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May 19, 2006

IP Collage


Distinguishes Participation from Interactivity

IP Collage--by Abram Stern (aka aphid)--is a participative net art piece in which the numbers of each visitor's IP address are added to an image. The four 8-bit numbers that make up the address are recontextualized into php's shape functions in the order they are required: x,y,w,h (x,y coordinate pair & width/height) as well as color: r,g,b,a (red, green, blue, alpha) to create a rectangle of a specific color (& transparency) at a specific location. Viewing the piece changes it permanently.

Generally, 'surfing the net' is thought of as a unidirectional process - one navigates information which comes from the server to the user. However, this is not the case. Every time a user visits a page the web browser transmits information - an IP address, information about the browser (make, model, version number, operating system), and referrer information (what was clicked on to get to the current page). This exchange happens unconsciously and the information provided is often aggregated for commercial marketing purposes.

IP Collage is an attempt to explore this exchange which lies beneath all web content and to use it as the basis for a productive relationship. In exchange for their IP address a user is presented with an image they may save to their local drive, print and/or exhibit.

IP Collage is also an attempt to break participation from interactivity. The piece is participative in the sense that the user directs the aesthetic of the piece, yet it manifests as a static PNG image; it is only interactive in as much as the browser provides interactivity - as it does to all images (much in the same way most video is only as interactive as a VCR & further establishing the dominant aesthetic of interactivity as navigation).

I have compiled a video archaeology of this piece, compressing the first year of its activity into one hour. Each frame of video represents roughly 4 minutes 33 seconds (a synchronistic testament to John Cage) of time between May 13 02002 and may 13 02003. It is currently in DVD and mpeg-4 formats, and I'm still trying to decide how to make it available as I am somewhat ambivalent about transforming a participative piece into a static video record. Feel free to get in touch if you'd like to see it. source code, as usual, is also available upon request.

Posted by jo at May 19, 2006 11:45 AM