Versions and the comment as medium


Interviews with Contant Dullaart, Martijn Hendriks, Harm van den Dorpel, Theo Watson by Annet Dekker, November, 2009

Since the rise of Web 2.0 the internet has become the pre-eminent domain of and locus for the development of collective authorship. Its speed, ease and omnipresence make the internet extremely well suited as a place for quickly launching ideas, responding to others, or adapting existing work and reusing it.

During the course of the last century collective authorship already played an established role in the visual arts, arising out of the development from closed to more open art forms, from static objects to dynamic processes, and from contemplative perception to active participation. From the 'author as producer' (Walter Benjamin, 1934) through the 'death of the author' (Roland Barthes, 1968) the concept of distributed or collective authorship became increasingly accepted.

Artworks which arise from collective processes on the internet lie in a continuum with other works, references and commentaries, leading to different versions and forms of one work. The Netherlands Media Art Institute challenged a number of artists to temporarily exchange the internet for the static space of the gallery. The question is of course how they make this transition. In brief e-mail and skype interviews (and one live interview) Annet Dekker asked the artists about the value of collaboration and of being able to comment on one another's work via internet.