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Consider the Internet as one global machine.

In his talk The Next 5000 Days of the Web Kevin Kelly presents a spec sheet for this machine (circa 2008):

55 trilion links, 1 billion PC chips, 8 terabytes per second of traffic, 255 exabytes of storage

In comparison, the human brain has an estimated 86 billion neurons and about 100 trillion synapses (the number of stars in 1,500 galaxies)

“To a first approximation,” says Kelly “the size of this machine is the size in complexity of your brain… however your brain isn’t doubling every two years. If we say that this machine (the Internet) is one human brain, by the year 2040 this machine will exceed humanity in processing power" 

A tiny tome by artist Robert Chaplin tells the story of Teeny Ted From Turnip Town microengraved on a tablet measuring 70 micrometers.

dust mites could read>

A Birdseye view of Geocities by Despens

Were it not for ArchiveTeam, a band of rogue archivists led by Jason Scott, the web’s first major metropolis would have sunk into the abyss “like the fabled Atlantis” (hat-tip @chaykak). 

A team of internet paleontologists have descended upon the ruins of geocities and found a trove of cultural artifacts, documented on their blog One Terabyte of the Kilobyte Age.

Net artist and curator, Olia Lialina, reflects on the excavation: 

The Geocities archive provides us with the experience of getting old. Coming into contact with the aged pages is an important lesson that defies the impression that on the net, everything always happens in the present.

Ruins and Templates of Geocities

For $9.99, anyone can download the app and take advantage of digitised images of nearly 350 brain slices taken from the collection bequeathed to the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, Maryland by the Harvey family estate in 2010. The National Museum of Health and Medicine in Chicago digitized the slides for the app.

Liat Clark,

All traces of Jonah Lehrer’s e-book, *Imagine*, recently vanished from the shelves of online bookstores, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The gesture of expunging tarnished content has incited a debate; is it possible to burn an e-book?  Maria Konnikova of the Atlantic reflects on questions of censorship in online retail and the nature of books:

An e-book is not a physical book. That point might seem trite until you stop for a moment to think how much simpler it is, in a certain sense, to destroy electronic than physical traces.

Readers on the Daily Beast respond:

But the opposite is equally true.  That is, it is much harder to destroy electronic than physical traces. As anyone who has lost control of an image of themselves online can attest, electronic artifacts can be copied anywhere and everywhere at the speed of light, and be stored anywhere and everywhere.  They are extremely difficult to wipe out.

In 2011, artist Paul Chan published  Wht is a Book? an eBook examining the ontology, and mortality, of books: 

What is reading? How does reading turn into knowing? How does knowing become doing? Does it matter if knowing only knows? What is a book? Is reading a book different from reading a menu, or an affidavit, or a painting? Why are books associated with bodies? When books are burned, why is it natural to assume that people are next? Does it have to do with Eros? How do you burn an eBook?

As part of  Rock The Block next week I’ll do a SPEED SHOW about Graffiti Markup Language and all its versions and spinoffs.

Rock The Block –

On Tuesday the 2nd and Wednesday the 3rd of October 2012, the event ,“Rock The Block”, in the lively center of Kreuzberg, will change the colorful block of houses between Adalbertstr., Skaltizerstr., Mariannenstr., & Oranienstrasse into an impressive experience.

In cooperation with Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, dozens of Berlin artists will provide art venues, performances, workshops and parties, in and outside. The block will be opened to the public in cooperation with the residents and will come alive as a creative organism. An entire cosmos between four streets can be open for strolling. The event will be directed towards a wide audience. Within the framework of different workshops, children and the youth together can redesign billboards on the block. Whoever left too quickly or missed something in the turmoil of the night has two days to play in the cards. Performances and workshops will also keep the block in movement on the 3rd of October. As early as 12 o’clock, there will be the possibility to look at the complete works of art on the block.

