“#artoffline”— Art in the Internet Age


Art in the Internet Age

Amos Lassen

It is very difficult not to wonder what happens to art in the Internet age. “#artoffline” brings together philosophers, artists and exhibition makers who believe that endless reproduction liberates art from “a muddled art market and an undemocratic exhibition circuit.” Then there are critics who wonder whether the urge for physical objects is really just a nostalgic fetishism. Digital technology has completely transformed the experience of art forever.

Walter Benjamin, the German philosopher, argued in 1936 that “the technological reproducibility of artworks changes the nature of art in an essential sense – the aura of the work could not possibly survive such doubling.” Almost everyone you hear in #artoffline disagrees with Benjamin. They think that, in the era of the internet and virtual reality, the demand for authenticity is no longer relevant. They see the focus on the value of physical objects as a kind of fetishism. The questions remains whether the internet can liberate art. “#artoffline” explores many views in order to let us decide what they think is good for the future of contemporary art. Do we lose something if the physical artworks disappear?

The film was made by the Columbian artist and director Manuel Correa and produced by Emil Olsen from Norway. The interviewees include a variety of artists and curators who discuss issues related to the field of art’s use of the Internet as an arena for artistic production, but most of all as a dissemination tool. Among the key arguments in the film we find is the claim that the Internet contributes to democratizing the arts: through the algorithms of “like” logic, it dissolves curatorial power and allows room for additional voices in the conversation.

This is a sixty minute documentary project featuring interviews with artists, curators, philosophers, collectors and critics who understand that we live in a networked world: today, taking selfies or photographing artworks is an integral part of the experience of visiting a museum; the works photographed can be transmitted in a matter of seconds. As an artist this is fascinating, because you can access and quickly see what other artists around the globe are producing. Although some of our interviewees believe that the acceleration of images poses a risk of homogenizing art production, the Internet also comes with tremendous potential for the transmission, circulation and development of theory.

The film illustrates the ways in which digital technologies are also aiding the creation of new audiences, and fostering a participatory culture that exists outside of traditional institutional spaces for art.

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