Ars Electronica

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Prix 1987 - 2007

Ars Electronica Linz & ORF Oberösterreich

Lessons in NetArt
Thomas Dreher

The website IASLonline Lektionen / Lessons in NetArt shows how the functions of the Internet have changed in contemporary media art: from hypertext to current media combinations (Internet, WiFi, mobile phone, GPS, digital camera), from “webness” to hybrid. The critical texts on net art in theLektionen / Lessons are a part of IASLonline (, a free electronic magazine which evolved from the printed “International Archive for Social History of German Literature”.

Since November 1999, 13 lessons have been published online, all of which present net artists and their websites. In August 2001, “Tips” were introduced to present individual projects isolated from the larger context of such works. In addition to these comprehensive reviews of individual projects and “Collected Tips” with thematic emphases (see Collected Tips 1-3 on “Interactive Urban Experience”), projects are also depicted in “Short Tips” consisting of no more than five sentences.

The “NetArt: Theorie / Theory” section was launched in November 2000 with an introductory article on net art; today it contains texts on themes such as hypertext, media activism, software art and participation with a camera.

The site Lektionen / Lessons in NetArt not only
gives information about important projects (see:
Lessons, Tips) and the current state of net art
criticism (see: Links, with index), but also initiates
an exploration of the history of net art.

Lektionen / Lessons in NetArt observe media trends and respond:

a) with commitment in the case of socially and legally relevant issues such as censorship and copyright. It integrates expanded concepts of media art and pursue transgressions leading to activism (e.g. Lesson 12 about “ODEM”).

b) with distance in the case of trends related to entertainment supported by digital media. These trends are presented, along with critical countermovements, as part of the technological and social development of a culture (e.g., “pervasive games” in Collected Tips 2).