[artinfo] (browser as art work) Net.tv by Garrett Lynch

Garrett Lynch lists at asquare.org
Sun Oct 29 18:52:36 CET 2006

Announcing the release of net.tv an art browser 
(browser as art work) by Garrett Lynch:



Net.tv is a cross between a browser and a 
streaming media player designed to view the 
internet as it really is, code or more 
specifically markup, not a series of web pages 
designed under a print metaphor. It makes no 
attempt to interpret the code into an organised 
layout as do conventional browsers, instead it 
displays the code as an audio-visual stream of 
indeterminate length.

Why reduce the internet to an audio-visual 
stream? Simply to provoke thought around our use 
and consumption of different media, linear push 
media such as television and non-linear 
interactive pull media such as websites, which 
have been converging for sometime now. Net.tv's 
purpose is to highlight the way we as users 
continually construct self made narratives when 
we use the internet through choices based on an 
interact / react model. It does this by removing 
our ability to chose and act on those choices. 
Users enter a chosen url, click go and from there 
on the experience of 'surfing' is automated and 
dictated by a preprogrammed rule:

On start
	retrieve webpage url entered.
	Visualise webpage as an audio-visual stream.
	Spider to first webpage url available on current webpage url.
	Repeat while new url available.

When we use a browser to surf the internet what 
we view and how we view it is controlled by the 
browser. It functions as a framing mechanism and 
for net.art this can be considered a problem or 
challenge depending on your point of view. The 
creation of a browser as a work of net.art allows 
an artist to not alone create an artwork but 
control how and under what conditions it will be 

"After the first experiments with web sites, the 
browser rapidly became the unavoidable framework 
for Net art [sic] in the eyes of the artists. 
Webstalker, created by the London-based art group 
I/O/D and introduced in the first part of 
net.art, was the first 'art browser' to call into 
question the conventions of representation on the 
internet on a much more fundamental level than 
any work on the web was able to. After 
Webstalker, a whole series of art browsers 
appeared...they show precisely what 'normaly' 
browsers try to hide. Instead of Web sites with 
pretty designs, one sees what lies beneth the 
surface: the code the pages have been written in 
and the structure of the Web sites appearing on 
the screen as complex diagrams which most 
definitely have their own aesthetic appeal." 
(Baumgärtel, T. 2001)

By denying the user any possibility of 
interaction with or control over browsing content 
when using net.tv, the possibility to surf the 
internet, the user is in fact denied the status 
of user and becomes simply a spectator of a 
broadcast medium much like television. Web pages, 
net.art works themselves (including the artists 
own) become input, the equivalent of a signal for 
the browser, suppling a constant feed of content 
which controls the browser and the path it takes 
through the internet. Linking from page to page 
or site to site is no longer a controlled or 
chosen decision by the user. Instead the 
application decides constantly spiraling off onto 
new pages as soon as it finds a link.

Unlike most browsers which exist and are defined 
by the content they depict, their message, the 
internet as viewed / interpreted through net.tv 
is no longer a source of information. It is a 
browser which is viewed solely for its aesthetic 
form, an abstracted composition of sounds and 

Net.tv is available to download for Mac OSX 
10.2+, Mac OS 8/9 and Windows 98 / Millennium 
Edition / NT 4.0 / 2000, or XP from the artists 


Garrett at asquare.org

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