Rejane Spitz: Netizens, net-fringers and outsiders

  • ©2001, Rejane Spitz

  • ©2001, Rejane Spitz

  • ©2001, Rejane Spitz



    Netizens, net-fringers and outsiders


Creation Year:



    Interactive Installation


    16.5 feet x 23 feet


Artist Statement:

    In recent years, the Internet has often been associated with the notions of progress, improved quality of life, and greater democracy. The media has been increasingly conveying a globalizing image of the Internet, along with a discourse that would lead one to believe in the possibility that – in a short term – it will include many, if not all of us.

    Nonetheless, research shows that – with rare exceptions – only the apex of the social pyramid in each community is connected to the Internet, totaling a paltry 7% of the population of our planet. “Unless we ensure proper capillary penetration and are creative in introducing alternative forms of universal access, we shall be helping perpetuate inequality and violating the essential right to communicate” (Afonso, 1999). While the industrialized countries are seeking ways to bring their citizens into the computer network through investments and political action, the gap seems vast – and in many cases probably unbridgeable – to those on the technologically less-favored side of the Third World.

    This installation shows how people living in dramatically different socio-economic circumstances perceive and understand the Internet, how it affects their lives, and its implications for their future. We interviewed 120 persons in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) – those who live in shanty towns and those who live in exclusive neighborhoods; people from urban and rural areas, those who earn 100 or more minimum wages a month; and others who would be happy to earn just one minimum wage (approximately US$60). We collected declarations regarding the Internet from all these peoples, and we wove a network of identities, creating a rich, interactive patchwork of images, sounds, and ideas. Our aim is to discuss the diversity of existent opinions – how the “haves” and “have-nots” understand the connected society – and the dangers and prospects of the Internet boom.

    Those who visit the installation will be encouraged – in a very dynamic and intriguing way – to give their opinions and to add their images to the project’s data bank, so that they themselves become part of the work too. This is a space where every person counts, and has a chance to speak. No matter who you are. Just the way we hope the Internet itself will be, one day.

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