the browser

The Browser: how it became the artist’s modern canvas

In an extreme view, the world can be seen as only connections, nothing else. We think of a dictionary as the repository of meaning, but it defines words only in terms of other words. I like the idea that a piece of information is really defined only by what it’s related to, and how it’s related. There really is little else to meaning. The structure is everything.

Tim Berners-Lee
from "Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web"

I want talk about a wonderfully exciting piece of software, in fact off all the apps on all the systems this is my favorite type of program: the wwweb browser, you likely know what a wwweb browser is but you might not have considered all the things that make it so fantastic especially for artists.

If your watching this video there’s a good chance you’re interested and you already have a wwweb browser and know how to find content you want, but you might not realize the browser is also a blank canvas for artists. actually, less like a blank canvas and more like an art studio, fully stocked with all sorts of art tools, like an interactive and generative 2D drawing canvas, also a 3D drawing context, also an audio sampling and synthesis playground, midi, speech synthesis, speech recognition, cryptography, bluetooth it’s got all of the things.

Actually, it’s more than just a fully stocked net art studio, because the browser is also a gallery, a gallery where you can expore net art… and quite frankly all manner of interesting contemporary cultural activities. But also, a gallery where you can share your work with anyone who’s got access to the Internet, which these days is about 40% of the planet ( and growing ).

And you can edit or add to that work at anytime and folks will have access to it instantly. That work can be interactive and/or generative, it can change and grow and branch forever. So, how can we use browsers to make art, what should we make w/them, why use ‘em this way? These are kinda big questions but the answers lie partly in the ideas that lead to its conception and invention.


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