I am finding many blog based art projects* less accessible than I would like, which means a reduced likelihood that I will return to these sites. This has me thinking about the idea of art rationales, the explanations that you often see in a gallery on the wall next to a piece or in a catalogue, I often find that I enjoy reading the rationale as much and sometimes even more than the art itself. The extra information – what the artist was intending, other influences that surround the work etc. – definitely enhance my enjoyment of the work. Similarly if there is a tour going at the gallery I will always join and I really get a lot of value out of those audio guides galleries sometimes provide. However, I am wondering if it is fair to always expect artists to explain themselves, part of the reader process is figuring this all out and drawing your own conclusion. Many artists deliberately do not supply rationales or even titles for this very reason (Mark Rothko for example). Is expecting an explanation just lazy on my behalf? Maybe, but if I am someone who is actively interested in new media art and *I* am finding these sites inexplicable then the chances of the average internet user enjoying the work are pretty slim.
Now, I don’t expect you to explain your every idea in great detail, however, if you give me a hint or two, just a little background or explanation the likelihood I will be engaged and interested enough to take a closer look and form my own opinion is much greater. I think this is probably even important for internet artworks since when I go to a gallery I already have a set of expectations, I have a place of reference and a framework to start with. Most people who enter a gallery will get there through the front door. With internet art people arrive from many different directions and they are seeking and expecting many different things. Of course the fact that people are expecting a certain thing within the internet is a good opportunity to play with those perceptions, and to use those perceptions against the reader in a judo-esque manner, yet I think that opportunity is often lost as it is as easy to leave a site as it is to stumble across one.
*the blog-art blog is a really good reference for art blog links.