Umělec magazine 2002/3 >> The art of navigation in cyberspace List of all editions.
The art of navigation in cyberspace
Umělec magazine
Year 2002, 3
6,50 EUR
Send the printed edition:
Order subscription

The art of navigation in cyberspace

Umělec magazine 2002/3


Bodil Hovaldt Bojer | media | en cs

"“So art [...] apparently exits the real world to re-emerge in the space beyond the screen, the realm of information, a space of shadows, ghosts, dreams and reflections, but also a space of cold data where soft structures turn into hard facts in the real world.”

Jeremy Welsh1

The Internet is American artist and software designer Mark Napier’s medium. The creator of the award-winning website — a conceptual art studio dedicated to exploring the aesthetic and interactive potential of the web — was originally a painter but has worked in the computer industry for many years, designing database software for the financial world. His Internet projects range from his attempt to scan his entire apartment, to distortions of iconic Barbie and digital collages, to interactive networks like his web waste dump, Digital Landfill. Here people dispose of their e-garbage (unwanted e-mails, html, spam) by chucking it into the Digital Landfill where it is composted and recycled for you to paw your way through the virtual compost heap like a scavenger, checking out other people’s garbage.
Mark Napier has also created two alternative browsers: Feed 1.0 and Shredder 1.0. Both art pieces function as alternative esthetic browsers with the aim of stepping behind the web in order to show the “invisible” structures and codes hidden behind well-known sites. The art works, which build on and use the net and net myth, appropriate and reorganize websites chosen by the user so they will appear as visual pictures with graphic patterns,
colors and text bearing little resemblance to the original websites. Their starting point is the web itself, which they consume and alter,
making it a total online experience.
Feed and Shredder both consist of websites that in many ways look normal. But instead of showing regular pages, as Explorer or Netscape do, the alternative browsers dissect the web page chosen by the user. As the user activates the artworks by choosing the URL-address, Feed and Shredder begin to read and reinterpret the HTML code hidden behind the visual screen. As the web pages are reduced to unrecognizable patterns of pixels and text, the net familiar to the user transforms into an alternative and parallel network.
In many ways the Internet is still treated as a simple publication: Text and pictures are two-dimensional and read one page at a time. But websites are not physical pages; they are temporary graphical images created as browsers interpret html code and instruction. Traditional browsers dictate how the user sees and navigates the structure of the Internet. And as long as all browsers relatively agree on the conventions of the html, the illusion of the net as stable and eternal will continue to dominate. But behind the graphical illusion there is a template of text files, consisting of html code that fill hard drives all over the world. Together these make up the instructions for what we call the Internet.
These alternative browsers, contemplative and homogenous rather than commercial and variable, interpret these instructions differently. They promote the visual rather than allowing text to dominate, as it usually does on the web. The anti-browsers function as funnel webs in which an automatic process searches the Internet by reading information from the website and follows the displayed links in loading more codes, thereby continuing the search. This means that in complex sites like Yahoo!, the browsers can continue on infinitely.
Danish media scholar and professor Soren Pold describes the browsers as aesthetic tools rather than stable art pieces. Constantly altering as they dissect the Internet, they might just represent a completely new way of aesthetically dealing with Internet dynamics. The first alternative browser, The Web Stalker, was launched in 1997 by the art group I/O/D, since then many others have come down the highway, signifying a need to treat the Internet differently. The anti-browsers comment on our way of working with and digesting information from the Internet, thereby becoming a tool for approaching the Internet from an esthetical-critical perspective. The production of beautiful maps is common to all these browser; useless as a pragmatic approach to the net, they are not meant to show websites as readable content but instead present the user with the possibility of reflecting upon the form and figuration of the Internet and thereby the Internet as concept. Content becomes abstraction, text becomes graphic and information... art.

Shredder 1.0 is found at where you will also find Digital Landfill and many other works of the artist.
Feed 1.0 is found at
The Web Stalker can be found at

1. From the article “A Yield of Reflections, Shadows, Echoes: Art and the Digital Process,” in: Art and Aesthetics in the 90s — Deterritorializations, 2000



There are currently no comments.

