The Death of the Artist

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At the end of his essay “The Death of the Author”, Roland Barthes proclaims that “the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.” When thought of in the context of the internet, the death of the author or artist must be at the cost of the prolific life of the user. On the internet more than in any other medium the reader is completely in control. On the internet, the reader is free to write his own literature by navigating one website after another. There are no authors on the internet, only fellow users. The reader can easily step into the role of the writer or the artist by posting a video on youtube or making a blog on tumblr. The usernames on websites are not only usually fake they are also irrelevant. On the internet, websites have names and authors are anonymous. All that matters is the content.

As a user of the internet, I have created the following website https://sites.google.com/a/brown.edu/the-artist-is-dead/. Renowned artists, from Michelangelo to Dalí, have painted Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. For my NetArt project, I chose to create a gif. of Jesus's crucifixion to represent the death of the artist. “Jesus died for our sins” and now the artist has died for the sins of the internet.  

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