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Media, Popular Culture, and Communication Rights Research Guide: Arts in Cyberspace

Research strategies and resources on media, popular culture, journalism, copyright, digital society, and related topics.

The Arts in Cyberspace

What's Here

This page provides some examples of online culture, resources for creating it, and some ways to find other examples.

The digital world has not only offered new venues for the sort of cultural activity that existed before the Internet, it has also spawned new creative genres, and some of the work is quite interesting.  Initially the work was in the form of websites using hypertext, which tended to be more or less literary (some examples below).  More recently the focus seems to have shifted to 3-D environments.

A note on cyberculture

Just as the word "culture" has several different meanings, so too does "cyberculture."  Sometimes it refers to artistic and creative activity; more often it means the social use of computer networks.  The idea tended to be associated with computer hacking.  It must be said, however, that interest in "cyberculture" -- at least as terminology -- seems to have peaked around 1999 and virtually ceased by 2005 or so.  (See, for example, the dates of the citations in the Wikipedia article on cyberculture.)  The film The Matrix (1999) and its sequels (2003) might serve as the pinnacle of cyberculture, and 2003 also brought the massive expansion of social media with the beginning of Facebook and MySpace.  The same period saw the introduction of virtual worlds such as Second Life (2003) and World of Warcraft (2004).  All of these developments opened computer environments to people without specialized technical knowledge.  So some of the items below have primarily historical interest, others concern currently active developments.

Selected Subject Headings and Keywords for Searching Orbis

Selected Online Cultural Projects, E-zines, and Related Web Sites

Broken Saints

"An online graphic novel that uses Macromedia's Flash to tell a creepy and thought-provoking story." Related in style to sophisticated graphic novels, Broken Saints has won many awards. Best viewed with a high-speed Internet connection.


A set of multimedia artworks and Web essays by Giselle Beiguelman, including The Book after the Book, and wopart. In English and Portuguese.

Disappearing Rain

This site is a large work of hypertext fiction. Synopsis: "The only trace left of Anna, a freshman at the University of Berkeley California, is an open internet connection in her neatly furnished dorm room. Join the four generations of a Japanese-American family as they search for Anna and discover credit card conspiracies, ancient family truths, waterfalls that pour out of televisions, and the terrifying power of the internet."

Electronic Literature Organization

ELO facilitates and promotes the writing, publishing, and reading of literature composed specifically for electronic media, including new forms of literature which utilize the capabilities of emerging technologies. The site includes a directory to examples of electronic literature in all genres, plus information on symposia, events, awards, and tools.

Lexia to Perplexia

A philosophical manifesto ... of sorts. From the description: "Lexia to Perplexia began as an observation of the fluctuating and ever-evolving protocols and prefixes of internet technology as applied to literary hypermedia.... [T]he final work is more fictive than critical, and more an example than a critique.... The User/Reader of this piece encounters a number of screens that appear simple upon access. As the User/Reader interacts with the presented objects -- images, textual fragments, various UI permutations -- the screens are made more."

Machinima Bibliographies:  2011 update

Machinima Channel (YouTube)


A resource for machinimatographers; includes a YouTube channel.

Second Life

The 3-D virtual world Second Life emphasizes user-created content. Consequently, among other things Second Life hosts a vibrant arts community. There are live singers, dance performances, buildings, sculptures, paintings and photographs similar to what exists in the real world; but there are also visual and sculptural works, performances, and environments that aren't possible in real life. Many videos ("machinima," machine cinema) are set in these virtual environments. There is also a large database of Art Galleries of Second Life.


World of Warcraft machinima.



Librarian for Literature in English, Comparative Literature, and Linguistics

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Todd Gilman
Sterling Memorial Library

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PO Box 208240

New Haven, CT 06520-8240

(203)-432-1761 (office phone)