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The very nature of networks and their uses change how we think about time and distance, our relation to them and inevitably, our approach to representing ourselves in these dimensions. The last 150 years saw a multitude of discoveries that would change the nature of time, space, and perception, and provoke artistic responses through Modernism, Futurism and a variety of other "ism"s. The development of the railroad, telegraph, telephone and a host of other inventions of modernity changed the scale and pace of everyday life. By the twentieth century, Albert Einstein's (German-born theoretical physicist, 1879-1955) theory of relativity along with Werner Heisenberg's (German physicist, 1901-1976) uncertainty principle annihilated previous conceptions of a fixed, predictable grid of time and space; Sigmund Freud's (Austrian psychiatrist, 1856-1939) notions of the unconscious mind showed that we were not in control of our thoughts.

In the visual world, the invention of photography (and its network of replications) in the mid-nineteenth century freed painting from verisimilitude and gave rise to stronger interpersonal, emotional use of the medium. Impressionist landscapes were facilitated by the artists' abilities to travel by rail to the countryside and record their fleeting impressions of nature. The Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock print recorded and reproduced artists' travels across the countryside and into the red light districts of Edo, bringing images from the "floating world," to an increasingly mobile public that was already engaged with the transitory nature of existence. The later developments of Cubism and Futurism came with an understanding that both speed and time changed the position from which everyday people—and by extension the artist—could interpret an object. Rail travel offered the city-dwelling painters travel to the countryside for a day to paint, as the Barbizon School painters did, and to be amazed by the spectacle of the landscape rushing past them from the window of the train.

A great age of exploration was brought into the living room of the bourgeoisie through the eyes of the itinerant photographers and their ability to travel the world, to witness faithfully the great natural and manmade wonders of the globe, and to bring them back to eager audiences. The camera, which enabled observation to be recorded and also disseminated, allowed the common person to collect their own cabinet of curiosities.

J. M. W. Turner, Rain, Steam and Speed - The Great
Western Railway

Claude Monet (French Impressionist painter, 1840-1926) and J. M. W. Turner (English Romantic landscape painter, 1775-1851), in their nineteenth-century depictions of the railroad, conveyed a dazzling impression of this new technology as a spectacle. Ukiyo-e artists were fond of creating series of prints that considered, say, Mt. Fuji in thirty-six views— an acknowledgment that a single instant or image is not sufficient to, understand fully a scene. Later, Cubist painting technique responded to the new speed of the day by portraying the object from many points of view simultaneously, moving the spectator around the object. The Futurists, on the other hand, saw that one actually perceived things differently as one sped past them on the train, anticipating or implying a feeling of kineticism.

In the computer, the imagery is a kinetic experience as we can move any object and ourselves in any direction in real time. Both Cubism and Futurism understand intuitively what we now know: the networked organism is constantly moving. The computer need not imply movement: it embodies it. Viewers can navigate their way through the creative act, from video games to virtual sculpture, to images that can shift and change over time.