Double View But Single Vision? Tracing Artistic Internet Browsers

Hands-on workshop

13th International Conference on Computational Creativity 2022

Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, June 27-July 1, 2022

Idea: This workshop will introduce participants to challenges and experimental approaches in documenting artistic internet browsers. Some of the browsers are semi-autonomous and start the browsing process proactively by creating a URL and launching the search co-creating the course of navigation with the user. These alternatives to commercial browsers differ from any standard in several respects and thus, a different kind of exploratory attitude is needed to document and understand them.

Topic: The workshop starts out with introducing a fascinating field: artistic internet browsers, a specific net art genre that was developed since the mid 1990s. It will become clear that there are various alternatives to the dominant page metaphor ('homepage'). These alternative, coded visions remain functional browsers and this is how we want to see them in this workshop.

Questions: What 'vision' of the Internet do they promote? What can we learn from the artistic browsers and what are the metaphors being used? What alternative access points to the internet does the browser offer? What is the function of the browser? Is it a lens, a viewport, a tool, a window, an image creating machine, etc.? How are the actors in the system that lets us enter the Internet? What role(s) does the piece of software foresee for the user?

Methods: First, the workshop provides an overview in methods how (artistic) software is documented elsewhere. Second, the result of a methodological experiment done in 2021 by the "Browser Art"-group is presented. Third, in further evolving the 'phenomenological forensic' approach applied previously, an innovative method is proposed and tried out during the workshop. It includes a) a multidimensional comparison between an artistic and a commercial browser from a cultural perspective (beyond the usual parameters like usability and optimisation), b) an attempt to visualise the differences found and c) an explorative elaboration of processes of 'naturalization' and 'normativity' in software. The organisers prepare a portfolio of browsers to choose from.

Relevance: The experience is a playful one, but the task remains serious: The question of how to also preserve the endangered heritage of Internet-based art and cultural production for posterity has become an unexpected addition to the research endeavour. The workshop aims at discussing this topic as well.

Scope & Type: The workshop is based on an experiment in synchronised research documenting an artistic web browser. A previous experimental setup with a slightly different layout resulted in the publication "Navigation", LMU Munich 2022 (forthc.), ed. Inge Hinterwaldner, Daniela Hönigsberg, Konstantin Mitrokhov.

Output: The main visible outcome is a small exhibition in a gathering zone of the conference. The exhibition consists of the workshop results. This provides an opportunity for  participants to individually engage with the ICCC community and share their findings and experiences in poster-session-like conversations. Moreover, the workshop will be documented and made publicly available online.

Needed attendance conditions: No submissions are needed or requested. Participants do not need to have any special pre-knowledge (except for browsing experience). The outcome will be produced during the workshop.
Participants bring their own laptops and work on them.

Soliciting workshop participants: We will advertise the workshop opportunity also especially within the community of students of the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano. Participants with different scholarly backgrounds are welcome.

Venue: Seminar room for approximately 15 persons (organizers and 12 participants). Exhibition space (preferably where ICCC participants gather for coffee etc.).

Duration:  The workshop is planned for 1 full day.

  • 9.00 am: Inge Hinterwaldner: introduction into the topic (artistic browsers, the variety, challenges, and state-of-the-art approaches)
  • 9:40 am: Discussion
  • 10.00 am: Coffee
  • 10.30 am: Konstantin Mitrokhov: agenda and preliminary guideline how to document and compare browsers in action
  • 11.00 am: Participants (individually or teamwork in groups of 2*) dive hands-on into comparison & documentation of case studies I
  • 1.00 pm: Lunch
  • 2.15 pm: Participants (individually or teamwork in groups of 2*) dive hands-on into comparison & documentation of case studies II
  • 3.40 pm: All: Discussion about the challenges
  • 4.00 pm: Coffee
  • 4.30 pm: Participants visualize the essence of how they have understood the browser they were documenting
  • 5.00 pm: Participants prepare a mini presentation including their visualization, and their choices and procedures, along the guideline
  • 5:30 pm: All: Discussion

Browsers_Bolzano --> pdf

Thereafter: Exhibition: Pinning the results onto a wall
* depends on the Covid-19 requirements.

Organising committee: Research group "Browser Art. Navigating with Style" (, based at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology:

Barbara Filser: barbara.filser∂

Inge Hinterwaldner: inge.hinterwaldner∂ (main contact)

Daniela Hönigsberg: daniela.hoenigsberg∂

Konstantin Mitrokhov: konstantin.mitrokhov∂