Net Art Critique
Digital Studies: being in cyberspace
Debra Ackerman on Dr. Hugo's Fuzzy Dreamz
University of Colorado

Upon entering the Digital Studies site, I am greeted by an extremely simple page. No frills, no extras-- just right to the point text. I am informed that viewing this site is actually "being in cyberspace", so I prepare myself and click on the first option which takes me to the main interface. It is here that the Digital Studies' "Big Brother" locates me and I enter the table of contents. Once again, an extremely simple set up, one that allows you to move throughout the site without any confusion. I appreciate this layout-- it's not confusing and gets right to the point. Digital studies is a site that displays net art on the web. It is home to artists who have created interactive art using the internet as a medium.

I opt to sample one of the works on this site, so I choose to go to Fuzzy Dreamz by Doctor Hugo. When I enter the site, I am welcomed by a background of a starry sky, 6 images of the same blinking eye, extremely relaxing music, and instructions to "Choose a star and go from one dream to another." When I click on one of the stars, I am bounced to a page where the set up is exactly the same, but the images of the eyes have changed to different images-- three of them have become a flying airplane, and three of them have become a hooded man with a large staff. There are 31 different stars to choose from and each brings you to a site where there is another pair of images. It appears to me that Dr. Hugo is transporting us to his world of dreams. He is asking us to open our minds and jump to the alter reality that everyone of us enters the second that we close our eyes to go to sleep. In our dreams, everything is symbolic. It is very often that the images we see are unrelated at first glance and must be further analyzed to fully understand the meaning that they imply. Dr. Hugo's piece functions exactly like a fuzzy dream that all of us constantly have. He presents images to the viewer and asks that they use their personal analyzing bank-- their brain, to interpret what the relation of the images means to them. Because everyone's brain is unique to themselves, the meaning that they conjure up for their dreams will also be unique to themselves. This is exactly what occurs when one is viewing this piece. The relation and meaning that I impose on two images will most likely be completely different than the meaning that you impose on the same two images. This is how dreams work and this is how Dr. Hugo's Fuzzy Dreamz works.

The Digital Studies site is a brilliant context with which to view net art because it is not jumbled and confusing. Instead, it's text takes you to exactly where you wish to go. It says what it means and means what it says. There is no hypertextual trickery which makes it's table of context quite easy to understand and even easier to surf through. What the site does by displaying net art, is allow a viewer to experience many different works through cyberspace just by clicking around. There is no need to travel to a museum and hope that you are there during operating hours. Net art can be viewed at any time and anywhere as long as there is a computer present. Dr. Hugo's Fuzzy Dreamz is an excellent example of net art to display on this site. It too is simple and straight to the point. What makes this net art different from art that can be seen in a museum is that the medium that the artist uses is the internet itself. It is imperative that the viewer participate by clicking around and deciding where they want to go. Without sites like Digital Studies, works like Fuzzy Dreamz could not be viewed be people all over the world. Net art is a revolutionary and quite necessary evolution for the art world which makes "being in cyberspace" the new place to be.

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