Degree Name

Master of Arts (Hons)


Faculty of Creative Arts


Each person who accesses the world wide web usually does so from a position of isolation. To physically sit at the computer and engage in the process of viewing is a solitary activity. While each viewer may experience the web on individual terms, there are common factors which mediate the web viewing environment and which have a significant impact on the way in which that environment is perceived by the viewer. The aim of this thesis is to contextualise and critically examine the functioning of the world wide web as a viewing environment for web specific art work. It does this by focussing on several key aspects of the web environment, and how these shape and form the viewers perspective. In particular, it examines how the web is mediated by the elements of interface, the organising structures of time, memory and knowledge, and the balance between the potential freedoms of the web viewing environment and the powers of government, commerce and institutions which attempt to impose their structures upon it. Understanding the situation and position of the viewer in the web environment is crucial to artists producing web specific art work. The viewer experience is approached through the original ideas of digitality and the viewer pose which describe the interaction between humans and computers as a condition of thought and as a physical process in the context of interface. The world wide web promises many things. It is a unique blending of computer and communications technologies which links its users across the globe through the vast digital network of the internet. Ideally it offers the viewer an opportunity to transcend physical boundaries, interact with other users either one-to-one or as part of a community, and exchange information and ideas immediately and freely. The webs ability to facilitate the creation of structures which are fragmented and non-hierarchical, through interface and hyperlinking, shape the viewers experience. This thesis examines these aspects of the viewing experience and uses concepts proposed by Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1980) of the rhizome, and smooth and striated space to expand and elucidate the discussion.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.