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HTML: Is it Art? 309

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the cool-online-art-besides-superbad dept.
joeljones writes "The New York Times (registration, yeah, yeah, yeah) has an interesting story about two artists who use HTML, Javascript, and other web technologies as their medium. Could be an interesting set of test cases for anyone writing a browser." While we're on the subject of artsy sites, I submit Zombo.com for your perusal. I believe it to be the only web site that claims the infinite is possible.
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HTML: Is it Art?

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  • oh my (Score:3, Funny)

    by ergonal (609484) on Friday April 25, 2003 @06:01AM (#5806938)
    What did ZOMBO do to annoy CowbowNeal THAT much?
    • Re:oh my (Score:4, Funny)

      by Jade E. 2 (313290) <slashdot@per l s torm.net> on Friday April 25, 2003 @06:31AM (#5807018) Homepage
      What did ZOMBO do to annoy CowbowNeal THAT much?

      Go to the site, make sure your sound is on, hit F11 (Assuming you're using Phoenix or IE), sit back, and relax. In about 10 minutes one of three things will happen. Either you'll understand his annoyance, you'll go into a coma, or you'll be hooked for life.

    • Re:oh my (Score:2, Funny)

      by ergonal (609484)
      FP AND +5! I really need to start drinking more often! Come on people, mod me down. It wasn't that funny, and it was really obvious. Let something interesting take the spot on the "Highest Scores First" sort order! Something like this [slashdot.org].
    • Re:oh my (Score:5, Funny)

      by Ozan (176854) on Friday April 25, 2003 @07:04AM (#5807088) Homepage
      What did ZOMBO do to annoy CowbowNeal THAT much?

      Hmm...

      "Welcome to Zombocom!"

      "This is Zombocom!"

      "You can do anything... at Zombocom!"

      "Anything at all!"

      "The only limit is yourself!"

      "Anything is possible... at Zombocom!"

      "The infinite is possible... at Zombocom!"

      "The unattainable is unknown... at Zombocom!"

      I think it was letting Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf speak the introduction.

      "There are no infidel Americans... at Zombocom!"

  • by Unominous Coward (651680) on Friday April 25, 2003 @06:05AM (#5806948)
    I guess anything, including code can be artistic if it blends something technical with an art in a subtle way.

    That's the whole idea behind poetry, at least. And computer code can be poetic [perlmonks.org].
  • zombocom (Score:4, Funny)

    by selderrr (523988) on Friday April 25, 2003 @06:05AM (#5806949) Journal
    reminds me of the internet in its infancy, where we allready had the really big button that doesn't do anything [pixelscapes.com]
    • hampster dance (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wadiwood (601205)
      Don't click here [hampsterdance.com] Is it art if it makes you laugh and nauseous at the same time? I expect Salvidor Dali and Picasso thought so.

      This Alien Shore [merentha.org] by CS Friedman, featured a lot of stuff about code as art, including the interesting idea of "charting a program" to see if it made a "pretty picture".

      I think there may have been some similar concepts in "Crytonomicon", and definitely "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson.

      BTW my very first instructions for a computer were pencil on something that looked like a
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Click here to get the plugin."
  • Art/medium? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by six809 (1961) on Friday April 25, 2003 @06:06AM (#5806952) Homepage
    Well canvas isn't considered 'art', nor is paint. HTML is just the tool used by the artists. What they come up with can easily be considered art. Examples [bbc.co.uk].
    • Re:Art/medium? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by khakipuce (625944) on Friday April 25, 2003 @06:45AM (#5807052) Homepage Journal
      It's strange that the "is it art" question really only ever comes up with visual arts. If someone gets up on stage and plays music from Stockhausen to Madonna, Bach to Kylie, no one asks "is it music", we might comment on it being good or bad, but no quesitons what it is.

      One of the few distinguishing fetures of Visual arts is that they have no utility. Anything that has utility is craft, not art.

      So if this has no utility and is put up by it's creators as art then yes, it is art. BUT the real question is IS IT GOOD ART?

