Title:Internet: A Dynamic, Living Archive of Digital Art?
Authors:Dew Harrison
Publication:MW2002: Museums and the Web 2002

The Internet serves as a platform for the production, showcasing and archiving of Digital Art. This developing art form, generated by rapid advances in new media and digital technology, provides a challenge to the researcher studying the field. In particular there are issues for both curator and practitioner concerning temporality, aesthetics, audience and exhibition. Through the AHRB funded 'Digital Arts Curation and Practice' project, virtual exhibitions have been curated at the Digital Cafe of the Watershed Media Centre, Bristol, which have confirmed the Internet as a successful medium for both presenting new works and archiving curated online exhibitions. In particular the Net_Working online exhibition,, 20-29 November 2001, highlighted the problems of curating such works on a large scale. The exhibition showed over 300 web works covering all forms of artistic practice on the web with submissions coming from places as far flung as Latvia, Thailand, Brazil and California. This exhibition was presented at the CHArt annual conference at the British Academy, UK, 28 November 2001 and was further discussed through interviews with contributing artists from the South West UK region, through online chat arenas and through live link-up between exhibiting artists and delegates at the 4th International Conference of Modern Technology and Processes for Art, Media and Design in Bangkok, 28 November 2001. Net_Working has facilitated researchers the opportunity to fully interrogate the Internet as a live archive of activity in the digital arts. This paper concerns the organisation, categorisation, presentation, evaluation and analysis involved in the curation of 'Net-Working' from selection criteria to methods of presentation. There will be particular focus on the diversity of work apparent in this global exhibition. The paper will further discuss curatorial projects that have developed from this event, the problems of archiving and accessing involved and how the media centre itself has developed new strategies for the presentation and introduction of online work to its visitors. These are all examples contributing to our understanding of changes taking place in the curation and practice of Digital Art.