Net Art Generations

19 November 2013: I don't remember when I made these notes, must be the end of 2007

Net art can be divided into more than just two generations like old and new or 1.0 and 2.0, or internet and post internet. There are at least three plus one more.

The 1st -- Artists working with the Internet as a new medium.
Coming from other backgrounds, like film, performance, photography, whatever. It is a special condition: the medium is not new because it is fresh, it is new for you, because you have other/previous/old experiences -- and now you are translating them, trying yourself in a medium you subjectively see as new.

The 2nd -- Studied jodi at university.
I mean artists who were trained to pay attention to the Internet, understand the concept of media specificity, who see their work in relation to projects previously created.

The Last -- Net artist active in between dot.com crash and web 2.0 rise.

I'm talking about circa 2000--2005. I can still remember very well these dark years. Bubbles busted, there were no new events or festivals or journalists willing to write about things online. Fellows were leaving to make installations, announced retirement. Researchers wouldn't hesitate to talk about the death of net art in the presence of net artists who were still working, online or offline, doing the projects about the Internet.

The 3rd -- artists working with the WWW as mass medium, not new medium.

04 June 2012: If I'm not mistaken Marisa Olson's "post-internet" term used for this now.
22 October 2013: today one refers to this period as EARLY post-internet ("Most of early post-internet stuff was produced online." ben vickers http://pastebin.com/bm1EKB9H)

The main point is that you are inside, you talk from inside the network. It is a new kind of courage and a new kind of competence. And it’s unbelievably difficult – working in an environment where everything follows strict rules and where there’s a specifically designed niche for every possible form of self-expression. Artists of the 3rd generation have to find ways to act inside big services, to compete with amateurs, to survive fame that comes fifteen minutes after you’ve uploaded your files.


All generations, except "the last" are not necessarily connected to a certain period of time. They can also be represented by the same people, with the exception of the 1st and the 2nd generations.

Do you need examples?

Olia Lialina