"What is art?", Allen Ginsberg asked William Burroughs.
"A three- letter word", he answered.

Web as Canvas offers a series of artistic proposals conceived for this new canvas and at the same time stage of contemporary creation, which is the Internet. All the projects we think are representative of the new creative tendencies in the Internet and are directly linked to the topic of this year: "stretched painting". This subject is very wide and we are not in favour of huge selections, so we have decided to choose ten projects, which from our point of view materialize what we understand by "painting with code". Nine of these are already existing projects, which have been lent by their creators for Web as Canvas (thank you so much to everybody!) and one of them, World Wall Painters, by the collective Area3 from Barcelona has been specially made for Art Futura 2002. It is an application for the Carnivore Project by RSG Radical Software Group, a project based on the software with the same name used by the FBI to intercept Internet communications. The Carnivore spies on data packages, and offers artists these packages to be reinterpreted in a creative way, turning thus the own computer code into a work of art. After artists such as Entropy8Zuper and Mark Napier (who take part in Web as Canvas with other projects), Area3 has also put one of the great dogmas of art into practice, that is, to use something for a different purpose than it was first conceived. Thus, an instrument of repression and control such as the Carnivore becomes a dispenser of realistic paintings in the case of Area3 and Entropy8Zuper, a dispenser of fractal and abstract images in the case of Joshua Davis and even a dispenser of music in the case of Tom Betts.
The rest of the projects offer different ways to paint with the code and, at the same time, establish clear bonds with the great movements of modern art. The "oldest" project is Communimage from 1999 by the Spanish-Swiss group Calc. Since then it does not stop growing thanks to the netizens' contributions. Entropy8Zuper, the baroque voice in the Internet, presents the last version of Eden Garden, exhibited at the SFMoma in 010101 Art In Technological Times. The project is based on an application that reads the html code of a web page typed by the user and turns it into elements of an artificial 3D paradise, planted with fantastic trees and flowers. For the same exhibition, the SF Moma also produced Feed by Mark Napier, a paradigmatic work of the relationship between net.art and the great artistic avant-garde movements. Feed is a creative browser that borrows the structure and contents of web pages and turns them into a constant flow of pixels using data, codes, images and texts to produce out a computer action-painting. Something similar to what happens with Turux. Lia and Dextro's work has been defined as "a dream by Paul Klee in a Picasso world." Unfolding Object by John Simon Jr is also more linked to the pictorial tradition than computing. The piece, based on a digital structure that changes according to the netizens' access to the web, links to many artistic experiences from Sol LeWitt to Paul Klee, and even to the techniques used in the Alhambra's design and other Islamic architectures.
In the free-flowing and unlimited space of the virtual creation the limits between art and design have been mixed and faded away. Three aspects represent this versatile area, which feeds from so many different sources, from graphic design to conceptual art. The elegant minimalism of InsertSilence, a shared project between the Israeli Amit Pitaru and the English James Paterson, who started working together when they found out by chance they lived in the same street in New York. The underground and brutalist design of Snowcrash by the American of Cuban origin Antonio Mendoza, whose work mixes the psychedelic aesthetic from the seventies, comics culture, Indian iconography and the girls from adult manga comics. Typographic variations of Textension by Joshua Nimoy, an artistic research directly influenced by concrete poetry, focused on perception and pleasure of interaction. Finally, the graphic experiments in Electric Sheep by Scott Draves turn into forms of artificial life thanks to a software, which generates complex fractal-shape animations.
Ten projects: ten different forms to paint with code.
Roberta Bosco and Stefano Caldana