Anon. The New Yorker, “Only Connect: Web Sightings”, 22 April 1996, p. 18.

ONLY CONNECT

Web Sightings

ADAWEB (http://adaweb.com) — If conceptual art often infuriates viewers into fuming, "I could do better than that," then a truly interactive conceptual-art site should allow them to try. The cybergallery Adaweb (the spell it äda 'web) was launched last June by a group of New York artists with "Please Change Beliefs," a "media-specific experience" by the downtown propagandist Jenny Holzer. Beneath a list of Holzer's typically ambiguous dicta ("Expring for love is beautiful but stupid"; "Lack of charisma can be fatal") is an invitation to join in the fun: "To improve or replace the truism, click here," a dialogue box instructs you, promising that your version will be added to a new master list.

The directionals here can seem murky: "extension" takes you to the links page (connecting you to other art sites), "exchange" to the Adaweb store, where you can buy T-shirts and baseball caps printed with some of Holzer's better-known expressions ("Protect me from what I want"). "Influx" and "project" lead to the art sites themselves: exhibitions in cyberspace
, subject to change, with your participation. "We Both Belong" is Ben Kinmont's rather touching meditation on the importance of doing the dishes. "As an artist, I view domestic activity as sculpture," he has written beneath a photo of himself busting suds. He invites viewers to send in pictures (by mail or E-mail) of themselves washing the dishes, along with their thoughts, and these images and words become part of the show. A man who identifies himself only as Kenny has contributed a photograph of himself sleep beside a pile of dirty plates. "Given your enthusiasm for dishes," he writes, "my wife-to-be should be marrying you!" Now that's interactive.