Network Arts: Exposing Cultural Reality

David Ayman Shamma

The world has changed. The machine that sits on our desk, our lap, and in the palms of our hands is no longer a computation device. It is a communication device aimed at connecting us with documents, information, and each other. To date the machine in the world of art, it has done so solely in its role as a computer. It exists as a computational tool for the creation of work, often a powerful tool, but it has not played the role of communicator. At the Northwestern InfoLab , we now explore a new role for the computer in art as a reflector of popular culture. Moving away from the static audio-visual installations of other artistic endeavors and from the traditional role of the machine as a computational tool, we fuse art and the Internet to expose cultural connections people draw implicitly but rarely consider directly. We describe several art installations that use the World Wide Web as a reflection of cultural reality to highlight and explore the relations between ideas of our every day lives.

David Ayman Shamma is a Ph.D. Candidate at Northwestern University 's Computer Science Department in the Intelligent Information Laboratory (InfoLab). His work involves the creation of artistic agencies focused around information in context and theories of presentation and delivery. David holds a Masters of Science in Computer Science from the University of West Florida and can often be found at the IHMC drinking coffee. ( http://www.infolab.northwestern.edu/~ayman/ )