How to Do Art With Networks

How to Do Art With Networks
Thursday 26 November 2015
13:00 – 17:30
Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Gym, Amsterdam
During a one-day-open market with workshops, lectures and performances, How to Do Art With Networks shows how networks are art.

How to Do Art With Networks provides an opportunity to share experiences, to experiment with platforms, tools and media, to conspire and discuss questions of sustainability, growth and informality. The day is based around several existing net-art-works that act as catalysts to show different perspectives, scales, potentials and pitfalls.

In general terms a network consists of link structures and distribution systems that connect traces, projects and people. Such organisational design of networks is based on flexibility and adaptability that serves to distribute information. Whereas the network influences the way relations and art function, artists and organisations are using the networked structures not only as an ability to inform others, but also as their canvas. This canvas is informed and co-developed by its users to create and construct new languages, new poetries and new arts. In such cases the ‘network’ is about using relationships among people, which can include technology, but it is foremost about seeing a network as a situation or a medium, more specifically, as art.

In his publication How to Do Things With Words (1962) British philosopher of language J.L. Austin describes performative utterances as statements that perform an action: a Speech Act. Rather than describe or report what is being done: they do. Similarly, networks do, they function and enact. The network is embedded in and emerges as art; whilst the art enacts certain events it is also formed by and influences the mechanisms that are used.
LAPS (Lectoraat for Art and Public Space) in collaboration with the Gerrit Rietveld Academie have made How to Do Art With Networks possible.

Harm van den Dorpel, initiator deli near info (since 2015)
Deli Near Info is a platform or algorithmic studio, which is made in response to the linear and streamlined structure of contemporary social media platforms. Emphasising a non-linear organisation, unlike social media platforms’ rigid chronological ordering, Deli Near Info explores the continuously changing organisational structure of many creative processes. The multi-user platform mimics the functions of a whiteboard – mapping out different entries in various constellations, whilst the algorithm adds an additional feature by creating various iterations while the page is still in use. This shows the instable process of rapidly changing ideas, emphasising the art that happens between the nodes, the constellation or the combination of entries.

Michael Murtaugh, member/co-initator Active Archives (since 2006)
This project aims at creating a free software platform to connect practices of library, media library, publications on paper (for example, magazines, books, catalogues), productions of audio-visual objects, events, workshops, discursive productions, etc. Practices which can take place online or in various geographical places, and which can be at various stages of visibility for reasons of rights of access or for reasons of research and privacy conditions.

Martine Neddam, initiator MyDesktopLife* (since 2014)
MyDesktopLife is an editing program, made to create online narratives by mixing digital content (sounds, images, texts, iframes, animation effects). An online composition made with MyDesktopLife represents a flow of consciousness because it is composed of many different layers of images, texts, sounds, voice melted into each other. The creation of this software and its sharing has the goal to stimulate the development of expressive languages inside a browser. In terms of style and attitude, it is inspired by the art practices of the early period.

Anne Roquigny, initiator web performance project WJ-S (since 2005)
WJ-S is a software and a flexible public device for web performances allowing WJs (webjays, artists, curators, web addicts, web mutants) to play live with online text, sound and visuals.
Webjays take the control of a multiscreen environment and surf at distance in different browser windows simultaneously. WJ-S is a visible and collective experience of the surf. The pleasure of browsing is shifted to a live performance environment. Individual and collaborative online productions (in different geographical sites) become collective events (to which an audience is invited).

Robert Sakrowski, initiator Curating You Tube / Gridr (1997 / 2007)
With Curating You Tube Sakrowki explores new web phenomena. He developed Gridr, a special online tool to enable further research. Sakrowski aims to reflect on the paradigm shift in consumption using YouTube, where visitors no longer behave as mere viewers or consumers, but instead become actively involved and transform the work of others in their own way.


Aymeric Mansoux, Surface Web Times
“Instead of focusing our attention and energy making works that are in fact ready-to-ship-and-to-consume content, we should work directly at the level of the container, in order to rethink networks not as mere support for information, but also as an artistic medium that is critical of these very modes of production and consumption. If this is ever the intention, today, of networked art to go beyond the visualisation, the virality and the lulz, its participants must start to work outside of the infrastructures and the context of the surface Web, instead of developing a symbiosis with the latter. It is always an option for artists to appropriate more than just media practices and online folklore. In that regard, topologies, protocols and infrastructures are very powerful artistic material.”

Katrina Sluis, Resistance to digital and digital resistance: curating networks (t.b.c.)

Additional information:
Curated and organised by Annet Dekker and Martine Neddam, and production support by LAPS, Sietske Roorda. For more information please contact Sietske Roorda via

*MyDesktopLife (Web-Mixer) is made possible by a grant from the Creative Industries Fund NL, Rotterdam.