INTERNET ART: networks, performative programming, and web as context


INTERNET ART: networks, performative programming, and web as context for art

Ohio State University Department of Art – Art & Tech

Fall 2016, Tues & Thurs 3:55-6:40

356 Hopkins Hall

Assistant Professor: Isla Hansen


Office Hours: TBA & by appointment – 150 Hopkins or ACCAD

Course Description

This course examines the history, theory, and practice of making art on the web. Beginning with early examples of systems theory, we will trace the utopian ideals of the web’s origin to the commercial and social complexity of the net today. We will examine: models of information exchange, early communities, monetary exchange in the art world and the digital realm, net porn as early adopter of technology, social networks, data surveillance and visualization, political and virtual online identities, experimental game design and game-related art, hacking as both social and antisocial, programming as performance, DIY communities, egalitarianism in a digital society, contemporary art in and about the web, and the concept of “post-internet.”

This course takes internet as context for art that makes practical and conceptual use of toolkits developed for communication, control, and commerce. In this course, we will cover the fundamental programming languages used to speak with those tools, such as HTML (Hyptertext Markup Language), CSS (Cascasding Style Sheets), and Javascript, as well as software and platforms built to more easily use these languages. We will also develop a better understanding for programming concepts by making use of the artist-developed open source language Processing. Through various small programming assignments, open-ended larger projects, “artistic tactical surfing,” collaborative research, and an ongoing online dialogue with each other, this class will form a community that is developing their (our) own definition for what it means to make art on, for, with, against, or about the world wide web.

Course Objectives

  • Examine the early history and development of both the internet as information technology and of internet art as subculture
  • Create websites, style sheets, digital drawing machines, interactive programs, games, and custom software applications
  • Experiment with different ways of using programming languages and digital toolkits to explore new concepts, resist dominant commercial web culture, or reach new audiences through the network
  • As individuals, continuously redefine our artistic methods and goals as we better understand ourselves in relation to a greater art world, history, and an immense broader culture
  • As a collective group, continuously redefine what it means to be an artist making work on, for, with, against, or about the internet

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students should be able to creatively express their ideas through contextual site-specific works on the internet that could take a wide variety of forms including, but not limited to, websites, videos, communication and correspondence, browser extensions, custom software programs, animations, more…
  • Students should gain an understanding of the tools and techniques used in web art and related fields, and should demonstrate an ability to critically recognize and analyze the ways in which these tools are being put to use by artist as well as commercial industry, military researchers, technologists…
  • Students should gain an understanding for the cultural history and theory that surrounds: the development of the network, early web art, contemporary internet art, and the term “post-internet” as it relates to the art world
  • Students should be able to demonstrate that they understand fundamental programming concepts through a very basic knowledge of the following languages – HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Processing
  • Students should demonstrate an ability to discuss, articulate, and generate new ideas in relation to the critical dialogue that surrounds digital media, internet art, and the other learning outcomes as listed above



This schedule is subject to changes. It will be updated online and I will notify you of dramatic differences in class and, if necessary, via reminder emails. Each class I will post to the blog the assignments & reading for the next class as well as art you should be looking at.

Tues 8/23

Go over syllabus, internet experiments

Assignment: Get lost on the internet (find art!), post to the blog

Read: Rachel Greene’s “Web Work: A History of Internet Art”

Thurs 8/25

A history of the Network, early internet art, tactical surfing

blog logistics, sign up for readings

Assignment: surfing & trail blazing – blog posts

Project 1: NETWORK – DUE THURS. 9/1

Read: Fred Turner excerpts, Curt Cloninger Excerpts

Optional reading TBA

Tues 8/30

Web sites as art, Intro to HTML

Assignment: Keep brainstorming about your new site and work on it– it could even relate to your network, which is due next class !

CodeAcademy & Lynda HTML tutorials

Thurs 9/1


HTML, FTP, CSS, Getting your site up live

Assignment: website up, link on the blog, work on tutorials

Read: Introduction to – 1994-1999

Optional: “Rich User Experience, UX, & Desktopization of War”

Presenters: _______& _______

Tues 9/6

Reading presentation, Net art versus Web in pop culture, HTML structure

Assignment: Blog entry – website feedback, work on sites

Project 2: DUE THURS 9/15 – “For Love or Money”


There May Be Money in Internet Art After All (Matthew Mirapaul)

Best of 2015: Our Top 10 Works of Internet Art

Optional: Astra Taylor – Excerpts from ch. 2 For Love or Money

Thurs 9/8

For Love or Money, e-commerce, copyright, class work time

Assignment: Work on Project 2 & websites, sneak peak at processing artists

Tues 9/13

Drawing machines, intro to Processing

Assignment: Finish your first drawing, post to

Remember that Project 2 is due Thursday!

