I had begun my practice as an artist in the late 1980’s with a series of paintings and had moved onto a more self-consciously critical performance/ installation practice when, in 1995, I found the World Wide Web, with its capacities for instantaneous connectivity, hypertextual linking and multimedia convergence. I then transferred my practice to this new medium and between 1996 and 1998 made two web works and La Folie de la Peinture (1998), is the second of these. It is archived in fragments on the Wayback Machine.
At the center of this work was a remediation of a set of installation photographs, linked in such a manner as to represent movement through the space, with the experience of each ‘work’ recast as a multimedia experience (WAV, GIF, MOV and VRML files). The text (hypertext) was an integral part of this web work and in it, I set out some contextualizing ideas. These ideas were also presented within a wider theoretical framework in a paper titled Toward a Universal Theory of Convergence: Transcending the Technocentric View of the Multimedia Revolution presented at INET 1998 in Geneva. These points originally made in 1998 are presented below –
* With the emergence of abstract colour-field painting, the placement of works on the gallery wall became integral to the presentation and, in the light of this transient ‘installation’ aspect of the presentation, photographic documentation began to take on a new significance.
* While the ‘installation shot’ confirms the uniqueness of the ‘site’ of the installation, this photographic documentation leaves its own mass (mechanical reproduction) condition unindexed and has, quite surreptitiously, become the ‘extended’ medium, of installation art.
* As bandwidth increases and multimedia technology goes online, fluidly articulating the remote experience of image, moving image, text and sound in an interactive ‘virtual reality’, it will become increasingly difficult to differentiate between an actual place, person or thing from its image or representation.
* As the representations contained on the multitude of servers on the Internet exist in virtual proximity, ‘here’ and ‘there’ have been brought together in the ‘now’ of fiber optic connectivity. The instantaneous connectivity of computer mediated communication, appears to have eliminated geographical distance and the modern/ postmodern distinction of ‘site’ and ‘non-site’ is no longer be meaningful.