Sonya Rapoport


What is net art or web art?

In brief:

Net art / web art is the result of the artist's use of the internet in the art making process, by which the work might either become internet specific, i.e. viewed only via the web, or incorporate online interaction as an integral part of an artistic intervention.

Submitted net art projects :

This process serves to illustrate the freedom of the web in being able to post, access and link to
information without any validation and authority check, disregarding the complexities around difference that
always influence our interaction, such as physical appearance (i.e. race, gender, and disability) and cultural
orientation. This does not mean to say that these works are of poor quality, nor that they would not have been
selected otherwise, the contrary in fact. The result is a list of works that illustrates the diversity and strength of an
artistic presence on the web.



First of all I would like to speak on the author, Sonya Rapoport , who lives in Berkeley, California where she received an M.A. degree from the University of California. She obtained her B.A. degree from New York University. In 1976, after an extensive career in painting and drawing, she became a multimedia artist. The focus of her work remains cross-cultural and interdisciplinary.

In 1988 Rapoport received a grant from the California Art Council to produce on-line the interactive artwork, DIGITAL MUDRA. Since then, her continued presence on the Internet has been visible as an early ARTSWIRE resident artist and a producer of Web artworks.
 Her work has been included in traveling exhibitions sponsored by the United States Information Service and the National Endowment for the Arts. Exhibition venues have been Sao Paulo, Brazil; Ars Electronica, Austria; DOCUMENTA, Kassel, Germany; and the Kuopio Museum, Finland; and recently, International Symposia on Electronic Art; and New York DIGITAL SALONS. Sonya Rapoport serves on the Board of Directors for LEONARDO /ISAST.Previous to being a multi-media artist,

Sonya Rapoport had an extensive art career as a  painter. She started producing computer assisted art works in the mid-70's when she became involved in art/science collaborations at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and the Anthropology Department, University of California at Berkeley.

Rapoport's botanical research on the pandanus tree at the University of California at Berkeley, and on the olive tree at the University of Cordoba, Spain have been sources for recent inter-disciplinary web art projects. She is currently working on a piece about the Tree of Life, the symbol for Kabbalah mysticism. These works relate to science, gender, religion and cross-cultures.

Trained in the Hans Hoffman push-pull tradition at the University of California at Berkeley, Rapoport previously had been rooted in contemporary visual arts and was associated with the original John Bolles Art Gallery in San Francisco in the early 1960s. Her exhibition record in the fine arts milieu includes one-person museum exhibits at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, the San Jose Museum of Art and the Crocker Art Museum of California.

Articles about Rapoport's new genre art have appeared in Arts, Kunstforum, Leonardo, Vision, Heresies, High Performance, ArtCom and Microtimes magazines.



published by LanMinds at


Sonya Rapoport describes her interactive web artwork Make me a jewish man : AN ALTERNATIVE MASCULINITY as "an articulation of the paradox of the concept of rabbinic masculinity, an usurping of the feminine and coupling it with male domination and the marginalization/exclusion of women..."
The work, which utilizes an innovative sideways scrolling format, intertwines the development of the boy into ideal manhood with the growth and cultivation of the olive tree "the horticultural hermaphroditic counterpart, from which oil, the light of Jewish Law, is processed; and the tree for which the Lord named Israel."


The hypertext "Make me a jewish man" by Sonya Rapoport deals with an alternative masculinity in which the morphology of the olive tree is interwoven with the Talmudic concept of the Ideal Man. The hypertext comes presented in a parchment  that is developed towards the right, to be able to read and to see the images chapter by chapter of the nine chapters of  which it is made up. This also it contains a section with all the images of the hypertext.The cover of the hypertext is very original in the measurement that comes presented in a boat of stuffed olives in which words BLOOD and OIL appear highlighted.

The hypertext is made up of 9 chapters that we can be reading whith linearly, so that we are knowing the Ancient Israel society with its ideas of what is an Ideal Man interwoven with the process that undergoes the fruit of the olive tree until becoming oil.

I have including the own words of the author in where she tells us what she has had to fight against the discrimination of the woman until getting to be what she is now. I have also added a interview by Anna Couey in which Sonya is talking about his first interactive work; "Objects on my dresser".