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Art & Theory
h o m e s i t e h o m e: Part 1 of 2 (Web Art)
by Andrés Burbano

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The idea of a network in itself is complex, rich, and found at many levels within concepts belonging to the sciences and social sciences. The idea of a network articulates problems of memory at a neuronal level to problems of memory in a historical sense. History can be thought of as a network. One can think and rethink our latitudinal history, and contrast it with the idea of a network. It is here in the active interpretation of history that we encounter many problems with connecting the history of our countries and our cultural practices. That which today travels through Fiber Optic conduits, on satellite networks and telephone networks, is now part of our culture. Nevertheless, it is also part of many other cultures.

One of the Web's most important characteristics as a network of networks is that it permits the creation of networks of people who have previously met only at fragile connection points. The notion of community is now more complex. This operates radically for artistic communities, for communities linked to criticism, and also communities linked to the art market. It would be worthwhile for these communities to find in the Web a channel for questioning, and for generation and regeneration.

In Colombia, this notion of community has started to seriously appear with the electronic mailing lists linked to art criticism, such as Columna de Arena (Column of Sand), moderated by critic and architect José Ignacio Roca. The working relationship between critics and artists has acquired unsuspected aspects through these types of mailing lists. This is an example of the development of new communities, or rather of the manifestation and interaction between communities that existed but had, and continue to have, problems with the routes and channels of communication such as critical participation, low costs of transmission of information, effectiveness, etc. The next step is to count on and press for the identity of those who participate. Now, in the context of this text, I would like to question at what moment this type of practice will transcend the Colombian sphere and will begin to work on the Latin American scene, to begin with.

Translated from Spanish by A. McEwen.

[Please read PART 2 for Burbano's assessment of Latin America's role in the formation of "Web Art" and more examples of Colombian artists using this new media.]

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About the Author
(b. Columbia).
Andrés Burbano is professor of Video Art and New Media at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. He is director of a research web project about media and art at the university, entitled "Hibercubo" - He is also a visual artist, who has worked in video art, web art, documentary, interactive installation, and electronic music since 1993 - He is editor of a Bogotá-based website called Mente Colectiva, a multimedia site of cinematography, video, animation, and more...

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