The ironically superficial title of Nice Page, is deeply rooted in Teo Spiller’s previous projects Hommage to Mondrian and the Banner art competition. In Nice Page the parallel drawn between net.art and neo-plasticism in Hommage to Mondrian is taken a step further right into the depths of the creative possibilities of the Internet. By layering and meandering of pages from Alta Vista s “bitch search” with 313,375 pages found through Barbie s world, to Ljudmila and the Guggenheim Museum, the artist takes a hermeneutic approach to unraveling the hidden-yet-to-bediscovered world of net.art or net plasticism.
At first glance, Nice Page is a provocation toward the superficial flipping of pages and the over saturation of the Internet space. Above all, it is a criticism toward a superficial attitude in the approach to it. Referring to the practice of leafing through web pages, the artist positions himself against an easy way out in dealing with the phenomenon of protecting our mind from being constantly bombarded and cluttered during our cyber journeys. Weaving a medieval tapestry of “illuminated” pages, the artist interlaces them into a web demonstrating clearly how it could easily turn into a net for catching “butterflies”. The Internet is shown as a beehive with fatal attractive powers as we spot here and there a queen bee or two, and of course much honey. However, the Page has two sides: the viewer is not seen as an innocent victim but rather as a thirsty-nice-page-hunter, aiming through the viewfinder-like frames within the frame.
At the same time, Nice Page constitutes a filtering grid, a critical module of viewing. It brings us back to antiquity and takes on apotropaic functions. Its appeal acts as a protective shield against seductive and debilitating invasions of “nice pages” into our consciousness. The pleasant-looking mosaic acts as a bate leading the visitor to probe deeper and see what lies underneath the pavement, understand what is the hidden, underlying structure. In this strange mix of marbles (ital. ), net.art is shown as a forum, an agora where questions can be asked and dialogues can take place. Surprisingly, as we navigate, there are moments when caught in the labyrinth of pages we loose track of the grid. Suddenly, there arises a desire to go back to the nice page and contemplated it further. Solving the riddle and deciphering the rules of the game which is about to unfold on this checkerboard seems to be the threshold to finding the essential links between the one traveling in cyber space and the journey itself.
Spiller guides the viewer to a symbolic level of interactivity, where, by putting the pieces of this intricate puzzle together, one can arrive at touching with his/her own mind the contours of net.art as a whole. Probing the ground of net.art in intriguing and meaningful ways, Nice Page is a reflection on this art form, its true primary and neutral colours, tools and materials. It demonstrates Internet and net.art manners of “pulling the strings,” in one case to find an erring victim, in the other to arrive at a composition which can only be held by the mind because the artwork is only a springboard to our own, infinite imaginary world. Therefore, infinity, transparency, totality, interactivity, immateriality of the Net are illusory without the alert participation of the mind.
Rossitza Daskalova, CIAC Electronic Magazine, Montreal 1999