      • Re:Art/medium? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TGK (262438) <Killfile@Nepha[ ]s.Com ['ndu' in gap]> on Friday April 25, 2003 @07:21AM (#5807124) Homepage Journal
        I'll submit a few examples to the contrary.
        • Japanese and Chinese Writing
        • Japanese Swords
        • Advertisements
        • Fabrigee Eggs (many of which had utility
        • Pretty much anything by Frank Lloyd Wright


        Art and utilitarianism are not necessarily mutualy exclusive. One might argue, instead, that art that actualy does something useful is more deserving of the word than much of what traditional is attached to the word.
        • by n3k5 (606163)
          it's Fabergé [faberge.de]
        • Re:Art/medium? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by russellh (547685)
          Art and utilitarianism are not necessarily mutualy exclusive. One might argue, instead, that art that actualy does something useful is more deserving of the word than much of what traditional is attached to the word.

          They are not mutually exclusive, but your second statement is ridiculous. A display-only sword is better than one which is meant to be used? A house which is not meant to be lived in is better than one which is? Absurd. Certainly a craft attains its hightest or purest expression in art, but w

          • I belive you missed my point. To take the sword example. I have a display Katana which is astheticly perfect in every reguard. It is not, however, desined for use at all. This is inferior in my mind to the weapon upon which it was based, a 6th Century peice to be exact, because the display model uses shortcuts to attain what the real thing does through pure craftmanship.

            A utilitarian object, pefected to the point of becoming art is more pleasing to me because the medium is that much more challenging.
      • someone gets up on stage and plays music from Stockhausen to Madonna, Bach to Kylie, no one asks "is it music",

        You've never listened to Diamanda Galas, have you? I've had the debate "Is it music?" several times from people who've borrowed my copy of Schrie X at work (my view is no, it's just a woman shrieking a lot, and possibly being strangled at some points).

      • Re:Art/medium? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by gauauu (649169)

        But there is a lot of "music" that people will debate whether it is actually music. You just happened to name ones that obviously are.

        Listen to some of John Cage's compositions, or other "experimental" music, including lowercase music [slashdot.org].

        So no, you are wrong when you say that question only comes up with visual arts...

      • Ever listen to Cage? I was subjected to it in music class. I think some strong arguments can be made on whether or not it is "music".

        Art, in any medium, is always subject to the whims of the observers persepective. For my art classes in college I developed the Chainsaw Theory of Art. If a chainsaw taken to the work does not change it appreciably, or make an obvious difference (ie, someone viewing it after you is not inclined to say "Wow, looks like someone took a chainsaw to it."), than it is most like

    • A canvas with stuff on it is called a painting.
      An html page that's been filled out is called...an html page.

      Since we use the same word for the medium as we do for the finished work, HTML is art if the finished work is art.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Deliberately Distorting the Digital Mechanism [nytimes.com]
    By MATTHEW MIRAPAUL

    While tinkering recently with one of the first personal computers from the 1980's, the digital artists Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans took a look at its technical tutorial. As Mr. Paesmans recalled, the on-screen guide delivered a reassuring message: "Remember, don't be scared. You cannot do anything wrong on this computer."

    Since 1994 Ms. Heemskerk and Mr. Paesmans, collaborating under the name Jodi, have created a series of Internet-bas
  • gimmie a break (Score:5, Insightful)

    by automag_6 (540022) on Friday April 25, 2003 @06:08AM (#5806959)
    Sure, I'll say it's art, in the same way I'll nod my head and agree when someone tries to convince me that it's a programming language. In my experience, if a person doesn't understand why HTML isn't a programming language, it's not worth my while to explain it, I'll just play along and know the truth. I recon if people start saying it's art, I'll adopt the same aproach. I'm sure there are people who'll flame me for this, but that's thier 2 cents, this, on the other hand, is mine. Mod me as a troll if you like, I just can't sell HTML as a programming language or art.
    • In my experience, if a person doesn't understand why HTML isn't a programming language, it's not worth my while to explain it, I'll just play along and know the truth.