Ein Projekt von A project of Backjumps
in Zusammenarbeit mit dem in cooperation with
Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien
Kuratiert von curated by
Adrian Nabi

KünstlerInnen Artists:
1UP, AKV Berlin, Amigo, Amok, Anna Szaflarski, Arunski & Poet, Aram Bartholl, Beatbox Battle Allstars, Brad Downey, Bronco, Chess Boxing Club Berlin e.V., Chris Sugrue, Christian Marien, Constanze Haas, D TAGNO, Daniel Wang, Dave the Chimp, Dejoe, Deko, Der tote General, Egoshooter, Emess, Evan Roth, Flavie Guerrand, Florian Goldmann, Frieder Klaris, Giò Di Sera, Gogoplata, Golan Levin, Graffitimuseum Berlin, Graffiti Research Lab Berlin, Inka, Jamie Wilkinson, Jazoo Yang, Jérome Fino, Jim Dunloop, Kanta Kimura, DJ Kaos, KATSU, Marc Hype, Marius Schmidt, Markus Butkereit, Matthias Wermke & Mischa Leinkauf, Max Stocklosa, Lena Brumby, Marc FM, M.Thorn, Migel, Mode2, Nomad, P-Rzm, Partick Fabian Panetta, Pauline Izumi Colin, Peter Reiling, Phos4, Pierre Etienne Morelle, Pigenius Cave, Pipslab, Quentin, Ritsche Koch, Rok, Rollers inc., Runex, Sebastian Haslauer, Superblast, The Wa, Theo Watson, Thomas Janitzky, Toshihiko Mitsuya, Various & Gould, Velo Tramp, Ven, Zast, Zigan Aldi

“Almost 30 per cent of recorded history, shared over social media such as Twitter, has disappeared, according to a new study of the Egyptian uprising and other significant events… 11 per cent of the social media content had disappeared within a year and 27 per cent within 2 years. Beyond that, the world loses 0.02 per cent of its culturally significant social media material every day” technology review via @auremoser

Hitachi just unveiled a new technology to store binary information as a pattern of dots inside a thin sheet of quartz glass. With a microscope and a computer, they say the data would be retrievable after millions of years. Could this be the silver bullet for long term data storage?

Selected CD-ROM art of the 90’s on DVD

September 22 – October 27, 2012
at DVD Dead Drop, Museum of Moving Image NYC

curated by Aram Bartholl & Robert Sakrowski (

The second DVD Dead Drop volume INSERT DISC, features several classic art CD-ROMs from the mid-90s on DVD. While the web was still in its infancy, artists from a wide range of fields explored the possibilities of interactivity and multimedia on CD-ROMs, fancy new silver discs that held an unbelievable 650 megabytes of data. Today most of these pre-web multimedia works are no longer accessible because they require legacy operating systems and software to run. INSERT DISC offers the full experience of a cutting edge, mid-90s operating system packed with stunning multimedia art. Each DVD comes with a safe-to-install virtualized Ubuntu Linux operating system running an emulated Mac OS 7.6. In addition to the historic CD-ROM art, special features include historic browsers, link lists, and more, guaranteeing a true 1995 computer experience!


Anti Rom
SASS Collective: Andy Allenson, Joel Baumann, Andy Cameron, Rob LeQuesne, Luke Pendrell, Sophie Pendrell, Andy Polaine, Anthony Rogers, Nik Roope, Tom Roope, Joe Stephenson, Jason Tame
CD-Rom, 1995

Eric Lanz, CD-Rom 1994

Cyberflesh Girlmonster
Linda Dement, CD-Rom 1995

User Unfriendly Interface
Josephine Starrs & Leon Cmielewski, first shown 1994, CD-Rom 1996


Extra 90’s specials:
Browser collection, ‘Einblicke ins Internet’ offline Internet CD-Rom, Bookmark easter eggs & more

Andreas Broeckmann, Sandra Fauconnier, nbk Berlin, ZKM Karlsruhe, Transmediale archive


Anti Rom
1995, CD-Rom,
SASS Collective: Andy Allenson, Joel Baumann, Andy Cameron, Rob LeQuesne, Luke Pendrell, Sophie Pendrell, Andy Polaine, Anthony Rogers, Nik Roope, Tom Roope, Joe Stephenson, Jason Tame
self-published and funded by the Arts Council of Great Britain.

