Opening: Saturday, February 1st, 2003, from 5:00 to 8:00
Computer crashes, error messages and viruses; computer programs
dissolving into an endless labyrinth of lines and spaces: the
nightmare of every computer user. They push us to the border of
our ability to use machines gone awry.
They transform into media no longer intelligible, a colorful screen
full of cryptic characters. Exactly this horror is that with which
Jodi confronts the viewer. Is this where machines have begun lives of
The Dutch-Belgian artist couple Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans,
whose first names form Jodi, are among the pioneers of net-art. At
first they presented their work exclusively in the Internet, and
later, CDs came as supplemts to publications. Through the
CD-ROM, the immaterial took on a concrete form.With their work, Jodi
has set measures and standards against which all other work in the
genre is compared. Incontestably, they are the central figures
The first 'real-space' work for the artistic duo, the
exhibition-installation INSTALL.EXE finds itself in a more concrete
setting - BüroFriedrich. In INSTALL.EXE, whose title reminds one of
a general software installation command, the artistic term
'installation' is removed and replaced by a computing term.
Here, one sees recordings of regular 'desktop activities' and of
irregular reactions by common desktop programs. The exhibition
contains early computer games as well, also with the artists'
manipulations. On laptop-computers in the exhibition room, the visitor
can view the artist's work online.
INSTALL.EXE includes two new works. One of them - JET SET WILLY
Variations (2002) - is a throwback to the 48 K ZX Spectrum Computer of
1984, one of the first home computers, from the year to which Orwell
projected his frightening future visions. With this original Spectrum
Computer, which is connected to a 1980s TV and receives its data from
an audiotape, the visitor can look at the project, which is based on
an old video game. Thus, the user of the 21st century can take himself
back to the Stone Age of great expectations one more time. This
retroactive work was developed on a ZX Spectrum Emulator which has the
same capacity of computers at the beginning of the 1980s, and can be
seen on modern computers only with this emulator. JET SET WILLY
Variations shows the gulf between a deserted digital medium and a
simulation in the presence. The second work, INSTALL.EXE, "The
First Time You Start Your Computer", consists of recordings of
Jodi's screen which show irregular activities of everyday programs;
the cursor is portrayed as the main protagonist.
This Jodi exhibition deals with the relationship between modern
digital technology in its historical dimension and the (in)ability of
man to adapt to this; this can be experienced in their work visually,
and sometimes also quite annoyingly. INSTALL.EXE is an important step
out of the web-art crisis.
Last year, the exhibition was seen at [plug in] in Basel, Switzerland,
and after its current stay in Berlin, will be traveling
For the exhibitions at [plug in] and BüroFriedrich, the
publication INSTALL.EXE/Jodi, in cooperation with Tilman
Baumgärtel, has been produced. This is the first monography for
the genre of web-art.