Is this post one of the most iconic pieces of net art history?
Certainly Rhizome's Rachel Greene believed the story and made it 'art
history' in an article written for Artforum in 2000 she put: 'The term
Śnet.artą is less a coinage than an accident, the result of a software
glitch that occurred in December 1995, when Slovenian artist Vuk Cosic
opened an anonymous e-mail only to find it had been mangled in transmission.
Amid a morass of alphanumeric gibberish, Cosic could make out just one
legible term Śnet.artą which he began using to talk about online art and
communications'. Greene, R. (2000) ŚWeb Work: a history of internet artą,
Artforum, v.38 (no.9): 162
But as other writers like Josephine Bosma have argued, the term 'net.art'
wasn't born this way at allŠ see her book Nettitudes:
So was it a stunt? A work of net.art itself? And if it is a fusion of
artwork and a tongue-in-cheek jibe at the discipline of art history
(creating a kind of 'ism' to bait the art historians) what do we describe it
as? A kind of new media new art history? Perhaps Rachel Greene didn't
believe the story, but was also invested in crafting this red herring of a
narrative? And whatever it was, how do we work with a post like this when
studying the history of Internet art forms? How easy is it to misinterpret
an list-based archive (or any social media-based archive)? To what extent do
we have the license to interpret a list post or should we hunt down it's
author and verify we've understood?