Do You Have an Opinion?
Do you have a message you want to relay to the world? The Internet reaches a vast, and in many ways, gullible audience. Be careful how you proceed if you decide to try something similar to what the Yes Men did, for even they are susceptible to legal repercussions. A tamer version of what they do would be to create a collaborative, interactive space where people can make art together, or make a website that does not show your art, but creates a guessing game of some kind.
Hell.com and Internet Art
One of the most fascinating and enigmatic pieces of online or “net-art” is a website called hell.com, a coveted domain that gets thousands of hits every day from people
who type hell.com in their browser for the sake of entertainment. It remains a curious place for art and utilizes some of the most sophisticated uses of web design. For a while, it was very difficult to navigate, and there were obstacles like hidden passcodes which, if you did incorrectly, would reroute you to a ran- dom Internet search. It was frustrating, but sometimes beautiful. Every time I checked the site, there were always different things happening.
Once, when I went to the site, it automatically sent me to another domain called nosuch.com. The hell.com designers always seemed to have a sense of humor even if it was hard to follow. They defy our expectations of what it means to navigate the web by making their site function the opposite of what we expect. While writing this book, I went to hell.com and found a completely blank page. At first I thought something was wrong with my browser, but I could see that the site had fully loaded and there had been no error. Then I noticed a message at the top of the browser, which said “domain disabled”—a message I have never seen before. Hell.com has a reputation for using the Internet in unique ways that tend to confound their viewers, and one of the definitions of art is to challenge the norm and make us think. Hell.com has certainly done this. You can read more about this notorious and odd work of Internet art on Wikipedia. Perhaps it will inspire you. You can also listen to the full interview I did of the founder of hell.com on Yale Radio, (wybc.com) under The Art World Demystified public affairs program.
To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here. To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.