If we can identify the Web as an appropriate medium to develop new artistic practices, we then need to sharpen our critical tools in order to identify those works that could truly be converted into a motivating force for authentic changes in these practices. It is not enough to work in a new medium or for the projects to be renewals or innovations. Even the idea of novelty for its own sake could be distrusted.
The Web is becoming one more medium within the arts, albeit an absolutely pertinent medium at this time. The point is, that if art has always made us visit new territories, the experiments on the Web and by means of the Web may be on the verge of transforming the broadest ideas of what we consider a work of art. The tele-presence, the unsuspected development of levels of interactivity, practices related to virtual activity, the interconnectedness among various kinds of technology, etc. are all beginning to create an enormous palette of possibilities of previously unsuspected styles of art.
On the other hand, we are beginning to see that the attention to technology and aesthetic development on the Web is starting to open new questions in regard to old practices. Projects such as the presentation of Welcome Mr. Orwell by Nam Yune Paik on live television, radically anticipated characteristic elements of "Web Art" such as working in real time, the idea of collective development, improvisation, the use of satellite networks, etc. Today, interaction with the Web causes us to revisit that type of project, to assimilate its creative system in a very natural manner, and understand its inquiries and significance anew.
The radical inquiries and transformations in our culture and others caused by the Web is so strong that they place us in an intermediate system in which we begin to see the dynamic and stimulating relationship that exists between our political systems and problems, and that of the Web. According to my thinking, experimental work on the Web is a way of changing the polarity between the producers and consumers of technology. The Latin American countries that have been the technology consumers, although late in starting, may find a different mode of production on the Web (this also operates very seriously within artistic communities). Taking advantage of Web conditions for artistic and experimental work could place us in a new point within the globalized world, and within a different art planet.
There are works of political reflection on violence and democracy that have found the Web to be an appropriate medium for development. This is the case in Colombia, with a project developed by the engineer Hernando Barragán. Using a complex Java program, he constructed a system to collect accounts related to expressions of violence at the local and global level. This work, which undoubtedly is one of the most promising to be carried out in the near future, shows how the Web can focus its most profound specificities toward a system of psychological and social inquiry.
The Web space, the space of the Web, the spaces on the Web... interacting in a complex way with the space that we inhabit, the space that nourishes and sustains us. In this space, this enclosed space where many of us prefer to be, where many of us prefer to practice and explore - hybrid spaces filled with complexity and contradiction - the Web has turned us out of our home to relocate in a new site. Our house is burning - in Colombia this is literal - but we cannot be sent away from these new enclosed spaces, these spaces that will always be under construction.
Translated from Spanish by A. McEwen.