture onto North America), and the absurd (certainly nobody will ever reconstitute any of the images as a contiguous whole), that teases out interesting problems for networks when considered either as Cartesian geographies, or as hyperreal spaces without significant reference to the real. Both the real and the hyperreal are simultaneously true (and false), existing without contradiction in an emerging relationship capable of spinning off multiple novel conditions. The lack of contradiction between the assumed poles is ultimately a description of the ontology of network "space" as both a semiotic system and a physical system. In the case of net.art Sketch, the seriousness of the actuality, and the absurdity of the action, are fused by the network as system; exposing both a slice of network beingness, and a related way of thinking about using networks as fine art media.
The real and hyperreal are both fully operational.
Brett Stalbaum