ARTEX

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Inspired and supported by Robert Adrian X, in 1980 the Vienna office of I. P. Sharp developed a simple «intercontinental, interactive, electronic art-exchange program designed for artists and anybody else interested in alternative possibilities of using new technologies.» ARTEX (Artist’s Electronic Exchange Network), as the software was called, was «deliberately kept simple so that even inexperienced and non-specialized participants could work with it and costs were minimized.» The electronic mailbox network ARTEX existed from 1980 to 1991, and was used by some thirty-five artists worldwide. In that period, the Internet itself (as well as, respectively, the Arpanet and the Usenet) was still almost exclusively the preserve of academics. Local BBS mailbox systems into which users could dial at local call rates first began to proliferate in the early 1980s. The ARTEX network therefore amounted to a veritable revolution, and international telecommunications events organized in the course of the 1980s by «ARTEX Community» members seemed to foreshadow developments in the next decade.