      Programming languages are instructions to be interpreted by a compiler of some sort, eventually resulting into machine code which can be executed.

      HTML surely isn't a Turing complete programming language, but I would say one does program HTML in a sense. Not that I consider HTML a programming language as I do the around ten procedural and ob
      • Re:gimmie a break (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JimDabell (42870)

        Programming languages are instructions to be interpreted by a compiler of some sort, eventually resulting into machine code which can be executed.

        HTML surely isn't a Turing complete programming language, but I would say one does program HTML in a sense.

        No. Like you said, programming involves instructions for the computer. HTML is purely descriptive. When you write <p>, you aren't saying "computer: add a line break and some vertical space please", you are saying "this is beginning of a

    • Spoken like someone who truly doesn't understand art. Art is all in the eye of the beholder. HTML may not be art, but writing it is as much an artform as coding in any other language, painting, writing poetry, or anything else that you care to classify with your narrow definition of art. It's too bad you can't seem to see aesthetic value in things outside of classic art media.

      • I think the majority of people in the world, in order to elevate themselves and their opinions, have demoted the term "art" to have little more meaning or significance than to describe something created with only a modicum of technical skill combined with a modicum of creativity.

        Or it might be that I, for lack of a better word, have elevated the term beyond its practical, commonplace connotation.

        Still, I hesitate to use the word 'art' or 'artist' just as I hesitate to use the word 'genius.' There should
      • Re:gimmie a break (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Raffaello (230287) on Friday April 25, 2003 @08:43AM (#5807405)
        "Art is all in the eye of the beholder."

        How about...
        Science is all in the eye of the beholder
        Engineering is all in the eye of the beholder

        No? Good, now you're catching on. In fact, any discipline is *not* merely in the eye of the beholder, but a consensus defined by the community of competent practitioners.

        If a consensus of scientists think that one person is a crackpot, then, guess what, he's a crackpot.

        If a consensus of artists, and people knowlegeable about art, think that something is not art, then it is not art. And, no, not just the judgement of anyone, just as we don't decide whether something is bogus science based on the opinion of unqualified lay people.

        Art may be a broadly defined word, but to allow anything into the category makes the word meaningless - indistinguishable from the word "thing." If everything is art, then the word art means "thing," and nothing more.

        Any decent definition of art includes two elements: vision, and mastery. A work of art must express an underlying vision (whether that be visual, musical, poetic, sculptural, etc.), and it must demonstrate a mastery of process and materials in doing so.
        • Re:gimmie a break (Score:4, Insightful)

          by liquidsin (398151) on Friday April 25, 2003 @09:41AM (#5807684) Homepage
          Now you're trying to confuse science and art. Art can't be classified into good or bad by any simple technical means. There is no solid line you can draw that says 'anything on this side is art, anything on that side is not'. Decorating your house can be art. A computer case can be art (think new iMac). Any time you go beyond function and into form, you are creating art on some level. Simply because some people in "the community" may not like it, it doesn't make it any less of an artwork. Your analogy is flawed, simply because science is (for the most part) based on facts. If someone tries to tell you that the world is flat, then yeah, they're a crackpot. We have factual evidence that the world is round. We can see it from space. We can measure it's curvature. Where's your factual evidence that something is not art, other than the opinions of people who call themselves artists? Art is NOT a science. Are you trying to tell me that if critics don't like a movie, it's not a movie? I mean, hey, they are knowledgeable about movies, right? I'm not sure why it's so hard for technical people to grasp that some things are entirely subjective. Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder, and whether or not someone claiming to be an 'art expert' says something is not art, it can still be art in someone's eyes.

          • > Any time you go beyond function and into form,
            > you are creating art on some level.

            Actually, you can call the complete lack of form art, too -- where the artistic part of your brain gets tickled by the sheer functionality of the device.

            That's the great thing about art. There IS no definition, although there is a litmus test: Do ou think it's art? Then to you, it is.

