Online and offline exhibition spaces are an important mechanism by which online artworks are experienced by and contextualized for audiences. Critical attention needs to be paid to the aesthetics and pragmatics underlying these 'frames' for online art.There is a range of approaches to presentations of online art. Some seek to duplicate either the structure or the look of physical exhibits in galleries and museums. Others mimic online and offline presentational forms such as search engines or magazines. Taking into account the relativity of content and context online, some of the most adventurous exhibition spaces are effectively inseparable from the works they present, and can be considered artworks themselves.While online exhibits initially sought to duplicate the form of the physical exhibition space, today we are beginning to see the reverse. The fluid and flexible aesthetic of the online exhibit is beginning to creep into the design of physical exhibits. One such example, <i><Alt>DigitalMedia</i>, is a physical gallery space of digital art at the American Museum of the Moving Image.The broad debate about whether online works are to be displayed at all in physical spaces does not take into account the inherent variability of software-based art, the sheer diversity of works and genres in existence, and the notion that distinguishing online from offline experience, physical from virtual, is becoming increasingly immaterial. More relevant are discussions around how online work can be implemented in a physical context, and how the artwork itself might have both a physical and virtual embodiment. Such discussions are most productive when each work is taken on its own terms.
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