Cloaque – Publication Review

By Maddy Plimmer

The seemingly never-ending scrolling that is Cloaque steps away from traditional blog format, and towards exhibition. Several works commissioned or found by Cloaque from various artists, blend into one constantly growing and extending work. The content of the works largely draws from Internet culture and net art, with pop-up messages, ringing cellphones and pornographic imagery. Big names in the ‘post internet’ movement, such as Tom Hancocks, Kim Laughton and Jennifer Mehigan, have made works for the website, but the same artist never contributes more than one work. Sometimes the blogs editor posts found works, stating in the about section “many of the images that make up the collage are not owned by Cloaque. If any images of you or any images that you own are included in the composition, and you are not happy with this, please contact us regarding their immediate removal.” The focus is on the aesthetics of blog overall, and the kinds of works they want to show, not on the artists. If the blogs curator finds something in the big wide web that would work on the blog, but the artist cannot be found, the work will still be posted.

The line between publication and exhibition is blurred, as at its core Cloaque is a blog, and so at first could be interpreted as a publication of Post Internet art works. However, this blog could also be seen as an exhibition space, which displays one constantly changing collaborative artwork between those involved in the Post Internet art movement. The format of the blog allows for this constant adaptation, and each post almost acts as another ‘issue’ in a similar way to a magazine. However the way every post sits in the same space, making up a part of the whole, operates similarly to a public artwork. It is accessible by the public for the foreseeable future, and once a work is posted, it remains there unchanging, just added upon. Cloaque describes itself as “like a digital landfill. It is the result of the collection, treatment and joining together of a series of images found online, to create a column of digital compost.” It plays on the very nature of the Internet, messy collection of the largest variety of information. Impossible to find what you’re looking for without the help of a search engine. Seemingly endless.