            I could shit in a paper bag and call it art. If somebody sees and thinks it's art, then it's art for him too.

            You see, you just can't
        • Re:gimmie a break (Score:3, Insightful)

          by lineymo (539729)
          "Art is all in the eye of the beholder."

          How about...
          Science is all in the eye of the beholder
          Engineering is all in the eye of the beholder

          No? Good, now you're catching on. In fact, any discipline is *not* merely in the eye of the beholder, but a consensus defined by the community of competent practitioners.

          If a consensus of scientists think that one person is a crackpot, then, guess what, he's a crackpot.

          [snip]
          Wow, let me try:

          If a consensus of scientists think that the world is flat, then, guess what,
  • by Koos (6812)
    Now a certain type of web designers can call it art when they create sites that look awful in anything else then their browser on their screen.

    Time for a title different from web designer that implies "Someone who can put accessible information on a website".

    • Yeah, I hate when an artist designs a web site. It sometimes looks pretty on all browsers. Usually it takes forever to download, and things break when they're not running on the fast development machine which the artist used.

      All web designers should test at 33kbps modem speed, and on clients with 640x480 screen and a processor that runs at 20% of the speed of the designer's machine. That happens to be a little bit less than the abilities of most laptops in the field.

  • No! (Score:2, Funny)

    by borgdows (599861)
    HTML is not art!
    If HTML is Art, then posting something 'Html Formatted' on Slasdhot is Art too!
  • by mccalli (323026) on Friday April 25, 2003 @06:11AM (#5806966) Homepage
    while(1) {
    fprintf(stdout, "Of course it's possible...\n"); }

    Well, at least until the electricity runs out anyway. Or someone redirects stdout to /tmp. Or, or...

    Well, it's nice theory anyway.

    Cheers,
    Ian

  • HTML: Is it Art? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zonix (592337) on Friday April 25, 2003 @06:13AM (#5806970) Homepage Journal

    No. Is a pen or a pencil art? No.

    HTML is a Hypertext Markup Language. :-)

    z
    • by mirko (198274) on Friday April 25, 2003 @06:18AM (#5806977) Journal
      You could also consider consider the Magritte approach, by putting a page like :
      <H1>this is not ART</H1>

      I personally like the pragmatic logic approach :
      art is always composed of both an ethical and an esthetical aspect.
      Should one be missing, the result would not be art.
      Exemples :
      • Constructivism : 100% esthetic, 0% ethics
      • Abstract art : 0% esthetic (Have you seen Joseph Beuys piles of fat, in the Stuttgart modern art museum ?) 100% ethics.
      • Sure? (Score:3, Funny)

        by jotaeleemeese (303437)
        Can I borrow your aesthetics and ethics meter?

        That objective absolute scale that you found, where did you find it?

        The point I am really trying to make is better explained by the following neo-constructivist abstract post modernist expresion: bullshit.

        Have a nice day.

        • Re:Sure? (Score:2, Interesting)

          by mirko (198274)
          Esthetics meter :
          Have you read "Goedel Escher Bach" ?
          In this book, Douglas Hofstadter defines language as "asynchronous crystals" : proof of intelligence, if you prefer.
          Now, if you have a pile of fat or a dead pig, it'll be kinda hard to take it as someone's intended creation.
          Hence the 0%.
          If it comes with a sign that reads "Our sins", then, on the other hand, it might have a serious ethical meaning.
          Now, also, if you see a perfect geometric figure on a sheet of paper, then it'll be esthetically meaningful :
  • I remember very similar pictures when my zx-spectrum hanged...:)