Add new comment

Recommended articles

Magda Tóthová Magda Tóthová
Borrowing heavily from fairy tales, fables and science fiction, the art of Magda Tóthová revolves around modern utopias and social models and their failures. Her works address personal and social issues, both the private and the political. The stylistic device of personification is central to the social criticism emblematic of her work and to the negotiation of concepts used to construct norms.…
Le Dernier Cri and the black penis of Marseille Le Dernier Cri and the black penis of Marseille
We’re constantly hearing that someone would like to do some joint project, organize something together, some event, but… damn, how to put it... we really like what you’re doing but it might piss someone off back home. Sure, it’s true that every now and then someone gets kicked out of this institution or that institute for organizing something with Divus, but weren’t they actually terribly self…
Wicked / Interview with Jim Hollands Wicked / Interview with Jim Hollands
“A person must shake someone’s hand three times while gazing intently into their eyes. That’s the key to memorizing their name with certainty. It is in this way that I’ve remembered the names of 5,000 people who have been to the Horse Hospital,” Jim Hollands told me. Hollands is an experimental filmmaker, musician and curator. In his childhood, he suffered through tough social situations and…
The Top 10 Czech Artists from the 1990s The Top 10 Czech Artists from the 1990s
The editors of Umělec have decided to come up with a list of ten artists who, in our opinion, were of crucial importance for the Czech art scene in the 1990s. After long debate and the setting of criteria, we arrived at a list of names we consider significant for the local context, for the presentation of Czech art outside the country and especially for the future of art. Our criteria did not…
27.07.2014 19:39
Where to go next?
out - archeology
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
Josef Jindrák
Who is S.d.Ch? A person of many interests, active in various fields—literature, theater—known for his comics and collages in the art field. A poet and playwright foremost. A loner by nature and determination, his work doesn’t meet the current trends. He always puts forth personal enunciation, although its inner structure can get very complicated. It’s pleasant that he is a normal person and a…
out - poetry
THC Review and the Condemned Past
THC Review and the Condemned Past
Ivan Mečl
We are the fifth global party! Pítr Dragota and Viki Shock, Fragmenty geniality / Fragments of Charisma, May and June 1997. When Viki came to visit, it was only to show me some drawings and collages. It was only as an afterthought that he showed me the Czech samizdat publication from the late 1990s, THC Review. When he saw how it fascinated me, he panicked and insisted that THAT creation is…
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
birthing pains
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Zuzana Štefková
Expanding the definition of “mother” is also a space for reducing pressure and for potential liberation.1 Carol Stabile The year was 2003, and in the deep forests of Lapák in the Kladno area, a woman in the later phase of pregnancy stopped along the path. As part of the “Artists in the Woods” exhibit, passers-by could catch a glimpse of her round belly, which she exposed especially for them in…
Books, video, editions and artworks that might interest you Go to e-shop
Illustrations by Tomáš Horný (temporarily Tomas Hornley, as he’s living in Melbourne, Australia) accompanied by concise texts...
More info...
7,85 EUR
More info...
2,01 EUR
More info...
6,50 EUR
More info...
8,05 EUR


Divus and its services

Studio Divus designs and develops your ideas for projects, presentations or entire PR packages using all sorts of visual means and media. We offer our clients complete solutions as well as all the individual steps along the way. In our work we bring together the most up-to-date and classic technologies, enabling us to produce a wide range of products. But we do more than just prints and digital projects, ad materials, posters, catalogues, books, the production of screen and space presentations in interiors or exteriors, digital work and image publication on the internet; we also produce digital films—including the editing, sound and 3-D effects—and we use this technology for web pages and for company presentations. We specialize in ...

Citation of the day. Publisher is not liable for any mental and physical states which may arise after reading the quote.

Enlightenment is always late.
CONTACTS AND VISITOR INFORMATION The entire editorial staff contacts

Arch 8, Resolution Way, Deptford
London SE8 4NT, United Kingdom

Open Wednesday to Saturday 12 - 6 pm


Office: +44 (0) 20 8692 5157

Ivan Mečl, +44 (0) 7526 902 082


Shop, +44 (0) 20 8692 5157

Former papermill area, Nádražní 101
252 46 Vrané nad Vltavou, Czech Republic, +420 602 269 888

Open from Wednesday to Sunday between 11am to 6pm. From 15.12. to 15.1. only on appointment.


Potsdamer Str. 161, 10783 Berlin, Germany, +49 (0) 1512 9088 150
Open Wednesday to Saturday 2 - 7 pm



Divus New book by I.M.Jirous in English at our online bookshop.