The Art Domain
The Internet is constantly changing. Starting next year, the organization responsible for the naming protoc[ol of every website on the internet will introduce new top-level domains—what we find after the last dot in the web address: .com, .org, .net, .uk, and so on. This new naming protocol will sharpen the focus of the internet to make information more legible to communities sharing a common interest. For example, most information pertaining to food will be available in a .food domain, while most information on cars will likely be found in a .car domain, and so forth.

With these changes in mind, e-flux, an artist-run organization based in New York, has applied for the rights to develop and administer the .Art domain, with the hope of maintaining and distributing it in a way that emphasizes the quality, content, and educational values of the community of people who create, study, present, and love art—something e-flux has been able to achieve with its announcement service for over a decade.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has recently announced the list of companies that have applied to open and manage these new top-level domain names. Nearly 2000 applications were submitted before the application process closed, and more than 500 new internet domains will be approved within a year, from .baby to .berlin to .bbc.

Essentially, the new top-level domains will further a dimension of the internet that many of us are already familiar with: just like a typical browsing session, these communities will crisscross radically between personal beliefs and professional commitments, between deep historical knowledge and contemporary experiments, between day-to-day commerce and political life, between consumption and production.

Because of the importance of naming protocols for the most basic functions of the internet, the new top-level domains can be compared to producing a completely new form of online real estate. This means that many companies and venture capital firms have also applied to administer many top-level domain names such as .Art with the hopes of making quick money, yet they lack the ability to maintain the resonance of the domain for the people who give substance and meaning to it.

e-flux is the only applicant from within the art community to apply for the .Art domain, and it is crucial for all of us in the arts that the domain of art on the internet be developed in a knowledgeable, responsible, and accessible way, to emphasize the coherence, dynamism, and diversity of our community. LLC 311 E Broadway NY NY 10002
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