a play-place, on the net, for image-makers, artists, manipulators, collaborators. existed before the web (as an ftp site) and adapted quickly to the new medium.

thousands of works of art by hundreds of artists await, in a twisty maze of pixels. collaborative art is key.

Mumonkan is being modest about this, since he is heavily involved. SITO is super-cool!!! SITO is one of the most amazing sites out there, especially for those interested in art, collaboration, collage, net.art, and the like.

Now located at sito.org, the site used to be called OTIS, which stands for the Operative Term Is Stimulate. As mentioned by Mum, it was originally an ftp site, started by Ed Statsny in 1991 or so. I remember back in 1992 when we were both programmers at the University of Michigan Hospitals, Mumonkan had a mirror of OTIS (the original was at UNC Sunsite, I believe) on his farmous "ftp site without a name" - it was just an ip number, a stealth server running on the hospital's network without their knowledge. It was then that the first collaborative image projects were started by Ed, in which various images were placed online and particpants would download them from the ftp site, alter them with photoshop or other editing programs ( I remember I used to use something called "NIH Image", a primitive image-editing tool from the National Institutes of Health, which was around since I worked at the Radiology Department's Digital Imaging Lab), and then upload them again, naming them according to their OTIS user id code.

Well, things have come a long way since then. The web came along, that art college in england threatened legal action for trademark infringement so they reversed the name, and the site has steadily grown. In 1995 Ed and Mum went to Austria and SITO's Hygrid project won the 2nd place prize at Ars Electronica, the same year that etoy won the first place prize. A while later Ed was invited to do a SITO project on HotWired, at their online RGB Gallery. The site has evolved in sophistication also, recently being overhauled to use a database-driven system which keeps track of user preferences and runs a discussion system.

Hundreds of artists participate in SITO, and real online community has sprung up around them. often physical gatherings occur when a few of them are in the same town together. Usually a giant collage or cartooning party ensues...

Despite these honors and wonders, the core SITO folks are shy and humble, and for the most part they have kept a low-profile in the art world. Being involved in the net.art "community" myself, I often mention SITO to people and many net artists have never heard of it! I am always amazed by this. Even people launching new projects that have to do with collaborative image editing and online collage, fail to be aware of this obvious precedent. This is really a shame. I hope this writeup helps to correct this obscurity.

SITO, I salute you!

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