The internet today has become much more than a source for information, to be accessed through a system of interconnected computers. It has become a medium and a meeting place. Artists have always met each other at openings and in bars, but it seems that they are increasingly meeting online on websites such as
delicious.com, where references are exchanged and where responses follow each other at an increasingly rapid pace. Contemporary Semantics Beta is a group show of a generation of artists for whom the internet has come to play an important role in the development and presentation of their work. In the last few years, the internet has been used intensively by artists - both as a medium of presentation and as a source of inspiration, references, images and ideas. This exhibition emphasizes the use of the internet as a source of materials and ideas, as well as the semantics that has developed because of this. How, for example, has the democratization of video by websites like Youtube.com influenced our visual literacy, and how are websites such as wikipedia.com accepted as truth and used for inspiration? How do images found through search engines and the key words used to find them, play a role in contemporary art? In what ways do these
developments influence the artists and their work?
This exhibition presents the artworks side by side with the references or sources of inspiration that led to those works. In this way, an attempt is made to place these works in the contexts in which they were conceived. These contexts have often been researched and discussed in detail using online social tools such as delicious.com. Many of the artists in this exhibition mostly make medium specific work in a neoconceptual vein online. Those works are often best seen at home, on a computer screen. Contemporary Semantics Beta, however, explicitly presents a choice of physical works by these artists. Yet the main preoccupations of the research into a developing image language remains clear in this exhibition. How do artists deal with the enormous amount of crap and specialized information available on the internet,
and how self-conscious is this developing visual practice of filtering, recycling and (re)contextualization? And what role do the existing visual arts play in this process? These and other questions are considered in Contemporary Semantics Beta. On March 22, the exhibition will end with a salon during which a number of the participating artists will present and talk about their work.
Constant Dullaart 11-02-09, Amsterdam