The ‘one-man-one-machine’ experience of surfing the net questions the locality of the home and domestic space. One may live in a small rural village in a European country yet spend equal (if not more) virtual time working, talking and creating in American-made cyber-territories. The cyber-self has migrated but an artist’s ‘home’ in this virtual landscape have no walls and no ‘objects’ – only visions, people and the sounds of the click of each button. There are no home comforts in this space. No familiar mirror of the artist’s home, family or possessions on the web. In some, this condition seems to be producing translocal schizophrenia. The artist is divided between two lives. The virtual and the terra-existence. Many artists seem (both in their works and words) to be quite literally home sick.
When net.art is discussed eventually the idea of the net ‘community’ or ‘family’ emerges: the ‘rhizome community’, the nettime community, the Flash community, the Java community. If these communities (or families) are truly active some indication of their physical presence must be felt outside (perhaps) of the textual and visionary. A community that thrives does more than talk and dream about its presence. A community outworks it presence by claiming the physical space: house-building, social interaction, playgrounds, schools and places of worship. In cyber-space the playgrounds (artworks), social interaction (lists), schools (educators) and the places of worship (virtual museums) have long been established but these ‘communities’ are living in self-erected tents. Bricks and mortar, belongings and the state of ‘home’ are absent on the net. Scrolling down the inbox of the net.art chat forum can produce comparisons of the camera on the BBC world service, panning back to reveal the shanty towns of the asylum seekers – a community isolated by the simultaneous absence of their locality and presence of the alien soil.
If a home, even a mirror of the terra-property were to be built in cyberspace would artists be brave enough to move in? In the cyber- kitchen project (July 2002) an artist outworked this (perhaps subconscious) dilemma by interpreting a dark corridor leading off from the kitchen in a frenetic video image by internal camera of the journey down the human throat. Suddenly the placement of the kitchen was in question. One minute the visitor was sipping coffee in the sunshine the next they were slipping down into the darkness. The locality became illusion; the domestic peace became a construction. If the kitchen in the cyber home becomes a potentially dangerous it begs the question what artists might construct under the bed, in the closet or in the woodshed. To expand on the pioneering metaphor (so often used when describing the ‘conquering’ of the web), net.artist are familiar with the virtual landscape, its quiet places, crowded streets and supermarkets, perhaps the time has come start laying the foundations of the cyber-home…
the cyber-kitchen is an ongoing project and is still accepting work and/or proposals. Please see
Call for coders/scripters: The cyber-kitchen would like to build a ‘kitchen table’ where the artists can meet and have a beer:-) On-line forums, chat evenings and/or guestbooks have been suggested. I badly need help scripting/coding this. If you would like to be involved in this project in this way please contact jess loseby at:
Artists in the cyber-kitchen include: (new work in red)
Kate Armstrong, Nancy Bechtol, Carla Della Beffa, Amie Bolissian, Brad Brace, Susan Burgess, Samantha Caine, Ruth Chandler, Geoffrey Benjamin Chew, Damon Cleary, Nicolae Comanescu, Jo Cook, Lilian Cooper, Agricola de Cologne, Caterina Davinio, dlsan, Anna Cecile Gabali, Pierre Gauvin, Gez, Saraswati Gramich, Jane Griffin, Alana Jelinek, Neil Jenkins, Rene’ Joseph, Judson, Maya Kalogera, Kanarinka, Dagmar Kase, Sarah Klein, Tamara Lai, Jess Loseby, Jorge Margolles, Luiz, Joseph Franklyn McElroy & Donna McElroy, Fin McMorran, Mr.Milk, Simon Morse, Linda Munday, Owen Plotkin, Joan Posluszny-Hoffsten, Roslyn Rose, Tim Sandys-Renton, Barbara Santos, Ernesto Sarezale, Laurent Sauerwein, S’unya, Michael Szpakowski, Pamela G. Taylor, Floe Tudor, Jeremy Turner, Mona Vatamanu, Wes,Cathy Ward & Eric Wright, Saskia Wilson-Brown
the cyber-kitchen is a non-profit collaborative art project.