Mass Effect

From Critical Anthologies in Art and Culture

Mass Effect

Art and the Internet in the Twenty-First Century

Edited by Lauren Cornell and Ed Halter

Essays, discussions, and image portfolios map the evolution of art forms engaged with the Internet.





Essays, discussions, and image portfolios map the evolution of art forms engaged with the Internet.

Since the turn of the millennium, the Internet has evolved from what was merely a new medium to a true mass medium—with a deeper and wider cultural reach, greater opportunities for distribution and collaboration, and more complex corporate and political realities. Mapping a loosely chronological series of formative arguments, developments, and happenings, Mass Effect provides an essential guide to understanding the dynamic and ongoing relationship between art and new technologies.

Mass Effect brings together nearly forty contributions, including newly commissioned essays and reprints, image portfolios, and transcribed discussion panels and lectures that offer insights and reflections from a wide range of artists, curators, art historians, and bloggers. Among the topics examined are the use of commercial platforms for art practice, what art means in an age of increasing surveillance, and questions surrounding such recent concepts as “postinternet.” Other contributions analyze and document particular works by the artists of And/Or Gallery, Cory Arcangel, DIS, Cao Fei, the Radical Software Group, and others.

Mass Effect relaunches a publication series initiated by the MIT Press and the New Museum in 1984, which produced six defining volumes for the field of contemporary art. These new volumes will build on this historic partnership and reinvigorate the conversation around contemporary culture once again.

Copublished with the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York

Important Notice: The digital edition of this book is missing some of the images found in the physical edition.

ContributorsCory Arcangel, Karen Archey, Michael Bell-Smith, Claire Bishop, Dora Budor, Johanna Burton, Paul Chan, Ian Cheng, Michael Connor, Lauren Cornell, Petra Cortright, Jesse Darling, Anne de Vries, DIS, Aleksandra Domanović, Harm van den Dorpel, Dragan Espenschied, Rózsa Zita Farkas, Azin Feizabadi, Alexander R. Galloway, Boris Groys, Ed Halter, Alice Ming Wai Jim, Jogging, Caitlin Jones, David Joselit, Dina Kafafi, John Kelsey, Alex Kitnick, Tina Kukielski, Oliver Laric, Mark Leckey, David Levine, Olia Lialina, Guthrie Lonergan, Jordan Lord, Jens Maier-Rothe, Shawn Maximo, Jennifer McCoy, Kevin McCoy, Gene McHugh, Tom Moody, Ceci Moss, Katja Novitskova, Marisa Olson, Trevor Paglen, Seth Price, Alexander Provan, Morgan Quaintance, Domenico Quaranta, Raqs Media Collective, Alix Rule, Timur Si-Qin, Josephine Berry Slater, Paul Slocum, Rebecca Solnit, Wolfgang Staehle, Hito Steyerl, Martine Syms, Ben Vickers, Michael Wang, Tim Whidden, Anicka Yi, and Damon Zucconi


$49.95 T ISBN: 9780262029261 528 pp. | 6.75 in x 9.5 in 32 color illus., 99 b&w illus.


Lauren Cornell

Lauren Cornell is a Curator at the New Museum. Previously, she served as Executive Director of Rhizome, worked on the Andy Warhol Project at the Whitney Museum, and directed Ocularis, a microcinema in Brooklyn.

Ed Halter

Ed Halter is a founder and director of Light Industry, a venue for film and electronic art in Brooklyn, and teaches in the Film and Electronic Arts Department at Bard College. He has curated screenings and exhibitions at such venues as MoMA P.S.1, the Tate Modern, and the 2012 Whitney Biennial.


  • An indispensable volume for understanding the massive shift in information technologies in our time—from social media to surveillance, big data to biometrics, swiping to hacking—and the ways in which the vast expansion of the internet has both shaped and been shaped by culture. Artists are revealed to be not mere users but active reprogrammers of a network more global and more tentacular in its reach than ever before.

    Michelle Kuo

    Editor in Chief, Artforum International

  • The return of the New Museum's storied and influential series of critical readers is a cause for celebration, and this is the perfect volume to initiate it. Timely, provocative, and oh-so-smart, Cornell and Halter's anthology helps us analyze and historicize a moment of artistic production even before it has become history. This is a book people will be turning to for a very long time.

    Branden W. Joseph

    Frank Gallipoli Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art, Columbia University

  • The best of internet art is less about digital objects than the digital environment itself—less about colored pixels than calling our attention to the screens and interfaces through which we are perceiving and conducting our lives. Here is the first annotated collection on internet art that brings clarity to this work—suitable for students, practitioners, and the rest of us. Finally, this field gets the collection it deserves.

    Douglas Rushkoff

    author of Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now and Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age