A Net Art Idea Line
Mapping lines of thought through time

From the beginning, net art has travelled multiple paths. More than a medium, the net is a environment uniquely hospitable to many diverse media: programming and animation, video and audio, gameplay and community. Each individual artist picks up these threads and weaves them in novel combinations. The Idea Line is designed to let you follow these threads of thought yourself, and discover how each work is part of a larger tapestry.

— Martin Wattenberg

Launch Idea Line (39K; java required)

The Idea Line displays a timeline of net artworks, arranged in a fan of luminous threads. Each thread corresponds to a particular kind of artwork or type of technology. The brightness of each thread varies with the number of artworks that it contains in each year, so you can watch the ebb and flow of different lines of thought over time.

As you move your mouse over the lines, they will open up to reveal titles of artworks. Place the mouse on top of a title to learn more about the work. Click to launch the work itself. Right-click (shift-click on a Mac) to highlight other pieces by the same artist.

If you are looking for a particular title or artist, type into the text box at the upper left. You'll be able to see your search results in the context of the overall idealine.

Questions about the Idea Line collection

How was the list of artworks made?
We sent out a public request for help to several net art forums. Almost one hundred artists responded. In addition, we entered data on many popular or influential artworks that were not covered in this response. A text-only list of the artworks (146K) is available.

Can I get on the Idea Line?
Yes. You can send an e-mail with information about your projects to idealine_infoNOSPAM@whitney.org.

(We apologize for the inconvenience but an enormous amount of spam has made this procedure necessary).
In your e-mail, please follow the categories of the text-only list of the artworks (see above) and submit the following information: Artist, Title of Project, URL, Year, Keywords and Technologies (from the list that the Idealine displays) and a brief description. You can also add important works by other artists that we may have overlooked. (Note that we currently limit each artist to five works total.) We will periodically update the idealine to use new information.

How do I update my information?
If you want to update information about your artwork, also let us know at the e-mail address above.

Context for this work: net art catalogs and maps

Rhizome Artbase extensive, detailed, up to date.
A timeline of net art by Natalie Bookchin, 1999.
Guggenheim Cyberatlas Many maps, 1998.
map.jodi.org after a network diagram, 1997.

Above all, credit goes to nearly one hundred artists who helped compile the idea line data.
Thanks to: Christiane Paul, Marek Walczak, Laura Wattenberg