    Maybe someday BSOD will be considered as an art?
  • by jago25_98 (566531) <jago25_98@NoSPAM.hotmail.com> on Friday April 25, 2003 @06:22AM (#5806990) Homepage Journal
    to me art = communication,

    just often experimental and two-way in what's usually seen one-way; i.e. painting. (because the viewer acts, sometime with WTF?! which is perfectly fine, artist may not care what message is seen as anyway)

    got any impressive links for me?
  • by Michael's a Jerk! (668185) on Friday April 25, 2003 @06:22AM (#5806991) Homepage Journal
    Future artists are advised to take a look at This Site [worstoftheweb.com] for direction... Enjoy.
  • Nytimes.com is freaking out on me... did we actually slashdot the new york times? It said something about server errors and now i'm getting garbled pages and broken pages.
  • The article refrences a site that is something between a crackers object of desire and an annoying javascript experiment gone wrong.

    http://0100101110101101.org/ [0100101110101101.org]
  • What HTML? (Score:3, Funny)

    by insin (579557) <jonathan.buchanan@NospAm.gmail.com> on Friday April 25, 2003 @06:29AM (#5807014) Homepage
    How about an example of "why HTML could be considered to be art" which actually uses some HTML?

    zomba.com only uses it to embed a flash movie - "Click here to get the plugin". This one belongs in the "post-html" gallery.
  • by jolyonr (560227) on Friday April 25, 2003 @06:37AM (#5807035) Homepage
    Just in the same way that you can take a piece of paper and paint a masterpiece onto it, or you can print a pizza leaflet onto it. The existence of pizza leaflets doesn't mean that paper can never be used for art. Jolyon
  • I don't get it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pubjames (468013) on Friday April 25, 2003 @06:41AM (#5807044)

    Is this a joke? I just get some flashing blobs and nothing happens. Am I missing something?

  • by notestein (445412) on Friday April 25, 2003 @06:45AM (#5807053) Homepage Journal
    I still prefer old school. ASCII as Art.

    The Female Form [asciibabes.com]
    Cinema [asciimation.co.nz]
  • Arty websites (Score:2, Informative)

    by supertsaar (540181)
    There's a frequent poster here (forgot who) that has superbad [superbad.com] as his website URL. I kinda like it. Infinite clicks. Good with a beer om a late lonesome friday night.
    • I like superbad. However it is not infinite clicks as you mention. I recall a page that has links to all the others on the site. Oh, and it's worth checking the source of some pages for additional comments.
  • Here's the thing... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ccbaxter (660318) on Friday April 25, 2003 @07:00AM (#5807081)

    The question is not so much 'can HTML be art?', buy can something produced with HTML (or any other web technology for that matter) be art?

    Among the web developer community there is a slightly condescending attitude to people who design for the web using tools such as Dreamweaver (real men code HTML by hand don't you know?), designers will maintain that they should be free to design with primarily visual tools only handling raw code to check for bugs. There is a difference between a designer and an artist not least in terms of intent. I know a lot of artists and designers as well as hardcore coders. What has struck me is that pure artists have more in common with coders in terms of personality and thought process and overall vision. Both types of people are good at abstract thought and holding a concept in their heads that they then translate into a finished work (getting them to explain these thought processes can be an...interesting experience to say the least). I've met a few coders who have been accomplished at some other creative endeavour, especially music.

    None of this is to denigrate designers in any way, and many of them have similar attributes. But in terms of single-minded pursuit of an idea, my artist and coder friends are more similar to each other than they realise.

    There are some supremely talented web designers out there who use tools that are primarily visual (as well as those who code by hand), but not many would say that what they produce is a work of art in the way that a pure visual artist such as a sculptor would.

    I leave it to individual slashdotters to decide for themselves if any of the sites that proclaim themselves as works of art are indeed worthy of that status. For the record I am neither a designer, artist or a coder, so this is entirely based on observation. Maybe some other readers have a different perspective.

    Flash sites are never art, by the way;)

    Dude, where's my Karma?
    • The question is not so much 'can HTML be art?', buy can something produced with HTML (or any other web technology for that matter) be art?

      That's the right question. I think the answer is no...at least that's my personal answer.

