Chapter 1:
Internet Art
Chapter 2:
Chapter 3:
Digital Weakness
Table of Figures
James Hayes' art website

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The Internet Archive also actively solicits donations of digital collections to the archive to extend their library of resources. This is a resource the digital artistic community should be made aware of, at least those who wish their work to remain permanently within the public domain. The Internet Archive does attempt to archive the entire publicly available web at specific moments in time, but many sites may not be included because the automated crawlers (internet data gathering software) are unaware of their existence, or the websites are otherwise inaccessible to the automated systems. In order for a website to "exist" it must be linked to by another already "existing" website, or it must be part of a search engine database - both of which involve a certain amount of promotion.

The first step in website promotion for an artist (after publication) usually involves an e-mail announcement to family and friends, followed by galleries and artistic publications. A more advanced form of promotion is necessary to target the vast horde of Internet users who the artist does not know but wishes to entice to the website. The first step in this advanced promotion drive involves registering the website's "existence" with the main search engines. Many search engines are now charging fees for this service - a major conceptual change in approach which took place in March of 200161 and which will dramatically affect the way amateur websites are found in the future. Another step is to use any possible contacts to garnish a 'link" from an established website such as an online arts periodical, or any other website with relevant viewer traffic. Often times this can be obtained simply by writing an e-mail to the website owner in question and offering to "swap" links. Most websites have at least one page totally devoted to linking to other websites, and it is in everyone's best interest to co-operate.

Lastly there is the traditional media promotion, a costly venture usually outside the financial realities of an independent artist. So even if an artist creates and publishes Internet based artwork, this does not mean the Internet public will ever see it. The internet may be a free publishing venue, but it still must overcome the same hurdles as the traditional gallery, that of getting the viewer to cross the threshold, or in this case, to know of the website's "existence" and to visit its URL. In this respect Internet artists are still better off when supported by established institutions which can provide the necessary promotion. The work of organisations such as,, and Arthouse to showcase emerging Internet artwork is therefore necessary and commendable in that it raises this ground breaking work from the obscure or niche audience to the realm of the general Internet public.

With Internet technology comes a terrible dependence which has made itself known in several small flourishes in 1999, 2000 and 2001 via the explosive e-mail distribution of computer viruses. Such viruses as "Melissa" brought companies around the globe to their knees and cost upwards of millions of dollars in lost revenue due to downtime - and this was not even a destructive virus.62 Alongside the promises of "digital perfection" and "global access" what really must be acknowledged is that the Internet is a largely untested emerging technology, with all its inherent hidden failures just waiting to appear, combined with the traditional challenges of getting the work seen.

Even though artists are free to publish whatever content they wish and anyone with Internet access will theoretically be able to view it, the reality is that trawling through the vast information database which is the Internet can be pretty hit-and-miss at the best of times. There are no guarantees that any published material will ever be viewed, and there are also no guarantees that said materials will digitally "survive" for any great length of time. Compared to established information bearing technologies, such as paper, which have proven their worth over thousands of years, the Internet is truly in its infancy. What it will grow into will not only be directed by the corporations pushing the technology, but also as a result of how the Internet community utilises said technology.

by James Hayes
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