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The Internet as Art

Virginia Heffernan

June 08, 2016

"In the last thirty years, the Internet has come to be regarded two ways: As an unstoppable alien invasion, fast destroying our minds and hearts, and also as the air we breathe—transparent and somehow beneath our notice. [...] In fact, the Internet, in my view, is a massive and collaborative work of art—something billions of us contribute to every millisecond, with every Instagram photo, every 'like,' every message-board post, every tweet, every eBay review, every streamed video or song. We make, consume, and review art—photography, design, poetry, prose, film, and music. Why do we do this so committedly—compulsively, even—while also disparaging as trivial or evil the whole enterprise? What if, just for an hour or so, we suspended the assumption that the Internet is nothing but a public health hazard or a tool of the surveillance state or a means to a venal end? What if we're right in the moment we post to Snapchat or Pinterest—that the Internet is play, is expression, is challenge, is a call to greater eloquence, grander originality, most expansive community, and shrewder gameplay?"

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