ian aleksander adams

Essays

Revisiting Tumblr as Art

by Ben Valentine on February 22, 2013

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Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of commissioned essay for The World’s First Tumblr Art Symposium. This essay is a revised and expanded version of Ben Valentine’s “Tumblr as Art” that was first published on June 19, 2012.

Much has been written about the rise of internet art. Just in the last few years, we’ve seen net artworks such as “intotime.org” by Rafaël Rozendaal; Twitter art by the likes of An Xiao and others; “e.m-bed.de/d/,” an immersive online music video experience by Yung Jake; and “$,” a Google Docs piece by Man Bartlett. But there is a burgeoning field of both social and discrete, beautiful, and weird internet art that demands our attention: Tumblr art.

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BERKELEY, California — As more of us can afford the tools historically only available to publishing houses, we have increasingly adopted them to share our stories and thoughts online. The invention of the printing press in the mid-1400s cheapened and quickened the arduous process of writing texts by hand. The cheaper the publishing, the cheaper the books, making information more accessible and creating an economic environment where more people could become publishers, creating an increasingly diverse, cheap, and accessible flow of information to an increasingly wider audience. Before the printing press books were rare and expensive, few possessed them and few could read them. The internet has expanded what the printing press started at an unprecedented degree.

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