Abstract- Making a List: Constructing Context for the Online Mailing List

Online mailing lists are one of the main sources and generators of context for Net art, yet are little discussed in terms of their impact on art historical methodology, but rather in terms of their contribution to the politics of online community. This paper, on the other hand, will discuss the emergent field of mailing list interaction as text-based art historical context and documentation; it will enquire in what ways this can be considered a methodological development in the field of art history, and how we might better understand - and possibly promote - such developments. The paper will introduce a range of lists, dominant debates surrounding list interaction, and will begin to describe innovative uses of the arena. However, it will go on to ask: How list interaction might be seen as a form of artistic/art historical endeavour in itself? How such practice might be supported? What skills such emergent practice might introduce? And finally, if we in fact need to think in terms of contextualising the context providers, some of which might also include blogs, resources like Rhizome and Furtherfield, and various platforms and online performance spaces?