MTAA's Website Unseen #89: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
(Notes on Digital Art)

After a year of work, the Website Unseen project is now complete. The piece you are reading now, Website Unseen #89, is the last website constructed from the original commission opportunity.

If you are not familiar with the original premise, it seemed simple:

Website Unseen is a collection of one hundred titles for art websites that MTAA offered to build for 100.00 USD per website. The titles contain no information or guide as to how the final work might look. The work, in the end, was a blind leap of faith on the part of the collector as well as for MTAA.

MTAA built 15 Website Unseen Titles based on this original opportunity. This last commissioned work completes the over-arching theme of the project by pointing back to the original containing concept. This concept holds that although each commissioned project is a unique work, they are also sub-projects of the original opportunity:

"One hundred titles for art websites that MTAA will build for $US 100.00 per web site."

This simple sentence was the script to an over yearlong performance. This one hundred USD economic transaction should be seen as a collaborative gesture on the part of the MTAA patrons that initiated each movement of the performance. The patrons may be seen as the actors in the performance of the Website Unseen project.

The patrons (in order of appearance):

  • MTAA (as the artists as well as the first collectors of Website Unseen # 99)
  • Allen Bukoff
  • Jennifer Crowe
  • Carol Stakenas
  • Patrick Lichty
  • Patricia Harris
  • Sarah Cooke (on behalf of the Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland, UK)
  • Mark Tribe
  • Stacy Pershall
  • Yael Kanarek
  • Owen Smith
  • Reinhold Grether
  • Cristine Wang
  • After a commission was completed, the computer files which made up the website / movement were burned onto CD-ROM, signed by MTAA and mailed to the collector. Each website / movement is now stowed away in each patron's private collection. MTAA assert that these files on CD-ROM are:

    "...the only authentic copy of the artwork to exist in all the world. Other copies of the artwork may exist, but the artwork contained herein should be considered a unique and singular artwork for all economic, legal, and/or aesthetic purposes."
       -from the Website Unseen Certificate of Authenticity

    Although MTAA claim that there is only one authentic copy of each artwork, exact duplicates of the artworks may be found at If you are not viewing this artwork / website / movement from the original CD-ROM, then you are viewing an exact duplicate of this artwork and it has no REAL value.

    It is with this in mind that MTAA present Website Unseen #89. This artwork is comprised of exact duplicates of all the other Website Unseen commissions completed under the original opportunity.

    The titles are:

    #99. Save Free TV
    #98. A Comparative Study of Apples & Oranges
    #64. Mind Control by Flashing Lights: An Internet Survey
    #20. In Ohio, In The Fall, You Were Young
    #25. Ten Digital Ready-Mades
    #44. Home Page for the Haphazard (AKA oopsdotcom)
    #68. Hardware, Software, Just-Rightware
    #17. Captain Kirk's Chair: An Instructional Installation
    #100. The Light That Falls Across the Ceiling of the Room that Shows Us The End Of The Day As Night is Slowly Making Its Way Into Our Sight (AKA It's Now Safe To Turn Off Your Computer)
    #66. Pixel Bitch
    #38. Close Your Eyes, Make a Wish, Hit Delete
    #53. Java My Ass
    #04. Twenty-Five Concrete Examples of Why John Cage Is Not My Father
    #11. Auction Stand for Personal Hate
    #89. Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained (Notes on Digital Art)

    Once again, MTAA assert that these duplicates have no REAL value. Though they are exact copies, MTAA assert that the artist-in-the-age-of-digital-reproduction retains the right to decide when a digital artwork may be understood as having value. MTAA assert that only the author of the digital work may claim this right.

    m.river & t.whid art associates (MTAA) 2001