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Themesicon: navigation pathAesthetics of the Digitalicon: navigation pathAesthetic Paradigms
Z (Abad, Antoni), 1999

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conceptual and aesthetic development. [7] An important basic feature of web-art works is a hypertextual, non-linear network structure that determines the user’s manner of movement (navigation) into the project by clicking links and by scrolling. Thus, direct viewer intervention in the work is not permitted, since skipping pages triggers programmed changes—a process that is usually less experimental in regard to the mode of expression, and trivial in regard to surfing, or leads to formal, aestheticist tendencies (web formalism). In contrast to these works, net art or network projects are technically, conceptually and functionally dependent on the network apparatus and on user participation which by technical means can effect changes in, and so actively contribute to, the system and process alike.

The version of the work «Z» produced in 2003 by Antoni Abad attempts to create a communication network that spreads independently of a central server. Every fly is at once receiver and transmitter. At the end of the project the source code is distributed to horizontal communities interested in creating communication networks and distributed information.


The novel aspect of such projects is the idea that artist or work are no longer the sole nucleation points of reception and transmission; instead, the dissemination of codes in the form of an agent turns the users into the nodal points of reciprocal relationships and multiplicators. Thus, the existence of the agents and the users as nexus depends on their reciprocal communication. This raises new and specific questions about the network and the system, as well as about the latter’s aesthetics, which is shaped into self-organized community awareness through the re-organization of the model of sociality based on individualism within a network. In order to obtain this effect, the artist deliberately surrenders control of his work and passes it on to the user as far as action and intervention for the performance and enhancement of the system is concerned. On the other hand, the continuity of the work is dependent on the intercommunication between users and the progressive generation of a flexible, network-like architecture of contacts that disseminates the platform and constantly produces new communities.

This complex process and the experience of

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