forwardback
straight up

The success of the Web seemed to confirm the intuition of artists engaging in digital media that in the future, a global media database would inspire new forms of expression. Roy Ascott, for example, had already been exploring the creative possibilities of networking since the 1980s. He was interested in the notion of "dataspace," a territory of information in which all data exists in a continual present outside the traditional definitions of time and space available for use in endless juxtapositions. Ascott considers dataspace a new type of Gesamtkunstwerk, or a Gesamtdatenwerk as he calls it, in which networked information is integrated into the artwork. In such an environment, Ascott wrote, "meaning is not something created by the artist, distributed through the network, and received by the observer. Meaning is the product of interaction between the observer and the system, the content of which is in a state of flux, of endless change and transformation."