Thurs 9/15


Crits, Processing and interactivity

Assignment: Processing program that responds to some form of input, Lynda, and hand out tutorials

Tues 9/20

Variables, assets, & making things move in processing

Assignment: drawing application, post to

Thurs 9/22

Loops, functions, transformations & more in Processing

Assignment: Sol Le Witt instructional processing program and turn it, data visualization tutorials


Optional – Gilad Lotan – “Israel, Gaza, War, & Data: Social Networks and the Art of Personalizing Propaganda”

Presenters: ______ & _______

Tues 9/27

Reading presentation, time, data, and emergence in Processing

Assignment: clock, data vis, or emergence in a processing program

Read: “Internet Famous” (Mike Pepi)

Thurs 9/29

Internet famous, game building in processing

PROJECT 3: DUE TUES 10/11, Processing Game


processing game tutorials

Optional: Excerpts from Mary Flannagan

Presenters for 10/4: ______ & ________


Tues 10/4

Reading presentations, Games! as art, culture, experimental design, & platforms including Processing

Assignment: Play games & write a review

Keep working on your processing Game – due Tuesday

Read: Snowcrash & Ready Player One excerpts

Thurs 10/6

Work day – work on your games.

Keep reading (from Tuesday)

Tues 10/11


game play & discussion, politics of identity in games

Assignment: Blog post

Read: TBA

Thurs 10/13


Tues 10/18

Art about games and political identity, machinima, cyberbulling, memes & appropriation art

Project 4: DUE TUES 10/25 Net community / subculture / meme

Read: Netporn & DIY communities, Astra Taylor excerpt

Optional: Women on the Verge

Thurs 10/20

Project 4 prep, Netporn & DIY communities, Fred Turner & Astra Taylor, Web Refresher, JS next class

Assignment: Work on Project 4


Optional: The Dads of Tech – Astra Taylor

Presenters: ______ & ______ (For 10/27)

Tues 10/25

Subcultures of net performance, DIY communities, machinima, and more! Class lecture & discussion

Reading: (to be received in class) selected excerpts from Netporn & DIY communities, astra taylor,

Assignment: Review the artists on the References section of the blog

Brainstorm for the Net Performance assignment due Nov. 8

Thurs 10/27

Meet at Lecture: Kevin Zucker, 4pm in Smith Lab 1009

Reading Presentation: The Dads of Tech – Astra Taylor

Discussion of web feminism, readings, class time to work on project

Assignment: Begin your net performance project!

Read: Excerpts from Women on the Verge, the Cyborg Manifesto, and The Conservatism of Emoji

Optional: Hack the Planet – Andrew Hultkrans (to be presented 11/3)

Tues 11/1

Surveillance, hacking, and code as performance in and outside the web

(Lecture & discussion), class time to work on project

Assignment: Look at the artists posted on the reference section of the blog, keep working on your Net performance project

Read: Daniell Vasiliev & Julian Oliver

Optional: Hack the Planet – Andrew Hultkrans (to be presented 11/3)

Thurs 11/3

Reading presentation on “Hack the Planet”, discussion

Workshop on dreamweaver as well as some javascript (fun tricks!)

Assignment: Net performance project due Tuesday

Optional – Javascript tutorials


Tues 11/8 – ELECTION DAY

DUE TODAY – Net Performance Project – crit day

Read: Post Internet Art Waits Its Turn – Scott Reyburn

Why I hate Post-Internet Art (anonymous?)

Thurs 11/10

“Post Internet” and connecting software to the real world – physical computing, computational production methods, networked objects

Introduction to final project

Assignment: Project proposal presentation due Tuesday

Reading: Education of the Un-Artist – Alan Kaprow

Tues 11/15

Final Project Proposals due and to be presented to the class (5 minutes each)

Assignment: respond to your classmates’ proposals on the blog

Thurs 11/17 & Tues 11/22

Discuss Alan Kaprow’s education of the un-artist

Class work time & individual meetings to discuss project ideas

Assignment: Work on your final projects!


Tues 11/29      Work time for final projects

Thurs 12/1       Work time for final projects

Tues 12/6


Art & Tech Exhibition –  your final projects will be submitted to this juried exhibition

December Art & Tech Show Schedule

5 Mo: Art & Technology Exhibition Drop Off; Jury; Install (participation required)

6 Tue: Finish Installation. (participation required)

7 Wed: Show opens to public 11am / Reception 5 – 8pm Hopkins Hall

8 Th: Art & Technology Exhibition open hours from 11am – 5pm.

9  Fri: Art & Technology Exhibition open 11am – 4pm / De-install 4pm – 5:30pm. You MUST pick up your work, we do not store any work.



Assignments – Blog Posts 5%

There will be a few times throughout the semester when I ask you to post to the blog. I will grade these on a check scale (check you did it, check plus if you went above and beyond, check minus if you did the bare minimum, 0 if you didn’t do it). You can always post to the blog at any time. If you post something productive when you are not required to – in response to a reading or in response to an art work – you will get extra credit.

