Internet art during a time of social distancing

If you live with a mental illness then the concept of social distancing and self isolation is nothing new to you. For many however, it is.
The global arts community is responding to this time of distancing by shifting on-line via social media and the internet for digital connectivity and gathering.

In 1999 I launched a web-specific artwork titled distance. In this work I explored the use of web-cams to meet the desire for connectivity.
These screen-based connections preceedded our current mobile means of communication. The internet was still an emerging medium impacting our culture.

Distance, 1999

Internet based communication continued to be the focus of my works Remote_corp@REALities, dystopia mix, distance in real-time: eye to the ear remix and no access!.
cu-see me was the popular web cam application during Y2K which included text-based real-time chat.
These works incorporated images and text taken from cu-see me as well as sound made from face-to-face interviews with artists and students working with these emerging technologies.
Forms inviting remote user interaction were also incorporated into the work asking questions such as "what does distance mean to you?" and "does technology bring us closer, further apart?"

Distance in Real-Time: an eye to the ear remix, 2001

In 2001 I wrote in an artist statement that these works have the "combined effect of functioning like an extended on-line conversation taking place in both real and delayed time, amongst geographically dispersed participants mediated by the surface of their computer screens."

Re:mote_corp@REALities, 2001

The idea of "liveness" on the internet was the primary focus of voyeur_web.
Placing webcams in the home, using technology to reach out to the world, became a phenomenon within the emerging web cam subculture.
Staging exhibitionism and inviting voyeurism was the guiding tendency that called "attention to the interplay between the public and private spheres."

voyeur_web, 2001

My work with digital media preceedded internet art. In 1993 I began working with three dimensional software and in 1994 exhibited an immersive installation Translate { } Expression. In this work I created an avatar built by technology, constructed by computer code.
Later, once the World Wide Web was developed and the the first web browser, Mosaic, was released I re-made this work and distributed it on-line.

Translate { } Expression, 1998

The works that followed, future_body, + avatars and several remixed versions of the original Translate { } Expression, continued to explore the relationship between technology, the body and subjectivity--
asking what does it mean to be embodied in a high-tech world?

While this body of work spans from 1994 - 2005 and during this time twenty web-based works were launched, most of them are not available on the internet at this time. Many web hosts have long expired and most of the plug-ins are now obsolete. Preserving and archiving the work from this period is a current concern. How to re-make the work for today's platforms and present the work in physical space are the challenges that I and many artists making work during this time face.

Now, during this time of self-isolation I see so many arts organizations and individual artists turning to the internet, once again to reach out to world, engage in dialog, and distribute their work to a remiote and geographically dispersed audience.