Internet art communities in the Baltic region are thriving. A reason for analysing and evaluating the remarkable persistence and success of work within the Internet art scene here is that it by far outdoes the physical art scene in the region. Contemporary art centres with Internet media production facilities form hubs that connect an otherwise remote spot to key networks in the art world system. We propose to study art practices centred on the Internet in a handful of cases in Germany, Lithuania, and Sweden. Our primary concerns are as follows:
– To make the internationalisation of the region visible through mapping the financial and material infrastructure, networks, and collaborative strategies around the artists and exhibitions in the present study. This involves consideration of the democratic promise of Internet access for all. – To analyse the realisation of “space” in the concerned exhibitions and artists’ work in order to uncover the distinctive features of Internet art vis-à-vis offline practices. Key issues include public participation, cross-cultural communication and social organisation. – To contribute to establishing the history of Internet art in the Baltic region, which exists in fragments only, in the years between 1996 and 2006. The history of Internet art in the region is of particular interest, in so far as it should be able to expose successful collaborative projects between otherwise more or less peripheral countries in the global art world.
Our aim is to identify and analyse these specific features of Internet art in three parts of the study. 1) Håkan Nilsson will set up a comparative study around the concept of “communication flow” that looks at the Internet as both distribution and source for artworks. This part includes work by Karin Hansson, Ola Pehrson, and Lisa Jevbratt. 2) Dan Karlholm’s study departs from the concept of space and the politics of display with respect to two cases on German soil: Internet art within the international mega-exhibitions Documenta X (1997) and Documenta 11 (2002). 3) Charlotte Bydler will investigate the role of the Internet for connecting the art scene in Lithuania to a larger art world network. The direct focus for this part of the study is the Baltic Triennial, which has enjoyed renewed interest in the last two editions.