      What makes something art is not so much the way that it is produced as the way that it is consumed. Andre Breton took a urinal, called it "Fountain", and sent it to a museum. A lot of people considered it art. But if he called it "Fountain" and put it in his closet would it be art?
  • The Best Designs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by archetypeone (599370) on Friday April 25, 2003 @07:04AM (#5807086) Homepage
    Checkout www.thebestdesigns.com [thebestdesigns.com] for some of the latest web art - ok so a lot of it is Flash based but there's some cool html/js stuff there too.
  • There are far, far more artistic sites then zombo.com. Geez.

    Honestly I don't even see why this is a question, Certanly page layout on paper is art, why wouldn't it be so on the web? There are lots of beautiful sites out there, both informative, and simply done to be pretty.
  • jodi v zombo (Score:4, Informative)

    by friscolr (124774) on Friday April 25, 2003 @07:06AM (#5807093) Homepage
    According to dns, zombo.com has only been around since 1999 but jodi.org has been there since 1995, and i remember first hearing about it in 1996. Also check out http://www.dextro.org/ [dextro.org]

    As for html being used in art, that's what the second show at http://art.by.arena.ne.jp/ [arena.ne.jp] (1995) was all about. Plus some art shows have featured websites as part of their exhibitions for a while - nothing major that i can think of, but groups like http://entity.ummu.umich.edu/ [umich.edu]. Then there were (are? can't find link) the minimalist competitions - designing in under 5k pages - and the like. If you want pictures made from html then maybe my http://www.blackant.net/code/oth/img-html-src.html [blackant.net] will suffice.

    I'm sure i'm missing plenty of other sites and competitions but it's only 7am in my TZ.

  • by gadders (73754)
    I would suggest http://www.themanwhofellasleep.com [themanwhofellasleep.com]

    Kind of abstract, but very good.
  • by Vellmont (569020) on Friday April 25, 2003 @07:12AM (#5807106)
    I honestly don't understand why people assign so much value to calling something art. It's as if calling something art assigns it to a higher plane where it can't be questioned.

    I guess I wasn't all that impressed by the sites mentioned in the NYT article. IMO superbad.com is far more cool than the jodi sites. Futhermore superbad has been around for years, so I don't see how these people have created anything all that original or special. For those of you who don't know, superbad is a... surrealistic website where you don't really feel in control of the website since it's never really very apparent just how each page works. I'm sure there's many other people that've created strange websites like this as well.

    As far as the "you're not in control of your computer" theme goes, there's lots of sites (mostly porn) that have all kinds of annoying javascript tricks to open up new windows when you try to kill the old window. Seems like that's the same idea as this. Sure, I guess the sites the NYT talks about are "art", but so is the tracing of my hand I did when I was 5. I think the NYT has missed the boat on this one, and perhaps should have done a bit more homework on what other people have done in this field.
  • by TrollBridge (550878) on Friday April 25, 2003 @07:29AM (#5807141) Homepage Journal
    Art cannot be defined for people, art (just like beauty) is in the eye of the beholder.

    If someone can call the Virgin Mary covered in elephant shit 'art', I don't see any reason why HTML can't be.

  • by Quila (201335) on Friday April 25, 2003 @07:30AM (#5807144)
    Any method used by humans to express themselves can be a vehicle for art. How good that method is for conveying artistic talent is another matter entirely.
  • I beleive layout and understanding/exploiting simple html/javascript makes for a good page.

    eBayMy about me page [slashdot.org] is a very good example. My eBay auction pages are simple with concise terms and instructions and ALWAYS a picture. I have nicely formatted paragraphs but not a fancy layout. I have my terms in diferent colors and not in some oversized font like I've been cheated a 1000 times. I accept common payment types and even uncoventional ones. It's my widespread "look and my "here for the long haul" look"

  • Define "art" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by simong_oz (321118) on Friday April 25, 2003 @07:35AM (#5807154) Journal
    Something that has always fascinated me - can ayone provide a definition of "art". I mean the type of art that hangs in galleries and modern art museums and people argue endlessly about whether it really is art or is just plain stupid. The type of art that this is trying to classify HTML under?

