ArtThrob's May contents page after an encounter with The Shredder
'The Shredder' by Mark Napier
New York based artist and software developer Mark Napier is one of the top names in the emerging medium of net art - ask any search engine. He is currently taking part in '010101: Art in Technological Times' at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (http://010101.sfmoma.org/), for which he produced Feed - a work that, like many of Napier's projects, appropriates the raw material of the web and scrambles it to produce "anti-information". Also this year, for 'Dynamic Data' at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Napier produced Point-to-Point, which combines the actions of internet users with the physical movement of museum goers to create "remote online action painting".
This month's featured project is The Shredder, an application that strips away the popular delusion that the web bears any resemblance to the printed page. Napier writes: "Behind the graphical illusion [of the web] is a vast body of text files - containing HTML code - that fill hard drives on computers at locations all over the world. Collectively these instructions make up what we call "the web". But what if these instructions are interpreted differently than intended? Perhaps radically differently?
"The web browser is an organ of perception through which we 'see' the web. It filters and organises a huge mass of structured information that spans continents, is constantly growing, reorganising itself, shifting its appearance, evolving. The Shredder presents this global structure as a chaotic, irrational, raucous collage. By altering the HTML code before the browser reads it, the Shredder appropriates the data of the web, transforming it into a parallel web. Content becomes abstraction. Text becomes graphics. Information becomes art."
For more projects by Mark Napier visit www.potatoland.org.