Excerpt: Within the first ten years of the 2000s, the media landscape underwent a tremendous shift. The internet, in particular, drifted far beyond the screen and the stationary computer work station, finding its way into every aspect of our lives, a process accelerated by advances such as faster bandwidths, smart phones, and social media. The following brief timeline of product launches is illustrative: 2002, Friendster; 2003, Myspace; 2004, Facebook; 2005, YouTube; 2006, Twitter; 2007, iPhone and tumblr. An increasingly mobile, networked world arose alongside these developments, resulting in a new phase for contemporary art, one that witnessed artistic practices becoming more fluid, elastic, dispersed, and expanded. Internet artists began to make art about informational culture using various online and offline means, no longer determining their practice solely by an online existence. This essay examines a micro-history, from roughly 2005 to 2010, in which an international network of artists, many of them millennials, working on the internet turned their focus to mainstream user-generated content as a form of popular culture following the rise of social media. This anthropological approach to the popular culture of social media subsequently developed into a larger desire to excavate the web’s involvement in the everyday, at a moment when the internet became more mobile and integrated into daily life. Turning to art practices (such as artist-run, collaboratively-authored blogs for artistic experimentation, known as surf clubs) and artist-run curatorial platforms working during this short, rapidly paced period, this essay will elaborate a perspective in which self-identified “internet-based artists” simply became “contemporary artists” engaged with a thoroughly informational world and milieu.
— “Internet Explorers” in Mass Effect Art and the Internet in the Twenty-First Century, Edited by Lauren Cornell and Ed Halter (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2015)