    The best one I've found is "the products of human creativity", but that still seems way too broad. Personally I feel that art should have no functional purpose, so something that has a purpose (a building say) can be beautiful, but I don't think it is art.
    • Re:Define "art" (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Malic (15038) on Friday April 25, 2003 @07:49AM (#5807185)
      I think Scott McCloud of Zot fame (http://www.scottmccloud.com [scottmccloud.com]) had probably the broadest definition of all - anything that doesn't involve survival or reproduction can potentially be defined as "art".

      The whole point being that you can't just eat and/or have sex all day - you have to find other things to do to fill the time. Thus "art".

      Let the arguements begin...
    • Re:Define "art" (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Euro (40585)

      Something that has always fascinated me - can ayone provide a definition of "art".

      This reminds me of a quote: "anything that is put up for display and cannot be pissed into is art". I cannot remember who it was that uttered this, but there you go.

      Of course, the reasoning (such as it is) behind is the fact that anything that is put up for display and labeled as art actually becomes art. Therefore any object (or thing) can become art if the artist decides it is art. For example, a toilet seat by itself

  • Ah, this old chesnut (Score:3, Interesting)

    by coldcity (657243) on Friday April 25, 2003 @07:46AM (#5807181) Homepage
    Well, the problem with "art" is that it's notoriously difficult to define.

    Let's try something else - can we prove that code can be poetry?

    Poetry also tends to avoid definition; however, I think the best definition I've heard is that poetry is succinct use of language.

    Since, say, C++ affords an enormous economy of expression, and a vast number of ways to accomplish a given task, then performing a given task in an elegant, succint way is surely perfectly valid poetry.

    You can also argue the case with dictionary.com's definition of poetry [reference.com]: "a quality that suggests poetry, as in grace, beauty, or harmony: the poetry of the dancer's movements."
  • But considering what is considerd modern art, anything passes as art.
    One need only to look at the new Saatchi Museum [saatchigallery.org.uk] to realize that.
  • Art is art (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Washizu (220337) <bengarvey.comcast@net> on Friday April 25, 2003 @08:15AM (#5807273) Homepage
    The artist makes the medium viable for art, not the other way around. If you can make something creative with popsicle sticks and glue [mcpherson.com], then that's art. It's the same with anything.

  • by flokemon (578389)
    The NYTimes article seems to be mostly based on the Jodi project. While I've been disappointed that the site itself has been mostly stagnant these last few years (http://map.jodi.org [jodi.org] is mostly a collection of dead links now eg., although it has its charms), the way they are taking their work outside the internet, with such exhibitions all around the world is probably the main thing in this article.

    Some people have already pointed out that HTML is not art, just a medium to create art, but the important thin
  • I actually have a show going up on tuesday for my senior portfolio, demonstrating how computer images and code can be art... it's on my website.
  • The following only applies when applied to Internet Exploder.

    All other browsers will find it lame.
  • Really 4BAD.org??? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by akiaki007 (148804) <aa316@EULERnyu.edu minus math_god> on Friday April 25, 2003 @08:36AM (#5807370)
    Did no one else try that? the NYTimes article points to http://0100101110101101.org/, which annoyed me right away with it's javascript alert popup, and then I just threw it into HEX, and the numbers changed into 4BAD...I wonder what the means. There is no 4BAD website, perhaps it's just a complete coinscidense (sp).

    anyway, the site is rather interesting, though I haven't figured out what it is. On could probably spend hours going through all of the "private" email on that computer...

    As for ZOMBO, I have no idea what anyone is talking about, I don't have flash installed (probably for this reason) :)
  • now, if HTML had some decent layout controls, maybe...
    But it would never dare do such a thing
  • Superbad [superbad.com] has been around for a long time. Its fun to explore and they add new pages from time to time, although I can't say I fully understand it..

    Art is more about the final product than how it is built. Its what it does that matters not How its done.

