The Plural Sculpture
New York, USA 1995
World Wide Web
In this first internet work a question was placed on the site for six weeks. In their answers, people were expected to express their aspirations about social/political/spiritual change, utopia, hope; and about art as a possible medium for this. Over 230 replies were collected on the America online system (Ada Web). On completion of the work contributors received a full set of responses in the form of a publication edited by The Public Art Fund, NY. All responses were presented at the New York Kunsthalle in September 1995.

If art had the power to change our time, it would become an instrument of power. Power corrupts. Art can reflect on our time, criticize it. Art can create links between different people and different fields. No more, no less.

That art would awaken people to truth through science and technology rather than lies through mythology and religion.

More time.

A glass of milk and some cookies.

Fixer le plus justement la réalité de son temps et d'accorder à la nature des choses ce qui lui est dû. Pour mieux apréhender ce qui vient et faire suite à ce qui précède, sans chercher vainement à se distinguer de l'histoire. 
Et le plus important je crois: être utile.


In collaboration with students of the Visual Arts Division of Purchase College, SUNY, New York.
The Internet project was supported by the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York, The Public Art Fund, New York, The New York Kunsthalle and Etant Donne Paris/NY and Artforum, New York.


The concept of co-authorship requires a redefinition of “sculpture". In Gerz’s work, “sculpture" is no longer the three-dimensional shaping of materials and spaces by an artist; it is no longer expressed through material formation. Rather, any materials that are used function as catalysts to initiate experiences; they are mere outlines on which the actual “sculpture" crystallizes. The sculpture itself remains immaterial, or – to use a fashionable term – virtual. In Gerz’s Internet piece, Plural Sculpture (1995), this evolution becomes clear: On the Internet, Gerz asks, “If art had the power to change your time, what would you ask for?" The responses are collected without comment, published on the Net, and constitute the sculpture. One comment accompanying the question published on the Website explains that the sculpture is to be found in the communicative process and in the evocation of imaginary images: “The net survey becomes the sculpture because it produces imaginary images which could not otherwise be created, The question initiates a communicative process. Anyone who participates becomes the author, co-author of the sculpture."

Markus Landert, in Miami Islet: Approaches to the Island in Jochen Gerz / Miami Islet, Niggli Verlag AG, Sulgen l Zurich, 2000, p.21 and 23.