of participative art on-line by Roberta Bosco and Stefano Caldana
Internet was born to be a powerful tool of information exchange and simultaneous
collaboration among people from different places in the world. Throughout its development
those who have lost sight of this fundamental fact have failed or are destined to do so. This is not
the case of digital artists who, from the beginnings of this new artistic expression, have focused
their efforts and creativity on a participative, collaborative and interactive direction.
Digital Jam is a selection of 11 projects conceived for the Internet that shows different
tendencies of artistic investigation, focused on the collaborative aspect of the creative process
on-line in the course of the last 7 years.
The participative experience in digital art has very deep roots going back to Nam June Paik's
experiences at the beginning of the 70's. However, regarding net.art, one of the first was American
artist Douglas Davies with The World's First Collaborative Sentence, a multimedia document
whose development and expansion depend on the audience who, since 1994, adds text, sound,
images and video. That year, the artistic community sensitive to innovative projects discovered to
have a means at their disposal, which shortened distances and changed completely the concept
of work of art and copyright and, of course, began to use it.
We are not in favour of encyclopaedic selections, so we'd rather risk choosing a series of
projects which, in our opinion, shows the numerous tendencies in the field of artistic
collaboration on-line. Within the historic ones, we have chosen Davies and Paul Vanouse
and their database of secrets and excluded undoubtedly interesting works, such as The Most
Wanted Painting by Komar & Melamid and Please Change Belief by Jenny Holzer. French artist Gregory Chatonsky and Americans Marek Walczak and Martin Wattenberg take sides in the discussion of digital art collections, and Eric Zimmerman explores the dynamics of the interpersonal relations on-line with an addictive and evil game. Andy Deck allows to perform a graphic jam session in real time, Hannes Niepold suggests a collaborative net.comic in constant growth and Bernd Holzhausen keeps on expanding his famous Icontown, a city made of pixel buildings by thousands of icon-addicts. Thomax Kaulmann presents its already historic Open Radio Archive Network Group and John Klima challenges the usual model of interactivity and collaboration on the Internet with Glasbead. Finally, No/E.html, a webring by Mexican artist Arcangel Constantini, links with mythical works such as Desktop IS or Refresh by Russian artist Alexey Shulgin, webrings of artists pages from all over the world, which we have excluded because they have lost several intermediate rings and they are immediately interrupted.
Digital Jam invites the observer/user to leave his/her passive role in order to take part in first person in this creative jam session on the Internet.