net.art: the origin

Alexei Shulgin on the mailinglist nettime, 18 mars 1997 (http://www.nettime.org/Lists-
Archives/nettime-l-9703/msg00094.html) :

“ I feel it's time now to give a light on the origin of the term – “ net.art ”. Actually, it's a readymade. In December 1995 Vuk Cosic got a message, sent via anonymous mailer. Because of incompatibility of software, the opened text appeared to be
practically unreadable ascii abracadabra. The only fragment of it that made any sense looked something like: [...] J8~g#|\;Net. Art{-^s1 [...] Vuk was very much amased and exited: the net itself gave him a name for activity he was involved in! He immediately started to use this term. After few months he forwarded the mysterious message to Igor Markovic, who managed to correctly decode it. The text appeared to be pretty controversal and vague manifesto in which it's author blamed traditional art institutions in all possible sins and declared freedom of selfexpression and independence for an artist on the Internet. The part of the text with above mentioned fragment so strangely converted by Vuk's software was (quotation by memory):“ All this becomes possible only with emergence of the Net. Art as a notion becomes obsolete... ”, etc. So, the text was not so much interesting. But the term it undirectly brought to life was already in use
by that time. Sorry about future net.art historians - we don't have the manifesto anymore. It was lost with other precious data after tragic crash of Igor's hard disk last summer. I like this weird story very much, because it's a perfect illustration to the fact that the world we live in is much richer than all our ideas about it. Alexei. ”

Josephine Bosma. The dot on a Velvet Pillow. 2003:
“ No matter how much the artists hated the term and no matter how much they refused to use it, others would still do so. The reason for this probably was that at the time when the term net.art appeared there was no common terminology for art created with or within the internet yet, even though art projects on the internet already existed long before. Art created with the internet would simply be called media art, or electronic art, terms which don’t cover specific network issues as well as net.art does, with or without the dot. ”

Julian Stallabrass, Internet Art. The Online Clash of Culture and Commerce. Tate Publishing. Londres, Royaume-Uni. 2003, (pp 10-11):
“ To write about art on the Internet is to try to fix in words a highly unstable and protean phenomenon. This art is bound inextricably to the development of the Internet itself, riding the torrent of furious technological progress that brings back into illumination antique visions of modernism, torn from matter and hurled into the ether, and so made suddenly and curiously new. Until returning to the subject near the end of the book, this all I shall say about the definition of Internet art. “ Art ” itself is a term of dispute - rejected by some of those who have been called “net artists” - and it is only used here tentatively, as a term of convenience under which a number of phenomena can be examined. Its coherence can only be judged later. “ Net.art ” is a term that has become associated with a small group of early practitioners and a particular style, and it cannot be applied to online art as a whole. I will therefore use, as I say without wanting to make great claim for the term, 'Internet art'. ”