P2P Art – The aesthetics of ephemerality [2006-]

P2P Art – The aesthetics of ephemerality.”


Art made for – and only available on – the peer to peer networks.
The original artwork is first shared by the artist until one other user has downloaded it.
After that the artwork will be available for as long as other users share it.
The original file and all the material used to create it are deleted by the artist.

”There’s no original”

A project from Swedish artist Anders Weberg started in 2006.

Feel free to don’t or download the films, watch it and share it for as long as you like. Or delete it immediately. The aesthetics of ephemerality.


Duration: 10hours10minues10seconds10frames
released and deleted 2010/10/10.

Released films:

Duration: 9hours9minues9seconds9frames
released and deleted 2009/09/09.
(filmed entirely with a mobile phone)

Duration: 45 minutes
released and deleted 2009/04/21.

Duration: 8hours8minutes8seconds
released and deleted 2008/08/08.

Duration: 60minutes
released and deleted 2008/03/16.

Duration: 45minutes
released and deleted 2007/09/15.

Duration: 73minutes
released and deleted 2006/09/15.


Video Vortex 3 Ankara
The P2P ART Project in group exhibition with Perry Bard, Caterina Davinio, Martijn Hendriks, Keith Deverell and Seth Keen, Dan Oki, Xurban, curated by Andreas Treske at FADA Art Gallery, Ankara, Turkey. October 10-12, 2008.

Internacional Forum Art Tech Media – Cordoba 0.8
Exhibition in the Net Art category. Cordoba, Spain, November 26-28th. 2008.


Conversations on (con)temporary art: an interview with Anders Weberg. Incite: journal of experimental media
& radical aesthetics, March, 2010. Clint Enns. http://incite-online.net/weberg.html
Article in Culture Machine, North America, 1012 01 2009. Hall, G.. Pirate Philosophy (Version 1.0): Open Access, Open Editing, Free Content, Free/Libre/Open Media. (P2P-Art).
Article in Extravaganze no 59 magazine.
Article in Belgian magazine Knack.
Article and Interview in Digicult magazine by Valentina Tanni.
Article >> How P2P Networks Are Transforming The Creative Landscape
Gonzalo de Pedro writes about the P2P Art Project in the Publico newspaper.
Article in Spanish film magazine CAHIERS DU CINEMA.
From Italian New Media Art magazine Neural. Making scarcity a thing of the past Issue 30, 2008, Jonah Brucker-Cohen.
Some notes on the network, (P2p-Art) Australian contemporary art publication Machine issue 2.4 2007, Danni Zuvela.
Flyktighetens estetik, (P2P-Art), Kulturnytt, P1 (Swedish National radio), 2008-08-08, Kim Nordberg.

some press notes:

“Weberg’s work is resolutely anti-collectable (which sets him at odds with increasing numbers of film and video artists) in the literal destruction of the idea of the “precious original”.”

“It’s easy to understand why people are getting excited about this. It appears to be fulfilling long-promised claims about “the real nature of the Net” to “act as a forum for collective memory and imagination practiced by different groups in different configurations in extended real-time”.”
Danni Zuvela

from the article Some notes on the network published in the Australian contemporary art publication Machine issue 2.4 2007

“This is a bold and interesting move on the part of the film-maker, putting trust in the work and the power of those sharing files via peer to peer networks such as BitTorrent.
It is at once a meditation on the ephemeral nature of art, and a blind leap of faith.”
Michael Pick

Article with interview in Digimag issue 35. Valentina Tanni
June 2008.


Being original is a vexata quaestio for all the art critics. Every art studious knows that sooner or lather the question will have to be faced, willy-nilly. And, in the majority of cases, the points on which art studious lean on are predictable: Walter Benjamin, Jean Baudrillard, Rosalind Krauss and so on…

The territory is slippery and even too huge: it is possible to create space-time flight, combine philosophical concepts and market analysis, produce conceptual escalations that points right to the dissolution of the art concept itself. This is the importance of the idea of “originality” for a work (that is sometime also related to “origin” and “originality”). The technological development, who exponentially augmented the “reproducibility” of art, complicates more and more the situation, turning the opposition between “original” and “copy” into an impossible data to manage.

In the époque of contents sharing through the Net, in fact, we always find ourselves in a new condition of resources ubiquity, always disposable in a million of versions indistinguishable one to another: an army of multiples without an original.

These are some of the theoretical cues that inspired the P2P Art project, started by Anders Weberg (1968) in 2006 and still running. The Swedish artist subdue his works to the same mechanisms of distribution and fruition (some would call it piracy) of commercial movies or music shared online through P2P nets nowadays. Videos are uploaded and shared, while original files are deleted forever. Therefore the work starts its new, autonomous life, surfing the Net without any control, in a compressed low-resolution version. And this means it can also extinguish…

Valentina Tanni: How did you come up with the idea of creating video works distributed only on peer-to peer networks?