“Offering a highly interactive interface to the collected sounds and images, this work is an exploration of the limits of what the CD-ROM medium can actually handle. Andy Cameron: “Antirom offers a radical critique of the poverty of contemporary multimedia in a number of savagely ironic, absurdist and incisive satires. Antirom is specifically against the ill conceived grafting of point-and-click functions onto traditional linear forms. Antirom is for the development of a new language of representation, and new modes of spectatorship, within the new apparatus of interactivity.”


Eric Lanz, 1994,
CD-Rom, Macromedia Director Apple QuickTime
Production: ZKM | Institute for Visual Media, 1994.

“A text, displayed in a linear way but made out of visual characters of tools, is activated by a mouse-click on an icon and plays back a four second video sequence with the actual use of the tool. The title refers to the iconography of each letter as well as to the origin of language in so far as it is related to manufactured objects, i.e. here a page ‹written› by hand and set in motion by the user's hand.”
Rudolf Frieling -


Cyberflesh Girlmonster
Linda Dement, CD-Rom 1995,
Australian Network for Art and Technology, Australian Film Commission

“Donated body parts collected during Artists' Week of the Adelaide Festival 1994 have been used to construct a computer based interactive work. About 30 women participated in the original event by scanning their chosen flesh and digitally recording a sentence or sound. Conglomerate bodies were created from the information donated. These have been animated and made interactive. When a viewer clicks on one of these monsters, the words attached to that body part could be heard or seen, another monster may appear, a digital video could play, a story or medical information about the physical state described by the story, may be displayed. The user moves relatively blindly between these. There is no menu system or clear controllable interface. The work is a macabre, comic representation of monstrous femininity from a feminist perspective that encompasses revenge, desire and violence.[...]”


User Unfriendly Interface
Josephine Starrs & Leon Cmielewski, first exhibited 1994, CD-Rom published 1996.
Produced with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission

User Unfriendly Interface, CD ROM/Installation on themes of conspiracy theories, male vs female concept of space, dating services, mens issues & personality testing. 1997 Video Positive, Liverpool, UK “Since 1994 we have collaborated on a variety of new media arts projects that incorporate interactivity and play as strategies for engaging with the social and political contradictions inherent in contemporary society. Audience engagement is a vital element in our interactive artworks. We sometimes think of our work as performance art, were the artist is not physically present; the actions of the performer are programmed into the work, with the viewers’ response completing the piece. We have closely observed how viewers interact with our work, and have drawn on these observations in the creation of each subsequent piece. [...]”



I just came back from the 3rd Mediations Biennial in Poznan Poland, a truly international affair selected by 4 different curators and including 150 artists from all over the world.

WELL it was quite an ordeal installing my collaboration with video installation artist Adriana Varella Unlanguage but in the end we did it, and it looks fantastic. (picture coming soon…) We exhibited in the Zamek – a sort of pretend castle built just 100 years ago and home to Hitler’s cabinet during WWII – an artist actually made a site-specific piece for Hitler’s office that involved freezing a giant sheet of water and ash but appropriately the power went out and the ice melted and ended up destroying the room. A fitting fairwell to Hitler’s office I think although the Biennale staff were not so happy about it! More about the surprisingly interesting zamek on wikipedia.

The piece is something I am thinking of as a kind of finale to the body of work I have been experimenting with the past 9(!) years addressing language in various forms. The works in the series begin with Netlingua, my Bennington undergraduate thesis project and continue to Listening Post, Totem, Jaaga Dhvani and finally Unlanguage.

The piece is interactive. Two computer terminals encourage gallery-goers to enter the first word that comes to their mind. When a new word is entered a poem is generated using these two inputs as seeds. The poem grows and branches showing the permutations and possibilities native to the Bayesian model underpinning the program. Each time a new poem is formed the previous poem begins to mutate and eventually self-destruct and fade away.

Here is a video that gives a sense of what this looks like:

I’m sure that I will continue to work with language ( I have a dissertation to write after all!) but right now I feel ready to move on to a different frame of reference and some new ideas… more on new ideas soon!