Garrett Lynch on Mon, 30 Oct 2006 16:06:35 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> by Garrett Lynch

Announcing the release of an art browser (browser as art work) 
by Garrett Lynch:

--------------------------------------------------------------- is a cross between a browser and a streaming media player 
designed to view the internet as it really is, code or more 
specifically markup, not a series of web pages designed under a print 
metaphor. It makes no attempt to interpret the code into an organised 
layout as do conventional browsers, instead it displays the code as an 
audio-visual stream of indeterminate length.

Why reduce the internet to an audio-visual stream? Simply to provoke 
thought around our use and consumption of different media, linear push 
media such as television and non-linear interactive pull media such as 
websites, which have been converging for sometime now.'s purpose 
is to highlight the way we as users continually construct self made 
narratives when we use the internet through choices based on an 
interact / react model. It does this by removing our ability to chose 
and act on those choices. Users enter a chosen url, click go and from 
there on the experience of 'surfing' is automated and dictated by a 
preprogrammed rule:

On start
	retrieve webpage url entered.
	Visualise webpage as an audio-visual stream.
	Spider to first webpage url available on current webpage url.
	Repeat while new url available.

When we use a browser to surf the internet what we view and how we view 
it is controlled by the browser. It functions as a framing mechanism 
and for this can be considered a problem or challenge depending 
on your point of view. The creation of a browser as a work of 
allows an artist to not alone create an artwork but control how and 
under what conditions it will be viewed.

"After the first experiments with web sites, the browser rapidly became 
the unavoidable framework for Net art [sic] in the eyes of the artists. 
Webstalker, created by the London-based art group I/O/D and introduced 
in the first part of, was the first 'art browser' to call into 
question the conventions of representation on the internet on a much 
more fundamental level than any work on the web was able to. After 
Webstalker, a whole series of art browsers appeared...they show 
precisely what 'normaly' browsers try to hide. Instead of Web sites 
with pretty designs, one sees what lies beneth the surface: the code 
the pages have been written in and the structure of the Web sites 
appearing on the screen as complex diagrams which most definitely have 
their own aesthetic appeal." (Baumgärtel, T. 2001)

By denying the user any possibility of interaction with or control over 
browsing content when using, the possibility to surf the 
internet, the user is in fact denied the status of user and becomes 
simply a spectator of a broadcast medium much like television. Web 
pages, works themselves (including the artists own) become 
input, the equivalent of a signal for the browser, suppling a constant 
feed of content which controls the browser and the path it takes 
through the internet. Linking from page to page or site to site is no 
longer a controlled or chosen decision by the user. Instead the 
application decides constantly spiraling off onto new pages as soon as 
it finds a link.

Unlike most browsers which exist and are defined by the content they 
depict, their message, the internet as viewed / interpreted through is no longer a source of information. It is a browser which is 
viewed solely for its aesthetic form, an abstracted composition of 
sounds and images. is available to download for Mac OSX 10.2+, Mac OS 8/9 and 
Windows 98 / Millennium Edition / NT 4.0 / 2000, or XP from the artists 


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