Anders Weberg: For me this has been a slow process growing on me and is a result of a couple of observations.
I’ve been online since -92 and followed the transformation to where we are today where the boundaries between online/offline is blurred and I’m always curious on how new technologies are used by the public and how that can be transformed into my own work.

Valentina Tanni: In the website you talk about “aesthetics of ephemerality”. Can you explain us this concept a little further?

Anders Weberg: It’s a way to acknowledge the beauty of work that exists only briefly. This has been done many times before in the art world using different media and methods. For me personally I’m always interested in the work process but the finished work is of no value. I just move on to the next thing. So this project is perfect for me.

Valentina Tanni: The project is a clear statement about the changing nature of the work of art in the digital era. Is the concept of “original” really obsolete?

Anders Weberg: I think the “precious” original always will have a place in a lot of people hearts but today most of us treat all kinds of media very ephemeral without that much care about the precious original when everything is available and free online. Is there a value in an exact replica as a digital copy versus the original?

Valentina Tanni: Do you actually destroy the original files once they have been shared and downloaded by someone else?

Anders Weberg: Actually the original is deleted before uploading and sharing the copy. That since the file is a rendered avi file in the same compression (Xvid) most films on the p2p networks is distributed as. After that rendering is done all the original files including raw material, project files and so on are deleted without any delay. So even if I would like a copy of my own that’s all I can download .. a low res digital copy.

Valentina Tanni: Do you mean to be critic about the art market, or is it just a “side effect”?

Anders Weberg: It’s a comment and not any critic.

Valentina Tanni: Tell us a bit about the feedback you’re getting. Are you monitoring the spreading of your files through the networks?

Anders Weberg: Since I uploaded the first work in September 2006 I’ve met a lot of different responses to it. The most amazing event that really explains how small this world really is was then a friend of mines neighbour had some British friends visiting and they where having a few beers in the garden and the neighbour told them about a crazy project with someone making a film and then deleting it .. my friend overheard the conversation and repsponded that – it’s my friend doing that and he is Swedish and lives in this town. There is no way to monitor the spread of the files. The only thing I can see is if the file is alive and still existing or not. To be honest .. this project has failed since all 3 released films are still alive. But there is still no original.

Experimental film, indeed
Article in Uptown Magazine, Winnipeg Canada, March 11, Kier-La Janisse

Anders Weberg’s 090909 gives new meaning to McLuhan’s old adage ‘the medium is the message’

Author and cultural commentator Tom Wolfe had a story in his book The Painted Word about the greatest artist who ever lived; he was too poor to afford paints or brushes, so he dipped his finger in the free water he got from a café, drew his idea on a napkin and then died right there on the spot. Eventually, the water dried up and there was no evidence that the world’s greatest work of art had ever existed.

An experiment in this kind of aesthetic ephemerality is being mounted this weekend with the Winnipeg premiere of Swedish artist Anders Weberg’s 090909. This public screening of Weberg’s stunningly beautiful nine-hour experimental film is not just an exercise in temporal endurance, it’s also employing the last known copy of the film – which will be destroyed immediately after the screening.

090909 is the sixth instalment of Weberg’s ongoing P2P art project, wherein a film is uploaded to a file-sharing network such as Bittorrent, and then the ‘original’ is permanently deleted from Weberg’s hard drive. He retains no physical copies – the film will only survive as long as it is being shared via peer-to-peer networks and runs the risk of being lost forever. Weberg’s hope is that the films will disappear quickly. “On Aug. 8, 2008, I released 080808,” he recalls, “and that film was only shared for four days, and has not resurfaced since then. That, for me, was the first time the art project was successful.”

In light of this, what effect has curator Clint Enns had on Weberg’s concept by “rescuing” the film and screening it in 2010?

“What Clint is screening is a copy, so that has no direct effect on the concept,” Weberg assures. But complicating this concept is the muddy distinction between what constitutes an original and what constitutes a copy. With film, the original would be the negative, which is a tangible artifact you can hold in your hand. But video is, in essence, a storage format, so the concept of an original is more elusive. “That is a huge question and this is discussed everywhere in the digital era,” Weberg concedes. “I think the ‘precious’ original will always have a place in people’s hearts, but today, most of us approach media very ephemerally, because everything is available and free online.”

Curator Enns is quick to recognize the irony inherent in Weberg’s use of the Internet as a platform: “I think it is a wonderful concept,” he says, “creating scarcity using a technology that is intended to make information readily accessible and reproducible.” On one such network there is an offering from Weberg entitled The Torrent is the Artwork. But if the torrent is the artwork, is it sufficient to have the torrent on your hard drive and not even watch the video? If the means of dissemination reduces the work to the discussion and devalues the video itself, perhaps Tom Wolfe was right in asserting the flaw in conceptual art: that the art disappears and we are left only with art theory.

But as Enns rightly points out: “The theory may be just as ephemeral as the art if no one is writing about it.”

Excerpts from the previous releases.



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