Since the early 1990s, artists have chosen the internet as a medium, an environment and a forum. While some internet artists also maintain a gallery practice, the conditions and conventions that inform meaning in online art remain in many ways distinct from those of the off-line artworld. Internet art — inherently ephemeral and infinitely reproducible — eludes commodification and largely operates independently of the art market. In the online environment where acts of creative self-expression are the norm, the boundaries between artists and not-artists that confer status and hierarchy in the gallery and museum system are largely immaterial. Even among niche groups of online practitioners who self-identify as artists, the culture of internet art regards the agency of the viewer on a par with that of the artist. In most cases, viewers are also producers. Many online artists, such as myself, operate through the medium of the blog format, which allows for a hybrid practice blending art production with art criticism, cross-promotion and dialogue.
Most criticism about internet art takes place online in comment threads on individual blogs or on institutionally supported websites such as Rhizome.org that provide discussion forums. The discourse tends to revolve around debates (often heated) about the appropriate use of various technologies in relation to both formal concerns and political issues inherent to open source ideology. There has been very little critical discussion about the affective qualities of various digital media.