  • That's pretty funny! A lot of the stuff at the various jodi.org sites don't work in Mozilla, because I have javascript's abaility to open new windows or resize (or move) current windows disabled, to stop pop-ups. The computer in control indeed!

    Of course, the network went down the other day, and I was rendered useless for a day, but still...

  • The American Heritage Dictionary [reference.com] defines "art".

    As the "human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature", I would say that HTML is not art; designing web sites has little to do with imitating nature, though some existential definition of nature could include anything man has ever developed to be a part of nature...

    As the "conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty", HTML(or web design

  • medium != product (Score:3, Informative)

    by MellowTigger (633958) on Friday April 25, 2003 @09:40AM (#5807678) Homepage

    Wood is not art. Paint is not art. Iron is not art. String is not art. HTML is not art.

    What someone produces after deliberately arranging them in a design intended to provoke a reaction... that product is art. (I'm not arguing good versus bad. I'm just saying that it's art.)

  • Why is this news? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by superflippy (442879) on Friday April 25, 2003 @09:55AM (#5807777) Homepage Journal
    Head over to netdiver [netdiver.com] and you'll see dozens of artists who use HTML, Javascript, etc. as their medium and have done so for years.

    Perhaps back in 1998, this was a new art form. Today, there are more "my site is my art" web sites than you can shake a stick at.
  • Some guy is making jewelery out of cow dung. Technically, it really is jewelery. But will anyone wear it?
  • http://art.teleportacia.org
    http://www.teleportac ia.org -> go to Agatha appears
    Lovely!
  • Well there's a difference in saying "HTML is art" and "HTML is a medium for art". Similarly, paint is not art, but it can be used to create art.

    Maybe someday someone might use HTML to come up with something interesting, on the lines of

    once <u><p>on <a href="javascript:void(0)"> t<i>me,
    there w</a>s <a href="javascript:void(0)"> <b>e</a></u>t</i>f<ul& g t; </p>r<i>ncess
    who <li>ved </i>n <a href="javascript:void(0)"

  • Everyone wants their job to be called "art" because that implies there's a higher purpose to it than making some rich motherfucker richer.

    I program. It makes the shareholders money. I have no delusions of grandeur.

    I go home and write fiction or play music. That is the pursuit of an art.
  • Net.Art (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vitaflo (20507) on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:23AM (#5808431) Homepage
    I work at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in the New Media dept, the largest of any museum in the country. We're responsible for all the digital artwork here, including "net.art".

    This is certainly not "news" since net.art has been around for well over 8 years now. jodi.org and 01.org (meantioned in the article) could probably be considered the "grandfathers" of net.art, though I suppose there could be some debate on that, depending on whom you talk to.

    And while it's been around for a while it's only been in the last few years that more museums have been taking it seriously. The Walker, the Whitney and the SF MOMA are the big three that come to mind when thinking about museums with a large new media collections. More and more museums are understanding the significance of it as well.

    And just with any digital medium there are some ethical questions when it comes to the artwork, such as copyright, and if it's ok to make digital copies of artwork, or does that dilute it? How many is too many? Some artwork is based off of other artwork, so it is ok to "steal" (copy) someone else's work (art or not) to make into my own art? There are parallels here with traditional artwork (like found object art), but also issues that are specific to this medium as well.

    Then there's the issue of archiving. If a project runs off a DB and is only usable in Netscape 4, how do we archive it so that in 50 years we can view it? Do we archive just the software? What if future hardware can't run it? Do we archive the hardware as well? What if it relies on some form of online connection, but that online setup changes in the future (think security, etc) so that it cannot be reproduced 100 years from now? Have we then lost this piece forever? Obvioulsy there are a lot of questions that need to be answered in this area.

    I think the real question though isn't "is it art", the question is how much impact will it have in the future. When Picaso made his paintings some people said he was crazy, or didn't think it was art, but in hindsight we know the outcome. The same is true for art in new media. Only time will really tell how much lasting impact it has on the way we think and approach art.
  • Did the poster of this story bother to read the HTML before deciding it was art?

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

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