Did you know that ALL art, at least to some extent exists in VIRTUAL
SPACE? You see, the word VIRTUAL does not mean COMPUTER. We distinguish
virtual space from material space. Your computer is in front of you right
now. You can see it and you can touch it. That is material and it exists
in material space. If you close your eyes and imagine it or imagine
touching it THAT is virtual space. If you paint a picture of it that too
is a kind of virtual space. And if you go farther yet and put it on the
web in a scanned graphic or something from your computers paint program
it is also virtual.
People first started talking about virtual imagery when they started
examining the properties of mirrors. What you see in a mirror is a
virtual image or reality too.
You might also want to ask your question on the NAEA-Electronic Media
Interest Group <naea-emig> What you are asking about is
art created with electronic media (like your paint program).
You have some good questions. How good are you at "web surfing"? I don't
have my EMIG address book or my bookmarks on the account I'm writing you
on or I'd give you some URLS right now. There is an artist on the web who
comes to mind. His name is Marius Johnston. You could find his home page
if you tried (maybe using alta vista or Yahoo) and ask him about his art.
He has been making art electronically for a long time now and knows a lot
about this kind of art.
You could do a search for "computer artist" on Alta Vista (use those
quotation marks too)
We are always talking about who determines whether something is art or not.
Let me ask you some questions - what are you allowed to decide about? Are
most things decided because we are told the answer or because we talk
together and find out whether we agree about things or not? Put another
way, Who decides whether tomatoes are food? We haven't always agreed about
that you know some people used to thing that tomatoes were poison (maybe
there are STILL some people who think so)
You might want to search for: history "electronic art" and find out if
anyone has written about that part of art history. I haven't looked yet.
If you look-up COMMODITY in the dictionary maybe you could decide if art
could be a commodity. (hint: could I pay an artist to make a picture to put
on my home page?)
You ask "Who ownes the art?" and "Are there copyright laws that protect
this type of art or is it understood by the artist that anyone can
capture it, change it or whatever?"
There are LOTS of rules about this and we are still making and changing
them. Copyright law is very complex. Generally we can say that the person
who own the copyright also owns the art. But that is not always true
because it is possible for the artist to specifically retain the
copyright even after she has sold the art. (have to read the fine print
there) Also there many aspects of copyright, someone might own the right
to first publish something (you see this in writing more) or the right to
publish on the internet or WWW... rights and ownership can be limited.
If you can find the Basilisk homepage you will find some interesting
information on copyright (sorry I don't have their URL handy)
You wrote: "I was told in a class that Bill Gates is buying up some
copyrights on many pieces of artworks so that he can use or sell people a
charged $ rate on the web to view them. Is this true?"
Bill is aquiring imagery so that he can sell the right to USE the
imagery. In the case of at least one archive he has aquired it was already
being used in that way just not electronically or on the internet. I do
not know if he is intending to charge just to see them.
hope this is a little helpful