Assignments & Mini Projects 10%

Work the same way as blog posts, on a check scale (see above). Often these assignments will be to post to the blog but will be weighted slightly heavier if they involve a little extra work. I’ll give you the benefit of weighting any really excellent blog posts you make as 20%, as though you treated it like an assignment.

Participation 15%

At the end of each class I will assess how you contributed to class discussion & critiques. At the end of the year I will add these numbers. If you miss class, your participation for that day is a 0 and cannot be made up. However, making unrequired (and productive) blog posts will be counted towards extra credit.

Projects 70%

Since this is where your creative efforts will shine and where your ideas will coalesce, your projects will count towards a large percentage of your grade (though not the majority). If at any time you are adding to a project after it was due, changing it, or remaking something and you want to show it to me again, I am willing to re-grade it with a small deduction considering I won’t be able to calculate the class’s feedback.

Grading on Projects

Projects are graded out of 18 possible points, with the opportunity for 4 extra credit points added to your grade in the event that dialogue about your work prompts really great class discussion or if the class just loves your project (no matter what I think!). If you get 15/18, that is pretty good, you did fairly well in all categories. In percentage terms that’s 83%, which is a B. But I will refrain from giving you letter grades for projects.

CONCEPT – all below ranked then added

0- 3 points – Background thinking / research

0- 3 points – Creativity – idea novelty

0- 3 points – Intentionality

1- 2 extra credit points – Dialogue

EXECUTION – all below ranked then added

0- 3 points – Technique

0- 3 points – Context

0- 3 points – Aesthetics

1-2 extra credit points – Class Feedback

Grade Scale: 93 -100% A, 90 – 92% A-, 87 – 89% B+, 83 – 86% B, 80 – 82% B-, 77 – 79% C+, 73 – 76% C, 70 – 72% C-, 67 – 69% D+, 63 – 66% D, 0 – 62% E

Class Participation

Is a big deal. We are a community who will be reading together, working together, getting to know each other, and looking at each other’s expressions of the changing self. This can be very personal and hard at times, but communities like the one we are building are so important to good art making. I expect that each student in this class will attempt to respond to readings, contribute to class dialogue, and participate in critiques of your fellow artists’ work. You should behave as equally participating collaborators. I hope that you will not need me to prompt you to speak, but if I should need to, I may call on you. I understand that some people are more outspoken than others, and some of you may feel shy about sharing your ideas. I hope that you will learn in this class to overcome that, but should you feel it is effecting your participation or you feel uncomfortable, please reach out to me and we will work out a way for you to participate in your own manner.

Note on crits

My expectation while we are reviewing the work, thoughts, and ideas of your peers – whether in casual conversation, while going over blog posts, or during critiques of larger works – is that you will treat one another with respect. This includes respecting one another enough to give honest feedback and helpful criticism. Say what you think! We will begin each crit by finding out just the very basics of what the class sees in the work as “objective” viewers (not necessarily as artist-friends). Based on what we see or how we interact, we will suss out what we believe the artist’s intentions to be, possibly hear from the artist her or himself, and then, only after these first three aspects of crits, will we finally give suggestions to the artist based on the differences between their piece itself, the perceived intentions, and what they themselves divulged they were actually trying to accomplish.


Is expected if you hope to gain everything you possibly can from this course. Email me if you are going to miss class or you know you will be late. I understand that emergencies arise and conflicts occur. By all means if you have a doctor’s note, it will legitimize your excuse. The most important part of this class is participation in discussion, the assignments, and the projects. If your absences or lateness has an effect on the way I grade you in these aspects of class, that is your responsibility. You will still be expected to complete everything on time. If you have missed class, it is recommended that you attend office hours or set up a meeting with me in order to better understand what you may have missed. If at the end of the semester you have perfect attendance, I’ll give you extra credit.


If you are over 5 minutes late for class and both you and I are able to stay late after class, we will stay and talk for the equivalent amount of time that you were late. If you are unable to do this, or if I am unable to do this, we will make a note of your lateness and you will need to attend my office hours or set up a meeting with me. Otherwise, I will factor it in to your participation grade.

Academic Misconduct
Academic Misconduct (rule 3335-31-02) is defined as “any activity which tends to compromise the academic integrity of the institution, or subvert the educational process.” Please refer to rule 3335-31-02 in the student code of conduct for examples of academic misconduct.

Disability policy
Students with disabilities that have been certified by the Office for Disability Services will be appropriately accommodated, and should inform the instructor as soon as possible of their needs. The Office for Disability Services is located in 150 Pomerene Hall, 1760 Neil Avenue; telephone 292-3307, TDD 292-0901;