The Making of Rhizome's Net Art Anthology: Constant Dullaart's "The Revolving Internet"

A work détourns the web's organizing frame

By Rhizome

Screenshot of Rhizome's Net Art Anthology, Rhizome, From the collection of: Rhizome
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In 2016, Rhizome launched Net Art Anthology, a major online exhibition exploring the diversity of practices called "net art" through the research, restoration, and exhibition of 100 important works. On January 22, an exhibition of seventeen works from the Anthology premiered at the New Museum in NYC. This Google Arts & Culture exhibit is one of five discussing preservation challenges in bringing the Anthology to life and making net art accessible for years to come.

Screenshot of "The Revolving Internet" by Constant Dullaart, Constant Dullaart, Rhizome, 2010, From the collection of: Rhizome
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"The Revolving Internet" is one in a series of browser-based works by Dutch artist Constant Dullaart that animated the iconic Google search page, drawing attention to the infrastructure that framed most users’ experience of the internet. By adding animation to the Google interface but retaining its functionality—originally, users could even check their Gmail through the work—Dullaart’s formalist experiments cheekily questioned the platform’s growing power.

Screenshot of "The Revolving Internet" by Constant Dullaart, Constant Dullaart, Rhizome, 2010, From the collection of: Rhizome
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A steadily rotating version of the Google home page, "The Revolving Internet" is soundtracked by Dusty Springfield’s cover of “Windmills of your Mind,” heightening the absurdity of the experience. Through this deceptively simple intervention, Dullaart reached a broad public while prompting users to consider their growing reliance on platforms.

Screenshot of "The Revolving Internet" by Constant Dullaart, Constant Dullaart, Rhizome, 2010, From the collection of: Rhizome
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"I was trying to see if I could use code to spin the entire page around. In video art that was kind of the ultimate thing to do–to have like this 360-degree turn of the camera. I felt like that would be this ultimate thing. I could make this vision of this new world turn again." - Dullaart on revolving the net

Screenshot of "The Revolving Internet" by Constant Dullaart, Constant Dullaart, Rhizome, 2010, From the collection of: Rhizome
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With its heightened accessibility, net art often travels in unusual ways. "The Revolving Internet" reached a significant general web audience. Even today, 1.5 million visit the work each year (more than most museums see in that same time-frame.) The image above, for example, was shared by a user unfamiliar with Dullaart on the social media service Reddit to much conversation. Perhaps Google noticed the work, too—not long after the site’s launch, it introduced its “do a barrel roll” feature: if a user entered “do a barrel roll” into the Google search bar, the page would rotate a single time.

Screenshot of "The Revolving Internet" by Constant Dullaart, Constant Dullaart, Rhizome, 2010, From the collection of: Rhizome
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Not every work in Net Art Anthology needs the same type of rigorous preservation work, as certain technical standards can live on for many years. "The Revolving Internet" is still functional today, and is presented for the Anthology on the live web. That said, the work does require upkeep from the artist. Shortly after its popular reception, for example, Google removed the capability of embedding the search engine’s front page into other websites,, rendering Dullaart’s project temporarily nonfunctional–until a workaround was devised.

Screen capture of The Revolving Internet w/ narration, From the collection of: Rhizome
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Aria Dean, Rhizome's Assistant Curator of Net Art, discusses "The Revolving Internet" in this short video.

Credits: Story

Curated by Rhizome’s Artistic Director Michael Connor with Assistant Curator Aria Dean, Net Art Anthology retells the history of net art through 100 works that define the field.

Rhizome's preservation program is directed by Dragan Espenschied, with Lyndsey Moulds, software curator.

Major support for Net Art Anthology is provided by the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation.

Rhizome's digital preservation is supported, in part, by Google and Google Arts & Culture.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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