Based on citations from Hypertext as Our Collective Destiny (1995), Realising the Full Potential of the Web (1997) and Transcript of Tim Berners - Lee talk to the LCS 35th Anniversary celebrations (1999) by Tim Berners-Lee.

The History

The first website 1991

The Dream

The Web - the global hypertext - was designed as universal space of information, where people can communicate by sharing their knowledge in a pool. Everybody would be putting their ideas in, as well as taking them out. The computers, networks, operating systems and commands have to become invisible and leave us with an intuitive interface as directly as possible to the information.

The Freedom

The fundamental aspect of Web is that anything can refer to anything. It is independent of hardware platform and independent of software. It is very important that any program can communicate via open World Wide Web protocols (HTTP, HTML,... ). Protocols are the rules that allow computers to talk together about a given topic. When the industry agrees on protocols, then a new application can spread across the world, and new programs can all work together as they all speak the same languege. These Internet protocols are decentralized and open. There is no central authority for the web sites, so they can grow at will, appearing spontaneously. This is key to development of the Web.

It is very important to be independent of the way you actually happen to access the information. The Web should be independent of language and culture and it should be independent of quality of information. The Web should be easy to use. It has to be easy to browse but also easy to express oneself.

The Structure


  • Print: Central, Delayed
  • TV and Radio: Central, Real Time
  • Web: Decentralized, Real Time
The Utopia

There was a certain fear that the Web would break structures. There was a lot of people who initially wanted the Web to be hierarchical because they wanted the hierarchical feeling of control. In fact Web allows to express hierarchy well, but it allows to express other things, too, which was a bit frightening for some individuals. It has been a dramatic change for individual. Is it going to be a dramatic change for society? Can we expect more fractal, less hierarchical structure arising in society, allowing us operate using the web of trust?

When the information will become more understandable to machines, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade and bureaucracy will be handled by agents, leaving humans to provide the inspiration and the intuition.

The Art

There are many artists using the Web as a distribution medium for content (text, images, video, music) delivery. Some are experimenting with multimedia and hypertext within the Web while others are fascinated by communication possibilities. There are also artists which focus on social and collaborative aspect of the Web.

Banksy This artist works very traditionally. He uses the Web to document and promote his work.

Space Invaders The artist uses website as an integral part of his work

Yellow Arrow The artists use the Internet for collaboration and distribution

Mark Amerika The artist uses hypertext and multimedia spects of Web.

Ben Benjamin The artist uses hypertext and multimedia spects of Web.

Mark Napier This is a typical programming Web Art

Olia Lialina: My Boyfriend Came back from the War

Ken Goldberg: Telegarden

Douglas Davis: The World's First Collaborative Sentence

More on the Net Art

Atlas of Cyberspace

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