Ping Body, Stelarc (1996): Stelarc’s attempts to overcome the limits of the human body have recently culminated in the surgical attachment of an ear to his arm. One of his earlier artworks, Ping Body, involved hooking up his muscles to electrical simulators controlled by the ebb and flow of global online information transfer. The resulting involuntary movements turned the artist into a literal puppet to the internet’s unpredictable data exchange.
Apartment, Martin Wattenberg & Marek Walczak (2000-04): Based on the concept of memory palaces, this interactive website generated a space according to a semantic analysis of user’s words. This structure was then translated into navigable 3D ‘apartments’, which were then clustered into ‘cities’ based on common semantic themes. This work blurred the boundaries between language, space, and information architecture.
1:1, Lisa Jevbratt (1999): The artist devised web crawlers which searched for all possible I.P. addresses across the internet. If they found a website associated with a particular address, it was assigned a single colour-coded pixel on an enormous grid. This was an example of an early attempt to ‘map’ the world wide web and present it as a single ‘territory’.
deepsadness.com, Rafaël Rozendaal (2014): Just one of many single-purpose websites Rozendaal has created since the turn of the millennium, this site plays a series of high-pitched tones alongside an assortment of blindingly-coloured shapes. And that’s it. Rozendaal sell this and similar websites (flyingfrying.com, muchbetterthanthis.com, and jellotime.com among them) to collectors, making him one of the most successful artists to use the internet itself as his ‘canvas’. Despite their simplicity, the works often manage to be hypnotic and surprisingly deep.
Morse Code Tweets, An Xiao (2009): The first featured artist on the Brooklyn Museum’s @1stfans Twitter account used it to send Tweets written solely in Morse Code. An Xiao writes that she “aimed to explore instant communication’s new direction by recalling its history”, tweeting mundane details such as “Tired. Need coffee” as a contrast to the often-urgent content of early telegrams.