The radical development fostered by net art was the possibility that artists who had never met to nonetheless be inspired by, use and remix each other’s work. Hosted in the Art Projects Screening Room, ‘Stranger Collaborations’ featured an exhibition of artworks that in some way wouldn’t have been possible without the collaborations formed via the internet, showing how strangers can, sometimes even unknowingly, create an artistic partnership online.
The artworks of Annie Abrahams and Liz Sterry create temporary communities that are ‘safe spaces’ in which socially-proscribed behaviours – such as public anger or private alcohol consumption – are accepted and even embraced. In Abrahams’ ‘Angry Women’ series, people who met via the internet come together to both vent their frustrations and explore the power of anger, while Sterry’s ‘Drinking Alone with the Internet’ documents a succession of online performances in which the artist put out an open call for internet users to join her in dressing and drinking like a Star Wars character, creating a virtual party in which everyone is both together and very much alone.
The practices of Michael Szpakowski and the art duo Émilie Brout & Maxime Marion appropriate the creations of others, individuals whose identities usually remain anonymous and who probably never expected their works to be re-presented as constituents of a work of art. Szpakowski’s ‘Shit Happens in Vegas’ remixes images from Google Street View to stage a vicarious cruise through Las Vegas and Brout & Marion’s ‘Gold and Glitter’ is a shimmering, largescale projection comprising several hundred golden animated GIFs sourced from the internet.
As the technology of the internet develops, so do the types of collaboration that it enables. Ruth Catlow’s Time Is Speeding Up is an online video created in real time – supported by the participation of visitors to the Screening Room at the Fair and authenticated using the anonymous, distributed network of the blockchain.
Curated by Pryle Behrman, ‘Stranger Collaborations’ took place at London Art Fair 2017, in the Art Projects Screening Room on Gallery Level 1.