Jack of All Trades, Master of Nothing
I am part of a generation of artists whose skill set has changed because of digital technology, whose presence in the everyday has increased over the past decade and deeply influences my artistic practice.
Now my artistic research, production, and documentation of work exist primarily on the Internet, to be shared with global communities and collectives of artists. To paraphrase the words of the seminal media theorist Marshall McLuhan, the Internet has recently become an extension of the artist. We are in the age when the most common skill of the artist is the ability to click a mouse or a keyboard.
The arbiters of this new condition are the Internet Aware Artists, which have grown from a deskilled few to a re-skilled many. Their work exists, online and offline in a multitude of forms, within the sea of cultural production affected by the Internet. “Post-Internet” has emerged as a title for this new condition, but it is perhaps a misleading name.
A specific chronology has produced the conditions of the Internet Aware Artist, while at the same time a new economic framework has bloomed from the seeds of the 20th century art world. It is Neo-Capitalism, Post-Fordism, and even more aptly named, “the creative economy.” By tracing parallel developments of social and production networks on the Internet, we can examine, in detail, what events have created the Internet Aware Artist and the implications of the globally networked economy in which he or she exists.