{w i t h   d i g r e s s i o n   i n   a t t e n d a n c e   a s   m u s e}

the web & nest beyond 
any sort of belief -- new
treasure new: again: cauldron O cauldron how
we work -

It all began within this seemingly innate 'art-fag' - romantic nature of mine, that and life in NYC in the early 80's. A whole new world spread its multi-faceted wings before me at the time as I was taught and discovered the wonders that had been produced under the aegis of modernism - so ALIVE much of this work seemed to be! Creators could finally let go of the limits proscribed by an exceedingly narrow historicity. The contemporary post-modern slant towards both creation and criticism has allowed the doors to open even wider - creativity is considered to be an all inclusive endeavor as the works of the past (including those of modernism) are being reassessed ("revisionism"). The present casts another light with which to gauge the past outside of (its) context, but I believe we must remember that this (contemporary or otherwise) assessment is always going to be the product of a given context, and thus not free from bias (my own included). 

I wrote the above as the beginning of an introduction to a hardcopy journal (F E C U N D I T Y) which I published in 1996/1998. Unfortunately that project fell by the wayside after half of the intended print run because the costs turned out to be far beyond my means. My original intention with Cauldron & Net was to continue where F E C U N D I T Y left off, only this time in an electronic format as the cost and distribution are nil. My experience as a 'netizen' over the last year and a half has changed the slant of the intended magazine somewhat, nonetheless the above paragraph is an apt introduction to the inspiration underlying Cauldron & Net.

I believe the title is rather self explanatory -- as I became more and more immersed in the net (it has swallowed me whole at this point!), I saw the forms of creativity to which I had been exposed expand in directions I had not imagined -- and yet: all of these myriad forms and diverse voices reside in one place: the net; akin to a 'web' in which one may be 'caught,' or, more importantly, which one may spin.

The net is a world unto itself, an alt world shall we say. We see this world being polluted with an all-too pervasive commercialism more daily (but is not that an accurate reflection of our culture residing under the overweening shadow of media's constantly haunting capitalist overtones?); be this as it may, the artists represented within this first issue of C& N have chosen to work within this context for, in many cases, the same reason that the powers that be have chosen it: the amazing reach of the medium: beyond borders. This techno-wonder brings the darling of global culture within one's four little walls. 

One factor I find exceedingly interesting about this medium is that 'hard - copy' art, (so to speak) in the west and in the 20th century at least, remains a rather solitary venture if it is not commercially oriented. That is, if a given artist is not in school, the venues of creative communities which invite exchange are rather few. For the most part the artist remains ensconced within his/her studio and rarely does a voice from outside penetrate the confines of their creative solitude. One answer to this is the gallery system, but if one chooses to play (in)to it one's work usually suffers the vagaries of pop-culture, trendiness and fashion. The net has created an arena in which the 'artworld' does not hold the same sway in terms of exposure -- in a year one's work may be experienced by more people from diverse backgrounds than was generally possible in ten years of exposure before, and thus may open a much broader dialog, and is communication not one of the chief things which art is about? 

The net is helping to expand both the views about and the possibilities of art as we begin to embrace the contributory element of technology. Our culture/education reiterates within us a strong division between right and left brain types and consistently underscores the purported chasm between. The net has brought these halves together and often helped those inclined to one particular side explore the other, and to find within it possibilities that expand the elements comprising their own particular lobal inclination. Here we begin to encounter what has been termed a new aesthetic -- one wrought by works whose expressive means may begin by exploring via the language familiar to them, and yet end by traversing new ground they had thought was a closed door to them. 

Not all of the work in this issue was created for/because of the net, or even digitally, but the title and its application remain apt as all of the works represented within C&N are the creations of people whom I met on the net via my various wanderings. This new adventure has led me far and wide, shown and taught me things I would never have thought to look into before (often by the contingency of a search engine and an intriguing title). This project is but one particular tribute to and small example of the astounding scope of this brave new world (to borrow Ted Warnell's recent application of Huxley's phrase).

No doubt it has been noted that I refrain here from speaking of the works included in C&N themselves -- this seeming exception is intentional as I believe any given work should speak for itself. I shall end by saying that this publication seeks to call the readers'/viewers' attention to the fecundity of the WWW as a meeting ground. In my estimation the works herein tell this tale with a supreme eloquence and illustrate the richness of a gathering place which may bring diverse types together and help to illustrate their essential commonality: creation.

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