Research Critique: Riot by Mark Napier

Riot is an alternative web browser created by Mark Napier during 1997, inspired by the cosmopolitan nature and melting pot of cultures in New York. It broke the rules of Internet software and deconstructed the websites, blending vastly different websites with each other, e.g. Playboy with, with This opened up to new interesting interpretations and outcomes, due to the most unimagined combination of the vastly different websites together.

“When the mixtures of banner ads, government reports and personal declarations are taken as a jumbled whole, meaning falls apart. More becomes less.”,
– The San Francisco Gate, Glen Helfand, July 22, 1999

It was also a multi-user browser whereby people would see the websites they were surfing, being merged with others. Riot was exploring the fragility of personal boundaries. It also showed how information can be distributed in many possible situations.


Visually, Riot browser produced highly random yet stimulating aesthetic results due to the amalgamation of various websites. It captured the essence of glitch art very well, showing the element of controlled chance in the artwork via parameters set by the artist. It broke the conventions of Internet browsing as well, as explained above.

I describe the ‘glitch’ as (actual and/or simulated) break from an expected or conventional flow of information or meaning within (digital) communication systems that results in a perceived accident or error. – pg 9, Menkman, R. (2011) “Glitch Moment(um)

1 comment

  1. Very concise statement about Mark Napier’s riot. The question I ask: what is your impression of the work? And how does Rosa Menkman’s statement about the unconventional meaning of glitched imagery help us to better understand a work like Riot? Feel free to add a response to the assignment, I think it would make a nice conclusion.

Leave a Reply